Global Epidemic: Type II Diabetes

The following factors are leading to a dramatic increase in the number of people affected by Type II diabetes in Canada:

  • An aging population
  • Rising rates of Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyles

An estimated 285 million people worldwide were affected by diabetes in 2010. This number is expected to grow to 438 million by 2030.

What is Type II diabetes?

This type of diabetes occurs when your pancreas is no longer functioning to produce insulin properly. Insulin is required to store sugar (glucose) in your body. Without insulin, the sugar builds up in your blood. Additionally, those with this type of diabetes are unable to respond to the small amount of insulin they produce, leading to a further buildup of sugar in the blood.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

While it is possible to recognize the onset of diabetes with symptoms, keep in mind that many people with diabetes exhibit no symptoms. It takes months and even years to develop diabetes. That means that symptoms can start so slowly that they go unnoticed.

Symptoms may include:

  • Unusual Thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Weight change (gain or loss)
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • Blurred Vision
  • Frequent or re-occurring infections
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness of hands or feet

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Due to the silent nature of disease, diagnosis of diabetes usually occurs after a routine blood test. If you are over the age of 40 you should be screened for diabetes every 3 years. Don’t wait for your doctor to ask you, ask your doctor if you have been screened at your next appointment.

What happens if diabetes is left untreated?

When blood sugar is too high, there are changes in blood chemistry that causes damage to blood vessel walls. This damage can lead to the following:

  • Blindness
  • Kidney Problems
  • Heart Disease
  • Nerve Damage
  • In men, erectile dysfunction

Even with treatment, these complications can arise. Good care and management can prevent or delay the onset of these complications.

Can you prevent Diabetes?

It has been shown that a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or delay the onset of type II diabetes. Eating healthy, maintaining optimal weight and an active lifestyle are important steps to prevention.

How is diabetes treated?

There are many treatments available depending on the severity of disease at the onset of diagnosis. The following are methods used alone or in combination:

  • Weight Management
  • Physical Activity and Nutrition
  • Blood pressure must be controlled to less than 130/80
  • Medications, both oral and injectable can be used.

It is important to recognize that diabetes is a progressive disease. If diagnosed early, initially lifestyle modifications or one medication may be enough to control your blood sugar. As the condition progresses, it is likely that multiple medications and/or injectable insulin may be required.

Living with undiagnosed diabetes will shorten your life. The earlier diabetes is diagnosed, the easier it is to control blood sugar and prevent complications. If you think you may have diabetes, or would like to learn more about testing speak to your pharmacist or doctor today! Don’t wait until it’s to late!

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