The UAE’s population is facing a silent health crisis, as research from GluCare Integrated Diabetes Center reveals that almost 15% of people in the UAE are living with Prediabetes. Often caused by lifestyle choices, it is most prevalent among UAE nationals, with around 19% of Emiratis and 15 of expatriates living with the condition.
Labeled a ‘ticking timebomb,’ Prediabetes, can cause serious and long-lasting health problems for patients and shows very few symptoms until it is in its advanced stages. Prediabetes is caused by the body not responding in the normal way to insulin produced by the pancreas. A naturally occurring hormone, insulin lets blood sugar into cells to use as energy. Prediabetes usually occurs in people who already have some insulin resistance or whose cells aren’t making enough insulin to keep blood glucose within the normal range. Eventually, without enough insulin, the extra glucose stays in the bloodstream and over time can develop Type 2 Diabetes.
With no clear symptoms in the early stages, prediabetes can go years without ever being detected, affecting around 1.2 million people in the UAE. Those aged over 30, who are overweight, have a relative with Type 2 Diabetes, have a family history of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or elevated blood fats, and who are physically active less than three times a week, are those who are most at risk and should be screened as per the UAE guidelines. In some cases, the disease only reveals itself and its long-term implications when patients need urgent medical attention. Health experts at GluCare Integrated Diabetes Center, warn that Prediabetes patients almost always develop Type 2 Diabetes and are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke if it continues to be untreated.
Ihsan Almarzooqi, GluCare Co-Founder and Managing Director, said “Prediabetes is rising in the region and the number of people impacted is alarming. Prediabetes is reversible, Type 2 Diabetes is not, although it can go into remission, so proactivity in the treatment of this condition is critical. There are two ways of testing, first is to do an informal assessment of risk factors, usually best for asymptomatic adults, or the second option is to do a blood test.”
“The key to reversing Prediabetes is really all about education on the lifestyle choices that are needed and increasing awareness about how the foods we eat and the levels of physical activity we partake in can dramatically impact our health.”
HE added: “If you are diagnosed, there is still a really high chance that you will be able to cure this condition. The key to managing Prediabetes is to focus on preventative healthcare. Monitoring the condition in real-time as opposed to every three months with blood tests which is the traditional method of care, is essential. We have developed a number of technological aids that use artificial intelligence and continuous data to monitor and advise our patients in real-time, 24/7, and we partner this with understanding and empathetic medical professionals who look after our patients physical and mental needs, helping them to make the lifestyle changes they need to really improve their health,” said Dr. Almarzooqi.