Muscat: Medical specialists in Oman have urged the people not to underestimate screening and a healthy lifestyle if they want to fight diabetes.

Diabetes, a disease of elevated blood sugar levels, is projected by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be the world’s 7th leading cause of deaths in 2030.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, 1,214 adults aged between 20 and 79 died in Oman due to diabetes in 2013, and the prevalence of diabetes in adults was 8.01 per cent. 

The world observes Diabetes Day every year on November 14 to raise global awareness of this disease, and medical specialists in Oman have highlighted the fact that some cases of diabetes and its complications can be prevented by regular check-ups and simple lifestyle changes.

Speaking to Times of Oman, Dr V C P Muhamed, a specialist in Internal Medicine at Atlas Hospital, said that healthy weight, physical activity and a balanced and nutritious diet can help prevent diabetes and improve the lives of people suffering from it.  

Smoking, stress and depression as well as irregular sleeping patterns also increase the risk of diabetes, he said, adding, “Nowadays, diabetes is appearing very early, even in 20s.”

Dr Muhamed also advised people, especially those with a family history of diabetes, to go for check-ups on a regular basis and not only when they are required to do so.

He said that Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented while Type 2 diabetes can be prevented up to an extent.

According to WHO, Type 1 diabetes is characterised by a lack of insulin production and Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. 

Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 diabetes and accounts for around 90 per cent of all diabetes worldwide.

Signs and symptoms
Diabetes usually progresses by stealth, but Dr Muhamed said that the signs and symptoms may include weight loss, frequent urination, increased appetite and excessive thirst apart from dizziness, tiredness and stomach pain. Frequent infections, slow-healing wounds and blurred vision could also be a result of diabetes.

He also said that maintaining blood sugar and cholesterol at a healthy level is highly important.

Early diagnosis
Echoing a similar view, Dr Pradeep Maheshwari, another specialist in internal medicine at Atlas Hospital, said that the people should adopt a healthy lifestyle and take check-ups seriously.

According to him, early diagnosis of the disease can prevent complications that would affect heart, eyes, kidney and other organs. 

WHO says that serious complications of diabetes can lead to kidney failure, amputations and blindness. 

The disease has become one of the major causes of premature illness and death in most countries, mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to WHO, cardiovascular disease is responsible for between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of deaths in people with diabetes.  

The number of diabetes-related cases is increasing worldwide and people are advised to make modifications to their lifestyle, said Dr Pradeep.

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