What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where the pancreas cannot produce a hormone called insulin, or cannot properly use the insulin it produces, or a combination of both. This causes the level of sugar in the blood to rise, which can damage organs, blood vessels, and nerves. There are many different types of diabetes:

Diagnosis of Diabetes

Your doctor is the only one who can diagnose you with diabetes. Some of the following tests were done to give you the diagnosis of diabetes:

Fasting Blood Glucose

You must not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before this blood test. A result of 7.0 mmol/L or higher indicates diabetes.

Random Blood Glucose

This blood test may be done at anytime regardless of when you last ate or drank. A result of 11.1 mmol/L or higher, along with symptoms of diabetes, indicates diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c

This blood test may be done at anytime regardless of when you last ate or drank. In adults a result higher than 6.5% in the absence of other factors that affect A1c is indicative of diabetes.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

You will be given a special sweetened drink prior to this blood test. A result of 11.1 mmol/L or higher two hours after having the drink indicates diabetes.

A second test is usually done to confirm. Once diabetes has been diagnosed, ask your doctor to refer you for diabetes education.

Goals for Managing Your Diabetes

In managing your diabetes you will be taught how to monitor your blood sugars. Together with your healthcare team you will set goal ranges for your blood sugar to be in. Most commonly it is recommended:

  • Before meals aim for your blood sugar to be 4.0-7.0 mmol/L
  • After meals aim for your blood sugar to be 5.0-10.0 mmol/L

You will also regularly have a blood test called a hemoglobin A1c. This test looks at your long term blood sugar management. Again you will set a target for this together with your healthcare team. Most commonly it is recommended:

  • Aim for your A1c to be less than 7%


Managing your diabetes so you can be healthy often requires some lifestyle changes. These include following a healthy diet and increasing your physical activity.

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Diabetes Medications

There are many different medications that can be used to treat your diabetes. Some of these medications are oral while others must be injected. To learn more about the medications used to treat the type of diabetes you have, speak with your doctor or diabetes educator.

Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose

One part of managing your diabetes is checking your blood sugar levels. This is done using a blood glucose monitor. Your doctor or diabetes educator will teach you how to use this device to help manage your diabetes.

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Diabetic Equipment and Supplies

There is a wide range of equipment and supplies [LINK: to Diabetes Supplies & Equipment Page] people with diabetes require to manage their blood sugar levels. For advice and guidance on the diabetic equipment and supplies most suitable to your needs, please speak with your doctor or diabetes educator.

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Diabetic Complications

If your diabetes is not well controlled, it can lead to many different complications. These complications are related to damage done to your blood vessels by high blood sugar levels.

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Other Factors

People with diabetes must also consider managing their diabetes in many other parts of their life including: