Diabetes in Canada: It's Time for Action

Annual Conference Draws International Diabetes Experts to Vancouver

VANCOUVER, October 5, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Experts from around the world will gather in Vancouver, October 10-13, at the Vancouver Convention Centre for the 15th Annual Conference of the Canadian Diabetes Association/Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism to share innovations and the latest research to help improve the lives of those living with diabetes and ultimately find a cure.

Unfortunately, Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes prevalence in comparison to its peer countries. Even more concerning is that Canada's rate of diabetes-related mortality is the third-highest among its peer countries.

In fact, more than nine million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes and that number is expected to grow.i It is estimated that 6 million Canadians are living with prediabetes and approximately 50 per cent of those Canadians will develop type 2 diabetes.ii Nationwide, diabetes rates have almost doubled over the past decade and, unless action is taken now, one in three people in Canada will be living with diabetes or prediabetes by 2020.

"We've identified steps that can be taken now that could dramatically reduce the incidence and seriousness of diabetes while we continue to work towards a cure," says Michael Cloutier, President and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association. "Our Association is committed to developing programs for the prevention and treatment of diabetes with partners such as governments, healthcare groups and industry."

Attracting the attention of provincial governments and policy makers is the frightening fact that the cost of diabetes in Canada in 2010 was $11.7 billion and is expected to rise to $16 billion by 2020, just eight years from now.

"But this does not have to be our future," says Cloutier. "Our conference brings together the leading researchers and medical professionals to look at steps that can be taken now to change this trend. The savings in human and financial terms are hard to ignore. A two per cent reduction in prevalence rates will save nine per cent in direct health care costs. That's $1.5 billion per year by 2020. Perhaps more importantly, people who have prediabetes can delay or avoid onset by educating themselves on how to make healthier lifestyle choices."

The conference will focus on a range of diabetes-related topics including; obesity, Aboriginal populations, women and diabetes and best practices in diabetes management to novel cell-based treatments and new insights into the impact of diabetes on organ functions. Canadian country music artist George Canyon will also speak about his personal battle with diabetes.