Type 2 diabetes is characterized by two phenomena: the body’s resistance to insulin and a decrease in insulin production. Treatment involves lifestyle changes, sometimes in combination with medication.

Type 1 diabetes is a disease caused when the body’s immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas. Nothing can prevent the disease. Insulin is the only treatment for type 1 diabetes.

The most common symptoms include intense thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, and frequent and abundant urination.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of diabetes, you will need to have a blood test, prescribed by a doctor or specialized nurse practitioner (SNP). This is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Insulin injections are the only treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Lifestyle habits, genetics and other factors are what usually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication.

Often, but not always. By making changes to one’s lifestyle, it is possible to arrest or slow down the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

No food is prohibited. However, some foods should be eaten only occasionally and in small amounts: for example, cake, cookies, candy, etc. When deciding to have a sweet dessert, it’s important to ensure that it is part of a balanced meal.

Mild hypoglycemia should be treated with 15 grams of fast-absorbing sugar.

For people with type 1 diabetes, it is possible to administer a corrective dose of insulin, also called a corrective bolus, if instructed to do so by their care team.

For people with type 2 diabetes, there are several strategies available.

No. It is possible to put type 2 diabetes into remission, but it requires major lifestyle changes supervised by a team of health professionals. There are criteria to determine which individuals may be able to put their diabetes into remission.

Not really. Sugar substitutes should be consumed only occasionally and in small amounts.

No dessert is prohibited. However, some desserts should be eaten only occasionally and in small amounts. It is also preferable to choose fruit over a processed dessert, for example. If you make your own desserts, you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Federal and provincial tax credits have been automatically given to people with type 1 diabetes since 2021, since diabetes management is considered to require at least 14 hours of care per week. However, to obtain these tax credits, you must fill out the forms and have them signed by your doctor.

Most medications to treat diabetes are reimbursed, either on the spot (Metformin) or by using an exception form that your doctor or SNP sends to the RAMQ.

Most types of insulin are reimbursed by the RAMQ. However, insulin pumps for adults and their supplies are not reimbursed.

Diabetes Québec does not collect unused diabetes equipment or supplies.

If you do not have a family doctor, register online on the Québec Family Doctor Finder. Once you have registered, you can call 811, option 3, to speak to a worker at the Family Doctor Finder to book a consultation with a health professional who can meet your needs.

You can also contact a medical clinic for a consultation, or ask for a medical referral to access the diabetes services in your area.

To find a foot-care nurse, visit the website of the Association des Infirmières et Infirmiers en soins podologiques du Québec.

The ketogenic diet, also called the keto diet, involves eating few or no carbohydrates.

Intermittent fasting involves eating only during a specific time of day.

If you decide to engage in intermittent fasting, talk to your care team. Adjustments to the doses of your medication may be necessary.

When you go to the hospital for a fasting blood test, you should not take your fast-acting or short-acting insulin or your antihyperglycemic medication.

The first reason you should not do this is that insulin injected while you are fasting will lower your blood sugar and you could end up in a state of hypoglycemia. The second reason is that the results of the blood test, and therefore your blood sugar control, will be distorted and difficult to do since the insulin will have already begun to act when your blood was taken.

You should book your appointment for as early as possible in the morning and, once your blood test is complete, check your blood sugar and then take your injection or antihyperglycemic medication and eat your lunch. When you inject your insulin, you should eat within minutes of the injection. If you do not do this, you risk becoming hypoglycemic.

Research and writing: Diabetes Québec’s team of health professionals

Adapted from: Tremblay L., Nurse, “Prise de sang : Quand prendre son insuline,” Plein Soleil, Spring 2001, Diabetes Québec.

© Diabetes Québec – January 2019

Currently, people with type 1 diabetes are not eligible to donate blood in Québec.

Héma-Québec is conducting a risk assessment to ensure that donating blood will not negatively impact people with type 1 diabetes.

For more information, contact Héma-Québec.

People whose type 2 diabetes is properly managed by lifestyle or medication are eligible to donate blood.

If you are taking insulin, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must not have taken insulin before 2007;
  • You must not have had symptomatic hypoglycemia within 30 days of donating blood;
  • Your insulin dose must not have been increased or decreased by more than three units within 30 days of donating blood.

For more details about donor qualifications, vist Héma-Québec’s website or give them a call.

Research and writing: Diabetes Québec’s team of health professionals

© Diabetes Québec – September 2022.


Héma-Québec (2022). Donor qualification criteria: https://www.hema-quebec.qc.ca/sang/donneur-sang/puis-je-donner/diabete.en.html

Additional information: telephone consultation with a Héma-Québec nurse, September 21, 2022.

Yes. However, your diabetes must be well managed: i.e., your glycated hemoglobin (A1C) and self-monitored blood sugar values are within target values. Certain areas of the body should be avoided.