Diabetes: Living with diabetes
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Management and self-care
Living with diabetes involves cooperation between the person affected by the condition and their healthcare providers to:
- make appropriate lifestyle changes
- monitor and manage blood glucose levels
It's important to make sure that you and your caregiver are educated about diabetes. Learning about diabetes will give you the skills, knowledge and resources you need to help manage your condition.
Eating a variety of healthy foods and being physically active with regular strength, endurance and flexibility exercises can help to manage your diabetes.
You may also need to take medications to control cholesterol and blood pressure because of an increased risk of heart disease.
- Prevention of heart diseases and conditions
- Canada's Food Guide
- Physical activity and your health
- How to get accurate blood glucose meter readings
- How physical activity can help people living with type 2 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
People living with type 1 diabetes are treated with insulin, which they can take by:
- continuous insulin infusion (pumps)
Type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to control blood glucose levels by:
- using medication
- maintaining a healthy weight
- following a healthy meal plan
- following a physical activity program
A registered dietitian or diabetes educator can help answer your questions about sugar and meal plans.
In most cases, you can keep your blood glucose levels within an acceptable range by:
- eating a variety of healthy foods
- being physically active on a regular basis
If your blood glucose levels don't fall within recommended ranges after at least 2 weeks of following these steps, you may need medication.
Supports and services
If you are living with diabetes or are a friend or family member of someone living with diabetes, it's important to find places where you can:
- learn about diabetes
- be in a supportive environment
- have access to services that help manage diabetes
There are many ways to find programs and services in your community that will help you make decisions about managing your condition. These kinds of organizations often have programs to help you:
- Hospitals, pharmacies and doctor's offices.
- Community and education centres, service clubs and organizations.
Diabetes education centres or programs provide education to people living with diabetes, including those who:
- are newly diagnosed
- have lived with diabetes for many years
Diabetes education sessions cover important topics, like:
- healthy eating and physical activity
- foot care
- managing your stress
- prevention of complications
- how to monitor your blood glucose levels
- safely taking insulin and diabetes medication
These programs can be found in many locations across Canada. Ask your healthcare provider for more information.
Diabetes information sessions and forums
Many organizations offer a range of activities to keep you up-to-date and help you become more familiar with managing your diabetes. These include:
- breakfast meetings
- information sessions
- lunch-time meetings with speakers
These sessions usually include:
- diabetes experts
- healthcare professionals
People living with diabetes often take part in peer support groups. They offer an opportunity for people living with diabetes to regularly share their experiences and support each other.
There are also groups for families of people living with diabetes.
Ask your healthcare team about any peer-support groups in your region and other diabetes-related supports in your community.
In Canada, the following programs and services may provide assistance for diabetes medications and supplies:
- Private drug plans
- Federal tax credits and deductions
- First Nation and Inuit health regional offices
- Non-insured health benefits for First Nations and Inuit
- Provincial and territorial benefit programs
Other credits and benefits to support people living with diabetes and related physical and mental health conditions may be available in your local area.
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