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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Diabetes puts undue stress on UAE economy

The International Diabetes Federation has warned that the number of diabetics in the UAE is expected to triple by 2035.

ABU DHABI // The International Diabetes Federation has warned that chronic lifestyle-induced diseases are putting an unnecessary burden on the UAE economy.

Last November, it was reported that the number of diabetics in the UAE was expected to triple by 2035, which would place an unnecessary burden on the healthcare system in the country.

The populations of the Middle East and North Africa are among the world’s worst affected by diabetes, with estimates predicting that as many as 68 million people in the region will be living with the disease by 2035.

Diabetes led to 363,000 deaths in the region last year, half of whom were under the age of 60.

When left untreated, undiagnosed diabetes puts individuals at considerable risk of life-threatening complications such as kidney and heart disease.

“Managing chronic diseases can be challenging because unhealthy lifestyle choices can often lead to multiple symptoms, each with its own treatment options,” said Khalid Amin, regional director in the UAE for the Spanish pharmaceutical company, Cinfa.

Last year, delivering diabetes care cost the UAE healthcare system US$16.8 billion (Dh61.7bn), which the IDF predicts will increase to $24.7bn billion in 2035. The UAE spends more on diabetes than any other GCC nation.

“In response, we are committed to offering our GCC customers great choice in affordable and effective pharmaceutical solutions that meet strict European standards to make treatment of long-term conditions more manageable,” said Mr Amin.

Early diagnoses of diabetes to avoid complications, and awareness of the risks associated with obesity, were critical in tackling the diabetes epidemic in the UAE, he said.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

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