November 14th is World Diabetes Day, which raises awareness about the impact of the disease on people’s health.
A 2023 study from the medical school of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) indicated an alarming increase in diabetes cases in Qatar and warned diabetes expenditure is expected to reach nearly one-third of national health spending by 2050.
The latest data, published to mark World Diabetes Day, revealed that there had been a considerable increase in cases, with the medical campus noting precisely 17.8% (37,179 persons) in 2023 to 29.5% (84,516 persons) by 2050 among adult Qataris aged 20-79 years.
Obesity is the primary driver of the diabetes epidemic in Qatar, accounting for 57.5% of diabetes cases. The published report highlights that diabetes expenditure is expected to reach nearly one-third of national health expenditure by 2050.
Dr. Mahmoud A. Zirie, senior consultant and head of the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Department of Medicine at Hamad Medical Corporation, told The Peninsula that several factors contribute to the surge in diabetes.
“There are also other factors that contribute, like family history, genetics, and those with hypertension, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, in addition for ladies [where] risk factors like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and gestational diabetes – all these contribute as risk factors for incidence in this country and in general, all over the world,” Dr. Zirie told the outlet.
The research said Qatar faces a significant burden of diabetes, with a projected increase in prevalence from 17.8% (37,179 persons) in 2023 to 29.5% (84,516 persons) by 2050 among adult Qataris aged 20-79 years.
It cited obesity is the main driver of the diabetes epidemic in Qatar, accounting for 57.5% of diabetes cases and warned diabetes expenditure is expected to reach nearly one-third of national health expenditure by 2050.
The study said based on the evidence, “there is a need for increased investment in a combination of individual-level and structural public health interventions. This investment holds the greatest potential to prevent the onset of diabetes and slow down the rising trends of diabetes.
“Policy-level facilitation is needed to create an environment that makes the ‘healthier choice the easier choice’ and, consequently, to reduce diabetes risk by reducing its key risk factors.
Dr. Zirie also stressed that over 50% of Type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle.
“Healthy lifestyle means you have to have healthy food choices, and really healthy food choices are within the reach with most of us – it is just the food we eat, only to select kinds that are healthy with less sugar and carbohydrates and fats – that’s one thing,” Dr. Zirie added.
In 2021, a report compiled by the International Diabetes Federation indicated that Qatar has the fourteenth-highest percentage of people living with diabetes and the fourth-highest after excluding island states .
Amid the growing health crisis, several public malls in the country have rolled out screening camps.
Observe World Diabetes Day, a free diabetes screening camp, was organised by Blueberry Healthcare at Safari Mall. At the same time, Doha Festival City launched a pivotal Diabetes Awareness Campaign as an integral part of its #FestivalCares Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.