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Your Guide to Diabetes

PDF Format 0.7 MB, 24 pages

Cat.: 978-1-100-19612-1
ISBN: HP35-27/2011E-PDF

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Table of Contents

To promote and protect the health of Canadians through leadership, partnership, innovation and action in public health.

—Public Health Agency of Canada

Your Guide to Diabetes

  • Diabetes affects roughly two and a half million Canadians. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to many serious complications, including: heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss, and lower limb amputation.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) estimates that 5 million Canadians over the age of 20 are currently pre-diabetic. An additional 1 million new cases of pre-diabetes are expected by 2016. Pre-diabetes is a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and if left untreated more than half of the people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 8 to 10 years.
  • Although diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, there are steps that can be taken to prevent or control the disease and lower the risk of complications. This guide is intended to help you understand diabetes, how certain types can be prevented or managed, and how to live with the condition.

Did You Know?

You may be pre-diabetic and not know it. Pre-diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to diagnose diabetes. Talk to your health care provider to learn more.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that results from the body''s main source of energy.

If left untreated, more than half of the people with pre-diabetes will have type 2 diabetes within 8 to 10 years.

Pre-diabetes can be prevented, and is most common in people over the age of 40 and in people who are overweight.

Pre-diabetes can be managed, or in some cases reversed, through healthy lifestyle choices.

Understanding type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes (Most Common) Gestational Diabetes
What Happens? The body can no longer produce insulin. The body does not make enough insulin and/or does not respond well to the insulin it makes. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) occurs during pregnancy, but usually disappears within six weeks of delivery.
Develops When? Usually develops in childhood or early adolescence. Most common in people over the age of 40 and in people who are overweight. Develops during pregnancy, affecting 4 per cent of all pregnant women.
Actions Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of serious complications.

Requires multiple injections to regulate insulin levels.
Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of serious complications.

May require medication to regulate blood glucose levels.
May be managed through healthy lifestyle choices.

May require medication to regulate blood glucose levels.
Risks Can lead to many complications, including: heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss and lower limb amputation. Can lead to many complications, including: heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss and lower limb amputation. Increases the risk of both the mother and child developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body no longer produces enough insulin, or has difficulty using the insulin it produces, causing sugar to build up in the blood.

Over time, this damages blood vessels and nerves and can result in severe complications including: blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage, amputation, and erectile dysfunction.

Adopting a healthier lifestyle can help prevent or control type 2 diabetes, and can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, and stroke. It can also contribute to your overall well-being and quality of life.

Did You Know?

Nine out of ten Canadians with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Seniors represent almost 45 per cent of the total number of people with the disease, and this number is expected to rise as Canada''t change some risk factors (age, family history, ethnic background, etc.), other risk factors for diabetes may respond to lifestyle changes.

Know Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. BMI is an easy way to estimate excess fat. Even a small change in body weight can reduce your risk of diabetes.

If your score is:

Below 18.5 = Underweight
18.5–24.9 = Normal
25.0–29.9 = Overweight/Pre-obese
30.0 and over = Obese

To calculate your BMI, you can use the BMI chart or the formulas at the bottom of this page or complete the Canadian diabetes risk questionnaire.

For more information on BMI.

Measure Your Waist Circumference

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is higher if fat is stored around the abdomen (rather than the hips and thighs). BMI assessments do not take into account where fat is stored. Men with a waist circumference of 102 cm (40 inches) or more and women with a waist circumference of 88 cm (35 inches) or more are at higher risk. Measure after breathing out (do not hold your breath). This is not the same as the waist size on your pants.

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

By adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, in addition to eating foods that are rich in fibre and low in sugar and fat, can help you maintain or lose weight.

In addition to monitoring the foods you eat, you should also monitor portion size, while still ensuring that they contain enough healthy nutrients. Visit Health Canada''s Food Guide . to learn more.

Did You Know?

Your waist circumference is important to know (this is not the same as the waist size of your pants).

Be Physically Active

Increasing physical activity, which can help control weight, can also reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Visit PHAC''s never too late to quit

  • Be physically active
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet in accordance with Health Canada''s Food Guide
  • Maintain a healthy cholesterol level
  • Control blood pressure
  • Examine feet and skin every day
  • Have an eye exam at least once a year
  • Have a kidney function test at least once a year
  • Visit your healthcare provider regularly
  • Diabetes – Terms to Know

    A1C
    A1C also known as HbA1c, is a blood test that shows the average amount of sugar in your blood over three months. It shows how well you are controlling your diabetes.
    Acanthosis Nigricans
    Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition, which leads to dark markings found typically around the neck, underarms or groin area. It is most often associated with obesity and may occur at any age.
    Blood Glucose
    Blood glucose is the main sugar found in the blood and the body''s average blood glucose level over 2 to 3 months. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed based on elevated fasting blood glucose (7.0 millimole/litre (mmol/L) or greater).
    Blood Lipid
    Blood lipid is a term for fat in the blood and is measured with a lipid profile blood test. The lipid profile test measures total cholesterol (the fat produced by the liver and found in some foods), triglycerides (the storage form of fat in the body), high-density lipoprotein ( HDL) cholesterol (or "good" cholesterol), and low density lipoprotein ( LDL) cholesterol (or "bad" cholesterol).
    Blood Pressure
    Blood pressure is the force of blood on the inside walls of blood vessels. It is measured by analyzing both the systolic (the pressure when the heart pushes blood out into the arteries) pressure and the diastolic (pressure when the heart is at rest) blood pressure.
    Cardiovascular Disease
    Cardiovascular disease is a term that refers to diseases of the circulatory system including the heart and blood vessels.
    Diabetic Retinopathy
    Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that results from damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, which may lead to loss of eyesight. It affects the back part of the eye that contains the cells that respond to light. There are some treatments if the disease is caught early, one of which is laser therapy.
    Dialysis
    Dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure which removes wastes and water from the blood.
    End-Stage Renal Disease
    End-stage renal disease is kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant to survive.
    Impaired Fasting Glucose
    Impaired fasting glucose is defined as blood glucose levels of 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L from a fasting blood test.
    Insulin
    Insulin is a hormone which regulates the way glucose is stored and used in the body.
    Insulin Resistance
    Insulin resistance occurs when normal levels of insulin are insufficient to produce a normal insulin response in muscles, fat and the liver. It is associated with obesity, particularly abdominal obesity. Insulin resistance leads to elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels and is a characteristic of both metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, sometimes called Polycystic Ovarian Disease, is a hormonal disorder that causes the ovaries to produce higher than normal amounts of androgens (male hormones) that interferes with egg production. As a result, the ovary produces a cyst instead of an egg. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome tend to be insulin resistant.
    Vascular Diseases
    Vascular Diseases are conditions that affect the blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body. Atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries caused by the build up of fatty deposits, is a common form of vascular disease.

    For More Information

    BMI Chart

    To calculate your body mass index (BMI) you need to know your weight and your height. You can use the BMI chart or the following formulas to calculate your body mass index:

    If you measure your weight in pounds and your height in inches:

    BMI = (weight in pounds x 703) / (height in inches)2

    If you measure your weight in kilograms and height in metres:

    BMI = weight (in kilograms)/height(metres) 2

    [BMI Chart - Text Equivalent]

    To calculate your body mass index (BMI) you need to know your weight and your height. The following formulas will then calculate your body mass index:

    If you measure your weight in pounds and your height in inches:

    BMI = (weight in pounds x 703) / (height in inches)2

    If you measure your weight in kilograms and height in metres:

    BMI = weight(in kilograms)/height(metres)2

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