What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot properly use and store
sugar, which is a principle fuel for the body. Diabetes is due to a lack
of insulin production in the pancreas (TYPE I) or a resistance to the
actions of insulin in the body (TYPE II). The sugar that is not used by
the body builds up in the bloodstream and is washed out of the body through
the kidneys. As a result you may feel thirsty and may urinate a lot. You
may feel fatigue, thirst and visual blurring. These are all symptoms of
Approximately 3% to 5% of the adult population has unrecognized type 2
diabetes. All patients with coronary artery disease should be checked
for diabetes and should know their blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is diagnosed based on blood glucose (sugar) levels. The diagnostic
High level of sugar in the blood due to lack of or resistance to insulin
contributes to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries),
kidney failure and other complications of diabetes such as eye damage
(retinopathy) and nerve damage (neuropathy). Diabetics with no previous
heart attack have the same risk for heart attack or stroke as a patient
who has already had a heart attack. Recent studies have shown that tight
aggressive blood sugar control lessens the complications of diabetes.
Furthermore we must be even more careful to control other cardiac risk
factors, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure in the patients
with diabetes in order to lessen their complication rate. The cholesterol
targets for a diabetic are the same as a patient with established CAD.
Diabetes is treated by diet, weight reduction and regular exercise. In
some patients,oral medications or self-administered insulin injections
are required. Diabetes may be monitored by finger prick (capillary) blood
glucose measurements (Target FBS 4-7 mmol/L;1-2 hour post meal BS 5-11
mmol/L). Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c assay) gives a measure of long term
blood glucose control the target for HbA1C is < 115. For further information
on diabetes contact the Canadian Diabetes Association or visit their website