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Diabetes in Canada


Diabetes rates in British Columbia have more than doubled in the last decade. In fact, someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 20 minutes in BC. These statistics are reflected Canada-wide. Currently about 2.5 million Canadians have diabetes and these rates are expected to climb by an additional 3.7 million over the next 10 years. By 2020, 1 in 10 Canadians will have diabetes.

 There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 10% of people with diabetes – its cause is unknown and it is usually diagnosed in children and teens.
  • Type 2 diabetes is much more common and usually diagnosed in older adults, although rates are increasing in young adults and children.

The rapidly rising rates of diabetes (Type 2) in Canada have several causes, namely:

  • Rising obesity rates  - due to sedentary lifestyle / lack of physical activity, and unhealthy diet, e.g. high in sugar and processed foods.
  • Ageing population – risk of diabetes increases with age.
  • Ethnicity of new Canadian immigrants – 80% are from high risk ethnic backgrounds, including South Asian, Asian, African and Hispanic. Aboriginal Canadians also have a 3-5x increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is strongly linked to diabetes. In 12% of diabetics ED is the first sign of illness. Furthermore, in the 10 years after diagnosis 50% of diabetics will experience ED. Erectile dysfunction in diabetics is caused by damage to blood vessels which affects circulation throughout the body including the penis. ED may also be caused by nerve damage or as a side effect of certain medications.

Because Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to obesity and lifestyle it is a highly preventable disease. Lifestyle interventions are needed to reduce risk of early death from complications of diabetes or conditions related to diabetes, as well as to ease the financial burden on the Canadian economy.

To find out more about diabetes visit the Candian Diabetes Association



Vancouver Sun
Canadian Diabetes Association

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