If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the information around diabetes out there, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are 10 facts about type 2 diabetes worth putting on your radar.
1. It’s the most common type of diabetes
Did you know that some 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2? If you’re of African, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian or Aboriginal descent, you’re also more prone to developing type 2 diabetes compared to other ethnicities.
2. Being overweight increases your risk of type 2 diabetes
Research shows that if you’re obese, your chance of developing type 2 diabetes is 80 times greater than those of people whose body mass index (BMI) is within a normal range. The extra pounds around our middles are especially worrisome because abdominal fat disrupts the responsiveness of cells to insulin.
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3. You can develop diabetes at any age
Yes, you can develop type 2 diabetes as a child, teen or adult. But this type of diabetes is most common in middle-aged and older people. Having a family member with the disease also increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. Type 2 diabetes often presents without symptoms
About a third of people with diabetes don’t know they have the disease because type 2 diabetes often has no symptoms.
5. Diabetes is a risk factor for many diseases and health complications
The reality is that unmanaged diabetes has been linked to a host of health-related issues such as infections, kidney disease, depression, sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s disease and even some forms of cancer. It is important to work with your healthcare team to ensure your diabetes is well managed, and speak to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
6. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and amputation in adults
You are more prone to early-onset cataracts and glaucoma when you have type 2 diabetes. There are also long-term effects of diabetes on your retina, which can lead to blindness. Amputation is another major complication of the disease and results in death for 30% of Canadians with diabetes.
7. With type 2 diabetes you are 4 times as likely to develop heart disease
Diabetes is considered one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, and 7 in 10 people with diabetes will die of cardiovascular issues. If you have diabetes, you can also develop heart disease 10-15 years before someone without the disease. That’s because your blood vessels are more vulnerable to risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
8. You’ll have at least 2 times the medical costs of someone without diabetes
While diabetes costs the Canadian healthcare system billions of dollars each year, the costs for individuals with diabetes is also quite significant. According to Diabetes Canada, 57% of Canadians reported not being able to adhere to prescribed treatment because of the high cost of medications, devices and suppliers not covered by a health plan.
9. There is no one strict diet for type 2 diabetes.
When you have diabetes, there is no particular meal plan you have to follow. But you should try and fill your body with healthy choices—paying attention to portion sizes and meal scheduling—to help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Some good options include plenty of vegetables, fruits and legumes, as well as low-fat dairy products, healthy carbs (whole grain breads) and good fats (e.g., olive oil and avocados). Find more information on what to include in your diabetes diet.
10. You cannot cure type 2 diabetes, but you can manage it
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this life-long disease yet, although researchers are working on it . In the meantime, by managing your blood sugar levels and sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications. For example, weight loss of just 7-10% of your body weight can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes in half. Find more tips on food choices that can help reduce your risk of diabetes complications.
There is a lot to think about when you have diabetes. But armed with the facts, you can play a key role in managing your disease and, in turn, enjoying your life.