As the world continued to reel from the effects of health crises in the past years, people across the globe experienced a radical change in their health and well-being. The rise in unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity and lack of nutritional education contributed to the development of some serious conditions such as diabetes, leaving individuals grappling with long-term health complications.
Diabetes is a highly prevalent global and regional health concern, with approximately 30 per cent of the UAE’s population qualifying as diabetic or pre-diabetic according to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). A report issued by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predicts that 1.17 million of the total population (between ages 20-79 years) could have diabetes by 2030. These alarming figures have paved the way for the industry to combine its technological and research capabilities in providing solutions to help combat the spread of the disease.
Dr. Darvin V. Das, Specialist Endocrinology at Aster Hospital, Mankhool, said that the genetic predisposition in the population for diabetes is high, making type 2 diabetes a serious and common public health problem in the region. Increasing cases of obesity, hypertension, and smoking have contributed to its development in the younger population as well. He added that creating awareness and adhering to medicine and lifestyle modifications are essential when it comes to treating diabetes successfully.
The UAE last year introduced a weight-loss drug proven to be effective in treating type 2 diabetes. Tirzepatide or Mounjaro, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is found to reduce up to 22.5 per cent of the body weight due to decreased appetite. The injection reduces blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production.
“There are a lot of activities happening around promoting calorie deficit diets as it helps reduce visceral fats and improves insulin resistance to achieve better glycaemic control. Newer technologies with 24-hour continuous glucose monitoring assist in identifying patterns with different types of food and exercise, which helps individuals in determining their medication and insulin dosage needs,” said Dr. Das.
Abu Dhabi Healthcare Services (SEHA), UAE’s largest healthcare network provides comprehensive treatment plans to children and adults with diabetes. Their Ambulatory Healthcare Services provides access to the latest technologies including the Sudoscan, a painless examination that reveals neuropathic abnormalities and complications in diabetic patients within just three minutes.
To assist people in managing diabetes, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca launched a health and well-being app Health Gate in the UAE, which uses an AI-generated platform to monitor patient vitals and increase their awareness regarding any diabetes-related complications. The app also provides patients with individually curated tips and guidance to manage their condition effectively.
Dr. Das believes diabetes is yet to be seen by a large section of the population as a chronic illness that can later develop into life-threatening complications. He says that in the long term, it becomes imperative to manage cholesterol levels by quitting smoking, having periodic eye check-ups, addressing foot problems, maintaining a healthy weight and self-monitoring blood glucose levels.
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