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Diabetes is a disease characterized by elevated sugar levels in the blood, which can lead to serious complications. The most common type of diabetes (>90%) is Type 2, which occurs when the body does not respond to insulin and does not make enough insulin to control the blood sugar. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
As per the International Diabetes Federation, one in eleven adults is affected by this disease leading to more than 415 million people worldwide. By 2040, one adult in ten will have the disease, increasing the total number of diabetics to more than 642 million people.
Type 2 is thought to result as a combination of genetic factors and environmental factors. The risk of having diabetes is 5 to 10 times higher in first-degree relatives of a diabetic person compared with a person without history of the disease in the family. Hispanic, African, and Asian descent also increase the chances of having the disease. Environmental factors such as the lifestyle, including the diet that you eat and the physical activity you have, impact the chances of incurring the disease significantly. The increase in the rate of obesity worldwide is also contributing to the rise in the rate of Diabetes. Another factor is the prior history of abnormal sugar levels during the pregnancy, called Gestational diabetes. Yet another risk factor includes an age older than 45, having an inactive lifestyle, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and a history of polycystic ovary syndrome.
Most people with diabetes have no symptoms and this is why the disease takes a long time before it is diagnosed. If the symptoms are present, they can include increased thirst, the need to urinate frequently, blurred vision, low energy along with unintentional weight loss. If you have any of the above symptoms or risk factors, book your appointment with our diabetes doctor, Dr. Katia El Sibai. Diabetes is a growing concern in the UAE and in the Middle East and North Africa region. In 2015, around 9.1% of adults aged 20-79 were labeled as diabetics, with over 40.6% of the cases being undiagnosed.
In 2015, 19.3% (almost one in five people) of the UAE population between the ages of 20 and 79 were found to be diabetic, with over one million people living with the disease – placing the country 13th worldwide. It is also a regional concern with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait all featuring among the top fifteen countries in terms of prevalence of the disease worldwide. In UAE, the rate of prevalence is rising at a faster rate than the rest of the world and the number of people with diabetes is expected to double to 2.2 million by 2040.