What is Diabetes?



 

4_INTERNALDon’t pour too much sugar on me!
Diabetes is one of those conditions that many of us don’t know how to feel about. Is it serious? Is it easy to cope with? How should those diagnosed feel? Will it go away? Diabetes comes in many forms, and does not target specific people, but is does affect over 9 million Canadians who are currently living with a form of diabetes or pre-diabetes. We put together a 411 guide just for you.

How many types of diabetes are there?
In a nutshell, diabetes can be broken down into 4 categories:

1. Type 1 diabetes (a.k.a. diabetes insipidus): it is generally diagnosed in youth and accounts for 10% of individuals living with diabetes in Canada. In this case, the body is incapable of producing insulin.

2. Type 2 diabetes (a.k.a. diabetes mellitus): in contrast with Type 1, Type 2 is when the body does not produce insulin efficiently, but is not incapable of doing so. It develops generally in the adult years. Type 2 accounts for roughly 90% of individuals living with diabetes in Canada.

3. Gestational diabetes: it is generally temporary, found in 2-4% of pregnancies. In some rare cases, it does continue after the child is born. However the majority of mothers see a full recovery. The child is generally born without any sign of diabetes.

4. Pre-diabetes: this is when an individual has high levels of glucose, but the pancreas can still produce insulin. Acting on a diagnosis of pre-diabetes may lead to a complete reversal with food and lifestyle changes, and with the guidance of your health team.

What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone required to generate the energy we need. Insulin is produced by the pancreas so as to regulate the amount of glucose circulating in the blood, instead of accumulating in the blood. The body produces glucose from many sources such as fruit, potatoes and pasta.

Do more people have diabetes these days?
Sadly, yes. Unfortunately, children are a growing demographic of diabetes patients. The increasing weight situation in North America is a factor, as well as poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.

Prevention
Prevention is always the best medicine. If someone in your family has diabetes, that does put you at an increased risk, but this doesn’t mean you will have a one-way ticket to diabetes.

Some ways to prevent diabetes include: exercising daily, eating right, eating leafy green vegetables (such as kale), drinking plain water, avoiding processed foods and refined sugars, avoiding sodas and bottled juices, and speaking to your physician and getting annual blood tests.
Signs to look out for
These are some signs to be aware of. Those diagnosed with diabetes, however, do not always have these symptoms*:

-Frequent need for urination
-Increased thirst
-Fluctuating weight
-Lack of energy
-Feeling tired when you’ve rested enough
-Blurred vision

-Tingling or numbness in extremities

Remember, you should know your body best.

* This list does not diagnose diabetes but is a guide of points of interest to open communication with your physician and speak about diabetes and how you feel about it.

Managing diabetes
Living with diabetes is not so different that living a healthy and balanced lifestyle; you just happen to be more aware of why you’re doing it. Simply know what‘s on your plate, exercise regularly, and listen to your body and take good care of it.

Diabetes or not, taking great care of yourself is always a smart move!

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