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The number of Canadians living with diabetes continues to grow. A new report from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) notes that on PEI, the number of people living with diabetes is expected to grow to approximately 49,000 in 2017. Over the next decade, the aging population, high rates of overweight and obesity in adults and youth, lack of physical activity and healthy diet and heavy tobacco use among Islanders are among the risk factors that will contribute to over a 41 per cent increase in type 2 diabetes prevalence.

“PEI has one of the highest rates of diabetes in Canada and is reaching epidemic proportions. If you don’t have it, likely someone in your family or circle of friends is affected,” says Jake Reid, director of government relations for the CDA. “This new report highlights the seriousness of this disease on PEI and provides some recommendations for the government to take action as part of the provincial diabetes strategy.”

The CDA’s 2016 Report on Diabetes on PEI looks at the latest data on the disease in the province, as well as sharing the stories of Islanders affected by diabetes. In addition, the report outlines three major areas of support needed to help those living with diabetes on the island:

  • Develop and implement a policy to ensure students are supported with diabetes management at school;
  • Revise the current policy to expand coverage of blood glucose test strips, to ensure all Islanders with diabetes have needed strips for optimal diabetes management;
  • Expand the financial coverage for insulin pumps and supplies to all individuals with type 1 diabetes, regardless of age.

“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 PEI Government to initiate positive policy changes to improves the lives of Islanders with diabetes.”

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.

Category Tags: Announcements;

Region: Prince Edward Island

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