Diabetes passport to empower patients

In MENA region, the prevalence of diabetes is projected to rise by 110 per cent by the year 2045.

October 15, 2019 Dr. Amal Madanat MD, PhD, FACE, Consultant Endocrinologist, RAK Hospital

Recently, RAK Hospital’s diabetes care team introduced a pocket-sized diabetes passport that illustrates important checkpoints for a patient, such as, blood pressure, body weight, feet examination, glycated haemoglobin, lipid profile, kidney, liver function, uric acid, as well as annual eye, peripheral nerves and cardiac examination.

The goals of these indicators are defined in the diabetes passport as well as how often the patient should perform these tests. These individual goals are determined for the patient personally by their physician. The passport contains a list of all current medications, possible allergies, and the name and telephone number of the physician. A reminder of the annual flu-vaccination is also included.

As a result the patient is well informed, can track the progress of their blood glucose, kidney status, cholesterol levels, performance of the annual peripheral nerve studies for both small fibres of the nerves utilising a non-invasive tool such as Sudoscan and large nerve fibres, cardiac and eye exam, and is therefore well informed about the standard of the diabetes care given and confident that they will be taken care of.  

Chronic disease

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterised by chronic elevation of blood glucose level. According to the recent International Diabetes Federation, the prevalence of diabetes, especially type 2, is progressively reaching epidemic proportions. At present, nearly 425 million people live with diabetes; this number is projected to rise by 48 per cent to 629 million by the year 2045.

Low- and middle-income countries carry almost 80 per cent of the diabetes burden. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the prevalence of diabetes is projected to rise by 110 per cent by the year 2045. Studies have revealed that 17.3 per cent of the UAE population between the ages of 20 and 79 have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Rapid urbanisation, unhealthy diets and increasingly sedentary lifestyles have resulted in previously unheard higher rates of obesity and diabetes.

What makes the situation more frightening is the fact that undiagnosed and poorly managed diabetes is associated with long-term specific complications to the small blood vessels that lead to eye, kidney, and peripheral nerve diseases, which are the leading causes of blindness, end-stage renal failure and lower limbs amputations. In comparison with people without diabetes, patients with diabetes have a fourfold increase in the occurrence of cardiovascular disorders manifested as heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral gangrene. Being a chronic disease, diabetes causes devastating personal suffering, huge economic burden both to the families and healthcare systems.

The passport contains a list of all current medications, possible allergies, and the name and telephone number of the physician. A reminder of the annual flu-vaccination is also included.

Diabetes management

However, prospective studies have confirmed that comprehensive care for patients with diabetes where control of blood glucose is implemented together with screening for microvascular complications to the eyes, kidney, peripheral nerves for early detection of abnormalities, and early treatment, resulted in a considerable reduction in the rates of these diabetes-specific complications. Additionally, screening for cardiovascular risk factors in patients with diabetes such as hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, advocating a healthy lifestyle and smoking cessation resulted in prevention of major cardiovascular events.

As such, diabetes management requires continuous comprehensive medical care with multifactorial risk-reduction strategies beyond glycaemic control. Ongoing patient self-management education and support are critical to preventing acute complications and reducing the risk of long-term complications.
Optimal diabetes management requires an organised, systematic approach and the involvement of a coordinated team of dedicated healthcare professionals such as an endocrinologist, diabetologist, nutritionist, diabetes educator, podiatrist, ophthalmologist, cardiologist, and neurologist, working together in an environment where patient-centred high-quality care is a priority.

And this is precisely our goal at the RAK Hospital Diabetes centre. We define patient-centred care as care that is respectful and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and that ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions. Part of the Arabian Healthcare Group, RAK Hospital’s diabetes care programme for patients with diabetes aims at excellence in holistic diabetes care guided by the most recent and continuously updated international guidelines for the care of diabetes. Through this programme, all attendees with diabetes mellitus are addressed and are reminded of their regular health check-ups and annual comprehensive physical and biochemical examinations.

“RAK Diabetes Centre has invested millions in this initiative with the sole purpose of creating a diabetes-controlled UAE, and in effect a healthier environment for both adults and children. We aim to help control a disease that is not only the root of several other ailments but eventually a severe burden on the health budget of any country,” says Raza Siddiqui, CEO, Arabian Healthcare Group.