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The theme for this year’s World Diabetes Day is Education to Protect Tomorrow. How do you rate the awareness level of people in the UAE with regard to diabetes?

Diabetes is a common metabolic condition that affects nearly 15.4 per cent of the UAE population. Despite that, not many people are aware of the symptoms of diabetes or how it can present in different people. According to a recent survey, most people with a diabetic family member think tiredness is the first symptom of diabetes. The same survey showed a relatively higher awareness among those between the ages of 25 and 34. However, it was still low.

What can health organisations and hospitals in the UAE do to raise awareness and promote positive action among people? Has Medcare planned any events around World Diabetes Day?

Given the statistics, it is important to raise awareness about diabetes and the most common symptoms of the condition. Educational sessions along with annual screenings can help promote awareness and help people reduce their risk of getting diabetes.

Dr Yasmeen Ajaz, Specialist Endocrinologist

At Medcare Hospital Al Safa, we plan annual diabetes screening programmes and offer special packages to help people get checked for prediabetes and diabetes.

We also offer corporate packages so that companies can take better care of their employees and help them make their health a priority.

Given the high prevalence of diabetes in the UAE, what are the three main things that people in the UAE should do to prevent diabetes?

Diabetes has both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. It is important to tackle the modifiable risk factors to prevent diabetes. The three major risk factors for diabetes are obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.

With that in mind, the three main things that people in the UAE can do to prevent diabetes are lose weight and maintain a healthy, stable weight, exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, and eat a balanced diet with all the required nutrients and vitamins.

These will not only help prevent diabetes but will also keep other major health disorders at bay.

What are the latest drugs and treatment that are available at Medcare for diabetes patients?

Medcare Hospital Al Safa offers all treatment options to patients with diabetes whether it is medication or insulin therapy. Our nutritionists work closely with our diabetic and prediabetic patients to help them make the appropriate lifestyle changes.

We also offer bariatric surgeries to help people with obesity and associated health issues, one of which is diabetes. Our aim is to stop the progression of prediabetes to diabetes and to help diabetic patients manage their blood sugar levels.

What’re the main challenges that diabetes patients in the UAE face? What’s your advice to overcome them?

The main challenges that diabetics in the UAE face are a sedentary lifestyle and consumption of processed, sugary food.

Most people in the UAE work office jobs that do not allow them to be as active as they would like to be.

Moreover, people live high-stress lives that get in the way of eating healthy food. Most of them turn to processed, sugary food for a quick bite and before they realise it, this quick bite replaces their actual meal.

The way to overcome these challenges is to start small. Small changes in lifestyle and eating habits will go a long way.

Working out only one day a week is still better than not working out at all. Taking baby steps towards better health is the way to overcome the challenges that diabetics in the UAE face.

Walk in and avail your free screening package from November 14 until November 30 at Medcare Hospital Al Safa