Diabetes rates in Saskatchewan continue to climb

A recent report by the Canadian Diabetes Association showed that one in 10 Saskatchewan residents has Type 2 diabetes.

1 in 10 residents in the province now live with the disease

Research from the Canadian Diabetes Association found patients are feeling the strain from the cost of their treatments. (Celso Pupo)

A new report shows that diabetes rates in Saskatchewan are still on the rise. 

On average one in 10 people in Saskatchewan are affected by the disease, while every two in 10 people are either pre-diabetic or unaware that they have diabetes.

According to a recent report, the number of people diagnosed with the disease in the province has increased by 58 per cent in the past ten years. If current trends continue, that number is expected to rise by a further 37 per cent over the next ten years.

Brie Hnetka, regional director of Saskatchewan with the Canadian Diabetes Association, said the increasing rates can be attributed to a few factors.

"Saskatchewan has the second highest Indigenous population, and Indigenous populations are at three to five times greater risk of developing diabetes than the general population," said Hnetka.

She added that some recent immigrants are also at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, namely Asian, South Asian and African people.

However, regardless of genetics, there are things people can do that can prevent the development of diabetes. 

"Aging puts you at risk, as well as if you have diabetes in your family," said Hnetka. "Of course there are other behavioural factors. If you are obese, if you live a sedentary lifestyle or are not eating a more balanced diet that puts you at a higher risk."

Hnetka added low-income earners and those in isolated communities are also susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes because often times nutritious food is either not affordable or unobtainable.  

Hnteka says the Ministry of Health still has a lot of work to do. There isn't regular screening for complications and glycemic control across the province.

"We just do not have enough health care professionals to be able to look after this growing epidemic," said Hnetka.

The lack of endocrinologists in the province has prompted the CDA advocate for the government to put in place infrastructure to better treat diabetes patients. 

"We would like to see diabetes educators, dieticians, social workers, your optometrist and foot care specialists all work together," said Hnetka.

She feels that better communication and provincial programs that would seek to employ and retain endocrinologists would best treat the rising rates of diabetes in Saskatchewan.

With files from The Afternoon Edition