1st Annual EUBIROD meeting

Dasman Center for Research and Treatment of Diabetes, Kuwait City

Kuwait City, Kuwait, 2nd-4th May 2009

Diabetes in the Gulf Area

A. Ben-Nakhi, Dasman Center, Kuwait

First BIRO Academy Residential Course, Kuwait City, Kuwait, 2nd May 2009


In this presentation, Dr.Abdullah Ben-Nakhi, Director General of the Dasman Center for the Research and Treatment of Diabetes, presents the situation of diabetes in Kuwait and the Gulf region.

The region includes 6 countries with the largest production of oil in the world. As a result, in the last 20 years, life expectancy increased 10 years, literacy 20%, as well as the prevalence of diabetes. According to the IDF Atlas, five countries in this region are in the top ten, and the situation will be the same in 2025. The same applies to glucose intolerance, a fundamental precursor of diabetes.

Dr. Ben-Nakhi presents several reports produced since the early nineties to document the prevalence of diabetes in these regions. Results show that the estimate is extremely variable, ranging between 10% and 30% for population older than 20 years. The latest study for Kuwait, the EMAN survey conducted in 2007, shows a prevalence of 16.7%, for the population over 30. These estimates raise enormous debate in the Gulf region and highlight an alarming situation for diabetes.

According to the evidence produced by EMAN, the high prevalence of risk factors provides a good explanation of the phenomenon: smoking, dietetic habits, inactivity, obesity, abnormal cholesterol are all huge problems in terms of the impact of modern lifestyle in Kuwait, as well as the whole region. Almost 60% of the population investigated has three or more risk factors present.

Concluding his talk, Abdullah provides the audience further information about cardiovascular events in the diabetic population, through the indirect means of the cardiovascular registry. It shows a significantly different rate of cardiovascular risk factors and hospital outcomes between diabetics and non diabetics, confirming that this area constitutes one of the priorities on which the Government is called to intervene.

Prevention control strategies are needed to target all major risk factors and break the dangerous cycle leading to diabetes complications. The diabetes registry represents an important step towards the realization of such strategies.