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9 diabetes etiquette tips for people who don't have diabetes

People living with diabetes often come across others who want to share their own views, or what they believe they've learned about how to manage the condition, and it doesn't always help. That's why we've created this list of diabetes tips for those who haven't been diagnosed. The bottom line? Diabetes is hard work and managing it is different for every individual. Enjoy these 9 tips to better support a friend or loved one living with diabetes. 1. Acknowledge that you don't know best. You may know something, but it's likely to be less than the person living with diabetes and...

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couple sitting on a picnic table by the lake

Diabetes: A Primer

Glucose, or blood sugar, is an important source of energy, especially for the brain, and insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which allows cells to use it and regulates how much of it your blood contains. Diabetes means the pancreas doesn't produce enough, or any, insulin, or that the hormone is not doing its job effectively. This causes blood sugar levels to be too high—a state known as hyperglycemia. Symptoms include: Frequent urination Fatigue or drowsiness Increased hunger and thirst Unexplained weight loss ...

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Understanding type 1 diabetes

What is it? Type 1 diabetes affects 5 to 10% of people living with diabetes. You may know it as “insulin-dependent diabetes” or “juvenile diabetes.” Yes, type 1 diabetes requires insulin treatment, and yes, it occurs mostly in children and teenagers. But what many people don’t know is that it can develop at any age, and that it unfortunately cannot be prevented. Even today, the exact causes of the disease remain unknown. Genetics can play a role, and some environmental factors, such as viruses, can trigger the onset of the disease. What’s...

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Pregnant lady reading sitting in her living room

Understanding Gestational Diabetes

What is it? Gestational diabetes, or “pregnancy diabetes,” affects between 3 and 20% of pregnant women. It generally occurs in the second or third trimester and goes away on its own after childbirth. Any pregnant woman can develop it, but there are a number of risk factors such as age, ethnicity, excess weight, corticosteroid use, family history and some pre-existing conditions. What’s happening? Gestational diabetes occurs late in pregnancy, at the stage where the baby is already formed. Placental hormones, which help the child...

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Man chopping wood outdoor

Understanding Prediabetes

What is it? Prediabetes is when a person’s blood sugar level (blood glucose) is higher than average, but not enough to diagnose them with diabetes. Almost all people living with type 2 diabetes have had prediabetes, but not all prediabetics develop type 2 diabetes. Of course, it’s not enough to hope you fall into the right category: without any intervention, prediabetes is extremely likely to evolve in the wrong direction. What’s happening? ...

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Putting your best foot forward!

In the long run, the hyperglycemia that characterizes diabetes ends up affecting the nerves (in what is known as neuropathy) and the blood vessels, especially the capillaries. This results in a loss of sensitivity and a decrease in the natural hydration of the feet, which leads to dry skin, cracks and calluses. This means that not only are you more likely to injure your feet and not realize it right away, but you heal more slowly, and your wounds are more likely to become infected. How do you prevent problems? As with everything related to diabetes—and health in...

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Man sitting outside with smartphone

Hyperglycemia

When there isn’t enough insulin in your body, or when the hormone becomes ineffective, your cells are unable to use the available glucose, which then builds up in the blood. Hyperglycemia occurs when glucose levels rise above target values, i.e.: Over 7 mmol/L fasting or before a meal Over 10 mmol/L two hours after a meal Chronic hyperglycemia is what causes the long-term complications of diabetes such as blood vessel and nerve damage, blindness and kidney failure. Signs Fatigue or drowsiness ...

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doctor taking blood pressure of a patient

Hypertension 101

Also known as “high blood pressure,” hypertension is one of the leading causes of strokes and heart disease, and the worst part is that it often shows no symptoms. People with diabetes need to be especially watchful, as they are more likely to develop hypertension at some point and suffer its adverse consequences. Blood pressure “Blood pressure” refers to the pressure blood exerts on artery walls. It’s an essential part of the process that carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Hypertension Hypertension occurs when blood...

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Boy with curly hair at a dentist exam

Protecting Your Smile When You Have Diabetes

Diabetes increases the risk of mouth problems, but this has (almost) nothing to do with your sugar intake. The main culprit is actually hyperglycemia. The effect of blood glucose Your body can react in many different ways to improperly managed blood glucose. You produce less saliva, and what you do produce contains more glucose, which can lead to dry mouth, ulcers, tooth decay or yeast infections. Due to hyperglycemia, there is increase glucose in the saliva which promotes the spread of bacteria, decreases nutrient absorption and slows healing. This partly explains why you’re more...

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