Diabetes: A ‘ticking time bomb’ for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has an 18.5 percent prevalence rate in the adult population, which ranks the country among the top 10 in the world with the highest prevalence of diabetes. (SPA)
Updated 13 November 2018

Diabetes: A ‘ticking time bomb’ for Saudi Arabia

  • “Only 24 percent of respondents fully agreed that their current lifestyle is healthy and only 7 percent agreed that their current diet is healthy,” explained the survey

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is sitting on a diabetes time bomb. The number of cases has exceeded 3.8 million and a huge majority of sufferers have no knowledge about the illness and its association with cardiovascular diseases. Type 2 diabetes is at an all-time high in the Kingdom, affecting the quality of life, including productivity.
A survey conducted by the Saudi Scientific Diabetes Society (SSDS) said that “more than 52 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes die of cardiovascular causes.”
The Kingdom has an 18.5 percent prevalence rate in the adult population, which ranks the country among the top 10 in the world with the highest prevalence of diabetes,” said the survey.
Speaking during the presentation of the survey, Dr. Saud Al-Sifri, vice president of the SSDS, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a serious epidemic, not just in Saudi Arabia but around the world … despite numerous efforts, awareness levels remain low around the knowledge gaps within type 2 diabetes management and cardiovascular disease risk implications ... Patients with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart disease.”
He advised patients to go for “regular checkups and have open conversations with their doctors. Given the importance and relationship between CVD and diabetes, there are new classes for type 2 diabetes treatment that have shown significant improvement in cardiovascular outcome trials,” said Al-Sifri, urging all stakeholders to address the issue Kingdom-wide.
The survey, which was carried out by the SSDS in collaboration with Ipsos, a global market research and consulting firm, said that “52 percent of the patients perceive obesity to be more serious than type 2 diabetes, confirming that increasing public awareness about a specific disease alters their perception.” In fact, 45 percent of respondents did not discuss cardiovascular disease’s association with physicians, it added.
“Only 24 percent of respondents fully agreed that their current lifestyle is healthy and only 7 percent agreed that their current diet is healthy,” explained the survey.


Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.