North

Specialist says diabetes tracking would help Yukoners

A doctor at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver says diabetes is such a big part of Yukon's health problems that cases should be registered.

Vancouver doctor suggests Yukon's small population would make registry possible

Yukon residents would benefit from a system to determine how many people have diabetes, according to Dr. Adeera Levin, a nephrologist at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver who treats patients with chronic kidney disease, one of the serious complications from diabetes.

The territory does not have an accurate gauge of the prevalence of diabetes, but Levin says it should not be difficult to do in a jurisdiction with a small population like Yukon. She says a system that tracks prescription drugs would let officials know how many people are taking medication related to the disease.

"If there's a way to tell in the Yukon, how many people are receiving glucose lowering drugs, whether it's insulin or things that you take by mouth, that would give you a pretty good idea," Levin says.

Levin says a national registry would also work.

"It  would make sense to advocate for some kind of public reporting of people with diabetes. That would be a huge coup," she says.

Obesity, smoking, and drinking put people at higher risk for developing diabetes and the territory has a high rate of death due to diabetes, says Levin.

She says it's important to know how many people have it because it can affect many other conditions.
    
"That's an amplifier of all other bad things: heart disease, probably cancer, if you smoke and have diabetes, that's eight times as bad as if you only smoke or only have diabetes," Levin says.

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