New CDA report addresses need for action on diabetes issues
The number of Canadians living with diabetes continues to grow. A new report from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) notes that currently an estimated 179,000 Newfoundland and Labrador residents, or 33 per cent of the provincial population, are living with diabetes or prediabetes. The province has the highest prevalence of diabetes among all jurisdictions in Canada. Risk factors such as the rapidly aging population; high rates of overweight and obesity in adults and youth; lack of physical activity and a healthy diet; and heavy use of tobacco among those in Newfoundland and Labrador will continue to drive type 2 diabetes prevalence in the province.
“Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest rate of diabetes in Canada and is reaching epidemic proportions,” says Jake Reid, director of government relations for the CDA. “This new report highlights the seriousness of this disease in the province and the need for government to focus on creating a provincial diabetes strategy. This is something that has been called for since the Auditor General’s report in 2011, but has yet to be delivered.”
The CDA’s 2016 Report on Diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador looks at the latest data on the disease in the province, as well as sharing the stories of three people in the province who are affected by diabetes. In addition, the report outlines major areas of support needed to help those living with diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador:
· Develop a diabetes registry or database to track diabetes related statistics and ensure up-to-date and evidence-based decision making for diabetes initiatives
· Better coordination of diabetes care at the provincial level, delivered using a model that focuses on inter-professional team care
· Better access to diabetes medications, devices and supplies, including expanded coverage for insulin pumps, pump supplies and blood glucose test strips
· Increased support for self-management of diabetes through enhanced commitment to fund public awareness campaigns and educations programs that promote lifestyle modification
· Wellness programs to support diabetes prevention through sustained and increased funding commitments
“The Canadian Diabetes Association is working hard to support the health of Canadians through education, research, advocacy, improved treatments, and prevention by collaborating with all stakeholders in the diabetes community,” says Reid. “I am hopeful this new report will be used by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as they move to deliver on their election campaign promise of implementing a new diabetes prevention and management program.”
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. This leads to high levels of blood glucose (sugar), which over time can result in serious complications. In prediabetes, a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Nearly half of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes. For people with diabetes, keeping healthy requires a balance of nutrition and physical activity along with medication if prescribed and monitoring of blood sugar levels. Lifestyle is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes but family history, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, and environment also play a significant part.
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Region: Atlantic (PE, NB, NS, NL)