More Ontarians Living with Chronic Disease: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - The number of patients living with chronic disease in Ontario is on the rise, finds a new report by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). The study reveals that between 1995-2005, the number of patients with diabetes has increased over 50% and more concerning is that the number of patients with diabetes aged 19 and younger has gone up by 20%. Statistics also show that patients with hypertension, a condition affected by health habits, have nearly doubled from 8.7% to 16.4%. These alarming new figures have led doctors to call on patients to play an important role in the management of their chronic disease.

"Unfortunately we are seeing an increase in the number of people making lifestyle choices, such as inactivity and unhealthy and excessive diets, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease than their parents or grandparents," said Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, President of the OMA. "Ontario's doctors will continue to diagnose, treat and manage chronic disease however; patients also have a responsibility to help themselves by making small and simple choices that can have a significant impact on their health."

Ontario's doctors say patients can make a positive impact on their health by introducing exercise into their daily routine, choosing a healthy diet and by quitting smoking. For those patients living with multiple chronic diseases, it is imperative when possible they work with their physician to devise a reasonable strategy to ensure their condition is managed effectively. Research suggests that when patients are informed and can control their disease on a daily basis, in turn, their conditions can improve.

Specifically, the OMA is recommending:

    -  An increasing role of the patient and their family in managing chronic
       disease, allowing patients to be engaged in shared decision-making and
       care planning with their physician;

    -  An effective strategy for the coordination of care for patients with
       multiple chronic diseases;

    -  The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care implement a pilot project in
       Ontario to evaluate a self-management program for diabetes, congestive
       heart failure or arthritis, and include a comprehensive evaluation of
       patient outcomes and physician satisfaction; and

    -  Continued investment into electronic health records to further enhance
       the care provided to patients in managing chronic disease.

"Electronic Medical Records can provide quick and easy access to diagnostic and laboratory tests. For patients with one or more chronic disease, this enhanced level of care can have a big impact on their condition," said Dr. Strasberg. "This is why Ontario's doctors continue to push for electronic medical records in every physician's office."

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: For further information: please contact OMA Media Relations at: 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862

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