Diabetes prevention

Hi all,

On this episode of Helwi El Hayet, nutrition expert Christelle Bedrossian shed the light on the subject of diabetes, what is it? how to prevent it and who are the people at risk?

1-    Who is at Greater Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

  • People with a family history of diabetes
  • People over age 45
  • Unhealthy lifestyle: People who are overweight and who do not exercise regularly
  • People with low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides
  • People with high blood pressure
  • People who smoke: smokers are more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers
  • People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
  • Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth
  • Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Non-Hispanic, Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and American Indians and Alaska Natives)

2-      What is the situation in the Middle East? What are the numbers?

  • There are alarming statistics of the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the region.
  • The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has seen an explosion of diabetes in recent times. We estimate that over 26,6 million people are living with diabetes in the region, and this figure is expected to double in the next 20 years
  • One in 5 gulf residents is diabetic. Diabetes rates exceeded 20% in most of the gulf countries, which is considered very high compared to other countries. The numbers are the highest in the world compared to 6% in the USA and 8% in Europe.
  • 5 gulf countries appeared on the international diabetes federation list of top 10 countries in prevalence of diabetes issued in 2010:
    • UAE: 2nd in the world
    • KSA: 3rd in the world
    • Bahrain: 5th in the world
    • Kuwait: 7th in the world
    • Oman: 8th in the world
    • Recent studies showed that diabetes is mostly spread among youth and teenagers

3-    What do we expect for the years to come:

– Anticipated 69% increase in diabetes in developing countries and 20% increase in developed countries between 2010 and 2030.

– The number of people suffering from diabetes in the gulf countries is expected to shoot up by 30% in 2030 unless precautionary and awareness measures are taken

4-    Why this increase in the incidence of diabetes in the region?

It is clearly a lifestyle-based condition that has been increasing exponentially in the Middle East/ junk food- sedentary…OBESITY

5-    What should we work on to avoid diabetes?

Lifestyle change and weight loss

  • Weight management (focus on total calorie intake): Frequently patients with diabetes are overweight/ obeseà objective is to lose weight.  Weight loss of 5% of body weight improves insulin resistance and glycemia
  • Exercise: Research shows that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58% by: Exercising moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week or losing 7% of  your weight
  • Monitor total CHO through Carb counting. It is a meal planning technique for managing blood glucose levels. Well-controlled blood glucose is a top priority: studies have concluded that all diabetics can cut their risk of developing diabetes complications such as heart disease, kidney, eye disease…by keeping their blood glucose as closely controlled as possible
  • Monitor fat: Increase HDL and decrease LDL through Low SFA, CT and Trans fat…
  • Monitor hypertension through a low sodium diet/ weight/ exercise/(alcohol+ tobacco)

6-    What is prediabetes

Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes” — blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during prediabetes. If your blood glucose level is abnormal following the FPG, you have impaired fasting glucose (IFG); if your blood glucose level is abnormal following the OGTT, you have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Both are also known as prediabetes

7-      How many people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes? 

One major study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed about 11% of people with prediabetes developed type 2 diabetes each year during the average three years of follow-up. Other studies show that many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes in 10 years


Helwi El Hayet

Follow us on Twitter: @HelwiElHayet


About helwielhayet

Helwi el-Hayet discusses your favorite topics every week day at 4:30 p.m. Beirut time. From fashion to psychology to books to art to nutrition to cooking and coaching (and much, much more), Helwi el-Hayet is here to shed light on the latest trends and to share with you reports, interviews and recipes from Lebanon and the region!
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