Community News
November 20, 2018 By Andrew Munday
Sponsored content: Taking action against type 2 diabetes now

Michael McMullen’s work has taken him all over Canada, including more than 150 Northern communities. For the past 15-plus years, he has called Manitoba home. During his time as an executive with retailer, The North West Company, which champions physical activity in the workplace and the communities they serve, he participated in marathons and fundraised for Team Diabetes, Diabetes Canada’s national activity program that raises funds for diabetes education and services, advocacy, and research.

With diabetes rates three to five times higher among Indigenous adults than the non-Indigenous population, McMullen (pictured above) learned firsthand about the impact of type 2 diabetes in the communities in which he and his colleagues not only served, but also worked and lived. “It is one thing to hear that the Indigenous incidence rate is several times higher than the total population,” he says, “but when you see the reach of the disease, [it] becomes very real,” he says, adding, “Diabetes is impacting our youth, and [when that happens,] it impacts our future.”

Today, McMullen volunteers as a Diabetes Canada board member and vice-chair of the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce. He says, “Despite the high incidence rate, diabetes awareness, understanding and preventative and care actions are far too low.” Manitoba has the highest concentration of Indigenous people among Canadian provinces at 16.7 per cent. With the higher rates of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes among this group worsened by barriers to care for Indigenous people, the need for education and early detection are more crucial than ever.

One important tool for detecting and managing diabetes is the A1C test (which measures your blood sugar levels over the previous three months.). In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month this November, Dynacare labs in Manitoba will offer A1C tests from Oct. 29 to Dec. 7, 2018. If you would like to know your risk for diabetes or prediabetes, ask your family doctor for an A1C requisition and visit your nearest Dynacare lab. This wellness initiativea partnership between Dynacare and Diabetes Canadais to create awareness about getting tested and to learn your diabetes risk. For every test taken, Dynacare will make a 50-cent donation to Diabetes Canada, up to a total of $25,000.

 “There is a social stigma to diabetes that we need to eliminate. Education is key,” says McMullen. “By paying attention to diabetes, all Manitobans can assist in improving our health care for all.”

To learn more about whether you are at risk for the disease, visit Are You at Risk? As with any other medical issue or concern, speak to your doctor if you have any questions.

Do you have a personal story of how diabetes has affected you or someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content.

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