Diabetes Awareness

Diabetes Awareness
by Buffy MacNeil, RD
Did you know that World Diabetes Day is November 14th?  It is celebrated worldwide in over 160 countries and territories.  It is celebrated on November 14, to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting. Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin in 1921.  The World Diabetes Day logo is a blue circle.  The circle is a symbol for life and health, and the colour blue reflects the sky that unites all nations and is the colour of the United Nations’ flag.  The blue circle signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes pandemic.  

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.

Diabetes Education

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)

About Buffy:

Buffy MacNeil is a Certified Diabetes Educator and has worked with over 1000 people living with diabetes and their families for the last 6 years.  Be sure to register today for her workshop to increase your awareness and learn about how many of us may be affected by diabetes.

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