Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Marking World Diabetes Day observed on November 14, doctors in the UAE have called for awareness about the rising trend in diabetes cases, particularly among young patients, with atypical and disguised symptoms.
While diabetes, a chronic condition that leads to elevated blood sugar levels, is traditionally characterised by symptoms like excessive thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss, doctors say it is now manifesting in unconventional ways.
When 20-year-old Usama Imtiaz Hussain had a fungal infection between his toes, never in his wildest dreams did he expect it would lead to a diabetes diagnosis. His dermatologist referred him to Dr Baiju Faizal, consultant, Internal Medicine, Lifecare Hospital, Mussafah.
Upon evaluation, it was found that Hussain had high blood sugar. His sugar values were above 300, and his HbA1c (three-month average of blood glucose) was 11. While Hussain had no family history of diabetes, he was overweight with a BMI of 32.
“This is the state of diabetes today. We are increasingly diagnosing type 2 diabetes at a young age, unlike before. Rather than classic symptoms of diabetes like increased urination, increased thirst or weight loss, these patients come with other complications like skin and urinary tract infections,” said Dr Faizal, who has advised Hussain with lifestyle modification and strict compliance with medication.
“Earlier patients diagnosed with diabetes were above 40 years of age, but now they are being diagnosed in their 20s and 30s. This is an alarming situation worldwide. The diagnosis of diabetes has a great impact on the patient’s life, both physically and psychologically. Diabetes can affect multiple organs like the heart, nerves, kidneys, and eyes. Therefore, it is important to screen for diabetes even at a younger age,” he added.
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