The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgency about diabetes awareness and prevention, as adults living with diabetes are at greater risk of developing serious symptoms and complications, like pneumonia, and they are almost three times more likely to die in hospital. According to diabetes.ca, one in three Canadians has diabetes or prediabetes, and those at age 20 now face a 50 per cent chance of developing the disease.
2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, which has saved hundreds of millions of lives. With this disease, the body does not make enough insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. The result is high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs and blood vessels.
About 11 million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes. Of the two main types of diabetes, Type 1 usually develops in childhood or adolescence. Type 2 accounts for 90 percent of diabetics, so it's the one most adults need to watch out for.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include: being over 40, being overweight (especially in the middle), having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol and being of Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent.
Symptoms can include: unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight gain or loss, extreme fatigue, blurred vision, frequent infections, slow-to-heal cuts and bruises, and tingling or numbness in hands or feet.
To reduce the chances of getting Type 2 diabetes: be physically active, cut down on fats and sugar in your diet, don't smoke, and keep a healthy blood pressure (through exercise, reduced alcohol consumption).
If left untreated, diabetes can be fatal, with severe complications including blindness, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and amputation. Some reports say that up to half of those with diabetes may experience signs of kidney damage in their lifetime.
For more information, see diabetes.ca