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Prediabetes

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

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Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. This occurs because the disease makes it difficult for your body to make enough insulin or use it properly. There are two types of diabetes. Type I diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes and it occurs in children and young adults. This type occurs when the body doesn’t make insulin. The second type is Type II diabetes. This type can occur at any age and it is caused if your body doesn’t make insulin or if it doesn’t use it well.

If not treated properly, diabetes can cause serious health problems including:

  • Kidney disease
  • Food problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Dental problems
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Eye problems

What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is more than one disease that can affect people who suffer from diabetes. People who don’t keep their diabetes under control are at greater risk of eye complications. Also, each of the conditions can cause serious vision loss and even blindness. If you suffer from diabetes, it is important that you understand each of the diseases and what they can do to your eyes.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people who have diabetes. The condition affects the blood vessels in the retina, which lines the back of the eye. If your blood sugar is often high, it can cause damage to the retina’s tiny blood vessels. This can result in the blood vessels bleeding or leaking fluid which can cause distortions in the vision. When the condition progresses, it can result in scarring and cell loss in the retina, causing complete blindness. In many cases, vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy is irreversible. Early detection and treatment can reduce your risk of going blind by 95 percent.
  • Diabetic Macular Edema (DME): DME often occurs in people who have diabetic retinopathy. While it often occurs when the disease progresses, it can occur at any time. It is a build-up of fluid in the macula. This part of the eye is used for seeing straight ahead to read, drive, and recognize faces. Half of the people who develop diabetic retinopathy develop DME. If left untreated, it can cause vision loss.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. When a person has cataracts, their natural lens would be removed and replaced with an artificial one. Anyone can develop cataracts, however, people with diabetes are two to five times more likely to develop cataracts than those who aren’t diabetic.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma damages the eye’s optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is often the result of high pressure in the eye, and it is very common in people with diabetes. Studies have shown that adults who suffer from diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those who don’t have the disease.

Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease

The only way to prevent diabetic eye disease is to be vigilant when it comes to your blood sugar levels. You should also see your eye doctor every six months. The sooner a problem is detected, the sooner it can be treated, saving your eyesight. Many of the diabetic eye diseases won’t show any symptoms at first, therefore, it is very important that you see your eye doctor regularly.

Diabetes can wreak havoc on many of the body’s systems including your vision. The only way to prevent permanent vision loss and blindness is to check your blood sugar levels regularly and take the necessary steps to keep it at a healthy level.

 

 

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Complications for Type 2 diabetes

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The onset of Type II Diabetes occurs after adulthood, and usually between ages of 40 and 50. The causative factors and the treatment, however, is very much the same as for juvenile diabetes: Daily blood sugar level tests and injections of insulin and/or oral medication to provide the body with necessary insulin the pancreas cannot produce.

Carrying high glucose levels damage blood vessels, nerves, and vital organs. Even a mildly elevated glucose level without displaying any symptoms can have long-term and very damaging effects. Complications of Type II Diabetes are life threatening.

  • Heart Disease and/or Stroke

If you have diabetes I or II, you’re five times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke shortening your life and quality of it. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels over a long period of time increase the chance of atherosclerosis, causing your blood vessels to clog and narrow with fatty deposits. This commonly will result in poor blood supply to your heart, causing pain in your chest. This condition also increases the blockages of vessels in your heart or brain, causing heart attack or cerebral stroke.

  • Nerve damage

High glucose levels damage blood vessels in nerves, causing tingling and burning with pain spreading from your fingers or toes through your limbs. It also causes numbness, leading to ulcers of the feet, and these ulcers contribute to eventual amputation loss of that limb. Regular examination of a foot specialist is necessary for Diabetes I and II patients. Damage to the peripheral nervous system, including all of the nervous system outside the central nervous system, is peripheral neuropathy.

  • Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the name for the disease striking the light-sensitive layer of the retina, the tissue layer in the back of the eye. Blood vessels in the retina that have become either blocked or actually leaky can experience haphazard growth, preventing light to completely pass to your eye retina. This damages vision and can blind. Annual eye checks are necessary. If significant damage has occurred the patient can be referred to a specialist in treatment of eye conditions. Therefore, the more control you have over your blood glucose levels, the lower your risk of blinding eye problems. Diabetic retinopathy can be managed by specialists using laser treatment if early enough in the disease. However, this does not improve the sight; it only preserves the sight you have left after damage.

  • Kidney disease

If the smaller blood vessels in your kidney are blocked and/or leaky, your kidneys react by not working efficiently. This condition is linked to high blood pressure and treatment is an important management process. In severe kidney disease, kidney failure occurs, requiring a kidney transplant, dialysis treatment or resulting in death.

  • Sexual Dysfunction

For Men:

Males with diabetes, particularly smokers, suffer nerve and blood vessel damage leading to impotence, usually treated with medication.

For Women:

Women with diabetes may experience the following:

  • loss of libido and sex drive;
  • vaginal dryness;
  • inability to orgasm;
  • pain during sex.

Use of vaginal lubricant or gel can ease those dysfunctions.

  • Miscarriage and stillbirth

Pregnant women with diabetes have a high risk of miscarriage or a stillbirth.

If your blood glucose level is uncontrolled during early pregnancy, there’s also a higher risk of the baby being born with a birth defect. Pregnant women with diabetes must have their checkups in hospital or diabetic clinic to provide protection for their baby and the mother-to-be. This gives your pregnancy care team a close eye on your blood glucose levels and control of your insulin dosage, including monitoring development of your baby.

 

 

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Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes is a life-long disease that affects the way your body handles the glucose in your blood. There are 27 million people in the United States who suffer from this condition and 86 million people with prediabetes.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

There are several things that cause type 2 diabetes. Usually, it is a combination of a few of the causes.

  • Genes: Recent studies have shown that different parts of you DNA can affect the way that your body makes insulin, resulting in type 2 diabetes.
  • Being overweight or obese: If a person is carrying extra weight, it can cause insulin resistance, causing type 2 diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome: People who are insulin resistant often have high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and extra weight around the waist.
  • A liver that doesn’t function properly: If you have low blood sugar, your liver produces glucose. After you eat, your blood sugar will go up and the liver will slow down. Some people’s livers don’t function properly, so it keeps cranking out sugar even when it is not necessary.
  • Poor communication between cells: If the cells in the body send the wrong signals or they don’t pick up the signals, it can affect the way that the cells make insulin or glucose, causing diabetes.

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that won’t cause you to develop type 2 diabetes, but they can increase your chances of developing it.

  • If you are 45 years or older
  • If a parent, sister, or brother suffers from diabetes
  • People of certain ethnicity are more prone, including African-American, Pacific Islander-American, Alaska Native, Native American, Hispanic, Asian-American.
  • Prediabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Having a baby over 9 pounds
  • Having gestational diabetes during pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Too much sleep

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are so mild that they are unnoticeable. There are millions of people who have it and don’t know it. This is because many of the symptoms can be blamed on something else.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Irritability
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Recurring yeast infections

Long Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes

Over time, high blood sugar can cause damage and lasting problems. These include:

  • Heart and blood vessels
  • Eyes
  • Kidneys
  • Nerves
  • Would healing
  • Pregnancy

Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

There are a variety of tests that your doctor can perform to confirm your type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

  • A1C: This test determines the average of your blood glucose over the last 2 to 3 months.
  • Fasting plasma glucose: This test measures your sugar when your stomach is empty. You cannot eat or drink anything but water for 8 hours before the test.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): This is a test that checks your blood glucose before and two hours after you consume a sweet drink. It tests the way that your body handles sugar.

How to Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes

You can still live a healthy life as long as your take the necessary steps to manage your diabetes.

  • Take your insulin faithfully
  • Take your diabetes medications that are prescribed by your doctor
  • Check your blood glucose often
  • Eat a proper, diabetes-friendly diet
  • Don’t skip meals
  • See your doctor for regular checkups and make an appointment if you are not feeling well

Type 2 diabetes can be a very serious condition if it is not diagnosed and treated properly. When managed properly, you can live a full and healthy life with this disease.

 

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