Diabetes Awareness Month

Doctor hands holding blue ribbon for diabetes and Colorectal Cancer Awareness

November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Diabetes continues to be a hot topic of discussion as rates continue to be on the rise internationally and in Canada.

A staggering 1 out of 3 Canadians has diabetes or prediabetes; that’s approximately 11 million Canadians.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease wherein the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin that it does produce. Insulin is a vital hormone that is produced by the pancreas.

There are two major types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of diabetes cases across Canada.

Risk Factors for Developing Type 2 Diabetes

There are several factors that may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including having the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • A higher Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Prediabetes
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

You may notice that many of the diabetes risk factors are also associated with living with obesity.

There are other risk factors for diabetes that may be out of your control, such as being over the age of 40 or being from certain ethnic backgrounds such as African, Arab, Hispanic, Indigenous or South Asian.

Preventing and Delaying Onset of Type 2 Diabetes

There is no guaranteed way to ensure that you will never develop diabetes. However, certain lifestyle habits have shown effective in preventing or delaying the onset of Type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Being physically active
  • Eating a varied and nutritious diet – including limiting highly processed foods and refined sugars
  • Avoiding use of tobacco

If you think you may have diabetes, please speak with your family doctor for more information.