Diabetes FAQ

Helpful resources for your patients with diabetes

Diabetes FAQ for Healthcare Professionals

If your patients have questions about living healthy with diabetes, use these answers to help support your professional advice as needed.

How many types of diabetes are there? What are the differences?

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. Read below to find out more. 


TYPE 1 Diabetes (insulin-dependant, juvenile, IDDM)

In Type 1 Diabetes, your body does not produce enough insulin because the cells of your pancreas are no longer working. Since your glucose storage cells do not receive any message from the insulin, they think that you are not getting any glucose (that you are fasting). Your body then switches from using glucose for energy to fat, which produces ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are strong acids and are usually found in the blood in very small amounts. When they are made in larger amounts, your blood becomes too acidic; this is called ketoacidosis. If this occurs, you may experience stomach pains, vomiting, or a very dry mouth. You may become disoriented or even lose consciousness. When this occurs, you need immediate medical help. This type of diabetes tends to have a sudden onset and appears before a relatively thin person reaches 40 years of age.

TYPE 2 Diabetes (non-insulin dependent, NIDDM)

In Type 2 Diabetes, your cells no longer respond completely to insulin. This tends to occur because the cell has responded to very large amounts of sugar in the blood stream over a long period of time. You could say that the cell gets tired out and the insulin "key" can't open the lock anymore. So, when you eat food, it is broken down into glucose like it should be, then gets picked up by the insulin in your blood stream, but can't get into the cells. This is called insulin resistance. Instead, the glucose keeps building up in your bloodstream and starts to cause a variety of health problems. One sign of this type of diabetes is that you have to urinate more frequently but still feel very thirsty. This reaction is because your kidneys are trying to clear out the extra glucose from your body.

Some people can take oral hypoglycemic agents to help with Type 2 Diabetes. Oral agents can help to lower the amount of glucose in your blood because they push the pancreas to make extra insulin. The extra insulin sometimes forces open the cells to let the glucose in, just because it is more insulin than your body is used to. In some cases, the oral agent no longer works properly. If your cells refuse to react, you may need insulin injections.

This type of diabetes tends to have a gradual onset, which usually happens after the age of 40. People who weigh more than is ideal for their height, or who have a genetic predisposition are likely to get this type of diabetes. By bringing your weight into a healthier range you get rid of extra glucose stored in your cells. Once this happens, your cells will be more willing to let in the glucose floating in your blood after a meal.


Gestational Diabetes (also Type 2)

This is a form of TYPE 2 diabetes which appears during pregnancy. It will require careful monitoring a proper diet and possibly the use of insulin to help ensure your baby's good health. Your diabetes team can help you set up a testing schedule for this special time in your life. 

If you are a woman with Type 1 Diabetes who is thinking about getting pregnant, be sure to notify your physician and your diabetes team. You will need special monitoring throughout your pregnancy.

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Can people with diabetes use SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose)?

Yes, SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener is great for people with diabetes. Even though SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener starts with sugar, it goes through a process that changes it into a no calorie sweetener called sucralose. The result is a sweetener that tastes like sugar, without calories. And, like sugar, it stays sweet even when it’s used in cooking and baking.

Clinical studies have shown that sucralose does not affect blood glucose levels, insulin, or HbA1c.1–3 It’s important to note that like other no calorie sweeteners on the market, the SPLENDA® granulated and packet products contain small amounts of carbs (less than 1 gram per serving) that provide needed volume and texture. People with diabetes simply need to carb count if more than 4 packets or more than 8 teaspoons of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated are consumed at one time. SPLENDA® Sweetener Products allow people with diabetes to enjoy sweetness and sweet foods, with less added sugar, in their meal plans.

For more information on SPLENDA® Sweetener Products and diabetes, please click here.

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Can people with diabetes use SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend?

Dietary programs developed with the help of physicians or registered dietitians allow people with diabetes to enjoy a variety of food products, which can include foods sweetened with sugar or brown sugar. SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend contains sucralose and brown sugar. Because SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend is twice as sweet as brown sugar, you can get the same amount of sweetness with half the amount, and therefore with half the sugar and calories. People with diabetes need to count these calories and carbohydrates when planning their meals.

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How do I know if I have diabetes?

