What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your body either can’t produce insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas.
Insulin’s role is to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Blood sugar must be carefully regulated to ensure that the body functions properly. Too much blood sugar can cause damage to organs, blood vessels, and nerves. Your body also needs insulin in order to use sugar for energy.
Eleven million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. Chances are, diabetes affects you or someone you know.
Type 1 diabetes generally develops in childhood or adolescence, but can also develop in adulthood. People with type 1 need to inject insulin or use an insulin pump to ensure their bodies have the right amount of insulin
People with type 2 diabetes can’t properly use the insulin made by their bodies, or their bodies aren’t able to produce enough insulin. Roughly 90 per cent of people living with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is most commonly developed in adulthood, although it can also occur in childhood. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be managed with healthy eating and regular exercise alone, but may also require medications or insulin therapy.
If you think you or someone you know may have type 2 diabetes, please speak to a doctor or health-care provider.
Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but are not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Although not everyone with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes, many people will.
It’s important to know if you have prediabetes, because research has shown that some long-term complications associated with diabetes—such as heart disease—may begin during prediabetes.
Having high blood sugar can cause diabetes-related complications, like kidney disease(This link opens in a new window), foot and leg problems(This link opens in a new window), eye disease (retinopathy)(This link opens in a new window) that can lead to blindness, heart attack & stroke, anxiety(This link opens in a new window), nerve damage(This link opens in a new window), amputation and erectile dysfunction.
Diabetes-related complications can be very serious and even life-threatening. Properly managing blood sugar levels reduces the risk of developing these complications.