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 10 million Canadians live with diabetes or pre diabetes, and every hour 20 more Canadians are diagnosed. With staggering numbers like these it’s inevitable that you or someone you know is affected by this disease.

“Go one day at a time and each meal at a time,” advises Sherrell Knapton. “Don’t try to change everything all at once.”

Sherrell is an excellent person to be giving advice on living with type 1 diabetes, since she’s been doing so for the last 12 years. “I went into a coma when I was in Grade 9 and my parents were told I might not make it,” she remembers. “It turned my world and my families upside down.”

Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas does not produce any insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body to control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Without insulin, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.

“We all had to change how we ate, what we bought and times of eating,” says Sherrell. “Exercise also became very important.”

Today Sherrell is a personal trainer at World Health Edmonton and loves the fulfillment her work brings her.


“I have learned how much being active plays a part in being positive and your health,” says Sherrell Knapton

“I want to make a positive change in peoples lives and show them that no matter what you go through in life you can make it through,” says Sherrell. “Being active keeps me healthy and feeling good. It keeps sugars more controlled and less insulin needs to be taken.”

Sherrell’s positive attitude helps her manage her diabetes and she continues to inspire those around her.

“Sherrell has been a bright light right from the get-go. Her enthusiasm for health and fitness is shown in the passion and joy she has when training her clients,” says her World Health Fitness Manager Nicoline Hebert. “She always has a bright smile on her face.”

Proper nutrition plays possibly the largest role in managing diabetes.

“Healthy eating is very important to diabetes, it is almost all of it. Blood sugars, carbs and insulin all play together.”

A typical day of eating for a diabetic is complicated. For Sherrell, it starts with planning her day and insulin around her food and activity.

“I wake up, take my blood sugar and then insulin to carb ratio which is different for everyone,” explains Sherrell. “Two hours later I take my blood sugar again and depending on what the result is I either take more insulin or wait till the next meal or have a snack.”

The process repeats at lunch, dinner and bedtime.

“Knowing how many carbs you are eating and sugars you are taking in is extremely important to a diabetic, especially type 1 insulin dependent.”

Sherrell says living with diabetes is a lot of trial and error, and you have to learn to put yourself and yourself first.

“Diabetes can be very overwhelming at times so don’t over do it,” says Sherrell. “Find people to talk to and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can you do it!”

Find out your risk for getting diabetes by stopping by any World Health Edmonton club today and taking the CANRISK test.


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