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Diabetes in Gulf extremely high: Endocrinologist

Dr Waleed Al-Dhahi

KUWAIT: Endocrinologist and President of Kuwait Diabetes Society Dr Waleed Al-Dhahi said the prevalence of diabetes in the Gulf is extremely high, and could be the highest in the world. He said the best medicine for a diabetic patient is to exercise and reduce the amount of food intake.

Dhahi, who spoke on the occasion of World Diabetes Day, said there is a link between diabetes and the severity of viral infections due to a defect in the immune system of diabetics, pointing to a recommendation by the American Diabetes Association which considers diabetes part of the factors of viral infections, including coronavirus.

Dhahi said diabetics who are more likely to suffer severe infections are those who are overweight, with a body mass index of 40 and above, those with renal problems, heart disease and weak heart muscles, those whose Hemoglobin AIC (hbA1C) level is over 8, pregnant women, those over 50 years old, those on insulin and patients with transplanted organs.

He said these patients must be extra careful, maintain social distancing, frequently wash their hands, stay away from gatherings, and not leave home unless it is absolutely necessary, along with wearing masks when outside. He said diabetic patients must change their lifestyles, increase mobility, reduce intake of starchy food and regularly test their blood sugar level, besides following up their blood pressure and organ health.

He said the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) selected the slogan ‘Nurses make the difference’, to celebrate World Diabetes Day this year, which shows that a diabetes educator has a major role in treating patients.

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