Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI), the multi-functional establishment for diabetes awareness and management, organized an informative event on Thursday, 12 November at its premises, to mark World Diabetes Day.
Among the dignitaries attending the event was the Cuban Ambassador to Kuwait H.E. Andrés González Garrido who toured the various exhibits along with DDI officials. The fair was also thronged by families of people with diabetes to individual patients and the general public. Everyone was eager to know about the latest innovations in diabetes care, preventive measures and management. The visitors were especially enthusiastic about discussing and interacting with diabetes specialists and dieticians at DDI on important details of diabetes and its management.
Speaking at the event, the Director-General of DDI, Dr. Kazem Behbehani said, “We are hosting the Diabetes Awareness program to improve awareness among diabetic patients, especially among the youngsters. We are unfortunately seeing youngsters who are increasingly becoming susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Education is instrumental in the fight against diabetes and we give emphasis to this through various initiatives that focus on a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise to avoid diabetes. This event aims not only to help people manage diabetes but also to educate those people who don’t know they have diabetes.”
He added, “We have been successful holding these awareness events in the past, and we have also organized other initiatives like visiting the universities and we hope to see a decrease in the number of youngsters with Type 2 Diabetes.”
During the event, the ‘Prevention of Diabetes Complications’ campaign was promoted and the message was shared on social media with the hashtag #STOPcomplications.
A highlight of the event was the free testing conducted by professional staff, who screened blood glucose and HbA1c levels in addition to taking body measurements. Of particular interest was the Obstructive Sleep Apnea station that tested patients for this disorder, which is very pertinent to diabetes patients.
Clarifying the relation between obstructive sleep apnea and diabetes, Dr. Mohammed Al Bader, said, “We evaluated people in this station to see if anyone has risk of obstructive sleep apnea. The disease affects about 27 percent of population and is characterized by snoring and in some instances, people stop breathing while sleeping. Another way they are affected is that they feel tired during the day time. Obstructive sleep apnea has been found to be associated with diseases like diabetes, and studies have found that people develop diabetes if they do not get treatment for sleep apnea.”
He went on to add, “We are introducing this concept in DDI for the management of diabetes and to evaluate patients who are not diabetic to prevent them from developing diabetes. The response has been great, people are readily answering the questionnaire, and combined with the results from the other stations, we can come up with an estimate of the patient’s risk of diabetes, and we can inform the patient to seek more medical attention.”
The various interactive stations at the event helped physicians single out diabetic patients to receive further advice and to give guidance to at-risk patients. The information provided by the specialists was elucidated with models, TV presentations and brochures. Meanwhile, representatives from Dasman Diabetes emphasized various ways patients could lead healthier lives and underlined smart choices that post-diabetic patients can make to manage diabetes properly.
Another method of diabetes management that was stressed at the function was proper management of diet, with lectures and cooking sessions on the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through eating nutritious food.
Shamina Mustafa, a visitor who came with her family, spoke on her experience. “I am a pre-diabetic and have high blood pressure, and they gave me a lot of advice which was very helpful. I hope there will be more such events in Kuwait.”
In the upbeat environment even young children were expressing their curiosity about diabetes and learning from participating in the different activities arranged for them.
By Christina Pinto