RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN
Published — Thursday 25 April 2013
Last update 25 April 2013 6:47 am
A senior official at the Ministry of Health (MoH) warned parents about the dangers of obesity among children, including the possibility of developing diabetes if the problem remains unaddressed.
Dr. Muhammed Al-Harbi, head of the diabetes unit at the ministry, addressed around 70 health consultants at the opening session of a workshop held at the ministry’s headquarters in the capital yesterday.
The official explained that type 1 diabetes is normally found among adults who are over the age of 40. However, he cautioned that due to obesity, there is a rising tendency for children to contract the disease at an early stage in life. He also pointed out that diabetes is a hereditary disease, which normally occurs among 60 to 80 percent of people whose parents are diabetic.
Al-Harbi said that diabetes mellitus type 2, which affects children, can be tackled through healthy diet and regular exercising. Early detection of the ailment also helps patients control the disease, along with proper medication and medical advice, he noted.
The Ministry of Health’s General Administration for Hospitals organized the workshop in coordination with the ministry’s diabetic unit, with the aim of updating consultants on the latest advances in the field.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Ghamdi, the ministry’s hospitals director, said the training workshop is part of the ministry’s program to help health officials keep abreast of the latest developments in the field.
Al-Ghamdi said the workshop will discuss diabetic foot diseases and diabetes among women and children in the Kingdom.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. However, the latter represents 90 percent of diabetes cases in the Kingdom, which is caused by unhealthy dietary habits, lack of exercise, and the prevalence of obesity among people.
MoH is providing treatment to citizens affected by the disease and actively waging awareness campaigns.
The prevalence of diabetes in the Kingdom is reported at an alarming level, with over 25 percent of the adult population suffering from the disease. The figure is expected to double by 2030.
Half of people over 30 are prone to diabetes. Saudi Arabia has the second highest rate of diabetes in the Middle East and is seventh highest in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Some reports suggest that the Kingdom spends approximately SR 30 billion every year on the treatment of diabetes. A patient’s treatment costs the government SR 5,000 per year barring complications. The cost increases to between SR 98,000 to SR 180,000 to treat patients with renal failure.
Loss of vision is one of the primary concerns for persons suffering from diabetes. Experts say approximately two-thirds of diabetics are likely to experience loss of vision after 35 years with the disease.
Moreover, diabetic retinopathy very often results in impaired vision, and the disease is 25 times more likely to lead to blindness than any other condition.
Globally, there are currently 336 million people who have diabetes. This figure is set to rise to over 550 million by 2030. The epidemic causes the death of 4.6 million a year, or one victim every 7 seconds. Diabetes is among the top 10 causes for disability, resulting in life-threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputation and blindness. It estimated that 50 percent of those with diabetes are undiagnosed.