Stop Diabetes Canada
• In Canada, among 20-39 year olds, individuals with diabetes die at a rate more than six times that of the general population.
• Diabetes can make illnesses like the common cold and flu more difficult to control. People with diabetes who get the flu are more likely than non-diabetic people to develop complications.
• Advancements in surgical techniques have turned gastric banding into a half-hour (or less) procedure with very few incisions.
• High or low blood sugar doesn't always produce symptoms. Regular monitoring is the only way to know for sure if your blood sugar level is within the normal range.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone knows someone with diabetes - a friend, a relative, a co-worker or even themselves. But how many people actually understand what this disease is? Here are the straight facts:
A hormone called insulin is produced by the pancreas to control the amount of sugar in the blood. In diabetes, the sugar builds up in the blood because the body's response to insulin is impaired.
There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Approximately 10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
The remaining 90 percent have type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood, although increasing numbers of children in high-risk populations are being diagnosed.
A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 4 percent of all pregnancies (in the non-Aboriginal population) and 8 - 18 percent of all pregnancies (in the Aboriginal population), and involves an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes for both mother and child.
Untreated diabetes can result in a variety of complications such as:
- Heart Attack or Stroke
- Nephropathy (Kidney disease)
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Loss of feeling in the hands, arms, feet, and legs
The first step in preventing complications caused by diabetes is recognizing the risk factors and symptoms of diabetes...etc. Click here to learn more about early detection.
Living with Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, you can live a long and healthy life by keeping your blood glucose levels (the amount of sugar in your blood) in the target range set by your doctor.
You can do this by:
- Eating healthy meals and snacks
- Enjoying regular physical activity
- Taking diabetes medications (including insulin), if prescribed by your doctor
- Seeking medical help for permanent weight loss
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive, life-long condition; over time, it may be more difficult to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range.
Dramatic weight loss and weight loss maintenance accomplished through adjustable laparoscopic gastric banding is recognized by the American Medical Association as being effective for keeping blood sugar levels in check, and reducing dependence on medication to the point of eliminating the need for medication entirely.
Here are some other steps you can take to manage your diabetes and help maintain your overall health and wellness - today and in the future:
- Don't smoke
- Check your blood glucose levels regularly and keep them in your target range
- Keep your cholesterol and other blood fats in your target range
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep your blood pressure close to target level
- Take your medication as prescribed
- Manage your stress effectively
- Follow a balanced meal plan
- Be physically active
- Take care of your feet
- Regularly visit your dentist, eye care specialist (every one to two years) and doctor
Click here to learn more about how to treat diabetes.
Food for thought
It's a common misconception that people with diabetes must follow a special diet. The truth is the same principles of healthy eating apply to people living with diabetes as to the general population.
Proper nutrition is vital to managing blood sugar, and, as people with diabetes should be monitoring their blood sugar levels, they will quickly learn the effects certain foods have on their blood glucose level. For instance, foods that are high in fibre help to keep blood sugar levels more stable than foods that are high in refined sugar.
Click here for more information on healthy eating and diabetes.
Fitness and Diabetes
Regular exercise has special advantages if you have type 2 diabetes because physical activity improves your body's sensitivity to insulin and helps manage your blood glucose levels.
Your goal should be to complete at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week (e.g. 30 minutes, 5 days a week).
You may have to start slowly, with as little as 5 to 10 minutes of exercise per day, gradually building up to your goal. Multiple, shorter exercise sessions of at least 10 minutes each are as useful as a single longer session of the same intensity.
If you have been inactive for some time you should first see your doctor. He or she will want to ensure that you don't have any conditions or complications that might be aggravated by exercise.
Click here to find out more about physical activity and diabetes.
Your local Canadian Diabetes Association office provides programs and services, hosts events and offers a variety of fundraising and volunteer opportunities. There are a number of ways you can connect with your local office. Click here to find out more about community events.
News & Research
The face of diabetes is always changing, with new information, updates and breakthroughs coming through every day. Click here to get the latest news and research facts.