New medications can help tackle increase of diabetes in Kuwait

On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, to be held on 14 November, health officials and specialists in Kuwait warned against neglecting diabetes as around 441,000 people in Kuwait were diabetics in 2017. They expressed their hope on Tuesday that new medications would help address the wide-scale spread of the disease, affecting up to a staggering 19 percent of Kuwait’s population, while asserting the importance of preventive measures at an early age. 

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is keen on providing the latest medications for diabetes patients, and Kuwait has witnessed “a boom” in the treatment of the disease, MoH Assistant Undersecretary for Pharmaceutical and Food Supervision Dr. Abdullah Al-Bader said.

Al-Bader added that MoH approved new biological medicine as well as drugs to be used once a week “thus preventing the patient from using daily injection.” He explained, “upgraded insulin were provided which can improve control of diabetes types I and II.” Diabetes, said Al-Bader, was a chronic disease thus MoH reduced price to offer efficient and affordable drugs. Dr. Abdunnabi Al-Attar, head of Diabetes Unit at Amiri Hospital, said treatment of diabetes was a burden on the society and state.

“The diabetic is qualified for other associated diseases like heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure,” said AlAttar who noted there were more than 400 diabetics around the world. He commended the health care for diabetics in Kuwait, and stressed the importance of applying preventive measures. Al-Attar, who said diabetes type II was the most common with an infection rate at around 60 percent, urged people to exercise as a form of prevention. Walking for 30 minutes every day, losing extra weight and eating fibre-rich food are the best methods for prevention, he said. Al-Attar urged every person who is aged 40 years old to do sugar level test once a year.

Dr. Aba’ Al-Aziri, Executive Director of Medical Sector at Dasman Diabetes Institute, said joint studies with the World Health Organization (WHO) showed diabetes was increasing among the age group 18-69 years. She pointed to studies that showed people should change their lifestyle in order to either treat or manage diabetes.

Endocrinologist Dr. Thamer Al-Essa said a 2017 study by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) pointed out that Kuwait was the world’s second country, following Finland, with the number of diabetics. Diabetics in Kuwait, mostly type II, are between 20 and 79 years old, Al-Essa said and attributed the disease to family history, obesity, and high consumption of food with high carbohydrate and sugar levels. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are among the top 10 Middle Eastern countries with diabetes, he said.

Dr. Yusuf Bu Abbas, head of Kuwait obese association, said more than 90 percent of type II diabetes was linked to overweight people between 15-20 years old and could have harmful impacts on kidneys, eyes, nerves and heart. The World Diabetes Day marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, whose work with Charles Best led to the discovery of insulin in 1921.