Magazine article The Middle East

Diabetes-A Global Health Concern

Magazine article The Middle East

Diabetes-A Global Health Concern

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The 14 November marked World Diabetes Day. Diabetes is rapidly emerging as a global health concern. According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes currently affects over 180m people worldwide and is expected to double by 2050. Countries of the Middle East are ranked among the top 10 countries in the world for diabetes and obesity.

Diabetes is a debilitating disease which can be fatal if not controlled effectively. It occurs as a result of the body's inability to produce or utilise insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone which regulates blood sugar level by helping the body move glucose (sugar) from the blood into cells where it is used as energy.

There are two types of diabetes--Type 1 develops mainly in childhood and cannot be prevented. The body produces no, or insufficient, insulin and therefore insulin has to be administered daily to control blood sugar levels. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for 90% of all reported cases. The body becomes inefficient at using insulin, or does not produce enough to be effective--insulin resistance.

In most cases insulin resistance is linked to being overweight. Other reported factors, which increase your likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes are: inactivity, being over the age of 40 and genetics (if you are of South Asian, Afro-Caribbean or Middle Eastern descent you are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes).

With the combined factors of high rates of obesity, underactive lifestyles and a genetic predisposition towards Type 2 diabetes, many Middle Eastern people fall into a high-risk category. Type 2 diabetes was once considered to be a disease that develops in adulthood, but reports suggest that children as young as eight years old are developing the disease, again, due to increasing levels of obesity and inactivity. …

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