Access to diabetes treatments is access to a better life

I have been busy these days so I’m sorry for being a bit behind on my posts. There is some IBD news that I will share with you but first I wanted to highlight this article that I saw on BI-ME.

Business Intelligence Middle East – bi-me.com – Despite high diabetes prevalence, critical treatments remain inaccessible in Gulf – News, analysis, reports.

Considering the ridiculous rates of diabetes in the Middle East, I felt that the topic of accessibility to proper treatments and medicines was one worth discussing. According to the article ‘there are 6.5 million residents of the GCC suffering with diabetes’. This is a huge number when you consider that there is no cure for the disease and that it is a very burdensome, chronic condition that these people will have to live with, monitor and manage every day of their life.

As new treatments are being developed, tested and put into use around the world, the governing powers whose responsibility it is to make these treatments accessible in this region, need to be prepared for the high demand of the increasingly self-educated diabetes sufferers looking for the most innovative treatment options. Doctors and their institutions also need to push for more education and adequate prescription processes in order to manage the situation. If the lives of 6.5 million people in the GCC are dictated by their diabetes, how accessible these treatments are will have a direct correlation to the growth of an increasingly dangerous gray market which is subject to exploitation of illegal counterfeits. Those living with diabetes will also be more prone to self medicating practices that could make a bad problem exponentially worse.

If you have a story or comment, share it. Debating the issue will likely point to potential solutions.

Calling all Middle East artists, musicians, poets, videographers

UAE poster

UAE poster

The Inspired by Diabetes art competition is back in Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE and this year there are even more great prizes, including art studio space from the Jam Jar, professional photography classes, art workshops, music studio recording time and other great prizes.

Anyone from any age with any level of skill can enter in any category. The competition is wide open so forward this email to your friends.

For more information check out:

www.inspiredbydiabetes-me.com (official site)

I’m Inspired by Diabetes (Facebook group)

www.inspiredbydiabetes.com (global site)

Or email: inspiredbydiabetes-me@tbwaraad.com

Art that inspires healthier lives

Inspired by Diabetes, the unique art contest that challenges people to creatively express the ways that diabetes affects their lives, recently held the award ceremonies for winners in Lebanon and Egypt. Young artists shared their work and were presented with exciting prizes at the events, which also hosted important dignitaries ranging from health ministers to popular artists.  Below are some pictures from the events.

The UAE winners will be attending their award ceremony on June 5 at the popular art gallery, Jam Jar. There will also be a special guest appearance by the popular band ABRI who will play at the event. If you are interested in attending please send me an email at inspiredbydiabetes-me@tbwaraad.com.

Angelina Jolie diagnosed with gestational diabetes

Angelina Jolie

 

According to OK! Middle East, actress and icon Angelina Jolie has developed gestational diabetes, a condition which can occur during pregnancy to women who have previously shown no symptoms of being diabetic.

is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes affects 3-10% of pregnancies, depending on the population studied.[1] No specific cause has been identified, but it is believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy reduce a woman’s sensitivity to insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels. 

Gestational diabetes generally has few symptoms and it is most commonly diagnosed by screening during pregnancy. Diagnostic tests detect high levels of glucose in blood samples.

Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of complications, primarily growth abnormalities and chemical imbalances such as low blood sugar. Gestational diabetes is a reversible condition and women who have adequate control of glucose levels can effectively decrease the associated risks and give birth to healthy babies.

Women with gestational diabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, while their offspring are prone to developing childhood obesity, with type 2 diabetes later in life. Most patients are treated only with diet modification and moderate exercise but some take anti-diabetic drugs, including insulin therapy.

According to Wikipedia, classical risk factors for developing gestational diabetes are the following:

In addition to this, statistics show a double risk of GDM in smokers[9] Polycystic ovarian syndrome is also a risk factor.[7] Some studies have looked at more controversial potential risk factors, such as short stature.[10]

Frequently women with gestational diabetes exhibit no symptoms (which is an argument in favour of screening during pregnancy). However, possible symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, bladder infection, yeast infections and blurred vision.
 

 

A monster let loose in the Middle East to treat diabetics

Gila Monster

Ok well it isn’t a monster, but a new treatment derived from the venom of a Gila Monster, a large poisonous lizard, is now available in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait. It is really quite interesting because the treatment, Byetta, has been available in the West for a long time now and it has already received rave reviews from people suffering from Type 2 diabetes.  It has only been released just recently in this region, which is a blessing given the high rates we’re seeing.

