Back to tips

What you need to know about diabetes

Drawing of a man brooming inside an head

Everything you need to know about diabetes as a caregiver.

Convenient glucose monitoring tools and tracking management apps to make your daily routine easier.

default image

What must I know about diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels. It is caused by a lack of a hormone produced by the pancreas called insulin.

Insulin is responsible for converting sugars into energy by entering the body’s cells. In the case of a person with diabetes, insulin fails to do this. Sugar builds up in the blood, which can lead to complications. As the risk of developing diabetes increases with age, seniors are at greater risk of developing it.

The different types of diabetes

  • Pre-diabetes: high blood sugar levels indicate a risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the short term;
  • Type 1 diabetes most often appears in childhood or adolescence, resulting in a total absence of insulin production, requiring injections;
  • Type 2 diabetes usually appears starting in the forties, resulting in insufficient or ineffective insulin production. Type 2 is the most common;
  • Pregnancy diabetes: for the child, risks of higher than normal weight and of developing diabetes later on and for the mother, risks of fatigue, infections or complications during childbirth.

Evolution, control and prevention of diabetes

Hyperglycemia can have adverse effects on the kidneys (nephropathy), eyes (diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma), the neurological system (neuropathy), heart (heart attack) and blood vessels (hypertension, arteriosclerosis, stroke).

Since diabetes is a chronic disease, it cannot be cured. It can be controlled through a variety of strategies: medication and insulin, self-monitoring of blood sugar, frequent physical activity, healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight, stress management, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol. In short, by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.

All of these elements explain the need for close monitoring, which has implications for your commitment as a caregiver and a need to know a lot about diabetes.

Questions and possible solutions

The person I’m in a relationship with has diabetes, and diabetes is taking over our relationship. What can I do about it?

Diabetes can affect sexuality and trigger sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction due to neuropathy or sexual dysfunction (in French only). Learning how to better manage stress can help you maintain a harmonious relationship and regular sexual activity.

My loved one and I are trying to change our eating habits. Any ideas?

How about focusing on the pleasure of eating together? A new guide was developed by nutritionists in 2022 for achieving and maintaining blood glucose targets: Meal Planning for People with Diabetes at a Glance, with sample meals and menus. Learn about nutrition labelling (in French only), how to shop for groceries (in French only), and dietary issues for people with diabetes. For recipes, why not brush up on tips from Geneviève O’Gleman. Diabète : 5 trucs pour adapter vos recettes! (in French only), continue with Caroline Fouquet’s 130 recipes for diabetics (in French only) and continue with Elisabeth Cerqueira’s Diabète: aliments santé et recettes gourmandes (in French only) ?

format_list_bulleted See all tips

Need to talk?

Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information and referrals.

Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free of charge.

call  Caregiver info :  1 855 852-7784
Live Chat