A multidisciplinary approach is key to the management and treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes as an underlying risk factor, Prof Yehia Ghanem told more than 300 healthcare professionals from across the Middle East and Africa at a two-day conference organised by Boehringer Ingelheim.
Cardio-renal-metabolic (CRM) conditions affect more than a billion people worldwide and account for up to 20 million deaths annually making it the leading cause of death globally.
People with type 2 diabetes have a high burden of comorbidities and risk factors, which include heart failure, kidney disease, hypertension, and obesity. The interconnected nature of the cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic systems means that they share many of the same risk factors and pathological pathways along the disease continuum. Carefully balancing these systems is vital to treatment as dysfunction in one may contribute to dysfunction of the others, resulting in disease progression.
Ghanem, head of Internal Medicine and Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, was one of a number of international specialists at the 2021 Regional Interchange on Diabetes (RID).
“Patients with type 2 diabetes,” he said, “are at major risk of developing complications within the cardio, renal and metabolic systems. So the condition requires an early and comprehensive approach that not only addresses hyperglycaemia and cardiovascular risk factors in the short term but also reduces the overall risk of disease progression and associated cardiovascular and kidney complications in the long term.
“An important way to do so, besides diet and exercise, is by coordinating the treatment of related comorbidities, including the use of emerging medications with broad cardio-renal-metabolic effects.”
The Middle East has witnessed a growing rate of type 2 diabetes, said Prof Hani Sabbour, a consultant cardiologist from the United Arab Emirates. “These patients are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which is also the leading cause of mortality worldwide.
“A positive and important development in treatment is the shift towards the prioritisation of cardio-protection. It is vital to consider using cardio-protective type 2 diabetes agents early on, to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular-related complications.”
The complications and risk factors from type 2 diabetes along with other associated risk factors such as high blood pressure are serious and can affect multiple organs such as the heart and the kidneys, said Prof Ali Abu-Alfa, head of Nephrology and Hypertension at American University of Beirut, Lebanon. “For instance, 37% of adults with diabetes have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease while three-quarters of cases of end-stage kidney disease can be attributed to diabetes or hypertension.”
Mohammed Al-Tawil, regional MD and head of Human Pharma at Boehringer Ingelheim Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, said, “In the Middle East and North Africa region, the prevalence of diabetes is at 55 million adults and is set to double by 2045. The RID is one of the forums we host that bring together international and regional experts to discuss the latest developments and medical expertise aimed at improving clinical practice and transforming patients’ lives.”
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