Diabetes

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Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas no longer produces insulin. The body needs insulin to use sugar for energy. Approximately 10 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 3.5 per cent of all pregnancies and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child.

Is diabetes serious?

If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye disease
  • Problems with erection (impotence)
  • Nerve damage

The first step in avoiding the onset of these complications is recognizing the risk factors, as well as signs and symptoms that may indicate you have diabetes. Careful management of diabetes, for those living with it, can delay or even prevent complications.

What are the risks?

Risk factors for developing diabetes include the following:

Being:

  • Age 40 or older
  • A member of a high-risk ethnic group (Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent)
  • Overweight (especially if you carry most of your weight around your middle)

Having:

  • A parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • Health complications that are associated with diabetes (see above under "Is diabetes serious?")
  • Given birth to a baby that weighed more than 4 kg (9 lb) at birth
  • Had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol or other fats in the blood

Having been diagnosed with any of the following:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Acanthosis nigricans (darkened patches of skin)
  • Schizophrenia

Signs and symptoms

  • 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

It is important to recognize, however, that many people who have type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms.

Resources

Forms

General resources

What is diabetes?

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

Healthy eating

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

Exercise

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

Blood glucose testing

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

Low blood glucose (Hypoglycemia)

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

High blood glucose and sick days

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

Medication for diabetes

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

Insulin injection

Syringe

Pens

Lilly products

Novo Nordisk products

Sanofi Aventis products

Lifestyle issues

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

  • Managing stress (page 2)
  • Diabetes and Driving (page 31)
  • Making lifestyle changes (page 32)
  • Travel Tips (page 33)

Staying healthy with diabetes

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

  • Long Term Complications (pages 28-29)
  • Staying Healthy Reminders (page 34)

Caring for your feet

* Refer to On the Road to Diabetes Health

Stop smoking

Diabetes and pregnancy

Children and youth

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