Find resources to help manage diabetes.

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?

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 four kilograms (nine pounds) 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 for people with diabetes

Fraser Health patient education resources

Look for fact sheets and brochures on managing diabetes.
  • Canadian Diabetes Association
    Useful resource for information on how to manage your diabetes.
  • Diabetes: Fact sheets
    Diabetes information is available in easy-to-read fact sheets, organized into helpful topics. Download fact sheets in the language you prefer.
  • Live well with diabetes
    Educational initiative of the B.C. Endocrine Research Foundation that is intended to provide information on all  aspects of diabetes self-management.
  • National Aboriginal Diabetes Association
    National Aboriginal Diabetes Association is a not-for-profit members-led organization established in 1995 as a result of the rising rates of diabetes in Aboriginal communities.

Resources for children and youth

Resources for health care professionals