Published on

Write On! by Lucille NolascoWhat is diabetes?

by Lucille Nolasco

Did you know that Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest-growing diseases in Canada with more than 60,000 new cases yearly? Nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes (

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition in which either your body does not produce enough insulin, or your body cannot use the insulin it produces. The body needs insulin in order to change the sugar from food into energy. If your body does not have insulin or cannot use it properly, the result is a high blood sugar (glucose) level. There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1, in which the body makes little or no insulin
  • Type 2, in which the body makes insulin but cannot use it properly
  • Gestational diabetes, in which the body does not properly use insulin during pregnancy. This type of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born.

At present, Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, and people living with Type 1 diabetes depend on insulin to stay alive.

It is estimated that 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. One third of these people are unaware that they have the disease. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Canada and the cost of diabetes is estimated to be up to $9 billion a year.

What are the complications of diabetes?

Having high blood sugar can cause diabetes-related complications, like chronic kidney disease, foot problems, non-traumatic lower limb (leg, foot, toe, etc.) amputation, eye disease (retinopathy) that can lead to blindness, heart attack, stroke, anxiety, nerve damage, and erectile dysfunction in men.

Diabetes-related complications can be very serious and even life threatening. Properly managing blood sugar levels reduces the risk of developing these complications.

There are many signs and symptoms that can indicate diabetes, including the following:

  • unusual thirst
  • frequent urination
  • weight change (gain or loss)
  • extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • blurred vision
  • frequent or recurring infections
  • cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • trouble getting or maintaining an erection

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your healthcare provider right away. Even if you don’t have symptoms, if you are 40 years or older, you should still get checked.

Note however, that many people who have Type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms.

The good news is, that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or postponed by making healthy lifestyle choices. There are groups and organizations like Diabetes Canada who provide important information and resources for people living with diabetes.

And so with the return of Zumba®Yanihan sa Winnipeg this year, we will be supporting Diabetes Canada and its important programs. Last year, we were able to raise more than $2,000 for another charity, the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, with the help of our friends, families and supporters. We can do it again this year!

Please come and support our Zumba®Yanihan sa Winnipeg 2018, on Sunday, May 20th at Sinclair Park Community Centre gymnasium, 490 Sinclair. Tickets are only $10, which includes snacks, raffle draws, prizes and an hour and a half of pure, fun, Zumba!

See you all there!

Diabetes in Canada

Key Statistics
2015 2025
Estimated diabetes prevalence (n / %) 3.4 million / 9.3% 5 million / 12.1%
Estimated prediabetes prevalence in Canada (n/%) (age 20+) 5.7 million / 22.1% 6.4 million / 23.2%
Estimated diabetes prevalence increase (%) 44% from 2015-2025
Estimated diabetes cost increase (%) 25% from 2015-2025

Diabetes in Manitoba as of June 2016

Key Statistics
2016 2026
Estimated diabetes prevalence (n / %) 121,000 / 9.1% 165,000 / 11.3%
Estimated prediabetes prevalence in Canada (n / %) (age 20+) 373,000 / 28.1% 458,000 / 31.3%
Estimated diabetes prevalence increase (%) 37% from 2016-2026

Source: Diabetes Canada

Have a comment on this article? Send us your feedback