Diabetes cases rising in the Gulf: Expert

December 15, 2012 - 2:22:00 am

Dr Saad Al Kaabi, Chairman of Qatar Diabetes Association, presenting a memento to Dr Amir Kamran, Mena Regional Chairman of International Diabetes Federation (IDF), during the opening of the IDF diabetes conference at the QNCC yesterday. (Salim Matramkot)

By Isabel Ovalle

DOHA: Two years after the establishment of a permanent office of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in Qatar, Doha is hosting a conference to address the prevalence of diabetes in the region, which has the highest rate in the world.

The meeting agenda covers a wide range of significant topics related to diabetes, such as heart disease, the latest developments in stem cell therapy and other issues, which will be approached by experts in diabetes and endocrinology.

The event was inaugurated by Michael Herst, President-elect of the IDF, who talked about the prevalence of diabetes in the region and encouraged Qatar to keep “shaping up” its work to prevent and control diabetes.

On his part, also during the opening, the Regional Manager of IDF-Mena region, Doctor Abdulla Al Hamaq, considered imperative that health care professionals have up-to-date knowledge about the newest research on diabetes and other related diseases.

During the first day of the conference, which will conclude on Sunday, Doctor Abdelrazaq Gehani, from Qatar, gave the cardiologist’s view to diabetes. “This disease affects every aspect of the practice of cardiology and while cardiovascular mortality is showing some decline worldwide, diabetes seems to be on the increase, especially in the Gulf region,” he said.

“Unlike general population, diabetic women have twice the mortality of diabetic men”, he added. The doctor informed that a diabetic without previous myocardial infarction (commonly known as heart attack) has a similar survival curve to non-diabetics who already had one, while if diabetes is added to a previous cardiac episode, the mortality is doubled in men and quadrupled in women.

Ramadan and diabetes was also discussed at the IDF/Mena conference yesterday by Doctor Shabeen Naz Masood, from Pakistan. 

The doctor referred to a study to observe Ramadan related awareness, practices and experiences of diabetic patients. A total of 1,050 patients were interviewed for the study.

The study concluded that the majority of participants were fasting without adverse consequences. 

However, 15 to 20 percent were at risk as they continued fasting without checking their blood sugar even when they felt hypoglycaemia. 

On this basis, Doctor Masood, and the co-authors of the study recommend that diabetes patients be counselled about the symptoms of hypoglycaemia during fasting and consider the option of breaking the fast in case the blood sugar level is low.

The Peninsula