Early diagnosis of diabetes is extremely important. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the sooner steps can be taken to manage the disease and prevent or delay complications. The Canadian Diabetes Association's Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada recommends routine screening for type 2 diabetes every three years for people at or above 40 years of age, and earlier and more frequent screening for individuals with other risk factors.1

References

1.   Diabetes Association 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canadian Canada. Canadian J Diabetes. 2008; 32:S14-S16.

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How is diabetes treated?

Today, more than ever before, people with diabetes can expect to live active, independent and rewarding lives if they commit to carefully managing their disease. There are many steps that can be taken to help manage diabetes:


    •    Education: Diabetes education is an important first step. Everyone who is living with diabetes needs to learn about their condition in order to make healthy lifestyle choices and properly manage their diabetes.


    •    Meal Planning: What, when and how much you eat play a vital role in regulating how well your body manages your blood sugar levels.


    •    Exercise: Regular exercise helps your body lower your blood sugar levels, promotes weight loss/weight maintenance, helps reduce stress levels and enhances overall fitness.


    •    Healthy Weight: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is especially important in the control of type 2 diabetes.


    •    Medication: Type 1 diabetes requires daily injections of insulin. Type 2 diabetes is controlled through exercise and meal planning and may require medications and/or insulin to assist the body in making or using insulin more effectively.


    •    Lifestyle Management: Learning to reduce stress levels in day-to-day life can help people with diabetes better manage their disease.

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What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms of diabetes include the following, though it’s important to recognize that many people who have type 2 diabetes may not display any of these symptoms:


    •    Unusual thirst
    •    Frequent urination
    •    Unusual weight loss
    •    Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
    •    Blurred vision
    •    Frequent or recurring infections
    •    Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
    •    Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

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What can I do to help prevent diabetes?

Scientists believe that lifestyle and type 2 diabetes are closely linked. This means that your lifestyle is an important area to focus on to help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Simple actions like eating a healthy diet, managing your weight, getting regular exercise and reducing stress can help lower your risk.

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What are the risks?

Risk factors for developing diabetes include the following:


    •    Being 45 years of age or over
    •    Being overweight (especially if you carry most of your weight around your middle)
    •    Being a member of a high-risk group (Aboriginal peoples, Hispanic, Asian or African descent)
    •    Having a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
    •    Having given birth to a baby that weighed over 4 kg (9 lbs) at birth, or having had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
    •    Having high cholesterol or other fats in the blood
    •    Having higher-than-normal blood glucose levels
    •    Having high blood pressure or heart disease

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Is diabetes serious?

Diabetes should be taken seriously. If it’s left untreated or improperly managed, the high levels of blood sugar associated with diabetes can slowly damage both the small and large blood vessels in the body, resulting in a variety of complications:


    •    Heart disease is two to four times more common in people with diabetes than without
    •    Diabetes is a leading cause of adult blindness
    •    Worldwide, at least half of all non-traumatic limb amputations are due to diabetes
    •    Diabetes is a major cause of erectile dysfunction


With careful management, these complications can be delayed and even prevented. The first step is to recognize the symptoms that may indicate the onset of diabetes.

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Can people with diabetes use SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose)?

Yes, SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener is great for people with diabetes. Even though SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener starts with sugar, it goes through a process that changes it into a no calorie sweetener called sucralose. The result is a sweetener that tastes like sugar, without calories. And, like sugar, it stays sweet even when it’s used in cooking and baking.

Clinical studies have shown that sucralose does not affect blood glucose levels, insulin, or HbA1c.2-4 SPLENDA® Sweetener Products allow people with diabetes to enjoy sweetness and sweet foods, with less sugar and calories, in their meal plans.

It’s important to note that like other no calorie sweeteners on the market, the SPLENDA® granulated and packet products contain small amounts of carbs (less than 1 gram per serving) that provide needed volume and texture. People with diabetes simply need to carb count if more than 4 packets or more than 8 teaspoons of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated are consumed at one time.

For more information on SPLENDA® Sweetener Products and diabetes, please click here.

References

2.   Sucralose Food Additive Petition (FAP) 7A3987. Exhibit E: Safety (submissions from 2/87-7/97).
3.   Grotz VL, Henry RR, McGill JB, et al. Lack of effect of sucralose on glucose homeostasis in subjects with type 2 diabetes. J Am Diet Assoc. 2003;103(12):1607-1612.
4.   Mezitis NHE, Maggio CA, Koch P, Quddoos A, Allison DB, Pi-Sunyer FX. Glycemic effect of a single high oral dose of the novel sweetener sucralose in patients with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1996;19(9):1004-1005.

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