Abu Dhabi: Cases of diabetes in the UAE are on the rise, say medical experts, with the country accounting for the second highest number of patients per capita globally.

A congregation of medical experts in a two-day congress held for the first time in Abu Dhabi's National Exhibition Centre yesterday, discussed 'Metabolic Syndrome (MS) and Associated Diseases'.

MS is a combination of medical disorders that raises risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.


Professor Philippe Froguel, Chair of the department of Genomic Medicine, Imperial College London, said that an estimated 246 million people worldwide have diabetes and the UAE ranks number two globally with a 19.5 per cent of the population, second only to the tiny Pacific island of Nauru.

Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, consultant endocrinologist, medical and research director, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, one out of five people in the UAE aged 20 to 79 has diabetes while a similar percentage of the population is at risk of developing it, especially youngsters.

A study conducted in 2000 showed that approximately half of the people in the UAE are unaware that they suffer from diabetes.

'Important step to strong foundation'

The Abu Dhabi Medical Congress has attracted a host of companies and experts.

The conference was opened by Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Health, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

"I ... hope this is a first step towards creating a strong medical foundation backed by action [and] not just practical methods," said the minister.