The number of people with diabetes is growing. In Canada, over two million people are living with diabetes and over 6 million people have a condition called pre-diabetes. If left untreated, this can develop into type 2 diabetes, which can lead to serious health problems such as loss of sight, heart and kidney disease.
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to use the energy it gets from food. The body changes food into glucose (a type of sugar) that is found in the blood after eating a meal. Insulin is a hormone made by the body that helps glucose move out of the blood and into cells so that it can be used as energy. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes.
The good news is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking the Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire. If you have any of the risk factors contact your health care provider.
Knowing your risk and taking action are the first steps in preventing type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes cannot be prevented.
Find out if you are at risk of having type 2 diabetes and learn ways to decrease your risk by taking the Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire now. The questionnaire asks important questions about risk factors such as your age and family history of diabetes.
There are some signs and symptoms to be aware of:
- being thirsty often
- having to pee often
- weight change (gain or loss)
- feeling tired or having no energy
- blurred vision
- cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- tingling or numbness in hands or feet
If you have any of these symptoms, it is important you contact your healthcare provider.
In some cases, a person can have diabetes without any signs or symptoms.
About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. You are at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:
- are 40 years of age or older
- have someone in your family with type 2 diabetes e.g. parent, brother, sister or grandparent
- are overweight (especially around your belly)
- are a member of a high-risk group
- Indigenous (e.g. First Nations, Inuit, Métis)
- Black (e.g. African, Caribbean)
- East Asian (e.g. China, Vietnam, Philippines, Korea)
- South Asian (e.g. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka)
- Latin American
- have a history of gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes
- have heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol
- have health complications related to diabetes such as eye, nerve or kidney problems
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes. Even small changes can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Being physically active, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and being smoke-free are important steps you can take to help you live a healthy life and prevent disease.
Contact your local hospital or community health centre to find out about programs and services available at the nearest diabetes education centre.
What you can do to lower your risk
Be physically active
- Being active does not have to take a lot of time and effort. Learn how to make physical activity a part of your everyday life.
- Healthy eating is not about one food or one meal eaten in a day. It is the everyday pattern of the foods you eat that make up a healthy eating lifestyle. Learn more about eating well everyday.
Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintaining a healthy weight is a step towards better overall health and includes being physically active and eating well.
- Did you know that people who smoke or use tobacco are more likely to get type 2 diabetes? Learn how to live tobacco-free.
Diabetes Prevention Programs
We offer a variety of community programs that focus on promoting healthy lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes. Our workshops and programs focus on diabetes risk assessment, food skills & nutrition, physical activity, smoking cessation and stress management. For more information on programs and services related to diabetes prevention, please contact the Toronto Health Connection line at 416-338-7600.
Peer Leadership Program for the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
The Diabetes Prevention Peer Leadership Program Application for 2017 – 2018 is now closed. Please check back for future opportunities.
Learn more about the Peer Leadership Program
This video highlights the positive impact that the Diabetes Prevention Peer Leadership Program is having on program participants.