What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused when the body does not make enough insulin or when the body does not use the insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps control the amount of sugar (or glucose) in the body. In diabetes, this results in sugar building up in the blood instead of being used up as energy.
Think of insulin as the key that unlocks the cells doors to allow sugar in. When there are not enough keys, or, when the keys are not able to unlock the doors, some doors remain locked and the sugar stays outside.
Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?
Anyone who is over the age of 40 should be tested for diabetes every 3 years.
Anyone with one or more of these risk factors below should be screened more often:
• If you are a member of a certain ethnic backgrounds :
o South Asian
• Genetics – having immediate family members with diabetes
• Being overweight especially when the excess weight is around the tummy
• Giving birth to a baby over 9lbs or had gestational diabetes while pregnant
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Certain medical conditions (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea)
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
• Extreme thirst
• Frequent urination
• Weight change (gain or loss)
• Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
• Blurred vision
• Frequent or recurring infections
• Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
• Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
• Trouble getting or keeping an erection
You’ve been diagnosed with Diabetes. Now what?
Your family doctor may recommend you start a few lifestyle changes that could help to lower your blood sugar. These may include: increasing your level of physical activity, modifying your diet to include more fibre and less sugar, fat and salt, or starting medication.
Cherie deBoer is a Registered Nurse at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.
The Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network has a has a team of healthcare professionals that help people living with various chronic conditions such as diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and other nutritional concerns. A smoking cessation program is also offered. Our team, which includes registered nurses, a registered psychologist and registered pharmacist, registered dietitians and an exercise specialist, works with patients to help them learn strategies to improve their ability to manage their health. You can access the team through a referral from your family doctor.
The PCN also offers workshops and classes that are free to the public, a referral is not needed. Check our website for upcoming classes that might interest you.