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Biology and Genetics
Environment and Occupational Issues -
Diabetes Risk Factors

In 2009, almost 2.4 million Canadians (6.8%) were reported diagnosed with diabetes. Lifestyle, genetic, social, economic, and factors have an effect on the distribution of diabetes and its risk factors in Canada. Awareness of modifiable risk factors is important for delaying or decreasing the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Canada.

Diabetes is a disease which weakens the body’s ability to properly digest and use sugars properly.  Normally when you digest food, such as sugar and/or carbohydrates, the body converts this carbohydrate-rich foods into simple sugars (energy), which is used for everyday tasks,  However, with diabetes, the body is not able to digest food properly and does not get enough energy.  To fix this a hormone called Insulin is required.  This is a hormone, which is produced by the pancreas (a gland located beneath the stomach, whose job is to control the body’s sugar usage).  When an individual has diabetes, the pancreas is not doing its job properly, which is why Insulin is needed to fix the problem.  Individuals are at risk of developing diabetes if they are overweight, do not exercise, eat poorly, have a family member who has the disease or are over 40 years old.  Some complications which are associated with the diabetes disease are heart attacks, strokes, depression, digestive problems, vision loss, skin problems, foot problems, thyroid disease, celiac disease and kidney disease.  Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by reducing risk factors, including exercising regularly, eating fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, milk and proteins daily, having regular check-ups with the doctor and by maintaining a healthy body weight.

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Contributors:  Christine Charles

Last Reviewed:  August 14, 2012

 



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