RAK drivers at the diabetes screening at RAK Hospital. Image Credit: RAK hospital

Ras Al Khaimah: Hundreds of residents in the UAE could be suffering from diabetes without being aware of the fact, leading to severe repercussions, warned doctors, urging people to recognise the symptoms of the disease.

The warning came at the Ras Al Khaimah Hospital’s comprehensive Diabetes screening programme — the Blue Ring Challenge — where many UAE residents were diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes during the screening.

“While there are no symptoms or signs of diabetes in the early stages, if the blood sugar starts getting very high it can cause fatigue, weight gain followed by weight loss, blurry vision, irritability, increased thirst, hunger and frequent urination,” said Dr Zain Gulzar, Consultant Endocrinologist at RAK Hospital,

“For example, during the screening, we came across a RAK taxi driver, whose sugar level was as high as 500, and he had failed to recognise any symptoms. He was immediately rushed into the emergency and given insulin to bring down the sugar level. His condition was quite dangerous, and could have even resulted in coma,” said Dr Gulzar.

As per the data derived from the campaign, 15 per cent of the diabetic patients were newly diagnosed during the screening, while 41 per cent were found to be in pre-diabetic stage. However, they were not aware of their condition.

Asserting the need to create awareness on diabetes, and to recognise its symptoms, Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO Arabian Healthcare Group, and Executive Director RAK Hospital called out for regular mass screenings and related talks.

“As a health care institution, it is our duty to promote awareness on various ailments that plague our society, particularly diabetes which is found among one in five UAE residents, he said.

The Blue Ring Challenge that ran across Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai, screened thousands of UAE residents for diabetes. The campaign was introduced in nearly 40 corporate houses and schools in both the emirates.