‘22,000 die a year from diabetes’

Visitors gather at the diabetes awareness campaign center, in Riyadh, for free glucose test.

Visitors gather at the diabetes awareness campaign center, in Riyadh, for free glucose test.

A total of 22,000 people die every year in the Kingdom from complications caused by diabetes, a leading local doctor said here on Tuesday.

Inaugurating the seventh Diabetes Mellitus and Endocrinology Conference, Director of Health Sami Badawood said this was an alarming statistic and drastic action was needed to tackle the situation.

He said that in the Kingdom, six out of 1,000 diabetic patients are at risk of losing their limbs and one in five Saudis are sufferers. He said Jeddah has the highest number of cases.

Saudi Arabia currently has the world’s third-highest incidence, as ranked by the World Health Organization.

Despite numerous efforts by health specialists, the problem was growing in Jeddah, he said. He has ordered all primary health centers in the city to provide specialized treatment for diabetes sufferers.

Badawood said that the majority of cases could be prevented by early diagnosis and changes in lifestyle. “It is the need of the hour to reduce the numbers in the Kingdom. It’s our prime responsibility now.”

Nasser Al-Juhani, organizing committee chairman, said that 750 prominent health specialists from the Kingdom and Gulf region are attending the three-day conference including 25 prominent local and international speakers.

He said all attendees would be awarded 30 continued medical education hours accredited by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties.

Al-Juhani said that 5 million people are affected with diabetes in the Kingdom. The dramatic increase began a few decades ago with rapid urbanization and development in the country. Studies showed an increase among adult Saudis includes females.


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