Type 2 diabetes in the UAE caused by lifestyle choices, but it can be fixed, says NRI physician Aarti Javeri



The UAE consistently ranks among the top 15 countries with the highest rates of diabetes worldwide. On top of that, several analyses predict that this figure will continue to grow at an accelerated pace. This concern is echoed globally, as the World Health Organization reports that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically over the past three decades in countries of all income levels.

Here in the Emirates, several factors contribute to the high rates of diabetes, including an aging population, reduced physical activity, and increased options of food choices. Many of these factors can be attributed to the rapid development and urbanization of the country. However, this progress has also brought a plethora of resources to prevent and reduce diabetes. Grocery stores today are packed with nutritious options, and companies are implementing more wellness programs. Likewise, Sheikh Hamdan’s upcoming Dubai Quality of Life Strategy will introduce several initiatives that encourage residents to live a more active lifestyle, which can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes.

Dr. Aarti Javeri, Internal Medicine Specialist & Board Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician, emphasizes the control we have over our own health, particularly in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. She explains, “By using therapeutic lifestyle interventions such as focusing on nutrition, movement, sleep, stress management and connection to name a few, you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by at least 58%. For people over the age of 60, this reduction in risk is even more impressive at 71%. These statistics are encouraging as they highlight the substantial impact of our lifestyle choices. Gone are the days where the solution is just to ‘lose weight’ or ‘exercise’ It’s important to remember that our genetics do not have to determine our outcomes. Changing lifestyle can ‘switch off’ those genes; a concept called epigenetics.”

In order to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, Dr Aarti recommends the following:

Seek professional advice: Create a liaison between your doctor and a Lifestyle Medicine Physician. Managing diabetes is so much more than just eating less carbs or moving more. It’s really important you address the pillars of lifestyle medicine. It’s vital you find a way of management that suits your lifestyle, your genetics, your metabolism.

Shift your mindset: Instead of focusing on “what you can’t,” think about all the things you “can.” You can enjoy nutritious foods, engage in enjoyable physical activities, and make lifestyle choices that enhance your well-being. Embrace positive changes like trying healthy recipes, incorporating regular exercise, and seeking support.

Use reliable sources: Although hopping on the social media wagon is tempting, it could lead to really misleading information. Ensure your sources are reliable, well-backed and verified by your doctor. What works well for one, may not work well for the other. – editor@nrifocus.com


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