What is Diabetes?
Diabetes currently affects 246 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025.¹ More than 2 million Canadians have diabetes. By the end of the decade, this number is expected to rise to 3 million. Even though diabetes affects nearly 4% of the world’s population², many people know very little about the disease.
There are 2 primary types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. As a result, the body makes very little or no insulin of its own. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body cannot properly use the insulin it does produce. Initially, changes in diet and activity levels may control blood glucose levels. As type 2 diabetes progresses pills and/or insulin may be added to control blood glucose. Eventually, the pancreas may stop producing insulin altogether. Type 2 diabetes can affect people at any age. In both men and women, excess weight increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.³
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children or young adults, although it can occur at any age. Roughly 3% of children and adolescents have type 1 diabetes1. In Canada, about 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1.
The onset of type 1 diabetes is often sudden and can include the following symptoms:
- Abnormal thirst and a dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Extreme tiredness/lack of energy
- Sudden weight loss
- Slow-healing wounds
- Recurrent infections
- Blurred vision
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system destroys the beta cells found in the pancreas—the cells that produce insulin. As a result, the body makes very little or no insulin of its own.
A person with type 1 diabetes supplies their body with insulin in one of the following ways:
Insulin therapy along with following a healthy meal-plan, regular physical activity and frequent blood glucose testing are important in managing type 1 diabetes.
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