Dynacare and Diabetes Canada are encouraging Manitobans to go for free blood testing and to become more educated during their month-long #Dynacare4Diabetes campaign.

On Wednesday, November 6, the kickoff event for the fifth annual #Dynacare4Diabetes campaign began at the Legislative Building in an effort to raise awareness of the risks that Type 2 diabetes possess. During Manitoba's largest diabetes wellness initiative, free A1C testing is available and Dynacare will donate $0.50 to Diabetes Canada for every successful test taken between November 1 to December 6 up to $25,000.

During the kickoff event, MLAs and their staff who are in higher risk categories received testing for Type 2 diabetes, an effort to encourage more Manitobans to go for testing themselves.

"The campaign kick-off was an incredible success," says Dr. Jenisa Naidoo, chief scientific officer and vice president of clinical development and quality assurance for Dynacare. "The MLAs in attendance were happy to line up to get their A1C tests done and learn about the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. We had an excellent turnout and greatly appreciate their support - as we celebrate the 5th year of the #Dynacare4Diabetes campaign in Manitoba." 

The goal for this year's campaign is to get 50,000 at-risk Manitobans to go for testing.

"The incidence of diabetes continues to skyrocket in Manitoba, but there’s so much we can do to prevent it. Ideally, we’d like everyone who is at risk of diabetes to know the risk factors so they can take the appropriate steps to look after their health. A simple A1C test is a good start to understanding your own health status. From there, you can meet with your doctor to discuss care and treatment if it’s required." 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and this initiative is an attempt to encourage the public to find out whether they are at risk and to speak to their doctors or get tested at any Dynacare location. 

Dynacare is the provider for all costs of the campaign, including all of the A1C tests.

Diabetes Canada says that more than 400,000 Manitobans have prediabetic symptoms or have yet to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and approximately 11 per cent have been confirmed to have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Together, this adds up to roughly 30 per cent of the population. 

These rates do not appear to be slowing down or decreasing anytime soon, which is the driving factor for the annual #Dynacare4Diabetes campaign.

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"There are excellent treatment options available, but the key to reversing Type 2 diabetes is early detection," says Andrea Kwasnicki, Diabetes Canada’s regional director for Manitoba and Nunavut. "The danger comes if you ignore diabetes because it can lead to extremely serious health complications such as blindness, amputations, reduced mobility and death." 

Dynacare and Diabetes Canada suggest that those who have not been tested before for diabetes consider assessing their risk factor. The following is a short list of some of the conditions that could lead to diabetes:

  • High blood pressure
  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats in the blood
  • A high BMI or are overweight (especially if that weight is mostly carried around the tummy)
  • Prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose)
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Darkened patches of skin called acanthosis nigricans
  • If you have been prescribed a glucocorticoid medication by a doctor

If anyone has one or more risk factor, or are experiencing symptoms, they are being encouraged to consult their concern with a doctor and request an A1C test.

An individual will typically be contacted by their doctor who receives test results with blood sugar levels above the normal range to arrange a consultation and discuss a treatment plan.

Dynacare will be hosting mobile sites in Winnipeg and Brandon, with the goal of providing those most at risk with an opportunity to learn more about this common disease and to easily access tests.

On Saturday, November 5, the first mobile site was operational at Maples Community Centre. It was organized in partnership with the local South Asian-Canadian community and City Councillor Devi Sharma.

"With the numbers continuing to rise this is an issue that Manitobans need to be aware of. Especially if they are in a high-risk group such as being of South Asian descent. I am happy to once again be working collaboratively with Dynacare and Diabetes Canada on the #Dynacare4Diabetes campaign," says Sharma. "This disease currently affects more than 410,000 Manitobans and that number is expected to rise to over 495,000 in the next decade. This initiative is a step in recognizing the risk factors and taking control of your health."

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Groups who are at higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes include people who are of Asian, African or Indigenous descent or overweight, or over 40.

"We’re delighted to have partnered with Dynacare for a fifth year to bring awareness to this disease,” says Andrea Kwasnicki, director, community fundraising and events, Western Canada, Diabetes Canada. "Many Manitobans are unaware of the risk factors and ignore the warning signs until it is too late. With the right care prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes can be managed and under control. This campaign encourages Manitoban to take control of their health and seek the care they need to prevent or treat diabetes. Knowledge is key."

November 14 is World Diabetes Day, which Dynacare and Diabetes Canada will celebrate by hosting a full-day feature event with diabetes-focused activities at the Wellness Institute at Seven Oaks General Hospital.

The event will begin at 6:00 a.m. and go until 10:00 a.m. A mobile clinic will be available with A1C tests from 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m., and from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Please visit diabetes.ca/dynacare for more information about the campaign.