- Title: Saudi takes action to fight rising obesity rates
- Date: 17th April 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF SURGEONS PERFORMING GASTRIC BYPASS OPERATION ON SURGERY FOR A FEMALE PATIENT
- Embargoed: 1st May 2017 14:31
- Keywords: obesity kidney disease diabetes dialysis Saudi gastric bypass bariatric surgery
- Location: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
- City: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: UAE
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA0026CSDMQD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: At least 10 gastric bypass surgeries are performed daily at the hospital run by Care in Riyadh, one of several hospitals offering the radical surgery as a way of tackling soaring obesity rates in Saudi Arabia.
World Health Organization figures say over 33 percent of women in Saudi Arabia now suffer from obesity. Hospitals are discounting their prices for gastric bypass surgery, down from $11,500 to about $5,700.
One former patient, 24-year-old Abdullah Al-Huraibi, weighed 180 kg before he had surgery. Photographs show the difference before his bariatric surgeon carried out his gastric bypass.
"I was suffering from excess weight (180 kg) I wasn't able to move and I didn't socialise, I shut myself away from the world, but after the operation my life has changed."
In another part of the hospital, medical staff are promoting awareness of kidney disease on World Kidney Day. They seek to educate patients on the harmful consequences of obesity and its association with kidney disease, advocating healthy lifestyles and preventative measures that help avoid expensive treatments.
"In Saudi Arabia in particularly we are concerned about the increase in obesity. In children, obesity reached about 30 percent and close to this percentage in adults, this constitutes a serious danger to society in the coming years," said Intensive Care consultant Sultan al-Amri.
Obesity is a major cause of concern for the kingdom, says the head of department of the Renal Dialysis unit, Haidar Al-Shurafa.
"The percentage of infections from obesity is up to more than 21 percent of the population of the kingdom and that means about 5 million people, and we see that obesity is the disease that needs to be treated," Al-Shurafa said.
More than 50 people receive weekly dialysis in the hospital. They're part of a rising number of patients suffering from kidney disease in the kingdom. Medics say the increase in numbers is due to lifestyle and diet.
"The biggest cause of chronic kidney disease is diabetes, and a major cause of diabetes is obesity," Al-Shurafa told Reuters.
Obesity is a major factor for the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). It increases the risk of developing diabetes and hypertension, and it has a direct impact on the development of CKD and end stage renal disease according to Dr. Haidar. In 2015, 3.8 million diabetes cases were registered in the country.
For many obese people, exercise is hard and they opt for gastric surgery. In Saudi the extreme heat puts many off outdoor sporting activities. But some sufferers of the disease persist with physical exercise, such as walking or jogging in the late afternoon, a cheaper alternative to surgical intervention.
Abo Salah is one of many who prefer to walk or run around the King Fahad medical city rather than undergo surgery.
"When I wasn't exercising I had difficulty walking and sitting and I was suffering from pain. Now thank God I feel better and I advise my fellow male and female citizens to walk every day," Salah said.
World Health Organization statistics show that the incidence rate of obesity in the Gulf countries is one of the highest rates in the world. The National Health Information Survey in 2013 recorded a rate of obesity in Saudi Arabia of over 28 percent, while the rate of weight gain recorded was 30 percent in the over-15 age group among both men and women. The rate of obesity among school-age children was 9.3 percent, while the rate of obesity among pre-school children was recorded at 6 percent.
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