Diabetes - patient education

Diabetes - patient education

Oak Valley Health's patient education pages share the skills, knowledge, and habits patients and families need to know to cope with a daily health issue. We hope this information can influence patient behaviour to improve health outcomes and provide you with a sense of control and autonomy.

Learn more about the risks, causes, and treatment of diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body does not produce any insulin or is unable to use insulin effectively. When you have diabetes, sugars cannot get into your cells, and a buildup of sugar in the blood is called hyperglycemia.

The three types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

  • Your pancreas does not produce any insulin

 

Type 2 diabetes

Related to one or both of the following:

  • Your pancreas does not produce enough insulin
  • Your body cannot properly use the insulin produced by your body

Gestational diabetes

  • Your pancreas does not produce enough insulin temporarily during pregnancy related to growing baby and hormone level changes

 

What increases the risks?

Type 1 diabetes

  • Your body's immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the cells that make insulin, known as an autoimmune disease in genetically predisposed individuals

Type 2 diabetes

  • Family history with type 2 diabetes
  • History of prediabetes
  • Other associated diseases and medications (talk with your family doctor)
  • High risk population:
    • Women who had gestational diabetes
    • African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous, or South Asian descent
    • Low socioeconomic status

 

How do I know that I have diabetes?
  • Feeling more thirsty
  • Having to urinate frequently
  • Changes in weight
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Changes in vision
  • Having cuts or bruises that take a long time to heal
  • Numbness/tingling in your hands and feet
How is diabetes treated?

Connect with a Healthcare Team (family doctor, endocrinologist, diabetes educator, nurse, dietitian, pharmacist, social worker, or eye and foot care specialist).

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

  • Your doctor will set treatment goals for you. Your blood sugar should be at these levels:
    • Before meals: –4.0-7.0mmol/L
    • After meals: 5.0-10 mmol/L

 Gestational diabetes

  • Your doctor will set treatment goals for you. Your blood sugar should be at these levels:
    • Before meals: Less than 5.3 mmol/L

    • One hour after a meal: Less than 7.8 mmol/L

    • Two hours after a meal: Less than 6.7 mmol/L

Working with your health care team on self-care management strategies include:
  • Healthy eating,
  • Physical activity goals,
  • Monitoring blood sugar,
  • Medications,
  • Problem solving and healthy coping skills,
  • Reducing risk for diabetes related complications
Where can I get more information?

Canadian Diabetes Association

Reference: Diabetes. (2021, June 08). Elsevier Inc: ClinicalKey for Nursing. Retrieved from here.