Diabetes an expensive disease for many Canadians, costing on average $2.5K annually
Days after his Grade 8 graduation, Julie Vanderschot’s 13-year-old son began to have blurry vision and stomach pains. He was rapidly losing weight, had difficulty chewing, was insatiably thirsty and frequently needed to use the bathroom.
At the same time, he was taking medication to treat an infected tendon in his foot, which he’d hurt in a bicycle accident. “We initially mistook some of the symptoms as side effects of the antibiotics,” said Vanderschot, a policy analyst in Ottawa.
Her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas can’t produce insulin because the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce it. Insulin is a crucial hormone that helps shuttle glucose from the blood into the body’s cells where it’s used as an energy source.
In the weeks and months that followed, the family attended training and education sessions at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), learning how to test blood-glucose levels, administer insulin and adjust dosages, count carbohydrates and manage diet. Vanderschot’s son now sees an endocrinologist every three months.
A report from the Canadian Institute of Health released earlier in November, which is National Diabetes Month, noted that Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. More than nine million people are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes in this country. It’s a chronic condition that takes a physical toll and has expensive recurring drug fees.For those who are living with the condition, it’s an expensive situation.
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