Medical experts gathered to review latest evidence for type 2 diabetes patients and safe fasting in Ramadan


Medical experts gathered to review latest evidence for type 2 diabetes patients and safe fasting in Ramadan
 Diabetes in the region is a soaring epidemic. The rapid change of lifestyle across the region has led to striking increased rates of the disease.
 Extra efforts are needed for preventive and curative strategies to decrease the burden of this non-communicable disease
 Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors, such as excess weight and inactivity, seem to be contributing factors
 There is a dire need for better management of fasting patients during Ramadan.
 SGLT2 (Sodium glucose cotransporter type 2) inhibitors are a relatively new class of antidiabetic drugs with a wealth of clinical data published recently. SGLT2is can play a pivotal role in improving patient care as recent scientific studies have even showed positive cardiovascular and kidney effects

AstraZeneca recently partnered with leading diabetologists from the Middle East Africa region to shed light on safe fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadan. During the forum, the experts discussed the ideal patient algorithm in light with the latest available guidelines (DaR guidelines- Diabetes & Ramadan International Alliance in partnership with International Diabetes Federation) and best of religious and medical recommendations for fasting type 2 diabetic patients.

The National Agenda of UAE 2021 emphasizes the importance of preventive medicine and seeks to reduce lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases to ensure a longer and healthier life for citizens. AstraZeneca shares this objective with the UAE government and will sustain all efforts to support the diabetes management of patients in Ramadan.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the United Arab Emirates is amongst the highest in the world. By 2020, an estimated 32 percent of the adult population (age 20-79), including nationals and expatriates, may have diabetes or prediabetes posing an economic burden approximated at $ 8.52 billion USD if current trends continue.

Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. Patients need to look out for common symptoms that include increased thirst and frequent urination, increased hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores or frequent infections, as well as areas of darkened skin.

Dr. Abdulrazzaq Ali Al Madani, Consultant Endocrinologist, Al Borj Medical Centre and Chairman of the Emirates Diabetes Society said, “Diabetes in the region is a soaring epidemic. The rapid change of lifestyle across the region has led to striking increased rates of the disease. The increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the Middle East region has made it a key priority to the region’s government’s health agenda. Lifestyle interventions and adherence to medications are central to disease prevention and management. Awareness campaigns, specialized clinics and financial investments are some of the actions implemented to address not only the increase in number of diagnosed patients, but to raise awareness and treat and prevent diabetes complications within the diabetic population. With the advent of new oral therapies available for treatment of type 2 diabetes and review of recently published clinical data, SGLT2 inhibitors appear to be promising therapy with sustained efficacy and positive cardiovascular and renal protective effects”.

“For patients fasting during Ramadan, doctors need to carry an assessment and individualized plan which covers physical activity, meal planning, glucose monitoring, dosage and timing of medications. To avoid hypoglycemia, the predawn meal needs be taken as late as possible before the start of the daily fast, with a strict control over oils, carbohydrates and sugar intake. Normal levels of physical activity must be maintained whenever possible. However, the biggest concern remains that most people don’t fully understand the complications associated with diabetes,” added Dr. Al Madani.

Moreover, Dr. Mohamed Hassanein, Chairman of Diabetes & Ramadan International Alliance, Consultant in Endocrinology, Dubai Hospital also said, “Ensuring the optimal care of patients with diabetes who fast during Ramadan is crucial. Earlier last year, we worked on a consolidated review of our work which was published in Elsevier’s ‘Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice’ medical journal; a practical guidelines that provides evidence based strategies to enhance the management of Diabetes during Ramadan. As part of our efforts, we are reviewing newly published data on diabetes management and Ramadan with the use of SGLT2 inhibitors.”

“Because of this, it has been proposed that they can provide a safe treatment option for patients with type 2 diabetes management during Ramadan. However, an increased risk of dehydration in vulnerable patients has also been observed with this class, which may be a particularly pertinent issue during Ramadan. Having reviewed current clinical evidence and the scope of benefits, the use of SGLT2 inhibitors for treatment of adults remains favorable by patients. Our long-term goal is to bring about a progressive behaviour change among fasting patients and communities, added Dr. Hassanein.

Dr Anamarija Gjurovic, AstraZeneca’s Medical Director for Gulf countries noted, “At AstraZeneca, we are pursuing high science research and early action treatment options to support people living with diabetes. The need for ongoing clinical research has never been more important. We continue to work towards ensuring innovative treatment options and approaches to manage the disease, and are committed to serving the medical community, with ongoing research and studies and product information to help address the needs of those living with diabetes.”

**Please note, Thumbay Group, Gulf Medical University, and HEALTH magazine are not liable nor responsible for the facts, figures, and overall content of the press releases on our portal.

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