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Diabetes

In Chronic Disease

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease caused by the body’s inability to produce or correctly use insulin, a hormone needed by the body to process energy provided by food and used in cells and tissues. When insulin is not available to process this energy from food, high levels of glucose (sugar) build up in the blood, which causes damage over the long term. There are several types of diabetes, but the two most common are called “type 1 diabetes” and “type 2 diabetes.”

Type 1 diabetes

Previously called “juvenile diabetes” and often diagnosed in childhood (but not necessarily), this type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin.

There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Generally, this type of diabetes develops after the age of 10. A balanced diet and regular physical activity can help prevent type 2 diabetes, often related to an unhealthy lifestyle (e.g., being overweight, smoking, lack of exercise). Recently, an increase in the number of people suffering from this type of diabetes has been observed, particularly in younger people.

Symptoms

Often people have diabetes and don’t know it. This is why it is so important to have yearly check-ups with your health care professional, where you can be tested for diabetes and other diseases that could predispose you to developing diabetes (e.g., pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome).

Symptoms to watch for:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Feeling unusually tired
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sudden changes in your vision, especially blurry vision

Dangers of diabetes 

Diabetes that is not well controlled (when blood sugar levels are often high) can increase the risk of developing other conditions such as:  

  • Cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, erectile dysfunction)
  • Neurological disorders (such as neuropathy)
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye disease (retinopathy, cataracts)

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the development or progression of some of these health problems.

Treatment

Unfortunately, diabetes cannot be cured at this point in time. The only existing treatment is to maintain an optimal blood glucose level and prevent complications brought on by diabetes.

Reduce associated risks

Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can reduce your risk of developing complications by paying close attention to your overall health and carefully monitoring your condition. Some helpful strategies include:

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Close monitoring of your glucose levels. (It has been shown that diabetics who frequently test their blood sugar levels can achieve better control. Blood glucose meters are available at Access pharma affiliated pharmacies.)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Strict medical follow-up (It is important to see your doctor regularly. This will involve blood tests to measure cholesterol and other lipids (fatty acids), frequent eye exams, blood pressure monitoring, and other tests as recommended by your doctor. Testing frequency will vary from person to person.)

Diabetes Québec

The mission of Diabetes Québec, which has existed for more than 50 years, is to inform about, raise awareness of, promote the prevention of diabetes, fund research, provide services to and defend the rights of people with diabetes.

It offers information sessions and answers, via it’s telephone line InfoDiabète, via thousands of calls from people who need information or help. Plein Soleil, is Diabetes Québec’s quarterly review that is a great information tool about the disease, its impact and how to approach treatment, both for the person who is affected and their loved ones. The organisation also has a website, which is considered a reference in the French-speaking world, that provides information for the public. Its educational service Diabétaide educates both diabetics and health care professionals who take care of them and is supported by a solid network of affiliated associations across Québec.

Diabetes testing in the pharmacy

Accès Pharma offers a diabetes-testing clinic by health care professionals. Talk to them about the disease so you can get educated about it and its’ treatment. You can also get information about diet, exercise and medication.

 

To download the PDF brochure, click here

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