OTTAWA, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - November is Diabetes Awareness Month, the perfect time to remind Canadians that a valuable health resource for diabetes management is available just around the corner.

As the diabetes crisis continues to escalate, Canadians living with the disease are increasingly turning to a highly trained primary health care professional for ongoing assistance - one of the country's 32,000 pharmacists.

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects roughly two million people in Canada, and its prevalence is growing rapidly. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) estimates that by 2012, 2.8 million Canadians will have been diagnosed with diabetes, an increase of 25% in only five years. The burden of illness is enormous - more than $4.3 billion in direct and indirect costs, to say nothing of its potentially negative impact on quality of life. Adults living with diabetes are also more likely to experience related illnesses such as hypertension, kidney disease and stroke compared to those without the disease.

As the nation's leader in continuing education for pharmacists, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) has developed a comprehensive Diabetes Strategy for Pharmacists. It ensures pharmacists have the necessary knowledge and resources to help patients live healthier lives, in collaboration with other members of their primary health care team. The strategy includes online and live training programs and publications that tailor the Canadian Diabetes Association's 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada specifically to the unique needs of pharmacists.   In April 2010, CPhA received further funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Canadian Diabetes Strategy to continue its work on CPhA's Diabetes Strategy for Pharmacists.

"As Canada's most accessible health care professionals, pharmacists are ideally positioned to help patients effectively manage this disease by providing information and counselling during informal consultations or more in-depth appointments," says Rob Roscoe, a certified diabetes educator and pharmacist in New Brunswick.

"Diabetes is highly manageable for those committed to living well by sticking with their treatment plan, but successful control can require significant health care resources," says Saskatchewan pharmacist and certified diabetes educator Janet Bradshaw. "Pharmacists can enhance medical care by helping Canadians make the right decisions when it comes to lifestyle changes, medication and proper monitoring."

The Diabetes Strategy for Pharmacists was funded in part by the Public Health Agency of Canada through the Canadian Diabetes Strategy. For more information, visit www.pharmacists.ca/diabetes or www.diabetespharmacists.ca.

For further information:
Bridget Lett, Project Coordinator
blett@pharmacists.ca; 613-523-7877, x218