Diabetes on the rise: Report

1 in 3 to face some stage of disease by 2020
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/05/2011

Diabetes continues to rise steadily throughout the country, according to a report by the Canadian Diabetes Association and Diabetes Québec.

The total population with diabetes is estimated to be 2.7 million people (7.6 per cent) and this figure is projected to rise to 4.2 million people (10.8 per cent) by 2020, according to Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point — Charting a New Path.

While the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes is already high, an additional one million are estimated to be living with undiagnosed diabetes. Currently, one in four Canadians lives with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes and this will rise to one in three by 2020 if current trends continue, found the report. Given projections of the total Canadian population by Statistics Canada of approximately 35 million people by 2020, this would mean almost 11.7 million people will be living with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020.

The cost of diabetes today is $11.7 billion annually and should trends continue, by 2020 that cost will rise to $16 billion annually.

If this virtual epidemic isn’t contained, Canada's health care system will suffer, as direct and indirect health costs explode, said the report.

"Canadians recognize that diabetes is at epidemic proportions and will impact future generations, yet governments are not responding in equal measure," said Michael Cloutier, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association. "Our report shows that we are at the tipping point and unless action is taken immediately, diabetes will threaten the health of millions of more Canadians and the future sustainability of the Canadian health care system and our economy."

The report provides a comprehensive overview and assessment of federal, provincial and territorial government policies and programs for people with diabetes. While some progress has been made by governments to address diabetes, this progress is dwarfed by the growing burden of the disease, said the report.

Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes prevalence at 9.2 per cent in comparison to its peer countries. Canada's rate of diabetes-related mortality is the third-highest among its peer countries.

Diabetes, and other chronic diseases, are costly to the workplace in terms of increased absences, short-term disability, reduced presenteeism and reduced productivity, according to a report by the Conference Board of Canada. Productivity losses among workers with chronic diseases are nearly 400 per cent higher than the costs for treating the disease itself, according to Addressing Chronic Diseases: What’s Business Got to Do With It?

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