All cells in the body use glucose, or sugar, from food as fuel. This gives the body energy to do things like walk, run, and think. Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents the body from using sugar to make energy. Instead of being used, sugar stays in the blood. High blood sugar can cause damage to many organs – kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels, and brain. Uncontrolled, diabetes can shorten someone's life.

Some healthy choices may reduce the risk of diabetes:

  • Reducing or quitting smoking. For help, talk to a health care provider, visit nuquits.ca, or call the Nunavut Quitline at 1-866-368-7848.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Being active every day or most days
  • Eating a variety of country foods or healthy store-bought foods. You can use the Nunavut Food Guide to help you make healthy eating choices.
  • Visit the health centre for annual checkups and get the tests recommended by your health care provider.

Managing diabetes

There are different types of diabetes: pre-diabetes, type 1, type 2, and gestational (pregnancy) diabetes. Managing diabetes helps prevent organ damage from high blood sugar. Depending on the type of diabetes, it may be managed with healthy choices, like maintaining a healthy weight and eating well. When diabetes is mild these actions may be enough to manage it. When it is more severe, medicine may be required (pills or injections).

People with diabetes can monitoring their blood sugar with a machine at home.