RIYADH — Participants of a medical conference here discussed a new holistic approach to manage type 2 diabetes. The discussions focused on new methods to reduce blood sugar levels, as well as the cardiovascular complications in diabetic patients.
The conference was organized by Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading pharmaceutical company, to mark the World Diabetes Day. A number of prominent Saudi endocrinologists along with the company›s senior management participated in the event at Mövenpick Hotel.
There were 3.8 million cases of diabetes in Saudi Arabia in 2015. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there were 23,420 diabetes related deaths during the same year.
Professor Mourad El-Mourad, senior adviser and head of the Scientific Committee to the General Directorate for Control of Genetic and Chronic Diseases at the Ministry of Health, said the prevalence of diabetes in the Kingdom is increasing at alarming levels. Type 2 diabetes, which represents around 90 percent of the cases, is a major public health challenge in the country, he said.
«Epidemiologists, public health researchers, and health policy makers in the country should collaborate to develop comprehensive programs for diabetes prevention and management among the Saudi population,» El-Mourad said.
Dr. Abdul Raouf Al-Mahfouz, consultant endocrinologist and section head of the Endocrinology Department of Medicine at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, highlighted the benefits of the SGLT2 inhibition treatment paradigm.
«SGLT2 inhibition reduces reabsorption of glucose into the bloodstream, allowing excess glucose to pass through the urine, leading to urinary glucose excretion. SGLT2 inhibition is important because the management of type 2 diabetes is complex and challenging – a large number of people with the disease do not achieve their blood glucose targets. Therefore, it has been shown to be an effective way of lowering blood glucose in the management of T2D with a positive effect on body weight and blood pressure,» he said.
«Given the important relationship of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, a broad range of studies are conducted on several new treatments … Primary results have showed a significant reduction of all-cause mortality of cardiovascular related deaths,» added Al-Mahfouz.
Dr. Ali Al-Zahrani, consultant endocrinologist at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, said, Type 2 diabetes may double the risk of death in patients with cardiovascular disease. People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing ischemic heart disease and stroke.
When patients have both hypertension and diabetes, which is a common combination, the risk for cardiovascular disease doubles. Even in people without diabetes, high blood glucose levels above normal ranges but not meeting the definition of diabetes can also be associated with risk of vascular disease.
According to the WHO›s Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes, cardiovascular disease was the most common underlying cause of death, accounting for 52 percent, in type 2 diabetes patients.
«Reducing cardiovascular risk is an essential component of diabetes management. Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are both associated with an increase in CVD risk. Completing a regular annual cycle of care can help achieve better outcomes for people with diabetes. Regular assessments can prevent complications and other adverse outcomes associated with the disease,» Al-Zahrani said.
Mohammed Al-Tawil, general manager for Near East and Middle East Area (NEMEA) at Boehringer Ingelheim, said, «Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is a critical life event, a main reason why we have heavily invested in current resources in an effort to find innovative solutions that address this growing burden in the Kingdom. We are working with healthcare officials and leading endocrinologists across the country to find new ways of managing the disease, so patients can have a better quality of life.