Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating disease affecting every organ system.
There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Type 1 diabetes usually strikes in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood, and lasts a lifetime. Just to survive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump.
Over 3 million Canadians live with diabetes, with 300,000 living with type 1 diabetes. Canada has the sixth highest incidence rate of type 1 diabetes in children 14 years of age or younger in the world.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively. Type 2 is usually diagnosed in adulthood and does not always require insulin injections. However, increased obesity has led to a recent rise in cases of type 2 diabetes in children and young adults.
With over 20 Canadians being diagnosed with diabetes every hour of every day, chances are that this disease affects you, someone you know or it will soon. Diabetes is a chronic, often debilitating and sometimes fatal disease, in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. This leads to the body not processing glucose properly, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves.
Taking insulin or medication does not cure any type of diabetes, nor does it prevent the possibility of the disease’s devastating effects including, shortened life expectancy by 7 – 10 years, kidney failure, adult blindness, nerve damage, non-traumatic amputation, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications. The risk of death for a person with diabetes is twice that of someone without the disease.
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