November is Diabetes Awareness Month and November 14 is World Diabetes Day. To raise awareness of diabetes and share information on best management, the Sharbot Family Health Team Diabetic Education Team (Cathy Fox, Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered Nurse and Saman Shaikh, Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered Dietitian) will be contributing weekly articles during the month of November
Currently diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions as one in three Canadians is living with diabetes or prediabetes and an estimated 1.5 million are living with undiagnosed diabetes.
There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes but maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce its impact on your life. What you do every day makes a difference: eating healthily, staying physically active, taking medicines if prescribed, and keeping health care appointments to stay on track.
There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).
With type 1 diabetes, your body can’t make insulin (a hormone that acts like a key to let blood sugar into cells for use as energy), so you need to take it every day. Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes; 5% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Most people with diabetes—9 out of 10—have type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. If you have any of the risk factors below, ask your doctor if you should be tested for diabetes. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can start making healthy changes that will benefit you now and in the future.
Type 2 diabetes risk factors include:
Having prediabetes (blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes).
Being 45 years or older.
Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
Being physically active less than 3 times a week.
Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
The Canadian Diabetic Association encourages everyone to visit www. Diabetestest.ca to take the online CANRISK test and learn their risk level for developing type 2 diabetes.
You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. Now what?
Managing diabetes or prediabetes is a balancing act—food, activity, medicine, and blood sugar levels—but you can do it. Meeting with a certified diabetes educator is a great way to get support and guidance, including how to:
Follow a healthy eating plan.
Get physically active.
Test your blood sugar.
Give yourself insulin by syringe, pen, or pump, if needed.
Monitor your feet, skin and eyes to catch problems early.
Get diabetes supplies and store them according to package directions.
Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care.
What is a Certified Diabetes Educator?
Certified Diabetes Educators play a significant role in managing Diabetes. A Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) is a licensed health care professional, such as a nurse, dietitian or pharmacist, who specializes in helping people with diabetes learn how to manage their condition. The counselling and support that CDEs provide is known as diabetes education or diabetes self-management. To certify, the diabetes educator must pass a national exam that certifies them with the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board. Re-certification is done every 5 years to maintain the status of “Certified” Diabetes Educator (CDE).
CDEs assist people with diabetes or prediabetes with self-management by offering evidence-based guidance to diabetes care. CDEs collaborate with the physician or nurse practitioner using the 2018 Diabetes Canada Guidelines to follow you in such areas as monitoring of blood glucose, medications, reducing risk of complications, monitoring of blood pressure, weight, waist circumference, feet, eyes and exercise. In your diabetes visit, the CDE will discuss your needs and goals, provide tracking tools to help you monitor your diabetes and answer any questions you may have.
Ask your health care provider about diabetes self-management education and support and to recommend a diabetes educator.
The Sharbot Lake Family Health Team has a Diabetic Team that includes 2 Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) who work closely with the rest of the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team health care providers to help you achieve the best health possible. Please call the clinic at 613-279-2100 for more information.