Bahrain is a nation in the Arabian Gulf consisting of a small archipelago. With a population of just over 1.3 million, Bahrain may seem small, but it has some large health issues. Cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes pose the largest threat to health in Bahrain. These non-communicable diseases share many common risk factors that can be controlled in order to prevent disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are common in Bahrain. Twenty-six percent of all deaths in Bahrain can be linked to cardiovascular diseases. Cancer and diabetes are also prevalent diseases in Bahrain and each account for 13 percent of all deaths. Lung and bronchial cancers as the most common cancers in Bahrain.
Poor dietary behaviors are the largest contributing risk factor for all health issues in Bahrain. Eating a diet high in sodium and trans fats and low in whole grains, fruits and vegetables puts Bahranians at risk for cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes. These diseases are also risk factors for one another, but all have links to poor diet.
Another key risk factor contributing to both cancers and cardiovascular diseases in Bahrain is tobacco use. More than 5,000 children and 185,000 adults use tobacco every day in the country. Four men and one woman are killed by tobacco-related diseases every week.
The Bahrain Cancer Society recognizes the importance of education about risk factors and taking preventative health measures. The government also has active plans and programs that are helping reduce tobacco use and promote healthy diets.
Landmark Group’s Beat Diabetes initiative, for example, is a program launched to help people recognize and prevent diabetes, which is also linked to cardiovascular diseases and shares many of the same risk factors. The initiative was started in 2009, and by 2015 it had reached over six million people throughout the Gulf states.
With preventative measures in place to combat non-communicable diseases and reduce risk factors for disease, Bahrain can reduce the prevalence of some of its most common diseases. Government programs and nongovernmental organizations’ initiatives aimed at preventing and recognizing early signs of disease already point to a hopeful future for Bahrain.
– Rilee Pickle