Living with Diabetes

Living with diabetes involves cooperation between the person affected and his or her healthcare providers to monitor and manage blood glucose levels and to ensure that the affected person makes important changes in lifestyle.

For all types of diabetes, educating the affected person is also an important part of medical care. Learning about diabetes will give the patient the skills, knowledge and resources needed to help him or her manage the condition.

Type 1 diabetes requires the affected person to take insulin by injection, continuous insulin infusion (pumps) or inhalation. Watching your diet and taking part in physical activity are also important. Those with type 2 diabetes may be able to control blood glucose levels by following a healthy meal plan and exercise program and losing excess weight. Those who cannot achieve glucose control may have to take oral anti-diabetic drugs and/ or insulin to maintain target glucose levels.

All Canadians, including those with diabetes, need to exercise regularly with strength, endurance and flexibility activities. Physical activities can be tailored to anyone's particular needs by following the guidelines in Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living.

For those with gestational diabetes, in most cases, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise will help to keep blood glucose levels within an acceptable range. If blood glucose levels are not adequately controlled after at least two weeks of eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, insulin injections will be needed.

People living with diabetes may also need to take medications to control cholesterol (lipids) and blood pressure because of an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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