According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 9.2 % of the adult population in the Eastern Mediterranean are affected by diabetes. In the UAE, approximately 40% of the over-60 year population suffers from diabetes, mostly type 2. The epidemic goes along with short-term symptoms such as weakness and thirst, but can lead to serious consequences like heart attack, stroke or kidney problems in the long-term.

There are different types of diabetes. Most common in the UAE is Diabetes Type 2 in which the body cannot absorb the hormone insulin which regulates the blood sugar (glucose) in the body. This means that the blood sugar levels increase whereas the cells cannot use the glucose to produce energy. Therefore the first symptoms of diabetes are weakness, thirst and increased appetite.

At this stage many people do not detect the symptoms and only discover they are diabetic following a routine investigation or a blood test prior to some surgery.

Diabetes type 2 can still be prevented through regular exercise, healthy diet and avoiding tobacco products.

Reasons for diabetes

Obesity is a major cause of some degree of insulin resistance. Besides obesity, lack of physical activity and age are risk factors for developing this form of (type 2) diabetes and it occurs more frequently in women. It is often associated with a strong genetic predisposition, more so than is the autoimmune form of (type 1) diabetes.

Symptoms and Treatment

Diabetes symptoms include hunger, weight loss, increased urination, and dehydration, and increased thirst, laziness caused by lack of energy, imbalances; confusion; and coma.

Treatment of the diabetes includes insulin shots, oral medications, exercise, diet, stress control, infection control and thorough glucose monitoring.