Diabetes is one of the world’s fastest growing chronic diseases in the world, reaching pandemic levels in several countries.
According to a recent atlas published by the International Diabetes Federation, around 537 million adults around the world are diabetic, 73 million of them living in the Middle East alone.
The report projects these global numbers to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045.
Dr. Archana Sadhu, endocrinologist and director of diabetes program at Houston Methodist, who also treated hundreds of patients from Saudi Arabia and the Arabian region, sees that “the key to diabetes is knowing the risks that increases the chances of developing diabetes”.
According to Dr. Sadhu, the most challenging aspects that patients with diabetes in the region face, are a carbohydrate and red meat rich diet.
This is in addition to the daily lifestyle and routine which results in irregular meal timings (usually late at night), hence, leading to extreme variations in the blood sugar levels.
Dr. Sadhu explains that there are different types of diabetes and each of them can have serious complications and increased risk of death if not managed appropriately.
“Typically, about 90% of diabetes is type 2 and 5-10% is type 1. Both have high risk, but the most important distinction is that type 1 can more often result in immediate death as a result of a life-threatening condition called “diabetic ketoacidosis” due to extremely high blood sugars and build-up of acid in the blood, making it the “riskiest” type of diabetes”, said Dr. Sadhu.
To better manage diabetes and prevent severe complications, Dr. Sadhu advises following a healthy diet and start an exercise program for at least 150 minutes a week and aim to lose 10% of the current body weight.
In terms of a healthy diet, Dr. Sadhu advises against fried food and fast foods and processed foods, and to replace it with home-made meals instead that provide the right amount and nutritious calories, and are made from fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats and fish which are prepared with simple cooking techniques such as grilling, steaming and baking, without additional sauces or condiments.
Also, Dr. Sadhu emphasized the importance of educating patients about diabetes prevention as well as the ongoing coordination with healthcare professionals to successfully manage diabetes and its impact on patients and their surroundings.
Dr. Sadhu highlighted the programs and events at Houston Methodist, held on World Diabetes Day – Nov. 14 of each year, that aims to offer education and resources about the prevention and management of Diabetes, “The Modern Preventable Pandemic”. — SG