Healthcare Broadcast

  • Live Longer With A Mediterranean Diet, Say Experts Share

    A recent conference discussed widespread nutrition myths and provided in-depth insight into the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.


    A Mediterranean diet can help lower rates of disease and extend life expectancy, health experts discussed at a forum recently.


    “Fast food, unhealthy habits and a sedentary lifestyle are the norm among too many GCC residents and it’s having a huge impact on the overall health of the region,” said Dr Khalid Al Madani, consultant in clinical nutrition and vice-president of Saudi Society for Food and Nutrition.


    “There are proven links between eating a Mediterranean-style diet and lower rates of diseases and longer life expectancy. Through education and public policy, we hope GCC residents will fully understand the impact their daily choices can make on their long-term health,” he said.


    A recent conference discussed widespread nutrition myths and provided in-depth insight into the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.


    It tapped into the diet’s crucial role in the successful prevention of non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.


    This is a particularly important topic for the UAE where cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. Across the emirates, around one in 10 residents lives with diabetes and 47.5 per cent of citizens are considered overweight – reducing these rates is a high priority.


    The talks were held in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in the UAE and the Federalimentare (The Federation of the Italian Agri-Food Industries).


    “Italy believes it is of utmost importance to raise global awareness of food safety and healthy nutrition, against any shortfalls in trade regulations that have only the effect of misleading consumers in their choices,” said Liborio Stellino, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, who opened the conference.


    “It is not by chance that the Mediterranean diet has always been widely recognised by Unesco and included in their Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, due to the values the diet embodies,” he said.


    Stellino added that Italian agri-food manufacturers respect this heritage, providing high-quality and natural ingredients daily.


    “The future generations’ healthcare will be built on prevention, stemming from education around ingredients, food and how to live a healthy lifestyle,” he said.


    A Mediterranean diet comprised fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, as well as healthy fats (such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds) and fresh fish. It excludes butter or refined grains and typically includes less meat and dairy than a Western or Middle Eastern diet.


    “Out of all the trendy diets you could choose, following a Mediterranean diet is not only delicious, it could boost your health, too. Packed with fruits and veggies, fish, whole grains and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet could help manage your weight, benefit your brain, improve heart health, and maybe even help you live longer.”


  • Alert: Ministry Bans Harmful Blood Pressure Medicine in UAE

    The medicine may contain carcinogenic substances.


    The Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has issued an advisory against the use of a popular blood pressure medicine from the market.


    The ministry issued a circular to withdraw all medicines of Irsotan 150 and 300 mg tablets used for treating high blood pressure.


    The Mohap noted that the product is not registered in its medicine department, calling for taking necessary measures to withdraw the product from the market and prevent its circulation or import.


    The Saudi Food and Drug Authority and international regulatory organisations reported that the medicine contains a substance, NDEA (N-Nitrosodiethylamine), that might contain carcinogenic impurities, according to Al Bayan.


    NDEA is part of the active ingredient Irbesartan which is imported from China. The substance acts as a high blood pressure inhibitor.


  • Sleep Your Way To Good Health

    When we do not get enough restful sleep, our bodies’ metabolic processes go in disarray, even causing cell damage.


    Sleep loss continues to be an increasing problem in modern society, and so do the health risks associated with it. While most discussions on sleep deficiency point to chronic health problems – heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity – as among the most serious consequences, the cost of poor sleep is much more straightforward than many people think: It accelerates ageing.


    Sleep is a time when the body rests and regenerates itself and, at this point, cell repair also takes place. When we do not get enough restful sleep, our bodies’ metabolic processes go in disarray, even causing cell damage.


    World Sleep Day was marked on March 15 and Sleep Expo Middle East joined the global call for greater awareness and education on the importance of quality sleep in healthy ageing.


    Experts estimate that almost 30 per cent of the UAE population experiences insomnia for a certain period in their life. While in most cases, insomnia fades away on its own once the person’s stress level is reduced, there are cases where medical intervention is needed.


    A study, released at the World Summit of Governments recently held in Dubai, showed that an individual in the UAE sleeps no more than five hours and 38 minutes and the sleep quality is low.


    What keeps us awake at night and why is there so much noise in the last few years about sleeplessness?


