According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, over 2 MILLION Canadians have diabetes and it has now become a leading cause of premature death! Diabetes is a chronic endocrine disorder defined by the inability of the body to produce or properly utilize insulin. Insulin is a hormone involved in energy regulation in the body (fuel uptake based on energy demand).
It is important to distinguish between the three types of diabetes:
Type 1 is one of two primary forms of diabetes, comprising 10% of all diabetics. This severe disorder typically arises in late childhood and may have a genetic origin. Research has suggested that this is an autoimmune disorder (body attacks itself) possibly caused during an infecting earlier in childhood. It is believed that the immune system may have mistaken the islets of Langerhans within the pancreas as alien cells and destroyed them, thereby eliminating their ability to produce insulin.
Type 2 is the second major form of diabetes, comprising nearly all the rest of diabetes patients. This form is also known as adult onset diabetes, as it tends to take effect later in life (generally, after age 40). Shockingly, the number of adolescents being diagnosed has risen greatly in recent years. With this disorder, the pancreas either fails to produce sufficient insulin or the cells of the body are not receptive to the insulin that is produced. Type 2 seems to be associated with poor lifestyle habits such as obesity, stress and other controllable factors.
Gestational diabetes is temporary and occurs in women during pregnancy. Approximately 3.5% of all pregnancies are affected. Those who suffer the condition are at higher risk of developing diabetes as well as their newborns.
Why is there such concern?
If left untreated, diabetes can lead to thickening of the artery walls (due to insufficient elimination of wastes from the blood) and increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults.
Roughly half of those patients who require dialysis for kidney failure are diabetics.
Diabetes can cause nervous system damage leading to pain and/or loss of sensation. This loss of sensation can further lead to amputations or the extremities.
Impotence and erectile dysfunctions have also been reported.
If you fall within the high-risk category for being diagnosed (high stress, overweight, ethnic decent, genetic connection to diabetic, etc), ensure that you are aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and get checked regularly.
Take charge and control your mental, emotional and physical health; eat well, exercise regularly and dedicate sufficient time and energy to stress management. Research has concluded that making these sorts of positive lifestyle changes can act to prevent or eliminate the onset of diabetes.
It is never too late to begin to help yourself…don’t put it off, make your move and set yourself up for a long, vibrant and healthy life!
For more specific information please browse through the Canadian Diabetes Association’s website: