Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GULF DAILY NEWS: Wars blamed for rise in disease

CHRONIC levels of diabetes in the Gulf could be directly connected to war, according to an expert.

SMC senior paediatric consultant in endocrinology and diabeteology Dr Abdul Jabbar Al Abbasi said pollution connected to a series of conflicts in the Middle East could have contributed to the problem.

However, he said other factors such as a lack of exercise and bad eating habits were also major reasons.

"We can blame it on bad eating habits, the use of preservatives in food, sedentary lifestyles, rising pollution levels or the prevalence of smoking - the bottom line is that we have a problem that has to be tackled."

"The several wars this part of the world has had to endure have not helped."

Latest figures suggest 25 to 30 per cent of Bahrain's adult population suffer from diabetes - figures that are mirrored across the GCC.

However, only 6.2pc of the world population aged 79 and under is diabetic, while it is 9.2pc in North America and 8.4pc in Europe, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

He said the SMC was fully equipped to handle the load and effort to educate patients continued.

"Whether it is at the school or health centre level, we are trying to spread a net as wide as possible.

"The main thrust of the education drive is that diabetes is not a problem, but could turn into a killer if not treated and managed.

"Complications can create severe problems and lead to eye disease, cardio vascular conditions and amputations."

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