The National Diabetes Centers at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are offering a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care, providing patients with improved access to specialised diabetes care and offering a range of diabetes related services.

Located in Hamad General Hospital (HGH), the centers, including the newly opened National Diabetes Center at Al Wakra Hospital, provide patients with a variety of services, including general consultation, foot care, diabetic education, nutritional counseling, screening for diabetic retinopathy, clinical investigation, insulin pump therapy and ophthalmology services.

Senior Diabetes Educator, Manal Musallam Othman, says that healthy living is a crucial part of diabetes management. She said:

Learning how to make the right lifestyle choices is central to our diabetes care plan. We provide our patients with advice and tips for incorporating physical activity and altering food recipes. We help them lead a healthy lifestyle, keeping their diabetes under control and its complications at bay.’

A 47-year-old patient at HGH’s National Diabetes Center, Hanem Al Bukhari, says she has witnessed great improvement since the center opened last year. Al Bukhary was first diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her second pregnancy at the age of 28. She also experienced gestational diabetes during her third and fourth pregnancies. Five years after her last pregnancy, Al Bukhari was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 10% of pregnant women in Qatar are diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. While the condition normally disappears after the pregnancy ends, it increases a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes; underscoring the requirement for regular screenings. Al Bukhari said:

After I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it was very difficult for me to manage my blood sugar levels. I took medications, but my blood sugar levels still remained very high and I was constantly tired, especially when I woke in the morning.’

Al Bukhari says her treatment at HMC has underscored the necessity of healthy eating and physical activity in the management of her condition. The National Diabetes Center offers education and nutritional consultation for its patients as part of its focus on integrating education and clinical care to ensure a comprehensive approach to diabetes management. Othman explains:

At the center, we provide our patients with tips on how to increase their physical activity in their everyday lives. We teach them how they can alter traditional recipes and make healthier substitutions. We also explain how significant lifestyle choices are in the management of diabetes. Our goal is to ensure patients are well educated and able to take control of their own health,’

With the center’s support, Al Bukhary is now committed to making healthy lifestyle choices and she encourages her children to do the same. She said:

I always cook healthy and I try to exercise regularly. My family is very supportive and I encourage them to engage in sports as well. Two of my children have joined Qatar’s national running team; I am very proud of them and hope they don’t develop diabetes in the future.’

Educating future generations is essential to keeping diabetes at bay in Qatar, especially with the high prevalence of the disease in the country. The diabetes awareness campaign launched by HMC earlier this year was designed to increase public understanding of diabetes and to empower future generations to take control over their health. The campaign aims to highlight risk factors of the disease, raise awareness of associated signs and symptoms and provide strategies to manage and prevent diabetes and lifestyle-related conditions.

With recent statistics suggesting that over seventy percent of the population is overweight, raising community awareness of healthy lifestyle practices is a vital strategy for reducing the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Qatar.

For more information on information sessions, diabetes education, and dietary counseling by HMC healthcare professionals, visit HMC’s diabetes-dedicated website.