Overview of the Diabetes Mellitus Program

The Diabetes Mellitus Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is committed to ensuring that adult patients with diabetes receive advanced medical care and effective patient education to prevent and manage complications associated with their disease. Because diet plays an important role in diabetes management, the program’s Patients First approach is tailored to meet the culturally diverse characteristics of the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region. 

Diabetes Mellitus Program caregivers collaborate with other multidisciplinary programs and subspecialties across Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Institutes. This approach ensures that patients receive comprehensive, world class care and expert treatment for a range of diabetes-related complications.

What We Treat

Patients with diabetes mellitus cannot maintain normal levels of glucose – the body’s main source of energy – in the blood. This happens because the body is unable to make enough insulin or because the body is unable to use insulin correctly. Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows glucose (or blood sugar) to be transferred into cells and used to produce energy.

These patients often experience increased thirst and fatigue, and pass urine frequently. Other symptoms include infections that do not heal, blurred vision, hunger, irritability, and unexplained weight loss. Some patients do not experience any symptoms, which means that diabetes may not be diagnosed right away. Getting regular health screenings is important for patients to know if they are at risk. 

Diabetes can affect many parts of the body, causing serious health problems if it is not well managed. These include:

  • Cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage) causing numbness in the fingers and toes that spreads
  • Kidney damage or kidney failure
  • Eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts
  • Hearing loss
  • Dental problems
  • Problems with the feet, including poor blood flow and nerve damage

There are two main types of diabetes. 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas is attacked by antibodies (molecules created by the body’s immune system to fight infection), causing it to fail. Type 1 diabetes usually develops before adulthood and remains with a person throughout their life. This form of diabetes requires insulin injections to control blood glucose levels. 

Type 2 diabetes is mainly brought on by age, weight gain, and an unhealthy, inactive lifestyle. In this form of diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but does not respond to the hormone like it should. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, managed, and even reversed by eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a normal weight, and exercising regularly. Most patients, however, will at some point need medication to keep their blood glucose levels under control.

Diagnosis & Treatment 

The Diabetes Mellitus Program’s specially trained caregivers use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to formulate treatment plans tailored to each patient’s diagnosis and lifestyle.

Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus

A patient’s first visit typically starts with a comprehensive history, review of symptoms, and physical examination. Lab tests to measure a patient’s blood glucose are usually done. In addition, patients may receive a computerized eye exam to check the retina (the back of the eye) to see if there is any diabetes-related damage to the blood vessels in the eye.

Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus 

Managing diabetes mellitus requires continuous follow-up care. At subsequent appointments with Diabetes Mellitus Program physicians, information is downloaded from a patient’s diabetes management home-use device (if available) to review glucose readings and other relevant data. Caregivers also review symptoms, and may order additional testing to check for diabetes-related complications, when necessary.

Because diabetes can cause complications that affect many parts of the body, the Diabetes Mellitus Program collaborates with other Institutes and subspecialties at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. These include:

This multidisciplinary approach ensures that Diabetes Mellitus Program patients receive expert, coordinated care for related complications.

Diabetes Mellitus Program Caregivers

Diabetes Mellitus Program care is provided by a dedicated team that supports all aspects of the patient journey, working with physicians from across Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:

  • Endocrinologists
  • Nurses
  • Dieticians​
  • Certified diabetes educators​


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