Emirates Diabetes Society Celebrate World Diabetes Day at Ski Dubai
Young Emirati women have taken the lead in fighting the growing epidemic of diabetes in the UAE, taking to Ski Dubai to spend an afternoon of activity and awareness in celebration of World Diabetes Day on 14 November.
Hosted at Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates, the patients spent the afternoon skiing, snowboarding and enjoying the snow park, ‘freezing out’ diabetes and proving that the disease can be controlled by adhering to medication and lifestyle modification.
“This year we wanted to celebrate World Diabetes Day with an event that really shows how young Emiratis can overcome the debilitating disease and live full and active lives. Staying healthy and active is crucial to managing diabetes and an afternoon of activity at Ski Dubai is a great example of this,” explained Dr. Abdul Razzaq Al Madani, head of the Emirates Diabetes Society.
“This is a celebration of what having the right attitude and the right treatment can do for those with diabetes; armed with both, sufferers can better manage their condition allowing them to live normal, healthy lives,” he added.
Twenty three year-old Shamma Almarri, who has suffered from diabetes since being diagnosed at nine years old, says she is excited that more awareness is being raised around diabetes to help educate the wider public.
“I was diagnosed at a very young age, and children did not understand why I needed to watch my sugar intake, or why I needed to monitor it using my blood. I used to think I was the only one who had this disease because there was not a lot of public awareness,” she said.
“Now, with awareness raising activities like today’s and with the support of Emirates Diabetes Society, it eases the pressure a little and makes us feel we are not alone,” Almarri added.
Sixteen year-old student Maitha Al-Shaali is still learning to cope with the disease, having been diagnosed only two months ago.
“It can be hard at school because due to a lack of understanding, some people can think it’s a contagious disease and treat me differently. Once I have been able to explain it, though, people start to understand that I’m just like them. Raising awareness of diabetes in the UAE will make it so much easier to live with it,” she said.
Twenty year-old Afaf Al Bloushi agrees, commenting that when she was diagnosed at sixteen, she kept it from people for fear of being treated badly.
“With the support of my family, and especially my sister, I was able to make huge changes to my lifestyle. Over the past five months I managed to start really dealing with the disease and the results have been amazing. By becoming more active, watching my diet and following my treatment regimen, I have lost 26 kilograms and I am committed to sustaining this change,” Al Bloushi said.
Shaikha Husain Haider, a thirty year-old Emirati with type 2 diabetes, says she is in control of the disease through participating regularly in sports, eating healthy food and following the treatment that was prescribed by her doctor.
“For me the disease is not a big deal, it does not bother me and I can live my life normally. I encourage my friends and family who also suffer from diabetes to be as committed to overcoming the disease as I am,” she added.
Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death by disease globally; and is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in adults in developed countries. According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of diabetes in the Eastern Mediterranean Region ranges from between 3.5 percent and 30.0 percent and is highest among member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at a rate of 11.5 percent to 30 percent, with over 20 percent of the population affected in the UAE.