Diabetes cases, costs to soar

The number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes and its cost to the economy are expected to soar over the next decade, says a report by the Canadian Diabetes Association, which is calling for urgent action to stem the tide of the disease.

The number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes and its cost to the economy are expected to soar over the next decade, says a report by the Canadian Diabetes Association, which is calling for urgent action to stem the tide of the disease.

In its report, An Economic Tsunami: The Cost of Diabetes in Canada, the organization uses a new modelling tool based on Canadian data to predict the future prevalence and pricetag of diabetes at the end of the next decade.

“If left unchecked, the economic burden of diabetes in Canada could escalate to nearly $17 billion by 2020, an increase of more than $10 billion from 2000, and the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes will have nearly tripled,” president and CEO Ellen Malcolmson said in a statement.

The report predicts diagnoses will reach an estimated 2.5 million next year, with another 1.2 million Canadians developing the disease over the following decade.

In terms of diabetes at a population level, that would mean almost 10 per cent of Canadians would be affected by the disorder in 2020, up from 7.3 per cent in 2010 and 4.2 per cent in 2000.

Diabetes takes a huge financial toll on the health-care system and the economy overall, the report shows. The economic burden of diabetes in 2010 is estimated at $12.2 billion — more than double the 2000 level of $5.9 billion. The cost of the disease is expected to rise by another $4.7 billion by 2020.

The report recommends immediate action be taken to:

• Renew and refocus the Canadian Diabetes Strategy and Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative.

• Enhance the tax strategy for out-of-pocket costs for people with diabetes.

• Increase investment in diabetes research.