Report indicates urgent changes by government are needed to support people with diabetes in Ontario
Province faces the largest increase in diabetes prevalence in Canada in the next decade
A recent report from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), 2016 Report on Diabetes in Ontario,indicates that immediate changes are needed in order to support people living with diabetes in the province. The report analyzes the latest data on diabetes in Ontario, outlines critical areas of support needed and highlights stories of people living with diabetes in the province.
Today, it’s estimated 4.6 million Ontarians, or 30 per cent of the provincial population, are living with diabetes, prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes. Over the next decade, Ontario will face the largest increase in diabetes prevalence among all provinces in Canada. In the past decade, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased by 80 per cent—the second largest increase among all provinces. Every year, diabetes costs the Canadian economy $1.5 billion in direct health-care costs.
Risk factors such as high rates of overweight and obesity in adults and youth; lack of physical activity and a healthy diet; and tobacco use among Ontarians will continue to drive type 2 diabetes prevalence in the province. Lifestyle is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes but family history, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, and environment also play a significant part.
· Despite a target date of fall 2016 set by the Government to draft a policy to protect kids living with diabetes in schools, no policy has been released. As the policy originally appeared on track for the fall target date, this important issue was not included in this CDA report as a priority. However, protecting kids in school living with the disease remains an urgent issue that needs to be addressed in Ontario. For more information about this issue, please visit diabetes.ca.
· Diabetic foot ulcers alone have been estimated to cost the Ontario economy up to $460 million a year. Every four hours, a person in the province has a foot or leg amputated as a result of a diabetic foot ulcer. The CDA estimates that Government funding of devices to prevent recurring ulcers and amputations could save Ontario $48-$75 million a year.
· Diabetes care gaps create a significant barrier to optimal diabetes management. A considerable proportion of Ontarians with diabetes said they faced difficulty paying for prescribed medications and supplies. While public programs help offset some treatment costs for people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes living in Ontario have very limited assistance from the government.
The CDA has identified key areas for action and recommends government intervention on:
· a policy to protect kids in school living with diabetes;
· amputation prevention; and
· improved access to medications, devices and supplies.
“In the next decade, Ontario is facing the largest increase in diabetes prevalence among all provinces in Canada. This new report illustrates the urgency to act now, and the seriousness of this disease in Ontario, while also providing recommendations for the government to take action as part of the provincial diabetes strategy.”
- Russell Williams, vice president, government relations and public policy for the CDA.
“A supportive school environment is critical to keeping students with diabetes safe and healthy. Proper diabetes management reduces the risk of life-threatening emergencies, prevents or reduces the risk of serious long-term complications, and ensures that students with diabetes are able to learn and participate fully in all school activities.”
- Stacey Livitski, advocate for CDA.
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.
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