Diabetes and glands are common chronic diseases, especially among children and the elderly. In Qatar, nearly 17% of the population is suffering from diabetes and more than a third of them don’t even know they are diabetic. Thus, doctors always stress on the need for early examination, which helps to detect and diagnose the illness, and therefore, start treatment at an early stage to avoid future complications.

Diabetes has many debilitating effects on people and the most serious are heart disease and strokes, which account for 70% of the deaths among diabetics.

In an interview with Qatar Tribune, Dr Rasha Sa’sa, endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Al Emadi Clinics (North), explained the detailed facets of this disease and the ways of preventing it. Excerpts of the interview:

Tell us about the different glands and endocrines in humans.

The gland is a body organ that secretes a substance called hormones which run through the blood vessels to reach the target organs. There are six types of glands in the body, including the pituitary gland, which controls the rest of the glands of the body. There is a thyroid gland located in the neck that secretes thyroid hormone which regulates most functions of the body such as heartbeat, body temperature and weight.

In addition to these, there are the para-thyroid glands which are four small glands behind the thyroid which regulates calcium levels in the blood and the bone structure. The pancreas is the largest of all glands in a human body, producing insulin, the most important hormone to control blood sugar.

Also, the adrenal glands which are located above the kidneys, are responsible for the secretion of a very important and vital hormone, the cortisol. Last, we also have the sexual glands which are different for males and females and are responsible for sex hormones.

What are the most common glands diseases in Qatar?

The most common diseases of the glands in Qatar are diabetes, especially type II, and the thyroid diseases, especially hypothyroidism.

What are the symptoms of the thyroid disease?

This is according to the hormonal imbalance in the patient. For instance, in hyperthyroidism where thyroid hormone levels rise, weight loss occurs, although the patient eats normally and in regular meals. In this case, there are palpitations in the heart, the hands shiver, and nervousness, and sweating are also the symptoms. In the case of lack of secretion of thyroid hormone as in the deficiency of the gland, the symptoms are adverse where the patient suffers from inactivity, weight increase, fatigue, hair loss and menstrual disorder in women. The thyroid may also be functioning normally, but the patient might realise a swelling in the neck and this is called thyroid nodules.

Does genetics have to do with glands diseases?

Most of the gland diseases are caused by autoimmune, where the body forms antibodies to the thyroid cells causing either shortness or hyperactivity. But there is also a relative role of genetics in gland diseases where we can see the spread of these diseases in some families, and therefore, inheritance has a role in causing them.

When is surgical intervention necessary for those with gland diseases?

Only in cases of high-volume thyroid or malignant contractions that affect the patient in terms of swallowing or respirative functions. If there is hyperactivity of the gland and it can’t be controlled by medication, then a surgery is a must.

What are the main causes of diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin or the inability of the body to benefit from insulin because of rejection. There are several types of diabetes, including type I diabetes, type II diabetes and gestational diabetes, as well as secondary diabetes, which results from other diseases, whether glandular or pancreatic diseases.

Does inheritance have a role in diabetes?

Genetics have an important role in preparing for diabetes in general and the type II in particular.

Do exercise and sport help diabetics?

Sport has a very important role in the treatment of diabetics. It has positive effects in the short term. In addition to the exercise, the muscles consume sugar in the blood to obtain energy, which leads to low blood sugar. In the long term, regular daily exercise leads to an increase in the sensitivity of insulin, where it functions better, in addition to the role of positive sports in reducing blood lipids and blood pressure and improve the heart functions.

Source: Qatar Tribune