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Diabetes Awareness Month – Know Your Risk


In Canada, over 9 million people are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes.  That’s a lot!What does that mean for the health of Canadians?

People with diabetes are at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease and blindness.2 This makes knowing YOUR risk for diabetes extremely important. 

3 types of diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, the cells in the body that produce insulin do not function, which leads to increased sugar in the blood – but not being used in other parts of the body for energy.3 The cause of this form of diabetes is still unknown, however – there seems to be a slight genetic risk. 3, 5

Type 2 Diabetes

This form of diabetes is where the body produces insulin, just not enough to remove sugar from the blood stream or your body isn’t using the insulin it makes. 4  The result is the same – higher blood sugar and sugar not being used in the body for energy.4 Some of the risk factors include5

  • Genetics: having a family member with diabetes
  • Ethnicity: Aboriginal, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian, or African
  • High Blood Pressure/High Cholesterol
  • Having extra weight carried around the midsection
  • Being diagnosed as having pre-diabetes

For a full list of risk factors, please visit:

Gestational Diabetes

This form of diabetes is temporary in women during pregnancy.6 Not all women get gestational diabetes, however – it does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.5,6

Screening and Testing

Throughout your life it’s important to get screened for diabetes, especially if you have just had a baby or plan on getting pregnant. 6 If you have risk factors associated with diabetes you should be screened more often. 5,6 Contact your local health care professional for more details. 5,6

The Canadian Diabetes Association has a 2-minute test that will help you identify your risk for pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes:7

Know your risk and take control of your health!


  1. Canadian Diabetes Association. (2015). About Diabetes. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from
  2. Canadian Diabetes Association. (2015). Complications. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from
  3. Canadian Diabetes Association. (2015). Living with Type 1 Diabetes. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from
  4. Canadian Diabetes Association. (2015). Living with Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from
  5. Canadian Diabetes Association. (2015). Are You at Risk? Retrieved November 9, 2015, from
  6. Canadian Diabetes Association. (2015). Mothers at risk. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from
  7. Canadian Diabetes Association. (2015). Take the Test. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from

By: Kelly Atyeo-Fick, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.

kelly atyeo2
Kelly Atyeo-Fick Guest Author

Kelly Atyeo-Fick is a Professional Home Economist with a background in nutrition and nutrition communication. She is President and co-owner of LiveWell Marketing, a creative agency committed to linking brands and consumers in the pursuit of living well. Kelly is also a health writer, nutrition communication consultant, and public speaker. Through her activities she strives to educate people on nutrition and health, while giving people the tools to make healthy foods a part of their lifestyle.

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