    “Technology and stress are two big factors. Smartphones, tablets and televisions – screen time at night is one of the main reasons for the rise in sleep problems,” said Dr Hassan Al Hariri, head of sleep medicine at the Rashid Hospital.


    “Light is the most powerful influencer of the body’s circadian clock. Bright lights in the evening hours can confuse your brain into thinking it is still daytime.


    “Artificial blue light (the type that laptops, tablets and mobile phones emit) is the worst culprit. These devices should be avoided at least two hours before bedtime.”


    He said people with good sleep hygiene – a term used to include just about anything related to your sleep habits – are the least likely to suffer from insomnia and sleeplessness.


    “Consistency is also key for sound and regular sleep. Try sleeping and waking up at the same time on most days, including weekends, if possible. When you are sleep-deprived, it is like being jet-lagged, the brain cannot function at its optimum capacity and you are more likely to overeat to compensate for the tiredness.” he said.


    At the Rashid Hospital’s sleep clinic, doctors see more than 500 new patients a year.


    Given the high obesity rates in the country, about 70 per cent of the patients are affected by obstructive sleep apnea due to obesity. About 20 per cent are cases of sleep deprivation due to stress and other medical-related issues, and the remaining 10 per cent are due to insomnia.


    “These figures do not reflect overall emirate-wide statistics,” says Dr Al Hariri. “At the Rashid Hospital, we pay particular emphasis on obesity-related sleep problems.”


    “Snoring is one of the first signs of sleep apnea and should not be taken lightly. The problem is usually first noticed by the patient’s spouse who is disturbed by the patient’s loud snoring.”


    Earlier, people didn’t seek medical intervention for sleep problems, but with greater awareness they are gradually realising the importance of early intervention.


    The trouble with a prolonged sleeping problem, said Dr Al Hariri, is that it is a risk factor for chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.


    “Sleep deprivation due to medical conditions, such as obesity and arthritic pain, needs immediate medical intervention,” Dr Al Hariri added.


    “The patient should visit a primary healthcare physician who may recommend a specialised treatment. “If the person is unable to sleep for three weeks in a row and continues, it becomes chronic insomnia and treatment can be very challenging. Early intervention is always advisable. Sleep is a foundation of good health. A few good habits can go a long way in getting some sound shut-eye.”


    Dr Jassem Abdou, consultant in respiratory medicine at Healthpoint, said the average person needs about seven to eight hours’ sleep each night to allow their bodies to recuperate.


    “Waking up without being rested can affect a person’s focus in all aspects of life, as well as their physical health,” he said.


    “While it is common for people to have trouble sleeping occasionally, feeling incapable of getting a good night’s sleep could indicate that one suffers from a sleep disorder.”


    One of the most common such disorders is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when breathing is interrupted during sleep as a result of a temporary airway collapse. This causes the diaphragm and chest muscles to work harder to open it, placing stress on the body and interrupting the body’s state of rest.


    Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, two leading causes of stroke. In addition, sleep apnea can have a significant effect on the body’s ability to control blood sugar, increasing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Proper diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea can help mitigate the risk of diabetes and stroke.


    Patients are diagnosed with sleep apnea during a sleep study, where a patient’s breathing, movement and brain activity are monitored as they sleep to determine the cause of their sleep interruptions. Sleep studies can often be performed in a patient’s own home.


    Obesity has the strongest association with sleep apnea. In such cases, doctors recommend weight loss as a primary method of treatment. Other common sleep disorders include insomnia, restless legs syndrome and problems with sleep quality.


  • U.A.E. Bans Sex Drug; Recalls Product From Shelves

    Ministry issues circular recalling the drug from market.


    The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has issued a circular suspending and recalling a sex drug.




    The ministry explained that ‘Musli Power X-Tra’ capsules, a sexual enhancement product for men, contained a solid brown mass rather than a powder as per product specifications.


    Additionally, the shelf life of the product registered with MoHAP is 24 months, but the date stated on the product box is 36 months.


    In a circular issued on April 25, the ministry has taken the following actions:


    – Suspension of the product’s registration until verification of the quality of the product is completed.


    – The manufacturer shall withdraw all the batches of the above mentioned product from public and private health sectors.


    – All health care practitioners should refrain from using the product.


    – All pharmacies must stop dispensing the product, and return it to the supplier.


    All health and medicine related enquiries should be sent on this