McMaster Diabetes Association (MDA)
Diabetes – How Much Do You Know?
Diabetes, in a nutshell, is a disease where your body either can’t produce insulin (Type 1) or is unable to use the insulin it body produces (Type 2). Since 2000, the rate of diabetes has increased by 70%. Although there are different types of diabetes, the most common one is Type 2 diabetes which accounts for approximately 90% of all reported cases in Canada. In addition to this, almost 6 million Canadians have prediabetes where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.
In this article, we will outline some of the common (and not so common) facts about diabetes which may help you learn more about this extremely prevalent disease.
Fact 1: Diabetes is not solely caused by overconsumption of sugary foods.
Although consumption of sugary foods increases your chance of developing diabetes, it is not the main cause. As mentioned, T1D is when your body is unable to produce insulin and T2D is when your body can’t use the produced insulin.
Fact 2: Having gestational diabetes does not mean your baby will have diabetes.
Pregnant individuals may develop a resistance to insulin which is referred to as gestational diabetes. A common myth is that the development of gestational diabetes leads to the child being born with diabetes. This is simply not true. However, your high blood sugar can cause the baby’s pancreas to produce extra insulin which may result in the baby being born with a high birth weight, low blood glucose, and breathing problems.
Fact 3: Diabetes is a main cause of blindness, amputation, and kidney failure.
Although diabetes is a manageable disease, cases of mismanagement can sometimes lead to diabetic retinopathy, which can cause blindness. Uncontrolled diabetes can also slow wound-healing which can lead to infection and if not treated properly, may cause the need for an amputation of a limb.
Fact 4: Being overweight does not cause diabetes.
Although it is true that having excess body fat can increase your risk of developing diabetes, it does not automatically lead to a diabetes diagnosis. People who fall under the normal weight can also develop diabetes. The best prevention is to stay physically active and adopting a healthy nutritional lifestyle.
About Diabetes. Diabetes Canada Website, https://www.diabetes.ca/en-CA/about-diabetes. Accessed 3 Nov. 2022.
American Diabetes Association. 3. Prevention or delay of type 2 diabetes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2021. Diabetes Care. 2021;44(Suppl 1): S34-S39. PMID: 33298414 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33298414/.
American Diabetes Association. 5. Facilitating behavior change and well-being to improve health outcomes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2021. Diabetes Care. 2021;44(Suppl 1): S53-S72. PMID: 33298416 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33298416/.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Diabetes risk factors. www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/risk-factors.html. Updated April 23, 2021. Accessed July 6, 2021.