International diabetes conference in Abu Dhabi focuses on prevention, latest innovations

ABU DHABI, -- Over 150 healthcare professionals from the UAE and the region attended the 3rd International Annual Diabetes Conference held here today to discuss the latest technologies and innovations for treatment and management of diabetes.

The conference, organised by HealthPlus Diabetes and Endocrinology Center in partnership with Diabetes Zentrum Mergentheim from Germany, focussed on the latest global trends and scientific studies regarding diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, and also looked at ways to prevent its complications. Several case studies were cited to help deal with complex cases.

Eight sessions and workshops were held throughout the day with speakers from HealthPlus, Al Mafraq Hospital, SEHA's Ambulatory Health Services and other healthcare institutions taking part in the discussions.

"United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) Group, through its different healthcare facilities, is committed to hold scientific conferences on diabetes every year, provide continuous medical education to the medical community, and keep them informed on the latest developments in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. As we mark tomorrow the UAE Innovation Week, the healthcare sector is certainly witnessing numerous innovative services and technologies, providing the community with high quality care and preventative services," said Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, CEO and Managing Director of UEMedical, Abu Dhabi.

Goetz Lingenthal, German Ambassador to the UAE, affirmed the strong relations and strategic partnerships between the two countries, stressing the mutual and steady growth in various sectors and areas.

"The UAE's and Germany's co-operation is growing in the health sector. Many German physicians and healthcare professionals are employed in the public and private healthcare institutions and pharmaceutical companies in the UAE. German pharmaceutical and medical companies also focus on the UAE market, which is one of the strongest in the region," Lingenthal said in the opening speech.

According to the physicians attending the conference, the percentage of diabetic patients not taking any kind of planned medication is high and around 45 percent of patients with diabetes do not know they have it until after a few years, which increases risks of complications. Therefore, awareness of the disease and regular screenings must be intensified to help people.

Physicians also affirmed the importance of new-generation technologies such as the round-the-clock glucose monitoring device that doesn't require drawing blood samples and benefits patients, especially children, besides providing an integrated database on glucose concentration in blood.

"One of our sessions was about the new treatment options and the new generation of medications, including injections or oral medications in treating patients with diabetes. Another one was dedicated to reviewing and discussing the most complex cases, and how physicians managed to control blood sugar levels and kept them close to normal," said Dr. Mohammed Al-Khatib, Consultant, Endocrinology and Diabetes, at HealthPlus, and Chairman of the conference.

"Latest insulin pumps require planting a small device under the skin to measure sugar levels round the clock and is connected wirelessly with the insulin pump, which electronically supplies insulin to the body even when a patient is sleeping. The device will automatically stop giving insulin when blood glucose levels become low. This is usually used for diabetes type 1. This technology helps maintain sugar levels in the body almost naturally. Other technologies include a glucose monitoring device, a small-sized device that the patient can stick on the shoulder and it is linked to a wireless receiver that the patient carries," he added.

According to Dr. Mahmoud Ben Baraka, Consultant, Diabetes and Endocrinology, at HealthPlus, and another speaker present at the conference, the number of diabetic patients is steadily increasing with the prevalence of chronic diseases, particularly obesity, heart conditions and other such ailments. Research studies show that lifestyle changes can reduce the medical condition by 58 percent, if the individual commits to walk for an average of 150 minutes per week, at a rate of 30 minutes five days a week, opts for healthy eating and stays away from gaining weight.

Dr. Mohsen Al Mekresh, Head of Urology Department in Al Mafraq Hospital, Abu Dhabi, spoke about the impact of diabetes on men's health and the relation between diabetes and erectile dysfunction. He also stressed the importance of following the treatment plan. "Not committing to the treatment plan set by the physician would impact the nerves system and male hormones, and may cause vascular problems," he added.

Alongside the conference, an exhibition was held, showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in the field of diabetes. The conference was accredited for 6.5 hours of Continuous Medical Education by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi.

Source: Emirates News Agency