Canadian Diabetes Association joins Making the Connection to help inform Canadians about the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease

    TORONTO, Sept. 19 /CNW/ - Diabetes is an epidemic in this country that
affects more than two million Canadians(1). People with diabetes are at a very
high risk for developing cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and
stroke(2). Today, in recognition that cardiovascular disease is a major
complication of diabetes, Making the Connection(R) welcomes the Canadian
Diabetes Association as its newest partner. Making the Connection is a
national cardiovascular disease awareness and education program and
partnership that includes the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Canadian
Lipid Nurse Network, the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation,
Diabetes Québec, and Pfizer Canada Inc.
    "Eighty per cent of people with diabetes may die from cardiovascular
complications, thus educating Canadians is a priority for the Association,"
says Donna Lillie, Senior Vice President of Research and Professional
Education and Government Affairs, Canadian Diabetes Association. "Good
diabetes management includes keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and
cholesterol levels in a healthy range to reduce or delay the risk of
devastating complications. The Association is delighted to be a part of Making
the Connection which gives Canadians the resources and information to reduce
their risk of a heart attack or stroke."
    Maintaining a healthy weight, following a healthy diet, not smoking,
managing stress, limiting alcohol consumption and being physically active all
play an important role in managing risk factors of cardiovascular disease,
including high cholesterol and high blood pressure; however, lifestyle changes
alone may not be enough. If not managed, risk factors can increase the chance
of developing diabetes as well as heart disease or having a stroke. Through
its national cardiovascular disease awareness and education program, Making
the Connection aims at preventing Canadians from developing risk factors and
improving their overall cardiovascular health.


    Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the
leading cause of death in Canada(3), and diabetes is a major contributing risk
    The reality is four out of five people with diabetes will die as a result
of heart disease(4). Studies show that people living with diabetes are prone
to heart disease at a much earlier age when compared to those people without
diabetes. Working in partnership with a healthcare team for effective diabetes
management is key to reducing this risk.
    If left untreated or poorly managed, diabetes can have a significant
impact on one's overall health. Over time, abnormally high blood sugar damages
large and small blood vessels and dramatically increases the risk of heart
attack and stroke, as well as kidney failure, limb amputation and eye disease.
A leading cause of death by disease, diabetes can shorten life expectancy(5).
    "Although a serious and chronic disease, type 2 diabetes does not have to
compromise a person's quality of life. With the support of a healthcare team,
and through proper disease management, we can delay or even prevent serious
complications," says Lillie. "People with diabetes are at a heightened risk
for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in Canada.
Consequently, the Association encourages Canadians to take control of their
own health, and educate themselves about their diabetes."


    In addition to diabetes, other risk factors for cardiovascular disease
include age, sex, family history, ethnicity, being overweight, excessive
alcohol consumption, stress, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol, high
blood pressure and smoking(6).
    According to a report published by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of
Canada entitled "The Growing Burden of Heart Disease and Stroke in Canada",
approximately 80 per cent of Canadians have at least one modifiable risk
factor for cardiovascular disease(7). Although Canadians cannot do anything to
modify age, sex and family history, it is possible to take action against the
other risk factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, excess weight, high
blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and stress.
    It is important that Canadians speak to their doctor to determine if they
are at risk for cardiovascular disease, and ensure they are taking the
necessary steps to manage their risk.


    Making the Connection is a program dedicated to educating Canadians about
the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and to encouraging
Canadians to take action to control them. Since its inception in 2001, Making
the Connection has helped Canadians become better informed about their heart
health through its interactive Web site and toll-free information line, more
than 50 public forums in more than 35 Canadian cities, radio shows, and public
awareness events, including the involvement of well-known Canadian celebrities
Rod Black, Gaétan Boucher, Sandra Post, Pat Quinn, and Stephen Ames.
    For more information about cholesterol, Canadians should speak to a
healthcare professional or visit the Making the Connection Web site at


    The Canadian Diabetes Association works to prevent diabetes and improve
the quality of life for those affected, through research, education, service
and advocacy. With a presence in more than 150 communities, the Canadian
Diabetes Association's strong network of assistance includes volunteers,
employees, healthcare professionals and partners. (


    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is a leading funder of heart
and stroke research in Canada. Its mission is to improve the health of
Canadians by preventing and reducing disability and death from heart disease
and stroke through research, health promotion and advocacy.

    Canadian Lipid Nurse Network

    The Canadian Lipid Nurse Network is a non-profit organization with a
mandate to provide information, education and resources to healthcare
professionals and the public regarding the assessment, treatment and
management of dyslipidemia and other risk factors for heart disease and
stroke. (

    Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation

    The Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation is a
multi-disciplinary association of healthcare professionals dedicated to
providing leadership in clinical practice, research and advocacy in cardiac
disease prevention and rehabilitation for the enhancement and maintenance of
cardiovascular health of Canadians. (

    Diabetes Québec

    Diabetes Québec and its 47 affiliate associations are dedicated to
educating and providing resources to Quebec residents and healthcare
professionals about diabetes prevention and management, ensuring people with
diabetes receive the necessary services and support, and encouraging diabetes
research and advocacy. (

    Pfizer Canada Inc.

    Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's
leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer's ongoing
research and development activities focus on a wide range of therapeutic areas
following our guiding aspiration: working for a healthier world. For more
information, visit

    (1) Health Canada. "Diabetes Facts and Figures." Available at:
    (2) Diabète Québec. Cardiovascular Diseases.
    (3) Health Canada, June 2007. Available at
    (4) Canadian Diabetes Association.
    (5) Canadian Diabetes Association. "The Prevalence and Cost of
    Diabetes." Available at:
    (6) Canadian Medical Association Journal. Recommendations for the
    management of dyslipidemia and the prevention of cardiovascular
    disease. 2003.
    (7) May 2003. The Growing Burden of Heart Disease and Stroke in Canada.
    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Laura Espinoza, Carolyn Santillan, Edelman,
(416) 979-1120 ext. 245, 351,,

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