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Is prediabetes the next health crisis?

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Research by GluCare Integrated Diabetes Center reveals that an increasing number of individuals are living with prediabetes.

Often mild symptoms can develop into a life-altering condition for those who are at risk for developing diabetes. However, early diagnosis and prevention can give patients who are pre-diabetic a new lease on life. The metabolic disease is often labelled as a silent killer, with its predecessor carrying the title of a ‘ticking timebomb’. The connotations behind both reveal the severity of the conditions, which often displays more acute symptoms when in an advanced stage.

According to research shared by GluCare Integrated Diabetes Centre, the UAE’s population is facing a silent health crisis with almost 15 per cent of people living with prediabetes. Often caused by lifestyle choices, the research found that around 19 per cent of Emiratis and 15 per cent of expatriates are living with the condition.

Caused by the body’s abnormal response to the insulin produced by the pancreas, prediabetes can have serious and longstanding health issues for patients. Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body, that allows blood sugar to enter cells and be used as energy. Patients with preexisting insulin resistance or whose cells aren’t making enough insulin to keep blood sugar within the normal range are more prone to developing prediabetes. Without adequate insulin, the excess glucose in the circulation eventually builds up and leads to Type 2 Diabetes.

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Dr Ihsan Almarzooqi, GluCare Co-Founder and Managing Director

With no discernible symptoms in the early stages, prediabetes can be undetectable for years. Roughly 1.2 million people in the Emirates are affected, with the most vulnerable patients being those over 30 who are overweight, have a relative with Type 2 Diabetes, have a family history of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or increased blood fats, and are physically active fewer than three times per week.

In some cases, the condition and its long-term consequences are only discovered when individuals require immediate medical assistance. Prediabetes patients almost invariably develop Type 2 Diabetes and are at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke if left untreated, according to health professionals at GluCare Integrated Diabetes Center.

Dr Ihsan Almarzooqi, GluCare Co-Founder and Managing Director, said: “Prediabetes is rising in the region and the number of people impacted is alarming. Prediabetes is reversible, Type 2 Diabetes is not, although it can go into remission, so proactivity in the treatment of this condition is critical. There are two ways of testing – the first is to do an informal assessment of risk factors, usually best for asymptomatic adults, or the second option is to do a blood test. The key to reversing prediabetes is really all about education on the lifestyle choices that are needed and increasing awareness about how the foods we eat and the levels of physical activity we partake in can dramatically impact our health.”

“If you are diagnosed, there is still a really high chance that you will be able to cure this condition. The key to managing prediabetes is to focus on preventative healthcare. Monitoring the condition in real-time as opposed to every three months with blood tests, which is the traditional method of care, is essential. We have developed a number of technological aids that use artificial intelligence and continuous data to monitor and advise our patients in real-time, 24/7, and we partner this with understanding and empathetic medical professionals who look after our patients physical and mental needs, helping them to make the lifestyle changes they need to really improve their health,” added Dr Almarzooqi.

GluCare is reportedly the first diabetes clinic of its kind in the world that is reinventing diabetes care by empowering both clinicians and patients through Integrated Continuous Monitoring as part of its standard model of care, an innovative and highly personalised ‘continuous healthcare’ approach that provides a comprehensive, and real-time view of patients. It is also an early adopter of – and the region’s first clinic to use – Digital Therapeutics (DTx), combining it with wearable and smart technology, artificial intelligence, unique in-clinic workflows, and a caring and connected expert care team.

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