Friday, November 22, 2013
NOVEMBER IS DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH- DO WHAT YOU CAN TO HELP ERADICATE THIS!
As November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, it was very fitting that on Friday November 15, 2013, there was an Aboriginal Nutrition & Wellness: Feeding mind, body and spirit" workshop held on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto.
The event brought together a roomful of First Nations students from the University of Toronto and a variety of Aboriginal student groups to provide nutrition and wellness information. As an alumnus of the University of Toronto, I like to see events like these, because they give students and the general public the opportunity to gather and speak about current and passionate issues that are impacting our lives.
According to the nutritionist from Anishnawbe Health Toronto and from other research, "diabetes was relatively unknown among Aboriginal peoples prior to 1940 and it can be likened to a silent epidemic among First Nations peoples" because diabetes is 3-5 times higher in Aboriginal communities.
Statistically there are more than 9 million Canadians who are living with diabetes or pre diabetes. There are three main types of diabetes. There is Type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 10 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes while the remaining 90 per cent have Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and your body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood although there are increasing numbers of children in high-risk populations that are being diagnosed.
A third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 2 to 4 per cent of all pregnancies (in the non-Aboriginal population) and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child. Lastly, prediabetes is a condition where a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes awareness workshops are important to have because they not only inform you about diabetes, but it also gives you the signs to watch out for, and what to do if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes.
I remember my own diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes and the five year struggle it took to get it under control. At first when you hear the words "you have diabetes," it can be difficult to accept, but once the words do register with you, it's important to pay attention to your doctors and do everything you can to live a much healthier lifestyle.
My change in attitude about my diabetes came about when my sugar levels were reaching 27, and I was told that if my levels didn't go down that I would have to go on insulin. Not only did I not want to be sticking myself with a needle every day, I also didn't want my niece, who was fairly young at the time, to continue seeing me prick my finger to check my sugar levels. There was something about her leaning over and watching me prick my finger each day when I was visiting with her, that made me stop one day and say " hey I need to be healthy, not only for myself but for her too!"
My diabetes has turned around ten fold. My change in how I saw diabetes helped me in many ways. I was able to go off my anti-glycemic medication, and I rely mainly on diet and exercise now. Instead of worrying about high sugar levels, I often have to be careful about low sugar levels. I am cognizant that diabetes is a part of my life but it doesn't have to control me. Living with diabetes is a life altering condition, but it is something that you can regain control of.
Event partners and contributors of this event included the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE), the Native Students Association (NSA), the Indigenous Health Sciences Group, the Faculty of Medicine, Anishnawbe Health Toronto, First Nations House and Food Share.
For more information on Diabetes and what you can do to prevent it, please visit the Canadian Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.ca or visit Anishnawbe Health at http://www.aht.ca
TO BE AWARE OF DIABETES AND HOW IT CAN IMPACT YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR COMMUNITY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US ALL TO LEARN HOW TO PREVENT IT. THIS IS CRUCIAL TO HELPING EVERYONE ERADICATE SOMETHING THAT CAN BE PREVENTED.
Posted by Christine at 11:28 AM