H.E. Dr. Barakat addressed international medical professionals today at the Diabetes Conference as part of Arab Health 2016, to share the latest trends in diabetes care across six main areas: classification and diagnosis, prevention and delay of type 2 diabetes, obesity management in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and risk management, microvascular complications, and management of diabetes in pregnancy.
H.E. Professor Dr. Maha Taysir Barakat, Director General of HAAD said: "With the significance of non-communicable diseases in our society, we consider diabetes a top priority. HAAD anticipates a growth in demand for general medical services linked to lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with larger volume increases in outpatient and inpatient settings. Therefore, it is important for the medical community to convene to discuss trends, optimal treatment standards and realistic means of prevention and mitigation of complications. Our presence at Arab Health is a fantastic opportunity to meet our peers to discuss prevention methodologies that will help us curb the global rise in numbers, and offer better treatment."
For the classification and diagnosis of diabetes, H.E. Dr. Barakat discussed the latest recommendation to start screening from the age of 45 onwards, regardless of an individual’s weight. This new measure is designed as a more sensitive test to help detect diabetes earlier even if other risk factors such as obesity do not exist.
On the topic of prevention or delay of type 2 diabetes, the recommendation focused on the use of innovation to help prompt individuals to lead healthier lifestyles. For example, harnessing the power of modern technology, in the form of smart phone applications and direct text messaging, can help propel efforts for prevention into the new age and increase its positive impact on society.
The American Diabetes Association created a new section focusing on obesity management as part of the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The section includes comprehensive and invaluable guidance on diet, physical activity and behavioural therapy that is appropriate to all patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Another key area is the management of diabetes in pregnancy with strong emphasis made on preconception counselling and planning for women with pre-exiting diabetes, so to best prepare the mother medically before she gets pregnant. This has been shown to significantly improve outcomes for both mother and baby.
H.E. Dr. Barakat outlined other recommended practices including: more aggressive treatment for cardiovascular disease and risk management, whereby the age to use aspirin is lowered from >60 to 50 in women with other cardiovascular risk factors and advances in treating diabetic eye diseases.
H.E. Dr. Barakat added: “To address diabetes, we must adopt a holistic approach that combines both prevention and treatment. Over the years, HAAD has led numerous public awareness initiatives in line with our commitment to prevention, and our presence at the conference is seeing us exchange best practice with the medical community in a bid to enhance care and promote healthier communities.”
The International Diabetes Federation estimates there are 415 million people worldwide with diabetes in 2015, expected to grow to 642 million in 2040. The estimates for pre-diabetes are 318 million 2015, expected to grow to 481 million in 2040. As in many countries, diabetes is therefore a top priority on HAAD’s agenda. Studies have also shown that less than 20% of adults meet the 30 minutes per day physical activity standard in Abu Dhabi, and only 27% of children meet the 60 minutes per day physical activity standard.
Arab Health is being held between January 25 to 28 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. For more information about healthcare investment in Abu Dhabi, visit the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi in Hall 5 at stand 5B30.