Diabetes screening tests made easier

Canadian doctors have another option when screening people for Type 2 diabetes.

On Monday, the Canadian Diabetes Association unveiled its 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines to prevent and manage diabetes. It’s estimated a third of Canadians will have either diabetes or prediabetes by 2020.

People age 40 and older should check for diabetes, says Dr. Alice Chen of the Canadian Diabetes Association. (CBC)

The group hopes that a new standardized blood test, called the A1C, will encourage everyone over the age of 50 to get screened once every three years. The single measurement considers average blood glucoses levels over about three months.

The A1C does not require people to stop eating for 12 hours before taking the test as was the case previously. The test can also diagnose prediabetes before full-blown diabetes occurs.

“Pre-diabetes I like to think of as the waiting room to diabetes,” said guideline chair and Toronto endocrinologist Dr. Alice Chen. “We want to be able to identify who is sitting in that waiting and get them out of there as much as we can.”

Through lifestyle interventions such as diet changes, exercise, losing weight, quitting smoking and self management of blood glucose levels, the group aims to prevent people with prediabetes from worsening. In some cases, blood sugar- and cholesterol-lowering drugs will also be prescribed.

Overall, the group’s message for health care professionals was to screen wisely and diagnose precisely since doctors can’t treat what they don’t know.

However, British epidemiologists have questioned whether screening more people saves more lives.

When Dr. Simon Griffin of the Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge compared mortality over 10 years in the United Kingdom, he found screening for Type 2 was not associated with a reduction in deaths from all causes, cardiovascular or diabetes.

“The benefits of screening might be smaller than expected and restricted to individuals with detectable disease,” Griffin concluded in the October edition of the medical journal The Lancet.

Screening those with risk factors makes more sense than testing everyone over the age of 40, he said in an interview, adding that since diabetes tests have few risks there is little harm beyond questions of the best use of public health dollars.

“The problem of course with this prediabetes label is it actually labels people and has them living with a lifelong concern about their diabetes when in fact they might have perfectly normal blood sugar levels, they may be otherwise perfectly healthy people,” agreed drug policy research Alan Cassels of the University of Victoria.

The ultimate goal of the guidelines is to avoid serious complications from diabetes such as kidney disease, heart attacks and strokes.

The guidelines were published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes and on the Canadian Diabetes Association’s website with interactive tools and resources for health care providers and people living with diabetes.

With files from CBC’s Kelly Crowe

Team Diabetes in the Cayman Islands

Walk or run with John Streit and Team Diabetes in the Cayman Islands on December 1, 2013 in support of the 9 million Canadians and someone you know living with diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Walk or run with John and Team Diabetes on December 1, 2013 in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association. Challenge yourself to complete a half marathon (21.1K), marathon (42.2K) or sign up with three friends and do the marathon relay together! The course is open for 6 hours so the half marathon is a great option for those who prefer to walk. The route is flat and passes by spectacular beaches and through the financial district of George Town as well as some of the area’s most exclusive neighbourhoods.


As a team member, the funds you raise for the Association help make a difference for the 9 million Canadians living with diabetes and pre-diabetes by supporting research, education, advocacy and important programs such as our D-Camps, summer camps for children with Type 1 diabetes.


Team Member Benefits

All you need to do to be a part of our team is to sign up by June 7th and raise funds for the Association. In return, you will receive amazing benefits including…

  • Return airfare from Vancouver
  • 4 nights of accommodation in the Cayman Islands
  • Three, on-site team functions
  • On-line training with e-mail support from a team trainer
  • Guaranteed race entry
  • Team tech shirt
  • Personalized fundraising webpage

…and the incredible feeling that comes from achieving your personal goals, meeting likeminded people and supporting a worthy cause all at the same time!


Sign Up Today!


Register on-line at www.teamdiabetes.ca before June 7th


To learn more, please contact Mandy at mandy.khara@diabetes.ca or 604-732-1331 ext 247 or fill out our on-line request form.


We also invite you to join our community! Follow us on facebook, twitter and check out photos and a video from our last visit to the Caymans!


Together we can lead the fight against diabetes!


About Team Diabetes

Team DiabetesHealthy living is an essential part of a healthy community and the Canadian Diabetes Association strongly believes in fostering active and healthy communities. Team Diabetes is the signature brand of the Association that offers Canadians of all fitness levels the opportunity to walk, run or hike in events across Canada and around the world while raising much needed funds and awareness. Since 2000, Team Diabetes team members have raised in excess of $36 million while making a commitment to their own health by leading a more active lifestyle. They are leaders and an inspiration in their community, in their workplaces and at home. Every day they are helping make a difference.


About the Canadian Diabetes Association

The Canadian Diabetes Association’s mission is to lead the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while working to find a cure. The Association delivers on this mission by providing people with diabetes and healthcare professionals with education and services; advocating on behalf of people with diabetes; supporting research and translating research into practical applications.


A Few Diabetes Facts

  • More than 9 million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes.
  • By 2030, 438 million people worldwide will have diabetes.
  • 20 Canadians are diagnosed with diabetes every hour.
  • Diabetes medication and supplies can cost a person $1,000 to $15,000 a year.
  • By 2020, it’s estimated that diabetes will cost Canada’s healthcare system $16.9 billion a year.

Team Diabetes Canadian Diabetes