Nutrition: Get checked for your risk of diabetes

It’s your weekly trip to the grocery store: Time to pick up what’s on your shopping list, and find out


It’s your weekly trip to the grocery store: Time to pick up what’s on your shopping list, and find out about your diabetes risk’that’s the make-it-quick-and-easy thinking behind a new program launched by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA). “Get Checked Now” is a free diabetes risk assessment done at  pharmacies located in participating Loblaws, Zehrs, Extra Foods, Atlantic Superstore, Real Canadian Superstore and Your Independent grocer retail stores. CDA is hoping more Canadians will find out whether they need further evaluation for diabetes by their doctors.

According to a pole commissioned by the CDA, 43 percent of Canadian without diabetes say they’ve never been tested for type 2 diabetes‘a disease where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body doesn’t properly use the insulin it does make. With time, this can result in serious health issues, including heart disease, kidney problems, blindness and nerve problems.

One of the risk factors is having a parent or sibling diagnosed with diabetes. Since my father has type 2 diabetes, for example, I know my risk is substantially higher than for those without a family history of the disease. Of course I’ve also let my doctor know this, so my blood glucose levels are monitored through yearly blood tests. Also, I need to watch my weight and keep physically active.

Since many people with prediabetes or undiagnosed type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms, "Get Checked Now" is one way to ensure people are aware of their individual risk. A few of the other risk factors, this process evaluates, include whether a person:
‘ has high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol levels;
‘ has a history of gestational diabetes; or
‘ is a member of a high risk population, such as those of Aboriginal, African, Asian, South Asian or Hispanic descent.

Where does nutrition come into play? Diabetes prevention depends on maintaining a healthy weight, and following a balanced meal plan. For many of the more than six million Canadians with prediabetes, the progression to type 2 diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle changes’so it’s important to learn early that you’re at high risk.

Starting this spring and through to year end, select locations of Loblaw stores will also provide diabetes education sessions including advice on healthy eating. These will also help build a network of individuals living with diabetes within your community.

Has type 2 diabetes had an impact on your family?