Posted on November 24, 2014

A diabetes expert at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is cautioning the public that the signs and symptoms of the disease are often missed, underscoring the need to understand the risk factors and get tested. “One of the reasons we emphasize the importance of screening and knowing the risk factors is that many patients with diabetes have no idea they have it. Either there are no red flags to alert them, or they miss the signs until they start developing complications as a result of prolonged periods of elevated glucose,” said Professor Abdul-Badi Abou-Samra (pictured), Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at HMC.

Diabetes signs and symptoms include increased thirst and urination, blurred vision, tiredness and unexplained weight loss. Recognizing the symptoms of the disease is important for early detection and prevention of further complications like heart disease, kidney failure and loss of limbs. However, as many patients with diabetes experience no symptoms, Professor Abou-Samra stresses the importance of knowing one’s risk factors. “Knowing one’s risk factors is an important part of prevention and early detection among those who are prone to developing the disease. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome and a family history of diabetes are among the most common risk factors,” says Professor Abou-Samra. 

“If you have any of these risks, consult your physician and get tested.” Mr Mohammed, a 45 year-old Qatari national with type 2 diabetes, says when he decided to get tested he didn’t have any symptoms but knew he was at risk because of his family history. “I was in my twenties when I was first diagnosed. I did not experience any of the symptoms of the disease but I decided to get tested at my Primary Health Care Center because both my parents were diabetic and I was overweight; I knew these factors increased my risk of developing the disease,” recalled Mr Mohammed.

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Fortunately, Mr Mohammed’s diabetes was detected early and he was referred to HMC for management of the condition. Today, he tries his best to keep his kids healthy and be aware of the risk factors of diabetes. Stating that obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are factors generally within one’s control, he says he encourages his children, friends and other family members, to view his experience as a cautionary tale and to make required changes to move away from diabetes.

Promoting an active lifestyle, as a strategy to prevent obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, is among HMC’s top priorities in its year-long diabetes campaign. Launched earlier this year, the awareness campaign is designed to increase public understanding of diabetes and to empower residents to take control over their health. The campaign aims to highlight risk factors of the disease, raises awareness of associated signs and symptoms and provides strategies to manage and prevent diabetes as well as lifestyle-related conditions.

For more information on diabetes, including tips on how to eat a balanced diet and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, and for details on the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, visit