Diabetes is a major public health concern, reaching epidemic proportions.
More than 2.4 million Canadians have diabetes and up to another 20 per cent have not been diagnosed.
This number is expected to rise with estimates as high as 3.7 million by 2019.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition affecting the way the body processes sugar from the food we eat.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, accounting for 90 per cent of all cases.
With this type of diabetes, the body does not use the insulin properly or the pancreas does not make enough insulin.
Type 2 diabetes generally occurs slowly and many people have no symptoms.
Most manage their diabetes with lifestyle strategies such as healthy eating, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress.
Some people require medications such as pills or insulin.
Those with diabetes are more likely to develop long term health problems such as cardiovascular disease (heart/stroke), kidney disease, blindness and circulation impairment which may lead to amputations.
Many of those with diabetes also have other chronic (long-term) diseases.
More than a third of those in Canada report having more than two chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, arthritis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
This cost of diabetes is not only felt by the patient but also the health care system.
Those with diabetes have more visits to their physician and specialist, and are more likely to be hospitalized.
These costs are expensive but also directly affect quality of life for the patient.
At the Interior Health Summerland Diabetes and Nutrition clinic, we focus on “self-management.”
We provide those with diabetes the skills to help manage their diabetes through education as well as assisting in setting and reaching their goals.
Examples of goals may include increasing exercise, eating more vegetables or quitting smoking.
We are here to support any of your healthy living goals.
Upcoming sessions on diabetes, nutrition, goal setting, foot and eye care are held throughout the year.
To learn more about these sessions or book an individual appointment with the nurse or dietitian call 250-770-530.
Carol Stathers is a nurse educator with Interior Health Summerland Diabetes and Nutrition program.