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Diabetes: Recognize the signs and symptoms

Eleven million Canadians – one in three of us – have diabetes or prediabetes. Every three minutes, another Canadian is diagnosed with diabetes.

Within the next 10 years, both the number of people living with diabetes and direct health-care costs of diabetes are projected to grow by over 40%. By 2026, an estimated 14 million Canadians will be living with diabetes at a cost of $5 billion to the public health-care system.1

Types of diabetes

There are three major types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes (most common)
  • Gestational diabetes (occurs during pregnancy, and is usually temporary)


Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes can’t produce their own insulin (and can't regulate their blood sugar) because their body is attacking the pancreas.

Type 1 diabetes generally develops in childhood or adolescence but can also develop in adulthood. People with type 1 need to inject insulin or use an insulin pump to ensure their bodies have the right amount of insulin. 

Type 2

People with type 2 diabetes can't properly use the insulin made by their bodies, or their bodies aren't able to produce enough insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is most commonly developed in adulthood, although it can also occur in childhood. According to the International Diabetes Federation, over 50% of type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle. It can sometimes be managed with healthy eating and regular exercise alone, but may also require medications or insulin therapy. 

Signs and symptoms

If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your health-care provider right away. If you don’t have symptoms but are over the age of 40, you can check with your doctor to be screened for diabetes.


To do a quick check on your risk of diabetes, complete this questionnaire.

NOTE: The result is not a substitute for actual clinical diagnosis. If you have any concerns, you can discuss your results with a health-care practitioner, (e.g. family doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, etc.). 

Join the conversation for a chance to win a Freshii gift card

Whether you make it a priority to include plant-based foods into your diet or move more each day, you can incorporate small, healthy habits daily to lower your risk of developing diabetes. In honour of World Diabetes Day on November 14, we want to see how you and your family take small steps daily to maintain good health!
Post a photo with your healthy habit and tag us on Facebook or Twitter using #OTIPHealthyHabit. By showing us how you and your family take small steps to prevent diabetes, you will have a chance to win a healthy lunch on us with one of four $25 Freshii gift cards! Our healthy habits draw closes on December 6, 2019. Winners will be announced through Twitter and Facebook on December 9, 2019.
1Diabetes Canada, 2015 Report on Diabetes: Driving Change. Toronto, ON: Diabetes Canada; 2015.
Diabetes Canada
World Diabetes Day

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