A comprehensive picture of diabetes in Alberta



    EDMONTON, June 6 /CNW/ - For the first time, Albertans have a
comprehensive picture of people living with diabetes in the province. The
Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007 is a product of the Alberta Diabetes Surveillance
System (ADSS), a partnership between the Institute of Health Economics and
Alberta Health and Wellness. The system tracks the number of people living
with diabetes in Alberta, their related health conditions, and the health
services they use. This information - which is contained in the Atlas - will
help health care providers and policy makers understand the scope of the
disease and how to deal with it. ADSS is the first coordinated provincial
diabetes surveillance system of its kind in Canada.

    
    Key findings in the Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007 show:
    -   More than 1 in 20, or over 130,000 adults are living with diabetes in
        Alberta and more than 12,000 new cases of diabetes are identified
        each year in Alberta.
    -   The prevalence of diabetes is twice as high in the First Nations
        population, where 1 in 10 First Nations adults have diabetes.
    -   People with diabetes use health care services up to three times more
        and are twice as likely to die than people without diabetes.
    -   People with diabetes are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes,
        kidney disease, eye disease and mental health disorders than people
        without diabetes.

                   (xx)Patient and researcher interview(xx)

    What:     interview with Bob Serne who has Type 2 diabetes and Dr. Jeff
              Johnson, lead author of the Atlas.
    When:     Wednesday, June 6, 2007
    Time:     10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    Where:    Institute of Health Economics (1200 - 10405 Jasper Avenue)
    

    "Knowing the scope of the problem is the first step in tackling the
diabetes epidemic provincially and nationally," said Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, lead
author of the Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007. "People with diabetes are at
increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure, which has a
personal burden, as well as a burden on our health care system."
    "The Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007 provides the Ministry and health regions
with critical information on the growing rate of diabetes," said Dave Hancock,
Minister of Alberta Health and Wellness. "The data will inform future policy
direction, and assist health regions to develop and improve strategies to
reduce the incidence of diabetes in the communities they serve."

    Copies of the Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007 are available at:
www.achord.ca.


    
                   Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007 Backgrounder
    

    What is in the Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007?

    Information about the number of people living in Alberta who already have
diabetes in addition to all new cases of diabetes is reported for the years
1995-2005. People with diabetes are at a markedly increased risk of having a
heart attack or stroke, requiring dialysis, going blind, or having a lower
limb amputation compared to people without diabetes. Rates of these
complications of diabetes, in addition to other complications of diabetes, are
reported for those with and without diabetes. In addition, rates of health
care utilization and mortality are reported for these two groups. By directly
comparing rates of health outcomes in people with and without diabetes, we can
observe the patterns and compare health outcomes for both groups.

    Where did the Alberta Diabetes Atlas 2007 come from?

    The Atlas is a product of the Alberta Diabetes Surveillance System
(ADSS), a partnership between the Institute of Health Economics and Alberta
Health and Wellness. The ADSS is the first coordinated provincial diabetes
surveillance system of its kind in Canada. The system tracks the number of
people living with diabetes in Alberta, their related health conditions, and
the health services they use. This information helps health care providers and
policy makers understand the scope of the disease and how to deal with it.
    One of the most important aspects of a comprehensive surveillance system
is the timely dissemination of information to those who need it. Through the
universal health care system, data is collected for billing purposes between
Alberta Health and Wellness and physicians and hospitals. This is the existing
data; but it is not easily translated in a way that health regions and health
professionals can understand. The atlas is a dissemination system for
information contained in the existing data.
    One way to easily communicate the differences in numbers of people with
diabetes, or the patterns of health care use in different health regions is to
present the numbers in map format, much like the atlas that you use to plan a
trip or study geography.

    What difference will this tool make to people with diabetes?

    Our province, like others in Canada, is aiming to improve the overall
quality of care for people with diabetes. The province or the regions can
implement strategies to improve care, but we will only know if this happens by
measuring changes in health care and the outcomes. The ADSS provides a
systematic measurement tool to evaluate the effect of those intervention
strategies.

    What are most common diseases that occur together with diabetes, or occur
    as a result of diabetes?

    People with diabetes are more than 2 times more likely to have a heart
attack, heart failure or stroke. The majority of people with diabetes die of
heart disease. Due to poor circulation and nerve problems in the extremities,
people with diabetes are 12-18 times more likely to have a lower limb
amputation than people without diabetes. More than one-third of people with
kidney disease have diabetes. Surgeries for cataracts and glaucoma are 1 1/2 -
2 times more common in people with diabetes. Prevalence of mental health
disorders are more common in people with diabetes compared to the non-diabetic
population.

    How does Alberta compare to the national figures for diabetes?

    Approximately 5% of adults (20 years and older) in Canada have diabetes.
It is estimated that thousands more have diabetes, but are not yet diagnosed.
In Alberta, we are slightly below the national average, which is highest in
Eastern Canada and lowest in Western provinces.

    What is the Institute of Health Economics?

    The Institute of Health Economics (IHE) is an independent, not-for-profit
Alberta organization that performs research in health economics and
synthesizes evidence in health technology assessment to assist health policy
making and ensure best medical practice.




For further information:

For further information: To book an interview time, please contact
Stephanie Vermeulen at (780) 448-4881 or svermeulen@ihe.ca

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INSTITUTE OF HEALTH ECONOMICS

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