In modern societies, infertility is on the rise for a number of reasons, including hormone disorders and somatic or stress-related dysfunctions of reproductive organs. In Arab countries, lifestyle-related diseases like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are on the rise. PCOS is linked to obesity and diabetes, and both are a problem in the Arab World. As the Rashid Centre for Diabetes & Research, UAE, said: “Progressive urbanisation, increased life expectancy, and economic development associated with a shift to unhealthy lifestyles have resulted in a huge explosion of type 2 diabetes in the Middle East and North African region over the past 30 years. The UAE is ranked as the 2nd highest worldwide for diabetes and faces a major epidemic of diabetes and obesity.” Obesity also affects fertility in both men and women.
Clinics specialising in fertility treatment make special services available to international and Arab patients. All major hospitals have departments that deal with fertility problems and address complex family issues. The newest methods and pharmaceutical products are used, with maximum confidentiality and discretion.
When a young person suffers from a systemic disease, at least one organ system is affected, and maybe several systems at once. An interdisciplinary approach is required to treat systemic diseases in children, with disciplines such as orthopaedics, neuro-paediatrics, paediatric surgery, nephrology, and neurosurgery working together. According to the Abu Dhabi Health Legislation and School Health Programme, the main systemic diseases affecting children in Arab countries are metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, generally caused by obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.
The city boasts several excellent children’s hospitals specialised in different aspects of paediatric medicine. In the area of spinal surgery and the treatment of scoliosis without stiffening, paediatric orthopaedics in Hamburg leads the field. This also includes reconstruction of extremities using modern fixation methods. Other areas of specialisation are the treatment of children with primary and secondary immune deficiencies, paediatric cardiology and heart surgery, which allows treatment of all congenital and acquired heart defects. An ultramodern intensive care unit provides care for children with serious burns and scalding.
In recent years, cancer has come increasingly under the spotlight in the Middle East, and the incidence is high enough for the Gulf Co-operartion Council to have begun work, from 2012, on a GCC-wide cancer registry to improve care and treatment. A study titled ‘Cancer Epidemiology and Control in the Arab World – Past, Present and Future’, published in 2009 in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, said: “In males, the predominant cancers vary, with lung, urinary bladder, or liver in first place, while for females throughout the region, breast cancer is the greatest problem. In both sexes, non- Hodgkins lymphomas and leukemias are relatively frequent, along with thyroid cancer in certain female populations. Adenocarcinomas of the breast, prostate and colorectum appear to be increasing.” In the UAE, women are at risk of developing breast cancer at least a decade earlier than women in the West, according to research published in 2010 by the Dubai-based Centre for Arab Genomic Studies. The conclusion was drawn from national statistics on cancers, collected since 1981. Cancer was the third leading cause of death in the UAE, the study said.
The interdisciplinary oncology departments for adults and children are highly specialised and employ the very latest medical procedures and surgical techniques. Stem cell and bone marrow transplants are performed in Hamburg, as are individual chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and nuclear medicine. Oncology day clinics and out-patient facilities provide the best possible treatment and post-treatment care.
Diabetes is one of the biggest health problems in modern times, a condition that steadily destroys vital physical functions. The International Diabetes Federation estimates the worldwide number of people with diabetes in 2010 at 285 million. Six countries in the Middle East and North African region, among them Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are among the world’s 10 nations with the highest rates of diabetes prevalence. The Emirates Cardiac Society estimates the prevalence of high cholesterol level in the Gulf countries at 54 per cent of the population; this is attributable to the spread of a passive lifestyle and urbanisation as well as the excessive consumption of unhealthy food.
Hospitals and clinics here specialise in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Since obesity and high blood glucose and lipid levels are risk factors for both, the main focus is on dietary advice, physical activity, and weight reduction. There are highly specialised courses of treatment on offer for diabetes and cardiac patients, including implantation of endovascular stents, coronary bypass operations and heart transplants.
Traumatology comprises the surgical treatment and repair of wounds and injuries of the skeleton and musculoskeletal system caused by accidents or violence. Especially if several injuries combine to bring about a life-threatening situation (known as polytrauma), the application of highly specialised medical care is indispensable. Such patients may be in need of facilities like a shock room, in which an interdisciplinary team of doctors is on hand. State-of-the-art ventilation and anaesthetic expertise are needed, as are highly specialised endoprosthetic techniques to replace or reconstruct destroyed joints like the shoulder, knee, or hip.
The city offers specialised trauma medicine at a very high level. There are several hospitals offering an exemplary standard of trauma medicine with specialisations such as trauma and reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, plastic and micro surgery, treatment of severe burn injuries and paraplegic patients, as well as in neurology and neurosurgery.
The field of orthopaedics comprises non-surgical and surgical treatment of injuries and disorders of the locomotor system. In the field of orthopaedic intervention, endoprosthetic operations are particularly popular due to high worldwide demand among an ageing population for life without pain. Receiving a new hip or knee joint has nowadays become an almost commonplace step for many people around the world, yet the goal of achieving an active, pain-free life after endoprosthetic intervention depends on the medical quality of surgery as well as on the quality and safety of the utilised implants.
Hospitals and clinics specialise in bone, joint, and spinal surgery with a worldwide reputation for outstanding competence. They are equipped with the most advanced technology for diagnosis and treatment.