Know the risks for diabetes and steps to prevent it
Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on November 1, 2023
Eleven million Canadians — that’s about one in three adults — are living with diabetes or prediabetes. Chances are diabetes affects you or someone you know.
Diabetes is a disease in which your body can't produce insulin or properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas, which regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Blood sugar must be carefully regulated to ensure that the body functions properly. Too much blood sugar can cause damage to organs, blood vessels, and nerves. Your body also needs insulin in order to use sugar for energy.
Type 2 diabetes, also called non-insulin dependent, is the most common form, accounting for 90 to 95% of all diabetes in Canada. More than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by making healthy lifestyle choices, e.g., eating a balanced diet, increasing physical activity and losing excess weight. People with type 2 diabetes typically do not use insulin to manage their glucose.
Type 1 diabetes (also called insulin-dependant diabetes) accounts for 5 to 10% of all cases of diabetes in Canada. People with type 1 diabetes need to test their blood glucose multiple times a day and inject insulin to survive. It is not preventable and there is no cure.
Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition affecting about 4% of all pregnancies, which increases the risk of future diabetes for both mother and baby. Although it generally resolves when the baby is born, it is more likely that both the mother and baby will develop diabetes in the future.
Prediabetes refers to blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Almost 6 million Canadians have prediabetes. Most don’t even know it.
You can have type 2 diabetes without any obvious warning signs or symptoms. Classic symptoms of type 2 and type 1 diabetes include:
It's important to know the risk factors and get checked.
Take the test
Want to know if you are at risk? Fill out the Canadian diabetes risk questionnaire.
Everyone over the age of 40 should be tested for diabetes every three years.
If you have one or more risk factors, you should be tested earlier and more frequently.
Health coaching and education
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, we can connect you with a health professional in your community to help you gain the knowledge and confidence to self-manage your condition.
If you’re a member of a Medavie Blue Cross-insured plan, you may have access to a suite of tools to help you take charge of your health.
Our 360 Total Care program includes:
This program can help you manage diabetes and other chronic conditions such as hypertension, obesity and high cholesterol.
Our Managing Chronic Disease benefit also provides coverage for personalized health coaching and disease management education. The services of a certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) are available without a doctor's referral.
Find a certified diabetes educator near you to set and achieve goals for your blood sugar and minimize complications.
Our mobile app is designed to help you manage your benefits on the go. Submit a claim, search coverage, find a health provider near you, manage your medications and more.
Our health and wellness portal gives you access to reliable information on health conditions, diagnostic tests and procedures, healthy living resources, and tools and calculators to help you better understand your condition.