Last year, Dynacare and Diabetes Canada worked together to deliver #Dynacare4Diabetes, Manitoba’s largest-ever diabetes wellness initiative. At the time, about 377,000 Manitobans (27% of the province) had undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes or prediabetes. In just one year, that number has risen by nearly 10,000, and is expected to reach 472,000 in the next 10 years. Many Manitobans do not realize that after age 40 they should get an A1C (blood sugar) test approximately every three years, especially if they are from one of the identified high-risk groups.
About the initiative
The goal of this initiative is to screen 55,000 Manitobans for type 2 diabetes – particularly those most at risk – using the A1C test from Oct. 21 to Nov. 30, 2019.
Between Oct. 21 and Nov. 30, Dynacare will offer free A1C tests at every Dynacare location in Manitoba, making a 50-cent donation to Diabetes Canada for every A1C test completed, up to a total of $25,000.
This initiative comes at no cost to Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living as it is fully funded by Dynacare, including the cost of all additional A1C tests ordered.
What is an A1C test?
The A1C test is a blood test that measures what percentage of the body’s hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar. The higher a patient’s A1C level, the poorer their blood sugar control and the higher their risk of experiencing complications from diabetes. The test may be done at any time – regardless of when a patient has last eaten – and it reflects average blood sugar levels from the past two to three months. More information regarding blood sugar testing can be found here.
Getting started with screening
For Manitobans who have never been tested for diabetes, or are not sure if they are at risk, Dynacare and Diabetes Canada recommend starting the screening process by reviewing the risk factors and symptoms of diabetes.
Like any other medical issue or concern, speaking to one’s doctor is a good place to start. The doctor can inform their patient if a blood sugar test is necessary and, if recommended, issue a lab requisition form (a document saying indicating a certain test should be completed). Participants in this campaign can ensure their test results in a donation to Diabetes Canada by bringing the form to any Dynacare location in Manitoba and having their A1C test done between Oct. 21 and Nov. 30, 2019.
The A1C testing process
Since there is no need to fast before the A1C test, Manitobans can visit a Dynacare location at a time that is convenient for them. It is however recommended that they check the operational hours and parking availability at the Dynacare facility they intend on visiting in advance, as these may vary depending on the location.
A blood draw typically takes about five to ten minutes, and Dynacare staff are professionally trained to ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible throughout the collection process. In most cases, it takes Dynacare 48 hours to analyze a patient’s sample and return the results to their doctor. Doctors who receive test results with blood sugar levels above the normal range typically contact their patients directly to arrange a consultation and discuss a treatment plan.
Manitobans are encouraged to read these FAQs for before, during and after testing if they have any questions about the Dynacare testing process.
Common diabetes symptoms
Manitobans are encouraged to contact and consult with their primary care physician if suffering from any of the following symptoms:
Risk factors for diabetes
- Unusual thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight change (gain or loss)
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
- Blurred vision
- Frequent or recurring infections
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Trouble getting or maintaining an erection
Manitobans who are over the age of 40, or have one or more of the risk factors below, should speak to their doctor about getting screened for diabetes every three years.
Risk factors include:
- Having a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
- Being a member of a high-risk group (African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous, or South Asian descent; low socioeconomic status)
- Having health complications that are associated with diabetes
- Having given birth to a baby that weighed more than nine pounds (four kilograms) at birth or having had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
- Having been diagnosed with prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose)
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol or other fats in the blood
- Being overweight, especially if that weight is mostly carried around the stomach
- Having been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
- Having been diagnosed with Acanthosis nigricans (darkened patches of skin)
- Having been diagnosed with any of the following psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder
- Having been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea
- Having been prescribed a glucocorticoid medication by a doctor
The purpose of this campaign is not to diagnose diabetes. It is a wellness initiative
that is intended to make it easier for Manitobans with risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes to access an A1C test. The A1C test is a method of screening a blood sample for its A1C hemoglobin level. The results and other factors are evaluated by the ordering physician, who is responsible for interpreting and sharing the results with their patients and ultimately determining a diagnosis.
For more information on screening for diabetes in adults, please visit: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/cpg/chapter4