Published on December 3, 2014
A report by the Diabetes Atlas of 2014 indicated that around 387 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. Half of those living with diabetes are unaware of their conditions due to difficulties in detecting symptoms.
According to Abu Dhabi’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), the UAE ranks 16 in the list of countries with diabetes, with 19 per cent of its population being diabetic. Last year, the UAE ranked 15, which means it managed to improve its position in the International Diabetes Federation Atlas by one step. Keeping this in perspective, ICLDC’s launched a campaign to combat diabetes. Titled The Walk, it focused on raising awareness and accenting that a healthy lifestyle can not only reverse but prevent the disease.
Carried out under the patronage of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, President’s wife and Chairperson of the UAE Women’s Federation, ICLDC’s campaign has reached over 200,000 people in the UAE since 2007, emphasising the fact that regular exercise, a balanced diet and a normal body weight are the key to fight and prevent diabetes.
Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, Executive Director, Mubadala Healthcare and Chairman, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, said, “With a turnout of over 21,000 [this year] and a great deal of online interest, I feel very encouraged that the UAE is indeed embracing the healthy lifestyle message and moving in the right direction. Indeed, I feel we are at a ‘tipping point’ as more and more people join in the healthy lifestyle conversation.”
Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating are the main reasons for Type 2 diabetes prevalence in the UAE. There is a direct link between diabetes and obesity associated with a non-active lifestyle. People with diabetes have a six times higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
In some cases, the symptoms of diabetes are absent, making it hard to detect the disease. However, you should watch out for these signs:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urinations
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Lack of energy
- Slow-healing wounds
- Vomiting and stomach pain
TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY
Research on preventing Type 1 diabetes is still ongoing; however there are ways to prevent the Type 2 diabetes:
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- A balanced and nutritious diet
- Avoid smoking
- Have enough sleep (not less than six hours and not more than nine hours)
- Maintain a healthy body weight
DID YOU KNOW?
- About one third of all people with diabetes do not know they have the disease
- Type 2 diabetes often may not have symptoms
- Only five per cent of all people with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes
- If you are at risk, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented
- with moderate weight loss (10–15 pounds) and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) each day
- A meal plan for a diabetic person isn’t different than that for people without diabetes
- Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness
- People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease
- Good control of diabetes significantly reduces the risk of developing complications
- Bariatric surgery can help in diabetes