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Diabetes to hit N.S. harder in years to come

The news isn’t sweet: Diabetes rates in Nova Scotia are expected to rise by 44 per cent over the next 10 years.

The news isn’t sweet: Diabetes rates in Nova Scotia are expected to rise by 44 per cent over the next 10 years.

The Canadian Diabetes Association released its forecast, based on government studies and statistics, yesterday.

Currently, there are about 87,000 people in the province that suffer from diabetes (nine per cent of the population).

The Association expects that number to hit more than 125,000 (or 12.2 per cent of the population) by 2020.

These prevalence rates are the second highest in the country.

Jim Casey, executive director for Atlantic Canada of the Canadian Diabetes Association, said Nova Scotia’s high prevalence numbers are due to the aging population, battle with obesity and lack of government assistance to people with the disease.

“Right now the province of Nova Scotia covers six out of the 23 drugs that are available for diabetes,” he said.

“We’d like to see physicians have more weapons in their arsenal to battle diabetes.”

But, most of all, Casey said he’d like to see the province help to pay for insulin pumps, which cost $6,000 to $7,000 each.

“It allows someone who is insulin dependent to better regulate their insulin, and therefore the downstream cost for people with diabetes are reduced because it’s being better managed and reduces the risk of future complications.”

“It is estimated the direct and indirect financial impact of diabetes in Nova Scotia currently costs the province $383 million per year,” said Michael Cloutier, president of the Association in a release.

“By 2020, these costs will increase to nearly a half a billion dollars per year if we don’t take action.”

 
 
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