Diabetes and lifestyle

By: Dr. Lisa Vincent, MD, Jan 24, 2013
  Question
Diabetes and lifestyle

Is diabetes related to lifestyle?

The facts on Type I and Type II diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease where a person’s blood sugar level is elevated. There are two main types.

Type l diabetes is usually diagnosed in children but can present in young adults. It is not related to lifestyle. It is caused by the destruction of the cells which produce insulin in the pancreas. People with Type l diabetes must take insulin injections daily to survive.

Type ll diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Approximately one in 16 people have diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in older adults, although we are seeing more young people with this disease. It is more common in people who have family members with diabetes, people who are overweight, and people from certain ethnic backgrounds, such as South-east Asians and Aboriginals. Treatment options include lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), weight loss, medication and insulin.

Patients with diabetes may experience increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss and fatigue. It is possible to have diabetes for several years and not know. Type ll diabetes can be diagnosed through routine blood tests. It is important to discuss your risk for diabetes with your doctor.

Dr. Lisa G. Vincent, MD, CCFP, FCFP, has been the primary healthcare provider to hundreds of families over her 25+ years of medical practice. She is a member of the Canadian Medical Association, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and is a Fellow, College of Family Physicians.