On February 8, 2018, we were pleased to welcome Nicole Holden-Durinlson, who is the Ontario Coordinator for Diabetes Canada, and colleague Jeremy Steinhausen, the GTnA Community Engagement Coordinator, who gave a presentation on the impact of diabetes on Canadians and how Diabetes Canada  is responding.

Diabetes impacts 11 million Canadians – one third of our population – and a further 6 million people have prediabetes. Diabetes presents in 3 forms: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Symptoms common to all types of diabetes can include unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight change (gain or loss), and extreme fatigue or lack of energy.

Because diabetes is a metabolic illness, it impacts the activities of every tissue in the body. Organs that are especially susceptible to its effects include the heart, the brain, the eyes and the kidneys; this means that diabetes is often a contributing factor, if not cause, of heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and stroke.

Founded in 1953 as the Canadian Diabetes Association, the organization rebranded itself in 2017 as Diabetes Canada with an energetic mission to increase its community focus. Diabetes Canada supports research, such as that on the development of an artificial pancreas, and community outreach programs including D Camps  for kids and teens with type 1 diabetes, Live Well webinars , and Diabetes Health Education Events.