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September 19, 2016

What is diabetes?

Definition of diabetes

Diabetes can be caused by two causes: insufficient insulin production by the pancreas, or inadequate insulin use by the body. Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose from the blood to the cells. If the body lacks insulin, glucose remains in the blood, resulting in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels).

  • More than 9% of Canadians have diabetes, representing 3.3 million people 
  • About one-third of people with diabetes are unaware of it 
  • Approximately 35,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year in Quebec
  • About 1 in 8 people will have diabetes in their lifetime
  • The most common form of diabetes, type 2 diabetes, is closely linked to cardiovascular disease: in 4 out of 5 cases, people with type 2 diabetes die from heart disease and 6 out of 10 people with diabetes also have hypertension and/or high cholesterol levels.

Le diabète de Type 1 : Définition

Type 1 diabetes represents only 10% of cases of diabetes. Those who have it do not produce any insulin at all. As a result, they require daily insulin injections. This form of diabetes often occurs at puberty, hence its former name “juvenile diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes: Definition 

Type 2 diabetes results from the insufficient production of insulin by the body or the poor use of insulin by the cells (known as “insulin resistance”). It usually develops in adults, but in recent years, it is starting earlier in life due to poor lifestyle choices: unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, etc.

While you cannot prevent type 1 diabetes since it is due to genetic factors, you can avoid or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. All experts agree that prevention is the key. For example, adopting a healthy, balanced lifestyle, which includes a sound diet and regular exercise, is one of the best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. Starting at age 40, you also need to get tested for the disease every three years.

Diabetes: what are the risks? 

High levels of glucose in the blood can affect many organs. In fact, diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, amputation, renal failure, neuropathies (diseases of the nervous system), heart disease and strokes.

To prevent these complications, the best strategy is to control your blood glucose levels as much as possible through a healthy lifestyle and medication. People with diabetes need to measure their blood glucose on a regular basis using a blood glucose meter available at the pharmacy.
There are various models of blood glucose meters available. Your pharmacist can help you choose the one that will be right for you, based on your answers to the following questions: 

  • Do you have any specific issues (e.g., problems with your vision or dexterity)? 
  • What type of lifestyle do you have? (e.g. at home, working on the road, shift work)? 
  • What are your preferences (e.g. a device that is easy to use or one with more advanced technological features)? 

Pharmacy services

Your family pharmacists  can help you with the overall management of your diabetes. Whether you need information on prevention measures, medication or blood glucose testing, feel free to ask them.

If you have diabetes, it is extremely important to properly control your blood glucose. If you are having difficulty reaching the targets set by your healthcare professional or if you experience bouts of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, speak with your family pharmacists. They can give you advice and recommend changes to your drug therapy, if need be.

Many Uniprix-affiliated pharmacies offer a blood glucose monitoring service and private consultations on diabetes management. Ask about these services. 

*Certain conditions must be respected. Fees may apply. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more information. Pharmacists alone are responsible for the practice of pharmacy. They offer related services only on behalf of pharmacist-owners.

Services in pharmacy are the sole responsibility of pharmacist-owners. Only pharmacists are responsible for pharmacy practice. They only provide related services acting under a pharmacist-owner's name.

The Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.