Diabetes 21 Day Challenge

Nov 21, 2016

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Eric got a poor mark on his social studies test, and I'm pretty happy about that. Okay, I wasn't happy at first, but at least he could learn something from it. Eric is in Grade 6. The test was about how governments work. The test had 3 parts. Multiple Choice, Short answer and Essay. I was surprised. I don't think had essay questions on a test until high school or University. If Eric learns how to do essay questions in elementary school, he'll be well ahead of me. When we looked through his test, I saw Eric did fine on the multiple choice questions and he made some good points in his essay. I was relieved as that showed me that Eric actually did study for his test, and he actually did know something about the subject matter. But is his essay he was asked to give reasons to back up his opinions. Eric didn't give any reasons. He was supposed to use examples from The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Eric didn't mention the Charter at all. So, while Eric didn't get a good mark, he really did know things about the subject matter, he just didn't know how to write a short essay to answer a question. And writing an essay is something he can learn.

There is a test I'd like all of you to take with me. Get online and go to DiabetesTest.ca. It is a short 12 questions and you will be done in a couple of minutes. Be honest with the answers, and remember it is okay to get a bad score. Like Eric and his social studies, I got a poor mark. I am too heavy, I don't exercise enough and I don't eat fruits and veggies every day. And I'm getting old. Those all make me more likely to get diabetes.

What should I do about my poor mark on my Diabetes Test? Just like Eric, I should treat my poor mark as a learning experience. A teachable moment to make my life better. The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy has always been proud to help people with diabetes in the Parkland make their lives better. The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy is a proud sponsor of the Canadian Diabetes Association. We think their new initiative of the Diabetes Test and the 21 Day Challenge to End Diabetes are great ideas that will help many people in our community.

The 21 Day Challenge to End Diabetes is the teachable moment for people like me. Just because Eric didn't write a good essay, that doesn't mean he can't learn how. Despite my poor mark on the Diabetes Test, that doesn't mean I am destined to get diabetes. If I exercise more and eat better, I could avoid it. I should go to the 21 Day Challenge website and sign up. I'll be asked to pick a new healthy habit to do for the next 21 days. There are three categories of healthy habits to choose from. They include exercise, eat health and de-stress. For example, I could choose to walk the dog every evening for 30 minutes, or I could choose to swap out my less healthy snacks of chips and cookies in the evening for apples and almonds.

What is diabetes? Diabetes is when your body has trouble using sugar. There are 3 main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when your pancreas doesn't produce insulin. You must inject insulin or you will die. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 10% of diabetics. In Type 2 diabetes, your body may produce normal, or even above normal amounts of insulin. However, other parts of the body like your muscle and fat cells aren't listening to the insulin signal. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with diet, exercise, pills or insulin. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of diabetics. Type 2 diabetes is what the CDA is targeting with the Diabetes Test and 21 day challenge. Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 2 to 4 per cent of all pregnancies. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of developing diabetes later in life for both mother and child.

Let's start with a person without diabetes. They eat something. The carbohydrates in their food get broken down into sugar. That sugar goes into the blood. The pancreas produces insulin in response to the sugar. The insulin is a signal to all the cells in the body. I think of insulin like a key. It goes into locks in the cells. When the insulin key goes into the lock, little doors open in the cell. These open doors let the sugar leave the blood and get into the cell. The cell then burns the sugar to produce energy.

What is happening in diabetes? In Type 1 diabetes, the body can't produce any insulin keys. So, there is no way to open the doors in the cells. The sugar stays in the blood stream. That means the blood sugar level stays high, but the cells have no energy to use. Type 2 diabetes is a little different. The pancreas produces insulin. It may even produce higher than normal amounts of insulin. The problem seems to be with the little locks on the sugar doors in the cells. The little locks seem to have gotten rusty. Even if insulin keys go into the locks, the keys can't turn and the doors won't open. We call this insulin resistance, and we think this is the main problem in Type 2 diabetes.

Why do should we care if we get Type 2 diabetes? Well, although with treatment people with Type 2 diabetes can live long productive lives, there are four main complications of diabetes we worry about. People with diabetes are more likely to go blind, have their kidney stop working, need to have a foot amputated or have a heart attack than people without diabetes. I think we can all agree these four complications are worth avoiding.

Eric is a smart kid. He will get better at essay questions. But sometimes he will need a test to show him what he needs to work on. I like to think I'm a smart guy. But I needed the DiabetesTest.ca to show me what I need to work on to reduce my chance of getting diabetes. Why don't you take the DiabetesTest.ca and see what you need to work on? Then use that information to take the 21 Day Challenge to End Diabetes. You can reduce your risk of getting this all too common disease.

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website. Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

Canadian Diabetes Association - www.diabetes.ca

Diabetes Test - diabetestest.ca/

21 Day Challenge to End Diabetes - http://21DaysforDiabetes.ca


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