KUWAIT: Diabetes is one of the fastest spreading diseases worldwide, as World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show diabetics around the world number more than 350 million, and expected to double in 20 years. This was stated by Health Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Affairs Dr Majida Al-Qattan after she launched the ministry’s celebration of World Health Day yesterday. This year’s event adopted the slogan ‘Beat Diabetes’ to spread awareness about the disease, which has become known as ‘the era’s epidemic.’
Qattan said diabetes is also one of the causes of early death in most countries due to higher risks of getting cardiovascular diseases, bearing in mind that it caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012, and WHO expects it to be in seventh place among the main causes of death in 2030. Qattan said diabetes does not only cause a large number of deaths, but its complications are considered a hindrance for development and production, because of blindness, amputations and renal failure.
Qattan said Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are considered among the highest in the spread rate of the disease and the region’s countries occupy top places in the rate of new diabetes cases. As for Kuwait, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated the number of adults who have diabetes at 40,000 in 2015, and Kuwait occupies third place in Type 1 cases among children and adolescents under 15 years of age, as the number of new cases is estimated at 37.1 for every 100,000, while IDF estimates the number of undiagnosed cases in Kuwait at 140,000.
Qattan said deaths due to diabetes made up 4 percent of deaths in Kuwait in 2014, and besides the human loss, the cost of treating diabetes patients in Kuwait is $563 per individual annually, which constitutes a heavy burden on the state’s budget due to the number of those who have the disease.
Dr Qattan said despite those terrifying numbers, the ‘Beat Diabetes’ slogan is a goal that can be reached, as Type 2 diabetes, which represents 90 percent of cases, can be prevented by adopting a healthy diet and regular physical exercise, while maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking. She said it was noticed that there is a high number of cases of Type 2 diabetes among children, as this condition represents half of the diagnosed cases among children in some countries because of obesity and idleness. She said as for those with diabetes, defeating it by living with it and preventing its complications by early detection.
Meanwhile, Director of the Nursing Institute Wael Hamad said that diabetes has become an epidemic in countries of middle and low income. She added that out of the Nursing Institute’s interest in following all what is new in medical research, officials decided to hold the activity in cooperation with the health ministry, which has vast experience in dealing with such diseases. He said the activity deals with everything related to this disease through various lectures and workshops by an elite group of specialists on means of preventing diabetes, in addition on how to manage means of its treatment to prevent its complications. Hamada said all those efforts contribute to reaching a higher goal, which calls for reducing the number of early deaths as a result of non-infectious diseases by one third by 2030.
Head of the Health Ministry Information Office Dr Ghaliya Al-Mutairi said diabetes is a major cause of death in Kuwait, as it represents four percent of deaths, and caused the deaths of 330 persons aged 30-69 in 2015, and the deaths of 500 persons over 70, and that males represent 62 percent of these deaths. Mutairi asked citizens and expats to take responsibility in defeating diabetes by adopting healthy lifestyles that inhibit the disease, most important of which is having a healthy diet and exercise of a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, monitor body weight and refrain from smoking. She also asked diabetics to carry out periodic tests as recommended by doctors.
By Abdellatif Al-Sharaa