Diabetes affects UAE citizens at least 20 years earlier than it does Westerners, according to the preliminary results of the first major survey on diabetes in the Arab world.
"In non-Arab countries the age range for diabetic patients starts at 30-39. But in the UAE diabetes starts in early life, between the ages of 20 and 29," said Dr. Awatif Bu Helika, Director of the Central Department for Health Education. Even more alarming, the doctor said, is that the incidence of diabetes in the UAE is increasing every year.
The Gulf News Daily reported that the study, which sampled more than 4,000 people over the age of 21, showed that 13.4 per cent of people in the UAE have diabetes. Doctors are now calling for radical improvements in educating and training health workers and in the public-awareness campaigns.
Furthermore, they are calling for the establishment of a care center that specializes in diabetic care.
The need for better prevention and education was highlighted by the discovery that more than half of the survey's diabetic population (7.1 percent) was not aware of their condition until they participated in the study.
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