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What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that develops either when your body cannot effectively use the insulin it makes, or when it does not make enough insulin in the first place. Insulin is critical to your body’s ability to break down the sugar it needs for energy.
- 7.3% of Canadians (that’s about 2.79 million of us) age 12 and older report being diagnosed with diabetes (2021)
- More men (8.2%) than women (6.5%) have diabetes in Canada1
What are the types of diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes2
- 10% of those with diabetes have type 1 (insulin dependence).
- Symptoms can develop quickly, from unusual thirst to tingling and numbness in the hands or feet
- Having a parent or sibling with type 1 or type 2 slightly increases your risk
- Children, teenagers, and young adults are at higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes is managed with taking insulin and other medications as prescribed by your doctor and by monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly using a home blood glucose meter
Type 2 diabetes3
- Adults over 40 are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes
- Individuals of African, Middle Eastern, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous, or South Asian descent may be at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes
- It may develop in adults who are overweight or obese
- Type 2 can be treated with medication, lifestyle changes, or both
- May occur in pregnant women. It usually disappears after the baby is born; however it can increase the risk of developing diabetes later in life for both the mother and the baby
How can I reduce my risk for developing diabetes?
- Stay physically active and eat well
- Maintain a healthy weight and go for regular medical check-ups
- Avoid foods high in trans fats and sugars
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Overweight and/or abdominal obesity
- Giving birth to a baby larger than 4 kg or 9 lb.
- Acanthosis nigricans (skin folds or darkened patches of skin in places such as the arm pit)