Diabetes is generally known as high blood sugar. Though there are more specific classifications, this time we would focus on the two most common types: type 1 diabetes (T1DM) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). As most of the public or even new graduated health care professional often get confused between the two types, this is a good time for a refresher. According to Diabetes Canada, type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, while type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. In fact, insulin is a hormone that is used to regulate the amount of sugar in our body.
Understanding the terminology HbA1C (glycated hemoglobin) is quite important when we are talking about diabetes. HbA1C is a laboratory test result that reflects our average blood sugar over the previous 2 to 3 months. The value of your HbA1C in percentage shows if you are considered diabetic or not. Healthy adults would have HbA1C < 5.7%; while prediabetes has HbA1C ranged 5.7%-6.4%, and HbA1C > 6.5% is considered diabetic. These values must not be confused with fasting plasma glucose (fasting blood sugar) which has a very similar range measured in mmol/L. Fasting plasma glucose is the value you get after poking your finger with a glucometer. While it is beneficial for the public to understand the meanings of these numbers, when it comes to diagnosing diabetes, it is best to consult your Physician.
Participating in a weight management program is recommended by Diabetes Canada as an effective strategy to prevent type 2 diabetes, since individuals with excess body fat are more prone to developing diabetes. At C.E.S., our registered Physiotherapists are capable to design a personalized weight management program for anyone who is at risk for developing diabetes.
Moreover, literatures have shown that engaging in regular physical activity is beneficial at managing type 2 diabetes. It works via improving your glucose tolerance, increasing your insulin sensitivity, and decreasing your HbA1C. However, when exercising, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), dehydration, foot ulcers, and slow progression are a few of the special considerations that are needed to keep in mind. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals with diabetes to exercise under the supervision of their health care providers. At C.E.S., our exercise therapists and Physiotherapists are trained to design exercise programs for individuals to manage their diabetes.
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American College of Sports Medicine. (2018). ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (10th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
Houlden, R. L., (2018). Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines expert committee. Canadian journal of diabetes, 42, S1-S5.
Punthakee, Z., Goldenberg, R., & Katz, P. (2018). Definition, classification and diagnosis of diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. Canadian journal of diabetes, 42, S10-S15.