Bahrain has witnessed a sharp increase in deaths from diabetes, the country’s biggest killer, in the past two years.
It accounted for 15 per cent of all deaths last year, according to Health Ministry statistics released yesterday (December 10).
This compares to 10 per cent in 2012 and health chiefs are blaming poor lifestyle choices and people living longer for the growing incidence of the illness, said a report in the Gulf Daily News.
The country’s patient mortality figures were presented to the Supreme Committee of Health yesterday by head of the Health Ministry’s Medical Consultation Office Najat Abul Al Fateh.
Cancer accounted for 9.2 per cent of deaths last year followed by hypertension (7.2 per cent); Ischemic Heart Disease (3.7 per cent); Renal Tubular Acidosis (RTA), a medical condition involving accumulation of acid in the body due to kidney failure (3.4 per cent); strokes (2.7 per cent); renal failure (2.3 per cent); sickle cell disease (1.3 per cent) and pneumonia (1.1 per cent).
Other chronic pulmonary and urinary disorders each accounted for 0.6 per cent of the deaths.
Along with diabetes, RTA was the only other disease that recorded a rise in mortality rate from 2012 – up from 3.1 per cent – while all other diseases saw a decrease.
“Challenges which include the increase in the elderly population, which add to the pressure on healthcare centres in Bahrain, contribute to these figures,” said Al Fateh.
“There is a rise in the rate of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, which mainly depends on lifestyle – yet another major challenge.
“Fortunately, Bahrain is investing largely in the health sector, with these challenges a priority, and we hope to attain tangible results in the future.
“Certain measures that are in place include anti-smoking laws and inspections in food outlets, apart from regulatory policies on food and beverages.”
The committee recommended more focus on strategies to overcome health challenges.
“We have challenges, but we are hopeful of implementing the National Plan for Prevention and Control of Diseases successfully in the years ahead,” said Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi.
The GDN reported in August that Bahrain had one of the highest rates of diabetes prevalence in the world.
According to Health Ministry figures in August, 15.4 per cent of Bahrainis aged more than 20 suffered from diabetes. A further 20 per cent of Bahrainis are likely to develop diabetes, it said.
Source: TradeArabia News Service