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Diabetes: Are you at Risk?

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Diabetes: Are you at Risk?

November is Diabetes Awareness month, and since there are an estimated 1 million people in Canada living with undiagnosed type II diabetes it’s crucial to educate everyone on the risk factors associated with diabetes, and most importantly how to prevent diabetes. Emphasis as you can see on the prevention of diabetes because it is possible.

 

 

Do you know someone with diabetes? For the most part everyone does, but do you actually know what diabetes is? Or if you or someone you love is at risk?

 

Diabetes is a metabolic disease caused when the pancreas loses its ability to produce enough insulin. Because insulin is responsible for the uptake of sugar that is in our blood the end result is increased blood sugars which can lead to a number of complications. Many of these complications go hand and hand with heart disease accounting for 30 percent of strokes, 40 per cent of heart attacks, 50 per cent of kidney dialysis, and 70 per cent of non-traumatic amputations, not to mention that it is a leading cause of blindness. Nerve damage that leads to complications can begin as early as the prediabetes stage, which is why early detection and awareness is so important.

 

Risk factors for type II diabetes include:

  • Family history of diabetes, especially close relatives like a parent or sibling.
  • Gender- males are more at risk.
  • Certain ethnic groups are more at risk than others. High risk groups include; Asian, South Asian, Aboriginal, Hispanic, and African descent.
  • Age- particularly over the age of 40.
  • Previously diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes).
  • Being overweight, especially if the weight is distributed around your waist.
  • Having high blood pressure.
  • Having high cholesterol or fats in the blood.
  • History of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs.
  • Being physically inactive.
  • Having a unhealthy diet.

 

Not sure if you’re at risk? Don’t ignore these risk factors take 2 minutes to fill out the questionnaire Take 2 Minutes to find out.

 

As you can see there are a few risk factors that you have no control over such as your family, ethnicity, age and gender. But there are many risk factors that correlate directly to your lifestyle, therefore by changing your habits you can reduce your risk of diabetes by 60%. Exercise as always is the best treatment and unlike medication it has minimal side effects but the key with prevention is early detection, by ignoring the signs you are putting yourself at more risk.

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