WHO: One in six adults has diabetes in Eastern Mediterranean region

14-11-2023 03:48 PM

Ammon News - The World Health Organization (WHO) said that 73 million adults or 1 in 6 adults in the Eastern Mediterranean region have diabetes, the highest prevalence of diabetes among all WHO regions.

In a statement issued on Tuesday on World Diabetes Day, WHO said that related risk factors such as unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and obesity are reaching alarming levels in the region.

There has been a lack of progress in the Eastern Mediterranean Region in addressing diabetes as a public health problem. The growing socioeconomic impacts of the condition on communities, health systems and development put at risk countries’ ability to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 3.4 – to reduce by one third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases by 2030, the statement noted.

WHO highlighted the need for equitable access to essential care, medicines and technologies, including raising awareness of ways that people with diabetes can minimize the risk of complications. This is not only a fundamental human right but also a crucial determinant of the well-being and quality of life of individuals living with diabetes, it said.

Diabetes is a major public health issue affecting millions of people around the world and causes a range of serious health conditions including blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.


From 2000 to 2019, there was a 3% increase in age-standardized mortality rates for diabetes. In lower-middle-income countries, the mortality rate due to diabetes increased by 13%, and, in 2019, diabetes entered the list of the top 10 causes of death globally.

According to WHO, eating a healthy diet, being active, maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding tobacco use can reduce the risk of diabetes and hence prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. More than 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes – previously known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes.

"Diagnosing and managing diabetes at the primary health care level is vital for early intervention and effective management, ensuring better health outcomes and reducing the long-term burden of complications," said Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. "Diabetes care empowers patients with comprehensive support, promoting better diabetes management and overall well-being."

"People with diabetes face a two- to three-fold increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The prevalence of diabetes-related end-stage renal disease is up to 10 times higher in individuals with diabetes compared to those without. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness, contributing to 2.6% of global blindness, and neuropathy raises the risk of foot ulcers, infection, and the potential need for limb amputation," Dr. Rana Hajjeh, Director of Program Management stated.

"Individuals living with diabetes require long-term care that is personalized, proactive, and sustainable. By prioritizing early intervention, we can mitigate the impact of diabetes on individuals and enhance overall public health impact," she added.

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