Diabetes, also known as the “life style disease,” is rapidly turning into a modern-day epidemic. Due to a luxurious, sedentary life style and unhealthy food habits, thousands are joining are its ranks every day.
Globally there are currently 336 million people who have diabetes. This figure is set to rise to over 550 million by 2030. The epidemic is causing the death of 4.6 million a year, or one victim in every 7 seconds. Diabetes is among top 10 causes for disability, resulting in life threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputations and blindness. Ironically, 50 percent of people with diabetes are undiagnosed.
World Diabetes Day is tomorrow and the Ministry of Health is waging an awareness campaign.
There are two type of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes represents 90 percent of diabetes cases in Saudi Arabia. Usually, the disease either resulted from or was exacerbated by unhealthy dietary habits, lack of exercise and the prevalence of obesity. These key factors have resulted in diabetes becoming a silent killer.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health is not only providing treatment to all those affected but also indulged in efforts for preventive measures and mass education. There still is a long way to go.
The prevalence of diabetes is in Kingdom is at an alarming level Over 25 percent of the adult population is suffering and that figure is expected to more than double by 2030. Half of the people over 30 years of age are prone to diabetes. Saudi Arabia has the second highest rate of diabetes in the Middle East and is seventh highest in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Some reports suggest that the Kingdom spends approximately SR 30 billion every year on the treatment of diabetes. A patient’s treatment costs the government SR 5,000 per year, if there are no complications. Those would increase the cost considerably. The treatment of one common diabetes complication, renal failure, costs the government between SR 98 and 180 thousand per year for the dialysis of only one patient.
Adding to those costs are the indirect burden of diabetes, caused by lack of productivity as a result of disability or death. These expenditures and burdens are tremendously high and immeasurable.