ARCHIVED - Diabetes in Canada: Highlights from the National Diabetes Surveillance System, 2004-2005


Executive Summary


  • Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system destroys the cells which make insulin. Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, in which the body's cells are unable to use insulin properly, and is followed, in time, with a declining ability to produce insulin. People with diabetes may reduce their risk of complications through medications and by adopting a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise).
  • Diabetes is associated with many health problems such as kidney failure, blindness, heart disease and stroke, and peripheral nerve problems. Diabetes can also be a major cause of premature death.
  • The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is significantly lower in people who maintain a healthy weight and participate in regular physical activity.

National Diabetes Surveillance System (NDSS):

  • In each province and territory, the health insurance registry database is linked to the physician billing and hospitalization databases.
  • This database is used to identify people who have received a diagnosis of diabetes, based on a validated definition. Analyses are then done to describe diabetes in the diagnosed population.
  • Aggregate results from the analyses of each database are sent to the Public Health Agency of Canada for inclusion in the National Diabetes Surveillance System (NDSS). In order to adjust for age distribution differences among the provinces and territories over time, the rates are age-standardized to the 1991 Canadian population.

NDSS Data Highlights:

  • In 2004-2005, approximately 1.8 million Canadian men and women, or about one in 18 people had been diagnosed with diabetes - 5.5% overall - 5.2% among women and 5.8% among men.
  • The age-standardized prevalence of diagnosed diabetes has increased by 24% between 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 (from 3.7% to 4.6%).
  • During 1998-1999 to 1999-2000, the age-standardized incidence of diagnosed diabetes was 25% higher in the British Columbia First Nations population than other British Columbia residents.
  • The age-standardized prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among the Québec James Bay Cree adult population has increased between 1997-1998 and 2001-2002 by 29%.
  • Compared to adults without diabetes, adults with diagnosed diabetes were hospitalized:
    • 24 times more often for lower limb amputations;
    • 7 times more often for chronic kidney disease;
    • 4 times more often for hypertension or heart failure;
    • 3 times more often for heart attack; and
    • 3 times more often for stroke.

Our mission is to promote and protect the health of Canadian through leadership, partnerships,innovation and action in public health.
     - Public Health Agency of Canada

Published by authority of the Minister of Health.

Également disponible en français sous le titre: Le diabète au Canada: Faits saillants du système national de surveillance du diabète, 2004-2005.

This publication can be made available on request on diskette, large print, audio-cassette and braille.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right Canada, represented by the Minister of Health, 2008.
Cat. HP32-2/2005 978-0-662-05378-1
PDF: Cat: HP32-2/2005E-PDF 978-0-662-47444-9

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