November 14th is World Diabetes Day!
It was established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization and later became an official United Nations Day in 2007. The day’s logo is a blue circle and several activities are organized such as: lighting of monuments and buildings in blue, diabetes walks, school activities, and workshops.
Diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood sugars.
There are three main types:
- Type 1 diabetes: no insulin* is produced. Usually affects children and adolescents
- Type 2 diabetes: not enough insulin is produced or insulin is not properly used by the body. Usually affects adults but more children are being diagnosed as well
- Gestational diabetes: diabetes during pregnancy
*hormone which helps glucose enters the cells
1 in 4 Canadians have diabetes, pre-diabetes**, or undiagnosed diabetes. If the same trend continues, 1 in 3 Canadians will be affected by 2020. (1) If left untreated, diabetes can result in heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and amputation. (2)
Almost one million Canadians are unaware they have diabetes. (1)
**with pre-diabetes your blood sugars are higher than the normal range but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common. Diabetes awareness is very important for both earlier diagnosis as well as prevention. Be aware of the risk factors and symptoms:
- being overweight
- having a parent or sibling with diabetes
- a history of gestational diabetes
- having high blood pressure
- having high cholesterol
- eating an unbalanced diet
- living a sedentary lifestyle (low physical activity)
- excessive thirst
- frequent urination
- significant weight changes
- extreme fatigue or lack of energy
- blurred vision
- tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Some people with type 2 diabetes may not have any symptoms. (2) Regular medical check-ups are highly recommended.
Take the Canadian Diabetes Association CANRISK questionnaire to assess if you are at risk of having pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. By knowing your risk, you can begin to make nutrition and lifestyle changes which can help reduce your risk or even prevent you from developing diabetes.
If you have any concerns, contact a health professional.
1. Canadian Diabetes Association, Diabète Québec. Diabetes: Canada at the tipping point. Toronto: Canadian Diabetes Association; [date unknown][cited 2012 October 15]. Available from: <a href=”http://www.diabetes.ca/advocacy/reports-and-information/diabetes-canada-at-the-tipping-point/”>http://www.diabetes.ca/advocacy/reports-and-information/diabetes-canada-at-the-tipping-point/</a>
2. Canadian Diabetes Association. Diabetes facts. Toronto: Canadian Diabetes Association; [date unknown][cited 2012 October 15]. Available from: <a href=”http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/what/facts/”>http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/what/facts/</a>.