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Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter the body's cells, where it is used for energy. Diabetes therefore causes blood glucose (sugar) levels that are too high.
Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes, usually develops in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. About 10% of those with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. With type 1 diabetes, the body produces very little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes (90%), and it usually occurs in adults, but children can be affected as well. With type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or is unable to use it properly.
The symptoms below occur when blood glucose levels exceed the normal range. They may or may not be present when a diagnosis of diabetes is made, and they may also occur when a person's diabetes is not well controlled. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known. However, having a family member (parent, sibling) with type 1 diabetes slightly increases the risk.
Adults over the age of 40 should be tested for type 2 diabetes every three years. Anyone with one or more risk factors should be tested more often:
Diabetes is diagnosed through a blood glucose test that measures the amount of glucose (sugar) in a sample of blood. Glucose is measured using millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Levels that exceed those outlined in the table below are indicative of diabetes.
|Time of day blood glucose is measured||Level|
|First thing in the morning (fasting)||≥ 7.0 mmol/L|
|At any time during the day||≥ 11.1 mmol/L|
The goal of diabetes treatment is to keep blood glucose levels as close to the target range as possible. Your doctor and pharmacist will guide you along as you learn how to self-monitor your blood glucose. This is done at home using a blood glucose meter. There are several devices available and your pharmacist will be able to advise you so that you may purchase the meter that best suits your needs. In addition to checking your blood glucose levels at home, it is likely that your doctor will order a glycosylated hemoglobin test. The results of this blood test shows what the person's average blood glucose level was for the last 3 months. The target value for the majority of diabetic patients is ≤ 7%.
|Time of day blood glucose is measured||Target for most patients|
|First thing in the morning (fasting) and before meals||4.0 to 7.0 mmol/L|
|2 hours after a meal||5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L|
Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin injections and healthy lifestyle habits. Type 2 diabetes is managed through physical activity, a healthy diet and, in some cases, medication. Medications can be taken orally or injected and your doctor will prescribe the treatment that is best suited for you. Your pharmacist will be able to provide you with all the information you need regarding your diabetes treatment and any other related medical condition.
Over the long term, high blood glucose can cause complications. To prevent complications and keep blood glucose within the target range, pay close attention to the following:
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.