Diabetes Information and treatment
Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure. It is a leading cause of death in the US and Canada.
There are three 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).
* A parent, brother or sister with diabetes
* Health complications that are associated with diabetes
* Given birth to a baby that weighed more than 4 kg (9 lb) at birth
* Had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
* High blood pressure
* High cholesterol or other fats in the blood
Having been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
* Polycystic ovary syndrome
* Acanthosis nigricans (darkened patches of skin)
What are the symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of diabetes include the following:
* 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
How do you know if you have diabetes?
Early diagnosis of diabetes is extremely important. The earlier diabetes is diagnosed, the sooner steps can be taken to manage it and prevent or delay complications. The Canadian Diabetes Association 2003 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada recommend routine screening every three years for everyone age 40 or older and screening every year for individuals with other risk factors.
Can you prevent diabetes?
Scientists believe that lifestyle and type 2 diabetes are closely linked.This means that lifestyle is one area individuals can focus on to help prevent or delay the onset of the condition. A healthy meal plan, weight control, physical activity and stress reduction are important prevention steps.