Diabetes Canada renews plea for nation-wide diabetes strategy in effort to end epidemic
Diabetes Canada released new 2019 figures of diabetes prevalence that paint a grim picture of a growing epidemic. Every three minutes someone in Canada is diagnosed with diabetes and currently 11 million are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. In B.C., rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes have increased by 58.6 per cent since 2009. There are now 1,527,000 million people with diabetes or prediabetes in the province, second only to Ontario in terms of cases.
Diabetes Canada has been calling on governments to support Diabetes 360˚, a nation-wide strategy and evidence-based action plan to prevent and manage a disease that is rising at unprecedented rates and is based on the proven 90-90-90 strategy for HIV/AIDS developed in B.C. “The longer we delay coordinated efforts with targeted outcomes, the more diabetes prevalence will increase and the more Canadians will experience its tragic complications,” says Dr. Jan Hux, president and CEO of Diabetes Canada.
This urgent plea echoes what people living in B.C. also want. According to new findings from an Ipsos Public Affairs poll commissioned by Diabetes Canada in the fall of 2018, B.C. ranks first in Canada for concern levels about diabetes with 89 per cent believing we should be more concerned. And, they rank diabetes as the most important disease of concern for government, on par with Cancer. Seven in 10 people living in B.C. would support a government that implements a nation-wide diabetes strategy and 72 per cent feel the government does not provide enough support to those living with diabetes.
The economic burden of living with diabetes is also a growing concern. For many Canadians with diabetes, adherence to treatment is affected by cost. People in B.C. touched by the disease (living with it/care givers) nearly 9 in 10 say they are taking medication/insulin and 83 per cent report that it is difficult to pay for their health care bills. This is not surprising because 6 in 10 of those say they have to pay out of pocket.
The overall economy is also impacted through absenteeism of those living with or caring for someone with diabetes. In B.C., 3 in 10 touched by diabetes have missed work and 40 per cent of those are away from work for more than 11 days to beyond 30 days.
In 2019, the costs of treating the disease have soared from $14 billion in 2008 to just under $30 billion this year. “The high prevalence of diabetes and its overwhelming impact on our health-care system mean that we must take urgent action,” says Dr. Hux. Diabetes Canada is calling for an investment of $150 million over seven years, which can save the health-care system more than $9 billion while preventing the development of nearly one million type 2 diabetes cases.
Diabetes is known to reduce lifespan and people with the disease are more likely to experience vision loss. They are also more likely to be hospitalized for amputations, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.