It's Your Health
This article was produced in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada.
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Insulin is a hormone normally produced by the pancreas. It helps to keep blood sugar (glucose) at normal levels by moving glucose from the blood into the cells of your body. The cells then use glucose for the energy your body needs to function.
Normally, the pancreas secretes insulin when you eat. But if your body doesn't make insulin or cannot use it properly, glucose accumulates in the blood and the cells don't get enough sugar for energy. If this happens, your doctor may decide you need to be treated with insulin, in addition to diet, exercise and/or medicines, depending on your type of diabetes.
There are three types of diabetes:
Many factors may affect your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. They include:
Other associated conditions may include vascular disease, polycystic ovary syndrome or schizophrenia
One of the effects of taking insulin is an increased risk of weight gain. If the cells don't use all the sugar when insulin moves it from blood into the cells, it is stored as fat. If you continue to eat as you did before starting insulin, you may gain weight. This happens because before you started taking insulin, your body wasn't properly using all the glucose in the food you ate. But once you start taking insulin, your body uses food normally and you may be eating more food than your body needs to stay healthy.
Gaining weight can also make your body resistant to the effects of insulin. This means that you may need to take even more insulin to get glucose into your cells, causing a vicious cycle of weight gain and more insulin use, with the result that your diabetes is poorly managed. This pattern can make it more difficult to stay healthy.
The best way to avoid unwanted weight gain in Type 2 diabetes is to adjust your calorie intake to the needs of your body and to increase your physical activity. Any change in your activity level, eating patterns or insulin dose should be discussed with your doctor. Decreasing your insulin dosage without dietary adjustments to control your weight may lead to high blood glucose and put you at increased risk of complications from diabetes.
If you have diabetes or care for someone who has diabetes, take the following steps to help avoid weight gain:
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are committed to helping Canadians improve their health and well-being by promoting and supporting regular physical activity and healthy eating. They play a leadership role in chronic disease prevention and control across Canada and internationally.
The Government of Canada launched the Canadian Diabetes Strategy (CDS) in 1999 in partnership with the Provinces and Territories, various national health organizations and interest groups, and Aboriginal communities across the country. The CDS sought to:
In 2005, funding for the CDS was renewed at $18 million per year over 5 years. The renewed strategy focuses on:
The renewed strategy is targeted at populations who are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
In addition, in 2007-08, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the federal government invested $33 million in diabetes-related research. The Government is also taking action on obesity, a key risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes, through supporting community-based healthy living programs and initiatives such as the Children's Fitness Tax Credit and the newly revised Food Guide and Physical Activity Guides.
Inactive, overweight children are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. This is becoming more prevalent with the decreasing activity and exercise in children.
To report a side effect (adverse reaction) or interaction involving a health product, including insulin, go to the MedEffect Canada web section
For more information on Diabetes see the following websites:
For information on healthy eating visit the following websites:
For information on physical activity visit the following websites:
For safety information about food, health and consumer products visit the Safe Consumers website
For more articles on health and safety issues go to the It's Your Health web section.
You can also call toll free at 1-866-225-0709 or TTY at 1-800-267-1245*
Original : February 2011
©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health, 2010