Diabetes is a disease that involves problems with the hormone insulin. Typically the pancreas (one of your organ located behind your stomach) releases insulin to help your body store and use the sugar and fat from the food you eat. Diabetes develops when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
There is no cure for diabetes.
People with this disease like me, must manage the disease and stay healthy to stave off, blindness, heart failure, poor circulation which can lead to amputation, blindness, stroke, or when the body does.
I have type 2 Diabetes – which simply means I did not have the disease when I was a child. I developed it when I became an adult. Those with type 2 diabetes take insulin or other blood sugar-lowering medications to keep their blood sugar under control (low).
There are about 27 million people in the United State living with diabetes, and another 86 million have prediabetes: Their blood glucose is not normal, but not high enough to be diabetes yet.
In Canada, there are approximately 3.4 million people living with diabetes, and another 5.7 million have prediabetes. Canadian statistics
Estimated diabetes prevalence (n/%)
Estimated prediabetes prevalence in Canada (n/%) (age 20+)
Estimated diabetes prevalence increase (%)
44% from 2015-2025
Estimated diabetes cost increase (%)
25% from 2015-2025
Impact of diabetes
Diabetes complications are associated with premature death. It is estimated that one of ten deaths in Canadian adults was attributable to diabetes in 2008/09.
People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized with cardiovascular disease, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal disease and over 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for a non-traumatic lower limb amputation compared to the general population.
Thirty percent of people with diabetes have clinically relevant depressive symptoms; individuals with depression have an approximately 60% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.3
Foot ulceration affects an estimated 15-25% of people with diabetes. One-third of amputations in 2011-2012 were performed on people reporting a diabetic foot wound.
Some populations are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, such as those of South Asian, Asian, African, Hispanic or Aboriginal descent, those who are overweight, older or have low income. Diabetes rates are 3-5 times higher in First Nations, a situation compounded by barriers to care for Aboriginal people.3
Fifty-seven percent of Canadians with diabetes reported they cannot adhere to prescribed treatment due to the high out-of-pocket cost of needed medications, devices and supplies. The average cost for these supports is >3% of income or >$1,500.
As a result of stigma or fear of stigma, 37% of Canadians with type 2 diabetes surveyed by the Canadian Diabetes Association reported they do not feel comfortable disclosing their diabetes.
From the American Diabetes Society Facts About Type 2
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time your pancreas isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications (pills), and insulin.
When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:
Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.
Some people with type 2 can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active. But, your doctor may need to also prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. Type 2 usually gets worse over time – even if you don’t need medications at first, you may need to later on.
Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.
This two-page introduction to type 2 diabetes is in PDF format so you can download it, print it, and hand it out to patients.
The good news
You can live a long and healthy life by keeping your blood glucose (sugar) levels in the target range set by you and your health-care provider. You can do this by:
- Eating healthy meals and snacks
- Enjoying regular physical activity
- Monitoring your blood glucose (sugar) using a home blood glucose meter*
- Aiming for a healthy body weight
- Taking diabetes medications including insulin and other medications, if prescribed by your doctor
- Managing stress effectively
* Discuss with your health-care provider how often you should measure your blood glucose (sugar) level.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
11 is too high – Canadians
2 hours after meals: 5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L or 5.0 to 8.0 mmol/L if A1c targets are not being met.
200 or more is too high 300 – go to the emergency - Americans
Target blood sugar levels before meals for people with type 2 diabetes are 70 to 130, and less than 180 within one to two hours after the start of a meal.
TEA & DIABETES
Why Drinking Tea May Help Prevent and Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Through a complex biochemical reaction, tea — especially green tea — helps sensitize cells so they are better able to metabolize sugar. Green tea is good for people with diabetes because it helps the metabolic system function better.”
A 2013 research review published in the Diabetes and Metabolism Journal outlined the potential benefits of tea when it comes to diabetes as well as obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes. It highlighted a Japanese study that found that people who drank 6 or more cups of green tea a day were 33 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than were people who drank less than a cup of green tea a week. It also reported on Taiwanese research that found that people who drank green tea regularly for more than a decade had smaller waists and a lower body fat composition than those who weren't regular consumers of green tea.
Drinking tea for diabetes is such a good idea because tea contains substances called polyphenols, which are antioxidants found in every plant. “Polyphenols help reduce oxidative stress and cause vasodilation (widening of the arteries), which decreases blood pressure, prevents clotting, and reduces cholesterol,” Dr. Steinbaum says. All of these activities reduce the risk for heart disease, which is elevated in people with diabetes. Polyphenols in green tea can also help regulate glucose in the body, helping to prevent or control diabetes.
Black Tea. Black tea is highly recommended for those with diabetes, as it contains a special polysaccharide compound that acts almost exactly like the diabetes drugs Precose and Glyset.
The Slimming Tea
Herbal teas offer tremendous benefits and can also help lower blood sugar.