According to a new report by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), the number of Canadians living with diabetes has more than doubled since 2000, and will increase another 40 percent by 2025. More than ten million Canadian children and adults have diabetes or prediabetes, and almost another million are living with type 2 diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed. In light of this, the CDA is calling for government action to address gaps in the care and resources available to Canadians living with diabetes.
Key findings in the 2015 Report on Diabetes-Driving Change, include the following:
- The prevalence of diabetes, its complications, and some modifiable risk factors (e.g., overweight, obesity, and tobacco use) are disproportionately higher in Aboriginal communities.
- Support is needed to address stigma about diabetes and mental health issues among people with diabetes: 33 percent of Canadians with diabetes are hesitant to disclose their diabetes, and 33 percent of Canadians with diabetes experience anxiety as a result of their disease.
- Canadians with diabetes are not receiving the recommended level of care and timely education to prevent complications. Many of them, particularly those with lower incomes, do not have adequate insurance coverage for eye and dental care, specialist foot care, prescription medications, and supplies.
- High out-of-pocket costs and limited public plan coverage compromise the ability of Canadians to manage diabetes; some must choose between paying for food and rent or buying medications and supplies.
To address the issues in the report, the CDA has identified four areas for action and recommends government intervention to prevent amputations, reduce the number of cases of diabetes in Aboriginal communities, eliminate stigma and discrimination against people with diabetes, and improve support for children with diabetes in school. It is also forming a national Diabetes Caucus, a nonpartisan group of Members of Parliament to analyze, review, and provide recommendations for public policies to champion change at the federal level. The report will inform much of the caucus’ work in 2016.
“In the Diabetes Charter for Canada, we outlined the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, including people with diabetes, and established guiding principles meant to serve as a catalyst for change to ensure that people with diabetes can live to their full potential,” said CDA President and CEO Rick Blickstead. “There are gaps we need to address so people living with diabetes and those who may be at risk for type 2 diabetes can access the care and support they need to live the healthiest lives possible. The new Driving Change report provides benchmarks to measure progress in the care and support of people with diabetes going forward.”