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Thu 23 Jun 2016 08:23 AM

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Diabetes in Middle East reaches record high

Almost 14 percent of adults in the region suffer from Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes in Middle East reaches record high
Diabetes test (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

Diabetes rates in the Middle East have reached a record high of about 43 million cases, accounting for almost 14 percent of its adults – the highest level in the world.

Type 2 diabetes rates have especially risen due to obesity, lack of physical activity and unhealthy diets, according to the World Health Organisation.

It has also been increasingly seen in children.

The chronic disease develops when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insult to regular blood pressure. It could result in heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, lower limb amputations or eye diseases that could cause blindness.

The latter is the most serious side effect, according to experts.

“Diabetic retinopathy is more likely to occur the longer the patient has had diabetes,” Dr Paola Salvetti, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, told Trade News Arabia.

“During the first two decades of disease, nearly all patients with Type 1 diabetes and up to 60 per cent of patients with Type 2 diabetes have diabetic retinopathy.”

Diabetic retinopathy is more common in men than women, she said, adding that more than 74 percent of diabetics are not aware they have an eye disease.

“Diabetic retinopathy is directly linked to control of blood glucose levels,” she said. “Diabetes is a chronic disease but with attention to diet, exercise and control of associated risk factors, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), it can be controlled and the risk of complications reduced. Even a simple daily walk can help. Moorfields recommends an annual eye examination for all people with diabetes who don't have any complications, and more frequently if the patient has active diabetic retinopathy that may require treatment.”

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