Byetta (Exenatide), mimics a hormone in the body that promotes the production of insulin and helps regulate blood sugars. It does so without the usual highs and lows you get from insulin. There is also a real benefit of weight-loss associated with Byetta, which is great because Type-2 diabetes go hand in hand. Here is an article from Gulf News on Byetta.

Artificial venom aids fight against diabetes in UAE

02/20/2008 01:12 AM | By Dina El Shammaa, Staff ReporterAbu Dhabi: A lizard’s venom helped to give birth to a new Type 2 diabetes drug, which is now available in the UAE.

The drug, Exenatide (Byetta), is an artificial version of the venom found in the Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum).

The saliva of the two-feet long pink and black lizard, native to the US, contains a chemical exendin-4, similar to a human hormone to help regulate blood sugar.

Byetta has proven effective in the control of Type 2 diabetes in humans.

Scientists from drug companies Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals worked together to develop Exenatide, an artificial version of exendin-4 that can be injected into patients and stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin in response to raised blood sugar. It also influences digestion and appetite.

A significant effect of the drug is weight loss, which is a major benefit for Type 2 diabetes patients, who are often overweight.

It helps with glucose (blood sugar) management in several ways: It signals the pancreas to create additional insulin when glucose levels are too high; it regulates the liver so that it doesn’t produce unneeded glucose; and helps slow the rate of sugar entering the bloodstream.

According to Dr Eisa Al Mansouri, Director of the Drug Control Department, Ministry of Health, the combination of blood sugar regulation and weight loss give Byetta an additional punch in the battle against diabetes.

“Our aim is to make available the best treatments for patients in the UAE. We give high importance to all that relates to the diabetes field, as we know that diabetes is one of the major conditions threatening our community. Byetta is a new class of treatment for diabetes. We are one of the first countries in the Middle East to make Byetta available,” said Al Mansouri

Byetta has been available in the US since 2005. It is now offered in more than 23 countries and used by more than 700,000 diabetes patients worldwide.

Celebrities with Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that can affect anyone. Whether you are born with Type 1 or have acquired Type 2, the truth is that people from all across the planet – despite wealth, race, age, sex or geographic location – have the disease. One way to really raise awareness of how diabetes can touch us all is to take a look at celebrities and famous people who have the disease. By realizing that even the most successful and the most popular people on the planet can live with the disease, people can be inspired. Diabetes does not have to slow them down.

There are some really great sites out there, like www.dlife.com, which have compiled lists of famous people, past and present, with diabetes. Some examples include:

Halle Berry – Actress (Monster’s Ball, X-Men, Die Another Day)

James Brown – ‘The Godfather of Soul’

Johnny Cash – ‘The Man in Black’

Dick Clark – Entertainer, television producer

Miles Davis – Jazz Musician

Aretha Franklin – ‘The Queen of Soul’

Ernest Hemingway – Author (For Whom the Bell Tolls; A Farewell to Arms; The Sun Also Rises)

Rick James – Singer (“Super Freak” Funk Legend)

Nick Jonas – The Jonas Brothers Larry King – Talk show host

Jerry Lewis – Comedian

Anne Rice – Author (Interview With a Vampire)

H. G. Wells – Author (War of the Worlds; The Time Machine; The Invisible Man) founded the British Diabetic Association

Check out dLife’s list for a lot more names.

What is seriously lacking, however, is a list of celebrities from the Arab world, celebrities that people from the Middle East can connect with and can be inspired by. I can only find a few:

President Hafez al-Assad– President Syria

King Fahd – King of Saudi Arabia

Anwar Sadat – President of Egypt

Gamal Abdel-Nasser – Former Leader of Egypt

 

So if you can think of any others, singers, artists, movie stars from the Middle East, I will gladly add them to the list.

Now Wii can all be fit!

The Wii Fit has been released in Japan and will hopefully be released in the Middle East in coming months. Nintendo, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is pretty brilliant when it comes to adapting games for practical purposes. Now with the Wii Fit, gamers can develop core body strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity in their own home and have a good time while doing it. The reason I think this is relevant is because in the Middle East, where gaming is very popular, people are gaining weight and acquiring type 2 diabetes at phenomenal rates. The Wii makes you move, is fun for all ages and can be played in your living room. All we need now is for Ninetendo to invent a game that teaches you to eat healthy…

There is a good review of the device at this blog:

http://hippocratech.org/2007/12/11/wiifit-launches-in-japan-the-uprising-of-console-games-and-health/