What You Need to Know About Diabetes

If you need treatment to manage your diabetes, you’re not alone. Nearly one in every three Canadians is affected by diabetes or prediabetes. That’s more than 11 million people! Moreover, half of Canadian young adults will ultimately develop diabetes during their lifetime.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be a scary time. It helps to have good information, so you know how to move forward. So, what do you need to know about diabetes? Here are some of the basics, along with what you can expect for treatment and management.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot produce insulin, cannot produce enough insulin, or can’t use the insulin it does produce. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates your blood sugar level. Without insulin, your body is unable to use sugar as an energy source. Low insulin can cause your blood sugar to spike, damaging your organs.

There are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Which type of diabetes you have will determine the treatment you require.

Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease that generally appears in childhood, but can appear later in life as well. In Type I diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas, which is no longer able to produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.

Type I diabetes is the less common variety of diabetes, affecting roughly 10 percent of patients. Treatment requires regular blood sugar monitoring and administering insulin as needed either with a pump or via injection.

Type II diabetes is the more common type of diabetes and usually appears in adulthood. It can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, activity level, obesity, and other health conditions.

Cases of Type II diabetes differ in severity. Some can be managed with diet and exercise, while others require medication or insulin treatment. Determining the right course of treatment for any particular patient requires regular follow-up with a physician.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes can alter in severity from person to person. The most common symptom is fatigue, as the body is unable to process sugar for energy. Other symptoms include intense thirst, frequent urination, rapid weight gain or loss, frequent infections, and slower healing. Nervous system symptoms include blurred vision and numbness in the extremities, and men may be unable to maintain an erection.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to speak to your doctor. Left untreated, diabetes can eventually progress to the point of diabetic ketoacidosis, which can cause coma or even death.

Managing Diabetes with MediSure

For people with either type of diabetes, regular glucose testing is essential. MediSure Canada offers everything you need to stay on top of your glucose management.

If you find taking your sugar reading painful, there are other options. For example, the Genteel lancing device can painlessly extract a single drop of blood for quick, easy testing.

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