• Have you ever heard of diabetes, the blood sugar disease? It affects millions of people around the globe. But did you know that there are different types of diabetes? Discover how to distinguish them! Learn how unmanaged diabetes can cause complications and how to live with this chronic disease.

    Different Types of Diabetes

    Diabetes is a chronic disease, which means that it evolves over time. It is characterized by a high blood sugar level.

    There are 3 types of diabetes:

    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Gestational diabetes

    Every type of diabetes is caused by inaction or by a reduction in insulin production. Insulin plays a major role in glucose absorption by the cells. This hormone, produced by the pancreas, is a key factor allowing blood sugar to enter the cells.


    Firstly, type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying beta cells and islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Since those cells produce insulin, there is a diminution of it in the blood. Sugar is then free to circulate, which can bring complications in the long run.

    Secondly, the most frequent type is type 2 diabetes. This diabetes is caused by a resistance of the body to insulin. It is sometimes accompanied by a diminution of insulin production, just like type 1.

    Some factors, such as being a male, age, excess weight, sedentary lifestyle, and hypertension augment the risk of developing it. Fortunately, many of those factors are modifiable, and it is important that you keep that in mind when treating the disease.

    Finally, gestational diabetes is usually the result of high blood sugar levels. This diabetes is not caused by insulin, but rather by the hormones produced by the placenta. Indeed, the cells resist to insulin because of this hormone.

    Diagnosis of Diabetes

    Every type of diabetes goes through the same diagnosis tests. The first one is a random blood glucose test. Then, it is possible to do a fasting blood glucose test lasting 8 hours.

    The glucose tolerance test is also used for the diagnosis. This last one consists of consuming glucose and testing the blood sugar level 2 hours later. Finally, the last diagnosis test is the glycosylated hemoglobin one.

    Complications Due to Diabetes

    If you suffer from uncontrolled diabetes in short or long terms, there may be certain complications.

    Short term complications include being very thirsty and wanting to pee frequently. Fatigue, weakness, and vision problems can also affect people suffering from diabetes.

    As for long term complications, they are mostly on the vascular level: reticular and kidney problems as well as cardiovascular diseases.

    What Foods to Avoid as A Diabetic?

    Can you eat sugar if you suffer from diabetes? The answer is yes! However, you must be aware of the impacts of this consumption and know how to manage it.

    No food is actually forbidden… Check out the Treatment Through Eating Habits section to know more about nutritional recommendations.

    Living With Diabetes

    There are many treatments tailored to diabetics’ individual needs. Treatment plans are to be discussed with a doctor, who can advise you depending on your personal situation. Surprisingly, insulin is not the first solution considered by doctors.

    Medication for diabetes

    There are many more drugs to treat diabetes in addition to insulin, which you already know about. Indeed, this well-known medication can be used to manage diabetes, but it is not the number one solution.

    In fact, healthcare professionals tend to first recommend to their patients to change their daily lifestyle habits, such as diet and physical activity.

    There are also other medications called antihyperglycemics: biguanides, thiazolidinediones, insulin secretagogues… All those can reduce blood sugar levels, but can also create hypoglycemia, which is why it is recommended to always have a good source of carbohydrates!

    Treatment through eating habits

    A balanced diet, with a low glycemic index, is very important for people suffering from diabetes. Nutrition is a way to gain all nutrients essential for a fulfilling life.

    Each meal should be varied and include carbohydrates, fibers, proteins, and lipids. It is recommended to eat many small meals a day (3 full meals and 2 snacks), and to avoid skipping them. You should aim for a balanced diet.

    To easily reach that goal, download Swiitch the personalized meal plan that’s also flexible and unrestrictive. The app calculates the carbohydrates you consume, which makes it easy to manage daily quantities! To know more, read this article.

    Psst! A substantial meal should consist of half vegetables, a quarter of cereal products, and a quarter of protein products, as suggested by Canada’s Food Guide.

    Indeed, skipping meals could have a big impact on blood sugar levels and cause hypoglycemia. If you are hypoglycemic, use the 15-15 method for your treatment: ingest 15 g of carbohydrates, wait 15 minutes and test again. Repeat if necessary.

    For your information, 15 g of carbohydrates is 15 ml of sugar or honey, or two-thirds of a soda or juice cup.

    GOOD TO KNOW: Read these articles to know more about it: Yogurt and type 2 diabetes, what you need to know and Dessert when you’re a type 2 diabetic.

    Changing your lifestyle: key to success

    All in all, changing lifestyle habits implies integrating physical activity to your daily routine. Whether it’s by choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus one stop early and walking home, or taking a walk after dinner…

    The important thing is to find what you like and make it part of your life.
    Physical activity has many benefits and can help people suffering from diabetes regulate their glycemia. So, make time for it!