x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

World Diabetes Day a reminder to take care

Solutions are varied, but above all is education.

Rabah Abdelrahman considers himself a lucky diabetic. When the 55-year-old Jordanian injured his right foot earlier this year, three doctors recommended amputation. A fourth saved his foot, and in the process, created an advocate for the UAE's diabetic sufferers.

"I read a lot about diabetes and about all the complications that it can cause if I don't control my blood sugar level," Mr Abdelrahman, the honorary president for Ajman's diabetes volunteer association, tells The National today. "I never really paid attention to my feet."

For the UAE's diabetics, of which there are tens of thousands, the pain of a diagnosis is often met with another concern: the very real possibility of future amputations. It doesn't have to be this way. As we report in our pages today, health officials are working hard to ensure amputated toes, feet and limbs are not a "diabetic's destiny".

Solutions are varied, but above all is education. Simple lifestyle changes like swapping shoes for sandals, exercising and eating fresh foods can dramatically reduce predisposition to such complications. Patients must also pay better attention to their bodies, checking limbs for scratches and cuts daily. Old lifestyle habits die hard, and reversing these gruesome trends will take time. But as survivors like Mr Abdelrahman demonstrate to all of us, it is possible to beat the odds.