Saturday marks the 18th annual World Diabetes Day — an international campaign to engage people all over the world in awareness about this disease, now considered a global epidemic that affects approximately 250 million people worldwide.

Currently, about 41,000 Canadians die each year as a result of diabetes — generally from a stroke or heart disease. And there are an alarming number of Canadians who are developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type. In fact, by next year, approximately three million Canadians will have diabetes, draining $15.6 billion from the health-care system annually.

“Diabetes is the third most frequently diagnosed disease by physicians in Canada,” says Dr. Stewart Harris, lead investigator for the National Diabetes Management Strategy.

A national study of adults with type 2 diabetes was released Wednesday, which reveals that 91 per cent of sufferers do not fully comply with diabetes management behaviours. Furthermore, Ontarians are the least compliant at taking medications as prescribed.