by Buffy MacNeil, RD
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic, often debilitating and sometimes fatal disease, in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Diabetes leads to high levels of glucose in the blood, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves. The body needs insulin to use glucose as an energy source.
What is the pancreas and what does it do?
The pancreas is an organ that sits behind the stomach and releases hormones into the digestive system. In the healthy body, when blood glucose levels get too high, special cells in the pancreas (called beta cells) release insulin. Insulin is a hormone and it causes cells to take in glucose to use as energy or to store as fat. This causes blood glucose levels to go back down.
What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and kills the beta cells of the pancreas. No, or very little, insulin is released into the body. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy. About 5-10 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes generally develops in childhood or adolescence, but can develop in adulthood.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t properly use the insulin that is released (called insulin insensitivity) or does not make enough insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy. About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes more often develops in adults, but children can be affected.
What is gestational diabetes?
A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 2 to 4 per cent of all pregnancies (in the non-Aboriginal population) and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child.
If you would like to learn more, join me on Wednesday, November 26th from 6:30-8:00pm to get educated on diabetes. Some of the topics we will cover include: Nutrition, Meal Planning, Exercise, Medications, A1C & Blood Glucose Targets, Risk Factors and Preventing Complications. For more information or to register, visit www.lifestylesfitnesstudio.ca or contact us at 832-4848.
Canadian Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.ca)