What is diabetes?
There is a lot of misinformation out there on diabetes, which can impede understanding of the true causes and treatments. The good news is, you can’t “give yourself diabetes” by eating too much sugar; but adopting small steps to healthier living can greatly reduce your risk.
According to Diabetes Canada, the cause of diabetes depends on your genes, family history, ethnic background and other factors such as your overall health1. Diabetes occurs when your body can’t produce enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the amount of sugar in our blood and how much enters our body from the food we eat.
When you have diabetes, you can suffer from damage to your blood vessels, nerves and organs—either from the build up of sugar in your blood stream or when your body can't absorb enough sugar to be used as energy.
What are the different types of diabetes?
There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Type 2 is the most common.
Type 1 is categorized as an autoimmune disease, as the body is unable to make its own insulin and is commonly developed in childhood.
Type 2 refers to the body not being able to properly use insulin or make enough of it. It is commonly developed in adulthood, although it can arise in childhood.
Gestational diabetes is temporary and can form during pregnancy. Three to 20 per cent of pregnant women will have this form of diabetes.