Sun Life

One-of-a-kind diabetes prevention clinic in Canada

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Éric Sinotte, Josée Noiseux, Dr. Martin Juneau, Robert Dumas, Jacques Goulet, Susan Kudzman, Yves Roy

November 14, 2018 – In celebration of World Diabetes Day, the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of the Diabetes Prevention Clinic sponsored by Sun Life. The only one of its kind in Canada, this multidisciplinary program will launch in December at the Montreal Heart Institute’s EPIC Center, the largest center for cardiovascular disease prevention in the country. This initiative is made possible by a major donation of $450,000 from Sun Life.

Dr. Martin Juneau, Director of Prevention at the Montreal Heart Institute, will be the clinic supervisor. He will lead a multidisciplinary team consisting of a nurse, kinesiologist, nutritionist and medical staff including cardiologists, internists and general practitioners.

The program will meet a growing demand for preventive services for patients with diabetes and prediabetes, chronic conditions currently affecting 1 in 3 Canadians. Cardiovascular disease is the most common complication and leading cause of death in patients with type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, many studies show that type 2 diabetics who make lifestyle changes, including a high-quality diet, regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, no tobacco use and moderate alcohol consumption, reduce their risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease.

“Creation of the Diabetes Prevention Clinic sponsored by Sun Life highlights the need to prioritize this disease, which is affecting a growing number of Quebecers,” says Lino A. Saputo, Jr., Board Chair of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation. “This new diabetes prevention clinic will have a significant impact in the community, and is an excellent example of our Foundation’s key focus on prevention and cardiovascular health.”

“This project aligns perfectly with the Institute’s focus on prevention of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” says Josée Noiseux, President and CEO of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation. “It is more timely than ever today, on World Diabetes Day, to raise awareness among the public and stress the importance of healthier lifestyles in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.”

“Since 2012, Sun Life has committed more than $25 million in the fight against diabetes in Canada and around the globe. We believe that awareness and prevention is key to helping people live a healthy lifestyle. Our $450,000 donation to the Montreal Heart Institute will provide resources to help reduce the number of people that develop type 2 diabetes, a disease that can have very serious complications,” says Sun Life Canada President Jacques Goulet.

“It’s possible to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, or reduce its negative impacts, through lifestyle changes,” states Dr. Martin Juneau, the Montreal Heart Institute’s Director of Prevention. “Lifestyle is better than medication for treating diabetes, and doesn’t involve the side effects frequently associated with medication. The clinic will deliver the best tools to patients, so they can minimize complications related to their disease.”

A tailored program to meet growing demand

The clinic will be open to patients of the Montreal Heart Institute and EPIC Center with blood sugar levels near or above 7 mmol/L, as well as to the EPIC Center’s 3,000 primary prevention and 1,600 secondary prevention members. Current estimates suggest that 20 to 50% of patients hospitalized at the Montreal Heart Institute are diabetic.

Diabetes is the 5th-leading cause of premature death in the world. Hyperglycemia from the onset of diabetes has multiple adverse effects on cardiovascular risk factors, including atherosclerosis, hypertension and dyslipidemia. These issues, together with the damage hyperglycemia causes to small blood vessels, mean type 2 diabetes increases the incidence of coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times.

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