• eat a balanced diet
  • exercise regularly
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • manage blood glucose levels, taking insulin if needed

Ontario offers a number of programs to help people with diabetes improve their quality of life and avoid complications.

If not treated or properly managed, diabetes can cause a number of serious health problems. These include heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction (impotence), and nerve damage.

Resources

The Diabetes and You Tool Kit – A diabetes tutorial with easy-to understand fact sheets and short videos to help you manage your disease. You can order the Kit through Service Ontario.

diabetes videos for tips from experts to help you lead a healthier life.

Types of diabetes

There are three types of diabetes.

  • Type 2 diabetes: In most cases, this type develops in adulthood (although it now affects growing numbers of children). If you have Type 2 diabetes, you may not be able to manage your condition with lifestyle changes alone. You may also need to take medication or insulin.
  • Type 1 diabetes: Far fewer people in Ontario have this type of diabetes. In most cases it is diagnosed during childhood and teen years. While the cause is unknown, it can’t be prevented. Everyone with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin.
  • Diabetes during pregnancy: This is a temporary condition called gestational diabetes. A mother with gestational diabetes and her child are both at an increased risk of diabetes in the future.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of diabetes in the province.

Who is more likely to get diabetes?

You are more likely to get diabetes if you:

  • are of Aboriginal, Asian, South Asian or African descent
  • are overweight (especially if you carry most of your weight around your middle)
  • have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • have health complications associated with diabetes, such as eye, nerve or kidney problems
  • gave birth to a baby weighing more than 4 kg (9 lbs)
  • had diabetes while you were pregnant
  • have a history of impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose or pre-diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol or other high levels of fats in the blood
  • use glucocorticoid medication
  • have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
    • polycystic ovary syndrome
    • acanthosis nigricans (darkened patches of skin)
    • schizophrenia
    • obstructive sleep apnea

Diabetes symptoms

You can get diabetes even if you don’t have any of the common risk factors in the list above.

If you are developing diabetes or high blood glucose, your body will often show signs like:

  • feeling more thirsty
  • frequent urination
  • a sudden weight gain or loss
  • low energy or feeling more tired than usual
  • blurred vision
  • frequent or repeat infections
  • injuries, such as cuts and bruises, that are slow to heal
  • tingling or no feeling in your hands or feet
  • trouble getting or maintaining an erection

If you have symptoms like these, talk to your Diabetes Passport and Goal Card (PDF), available in 16 languages. These records important information like key test results, medications, diabetes education sessions, and more. Print copies are also available to order through Find a diabetes education program near you

Get a dietitian’s advice

OHIP pays for visits to registered dietitians working in a Diabetes Education Program in acute care and community care settings. Ask your doctor or health care provider to find out if you qualify. If not, you may have private insurance coverage that will cover the cost of seeing a registered dietitian in private practice.

To find a registered dietitian, call 1-877-510-5102 or Erie St. Clair LHIN: Erie St Clair Chronic Disease Self Management Initiative

  • Waterloo Wellington LHIN: Waterloo Wellington Diabetes
  • Central West LHIN: Living a Healthy Life
  • Toronto Central LHIN: Healthy Living with Chronic Conditions
  • Central East LHIN: Living A Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions
  • Champlain LHIN: Living Healthy Champlain
  • North East LHIN: Living Healthy Northeast
  • visit OHIP coverage for eye care services
  • Financial aid for prescription drugs and supplies

    If you are on a provincial social assistance program, or you are age 65 or older, the Ontario Drug Benefit plan covers:

    • most types of insulin
    • oral medications (hypoglycemics)
    • blood testing strips (based on diabetes treatment)

    If you are age 65 or older and using the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan, you might have to pay a $100 annual deductible up front. After that, you will pay $6.11 for each prescription. The funding you receive is based on your household income. To learn more:

    If your drug costs are high compared to your income, the Trillium Drug Program covers:

    • most types of insulin
    • oral medications (hypoglycemics)
    • blood testing strips

    If you qualify, you will be asked to make four up-front payments a year. Payments are based on your household income. To learn more: