07 Jul

The diabetes epidemic

More than nine million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. With more than 20 people being newly diagnosed every hour of every day, chances are the disease affects someone you know. That could be a relative, friend, neighbour, co-worker or someone who’s part of your personal or professional community. In Ontario alone, there has been a 68 per cent increase between 1995 and 2005. The majority of cases are of type 2 diabetes and that is where most of the growth is seen. The need to ensure optimal care and outcomes for people living with diabetes has always been great, but is now being brought into sharper focus by the magnitude of the situation.

A chronic disease, diabetes is often debilitating and sometimes fatal. The body either cannot produce the hormone insulin (type 1 diabetes), or it cannot properly use the insulin it produces (type 2 diabetes). This leads to high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves and result in a variety of complications. To use sugar as an energy source, the body needs insulin. People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels that aren’t high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, 50 per cent of those people will develop type 2 diabetes.

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