By Allan Bucka Jones
PRIDE Health Columnist
The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) estimates that 9 million Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes. Of this number, 3 million are already diabetic, and the remaining 6 million are on the brink of becoming diabetic, however, with the right type of diet and other lifestyle modification the remaining 6 million Canadians can live a diabetes free life. The reality is that most of the 6 million Canadians who are pre-diabetic will become diabetic, adding to the worldwide diabetes epidemic.
Even more alarming is that almost one million Canadians already have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it. The need for prevention and awareness is greater than ever.
Diabetes is projected to cost our healthcare system and economy $16 billion annually by 2020. Unless we take action, diabetes threatens not only more Canadians, but also the viability of our healthcare system and our economic prosperity.
Diabetes also costs those living with the disease. Affordability and access to diabetes medications, devices and supplies vary depending on where you live in Canada and the public programs and services available. While some jurisdictions have increased support, costs continue to be a major barrier for many with diabetes.
Immigrants, some ethno-cultural groups, including blacks, low-income Canadians and women in these sub-populations, bear a heavier burden of disease. Best practices in diabetes programs and services exist across Canada, but information about them is lacking.
Studies have shown that Caribbean immigrants in Canada have a higher risk of acquiring diabetes than the general population, and complications from diabetes is a leading cause of death.
To reduce the risk of Caribbean immigrants in Toronto becoming diabetic, in October, the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre, is relaunching their successful peer-led Diabetes Prevention Program that supports our community’s Afro-Caribbean population. From healthy cooking workshops, to fun physical activities, the program aims to improve the well-being of the community while providing paid leadership opportunities for neighbours to become health educators. The Centre is located at 1900 Davenport Road and can be reached at 416-656-8025. Check it out !!!
Too many of us are living a reduced and compromised life, or have died from the complications of diabetes. The truth is, if you do not deal with your diabetes, it will deal with you. You can end up with high blood pressure, a stroke, be blind, suffer a heart attack, have sexual dysfunction, kidney malfunction, nerve damage, or amputations, and more…….and even death.
The Black community has a disproportionately high rate of diabetes and high blood pressure. Combined, diabetes and high blood pressure account for two-third or 66% of the problems encountered by the kidneys. So many of us end up with chronic kidney disease, and some will move on to end-stage renal disease and in need of dialysis. The kidneys are very forgiving organs, so you can lose significant functioning and still feel good. So if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to have a kidney function test every year when you do your annual examinations, because you may be moving to a situation of complete loss of kidney function and do not know. The good news is that not everyone with chronic kidney disease will progress to a complete loss of kidney function or end-stage renal disease, and good control of your diabetes can spare you kidney from damage.
Do not neglect your diabetes. If you do, you could be setting up yourself for serious health problems. Your health is in your hands. Take control.
Allan Bucka Jones is a Health Promoter and Broadcaster. You can contact Allan Bucka Jones at email@example.com.