Lifestyle Diseases in the Middle East


Fraser Clarke

More young people in the United Arab Emirates are being diagnosed with Hypertension than ever before, as endemic issues with poor diets and a lack of exercise begins to take its toll.

Some estimates suggest that rates of the condition are as high as 30% in those under-25 in the country, with many aware of the issues caused by poor lifestyle decisions but unwilling to change them.

Hypertension itself has no symptoms, however those with the condition find themselves at a vastly increased risk of a range of conditions. Having high blood pressure is more likely to lead to strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease, whilst the lifestyles that cause these problems will also lead to a greater prevalence of other conditions like diabetes.

Speaking about the increasing figures, Dr Nada Al Mulla, Family Medicine specialist at the Dubai Health Authority told the Khaleej Times: “Our parents and grandparents did not consume processed food and canned food that are high in preservatives and sodium - which is one of the main triggers for hypertension. They led an active lifestyle. Today's dependence on junk food and canned food, coupled with lack of exercise, is the main reason for lifestyle diseases such as hypertension”.

“So many patients tell us they were aware of the hazards of sugar and excessive salt but they did not take it seriously”, Dr Al Mulla added. “The next thing they know, they are admitted with high sugar levels and are diabetic.

“As long as people portion-control and consider such meals as treats rather than everyday meals, and lead an active lifestyle, they do not need to deprive themselves.”

The United Arab Emirates looks to be facing a massive battle with lifestyle related diseases in the near future. If you would like to help the Emirates’ fightback against these conditions register on our website today. A dream role could be closer than you might imagine.