Islanders living with diabetes receive additional support
More Islanders will benefit from additional financial assistance and coverage for diabetes supplies, including insulin pumps and test strips, starting in the new year.
Effective January 1, 2021, the Insulin Pump Program – which assists with the costs of insulin pumps and supplies – will be expanded to include Islanders up to 25 years old. The Diabetes Drug Program – which helps with the costs of diabetes medications and supplies – will expand monthly blood glucose test strip coverage from 100 strips to 120.
“Diabetes effects more than 15,000 Islanders, and it is so important that we offer additional support to these individuals so they can live healthy, fulfilling lives without cost as a barrier. In addition to this funding, I am pleased to present the new Diabetes Strategy as we move forward with a renewed focus on diabetes prevention, detection and management.”
– Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward
The Health PEI Diabetes Strategy 2020-2024 was developed after the review of the previous strategy and is guided by recommendations from the steering committee and public engagement with Islanders living with diabetes, family members and current evidence-based best practices in diabetes care.
In addition to financial assistance, Health PEI’s Provincial Diabetes Program offers education, support and diabetes management advice to Islanders living with diabetes or those who are at risk of developing diabetes. This service is offered in various communities across the province so Islanders can receive support close to home, no matter where they live.
“As a chronic disease, diabetes has an impact on the entire body, leading to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and nerve damage,” said Denise Lewis Fleming, Health PEI CEO. “Effective management of diabetes and diabetes education is extremely important in improving the lives of those with the disease. The new Diabetes Strategy, along with the expanded insulin pump and testing strip funding, will help people with diabetes take control of their health and help improve outcomes.”
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to the disease. This month, Diabetes Canada is working diligently to raise awareness through their campaign that encourages Canadians to use the hashtag #EndDiabetes.
“We’re very pleased to see the renewal of the provincial Diabetes Strategy, which addresses gaps in services and enhances diabetes programs and supports on PEI,” says Terry Lewis, Manager of Community Engagement for Diabetes Canada. “As diabetes rates continue to grow rapidly across Canada, a coordinated approach to tackling this epidemic aligned, as this is, with the Diabetes 360° (link is external) strategy, will help improve the health and wellbeing of Islanders. We look forward to working with the government on the implementation of the new Diabetes Strategy.”
For more information about Prince Edward Island’s diabetes program, including cost assistance programs and other supports, visit: Diabetes Program.
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Health and Wellness
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Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that results from the body’s inability to produce and/or use insulin sufficiently. In the absence of insulin or sufficient amounts of insulin, blood glucose levels rise, which can result in immediate and long-term detrimental effects for the individual.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes diagnosed with a higher prevalence in adults over 40 years of age.
Many people don’t experience symptoms of diabetes until later stages of the disease. It’s important to recognize these signs and talk to your primary care provider:
The most common signs of diabetes include:
- unusual thirst
- frequent urination
- weight change (gain or loss)
- extreme fatigue or lack of energy
- blurred vision
- frequent or reoccurring infections
- cuts and/or bruises that are slow to heal
- tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- trouble getting or maintaining an erection
About 1 in 10 Islanders 20 years of age and older are living with diabetes.
- Diabetes is a common and serious disease
- Many people do not know they have diabetes
- Early screening for diabetes can help avoid serious complications such as blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, limb amputation and premature death.
- Many people already have complications such as eye disease before being diagnosed.
- Early diagnosis and treatment gives persons with diabetes the opportunity to make changes that could improve their lives for years to come.
- Risk factors for diabetes include:
- Being overweight is a major preventable risk factor for diabetes
- Age 4o years and older
- Inactive, sedentary lifestyle
- A close relative with diabetes
- Member of high risk ethnic group such as African, Asian or Indigenous
- A history of diabetes related to pregnancy, or having a baby weighing greater than 9 pounds
- High blood pressure
- Strategies for prevention of diabetes and improving overall health include:
- Regular physical activity
- Healthy eating habits
- healthy weight