Wednesday, 28 September 2011

UAE is in Midst of Diabetes Explosion

UAE is in Midst of Diabetes Explosion

Diabetes is projected to affect a quarter of the UAE population by 2015 and the medical costs due to diabetes and pre-diabetes are projected to rise to an annual Dhs5.14 billion by 2020, reveals an expert.

Diabetes forms the greatest health threat in the UAE today. The cost of living with diabetes in the UAE stood at Dhs2.41 billion in 2010, according to a study released during the World Health Care Congress, says Jan Felton, managing director of Modern Pharmaceutical Company.

“The vast majority of cases in the Emirates is diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle factors like poor diet and lack of exercise. Genetically, Emiratis are predisposed to diabetes and are prone to getting the disease more than other nationalities,” he adds.

The economic boom has changed the lifestyle from a nomadic to a highly modernised lifestyle over the past 35 years and this has exacerbated the tendency of getting this condition.

Understanding the need for education, awareness and support to bring about lifestyle change, an alliance of six healthcare establishments have set up “Decide,” a first-of-its-kind concrete and collective effort to stem incidence of the disease in the UAE.

The initiative recognises a better education and greater awareness of the condition to achieve successful prevention and management of diabetes, says Jan Felton, an advocate of the non-profit initiative to fight the disease through increased awareness.

Decide aims to educate and provide with support to help patients and healthcare professionals diagnose, treat and manage the symptoms of diabetes. “The problem is not diagnosis or even how to treat diabetes, it is educating the patients, and most importantly helping them decide to do the right thing and to live life to the full with diabetes,” he indicated.

“The alliance, by pooling their resources together, will be able to reach out to a greater number of people with greater voice to have behavioural change for managing diabetes,” adds Felton.

Decide conveys the “Live life to the full with diabetes” message through an all-round strategy of providing support not only to diabetics and their immediate carers, but also to professional healthcare practitioners such as doctors, dieticians and health authorities.

This holistic approach is further supported by a web-portal,, which will not only disseminate up-to-date information but also act as a platform and forum for diabetes.

“A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy dietary choices contribute to the increasing concern about the country’s health, as diabetes is a serious and lifelong condition, which if not managed properly may lead to adverse health outcomes and serious complications,” explains Felton.

“Influencing change in behaviour would not only greatly reduce the increasing number of diabetics, but also the incidence of health complications and life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular and renal failure,” he concludes.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

When It Comes to Diabetes, Knowledge Truly Is Power

When It Comes to Diabetes, Knowledge Truly Is Power

When people are diagnosed with diabetes, things can seem pretty overwhelming. In a short time, they have to absorb a daunting amount of information and start making significant decisions about the way they live their lives.

For many people, their diabetes diagnosis is the first time they've heard words like hypoglycemia, neuropathy, and microalbuminuria-or even blood glucose. Despite their unfamiliarity with such terms, they are expected to quickly grasp the information, change ingrained eating and exercise habits, learn how to monitor blood glucose levels, and remember how and when to take medications.

Yet another concept with which patients may be unfamiliar is the field of diabetes education. Many nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and others are certified as diabetes educators, with specific training in teaching people how to manage their condition. Diabetes education is a proven, effective way to help people avoid some of the serious complications that may arise.

Diabetes is a complex disease that requires daily self-management. Most of that work takes place outside of the physician's office-in the daily lives of the patients. So it's necessary for patients to learn healthy behaviors and make them part of their everyday lifestyle. But how do they do this?

Diabetes educators focus on seven key areas of diabetes self-management, developed by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and called the AADE7 Self-Care BehaviorsTM. It's important for patients to understand and set goals for improvement in each of the following areas:

Healthy Eating - Learning to make healthy food choices by paying attention to nutritional content and portion sizes
Being Active - Recognizing the importance of physical activity and making a plan to start moving today
Monitoring - Learning to check, record, and understand blood glucose levels and other numbers important to diabetes self-care
Taking Medication - Remembering to take medications as prescribed and understanding how they affect the body and diabetes management
Problem Solving - Gaining skills to identify problems or obstacles to self-care behaviors and learning how to solve them
Reducing Risks - Understanding the potential complications associated with diabetes and taking steps to prevent developing them
Healthy Coping - Developing healthy ways of dealing with challenges and difficult situations related to diabetes

Patients and diabetes educators can work together to create a plan for approaching these self-care behaviors and implementing them in the patient's life.

For someone who is newly diagnosed, Medicare and most private insurance companies cover 10 hours of diabetes self-management training. Every year after that, patients are entitled to two hours of diabetes self-management training. AADE recommends that patients ask their doctors for a referral to a diabetes educator.

Lifetime Dose of Excess Weight Tied to Diabetes Risk |

Lifetime Dose of Excess Weight Tied to Diabetes Risk

Obesity is a known risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. But it hasn’t been clear whether the “dose” of obesity—how much excess weight a person has, and for how long—affects the risk of diabetes.

A new University of Michigan Health System study of about 8,000 adolescents and young adults shows the degree and duration of carrying extra pounds are important risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

“Our study finds that the relationship between weight and type 2 diabetes is similar to the relationship between smoking and the risk of lung cancer,” says study lead author Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatric endocrinologist at U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “The amount of excess weight that you carry, and the number of years for which you carry it, dramatically increase your risk of diabetes.”

The study appears online ahead of print in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine.

“We know that, due to the childhood obesity epidemic, younger generations of Americans are becoming heavier much earlier in life, and are carrying the extra weight for longer periods over their lifetimes,” says Lee. “When you add the findings from this study, rates of diabetes in the United States may rise even higher than previously predicted.”

Researchers found that a measure of degree and duration of excess weight (based on the number of years body mass index, a calculation of weight and height, of 25 or higher) was a better predictor of diabetes risk than a single measurement of excess weight. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese.

Lee and colleagues also found that black and Hispanic compared with white individuals had a higher risk for diabetes, for a same amount of excess weight over time.

For example, individuals with a BMI of 35 (10 points higher than healthy weight) for 10 years would be considered to have 100 years of excess BMI. Hispanics in this group were twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to whites, while blacks in this group had one-and-a-half-times greater risk than whites.

Based on the latest findings, Lee suggests obesity prevention and treatment efforts should focus on adolescents and young adults, especially racial minorities.

In addition, she believes that measuring and following BMI and the cumulative “dose” of excess BMI may be helpful for clinicians and patients in understanding risk of diabetes in the future.

Evidence from other research indicates that BMI increases with age, and children who are obese are more likely to become obese adults.

Obesity is a well-known contributor to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, disability and premature death.