Prevalence and clinical characteristics of diabetes mellitus in Lebanon: a national survey
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Bou-Orm, I. and Adib, S. (2020) ‘Prevalence and clinical characteristics of diabetes mellitus in Lebanon: a national survey’, Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 26(2), pp. 182–188. Available at: https://doi.org/10.26719/2020.26.2.182.
Background: Diabetes mellitus in all its forms has been rapidly increasing worldwide, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Aims: This national study aimed to assess the prevalence and clinical aspects of diabetes mellitus in Lebanon with special focus on type 1 (T1DM). Methods: A national multistage, random household sample survey was conducted, using face-to-face interviews with 1 questionnaire per household. A total of 4500 households were selected from all areas based on a pre-existing sampling frame of the Lebanese population. Results: The prevalence of previously diagnosed diabetes mellitus in the surveyed population of 17 832 persons (mean age ~36 years) was 7.95%. The prevalence of T1DM in particular was estimated at 0.1%, or almost 1% of all detected cases of diabetes mellitus. Most persons with diabetes mellitus reported obtaining their usual care from endocrinologists rather than primary healthcare physicians. Delayed performance of haemoglobin A1c test was reported in 25% of 1418 patients. Hypoglycaemic episodes recently occurred in 30% of patients; of whom, at least one third required medical attention, including hospital admission. Diagnosed complications were reported in 22% of cases, with retinopathy being the most common. Conclusions: Prevalence of T1DM in this population was lower than international estimates. Diabetes mellitus management appears to be deficient, based on delays in standard control testing, hypoglycaemic episodes and diabetes mellitus-related complications. Coordination of diabetic care management should be devolved to primary healthcare physicians, who can keep track of the need for referral to various types of diabetes mellitus care.