Canadian Diabetes Association responds to new Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care

Toronto (October 26, 2012) – Despite confusion based on recent media reports, “The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care Guidelines are in fact, quite consistent with those from the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Clinical Practice Guidelines that have been in place since 2008.  We were quite encouraged to see this consistency, which should provide reassurance to the medical community who treat patients with diabetes,” says Alice Cheng, endocrinologist and chair of the 2013 Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines.

The new guidelines released on October 17, 2012, by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care advises that doctors should not routinely screen adults under the age of forty who are considered low to moderate risk for type 2 diabetes.

There are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including:
o age ≥ forty years
o first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes
o member of high-risk population (e.g., people of Aboriginal, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian, or African descent)
o history of impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose
o complications associated with diabetes, e.g., vascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol or other fats in the blood)
o history of gestational diabetes and delivery of infants over nine lbs at birth
o unhealthy weight
o abdominal obesity
o polycystic ovary syndrome
o darkened patches of skin
o schizophrenia

The Canadian Diabetes Association’s Clinical Practice Guidelines recognize the importance of screening high-risk populations for diabetes and do not recommend mass screening. Both guidelines agree that the age of forty years is a reasonable age at which screening is warranted for all, and earlier in the presence of risk factors for type 2 diabetes.  The frequency of testing is also in agreement; the Canadian Task Force suggests screening every three to five years and the Canadian Diabetes Association recommends testing every three years.  Among those at higher risk, the Canadian Task Force recommends testing annually and the Association recommends testing “more frequently”.

Early detection of diabetes is very important given the fact that over fifty per cent of type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed with healthier eating and increased physical activity.

If not properly treated or managed, diabetes can result in serious and life-threatening complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, depression and amputation. Since complications account for eighty per cent of diabetes costs and diabetes is projected to rise to $16 billion by 2020, early detection is crucial.

Published every five years, the Association’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada represent the best and most current evidence-based clinical practice data for healthcare professionals. The next version of the Guidelines will be released in spring 2013.


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