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About Diabetes: What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot properly store and use fuel for energy. The fuel that your body needs is called glucose. Glucose comes from foods such as breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits and some vegetables. To use glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is made by a gland in your body called the pancreas.
You have diabetes because either:
There are three main types of diabetes:
Is diabetes serious?
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, by keeping your blood glucose levels in a target range determined by your doctor, you can reduce your risk of complications and live a long and healthy life.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Your doctor can test you for diabetes using one of the following tests. The amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is measured in mmol/L.
To test for diabetes your doctor will do blood tests. In some cases you may be given a sweetened drink prior to the blood test. A fasting blood test (nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours) of more than 7 mmol/L indicates diabetes. If the blood test is not a fasting test a test result of greater than 11 mmol/L combined with symptoms indicates diabetes.
A second test is usually done to confirm the diagnosis, except if you have acute signs and symptoms.How is diabetes treated?
Today, more than ever before, people with diabetes can expect to live active, independent and vital lives if they make a lifelong commitment to careful diabetes management.
Diabetes is managed in the following ways:
Education: Diabetes education is an important first step. All people with diabetes need to learn about their condition in order to make healthy lifestyle choices and manage their diabetes.
Physical Activity: Regular physical activity helps your body lower blood glucose levels, promotes weight loss, reduces stress and enhances overall health.
Nutrition: What, when and how much you eat all play an important role in regulating how well you body manages blood glucose levels.
Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important in the management of type 2 diabetes.
Medication: Type 1 diabetes is always treated with insulin. Type 2 diabetes is managed through physical activity and meal planning and may require medications and/or insulin to assist your body in making or using insulin more effectively.
Lifestyle Management: Learning to reduce stress levels in day-to-day life can help people with diabetes better manage their disease.
Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can lead to eye disease, stroke and kidney disease, so people with diabetes should try to maintain a blood pressure at or below 130/80. To do this you may need to change your eating and physical activity habits and/or take medication.
For more information about diabetes, visit the Canadian Diabetes Association website:
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