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How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

examining-eye

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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Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

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Image is from Diabetes Research

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which is characterized by, among other symptoms, a high concentration of sugar in the blood. With the myriad of disorders, the beta cells located in the pancreas find it hard to produce enough insulin to assist in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs in two types, type 1 and type 2. Type one is caused by an autoimmune reaction that usually occurs in the pancreas while insulin resistance characterizes type 2. Type 2 can develop and result in the loss of beta cells. Both types of diabetes are chronic and incurable. However, they are treatable with insulin injections and dietary adjustments.

Diabetes is often seen in those who are over 30 years of age. The number of people who are diagnosed with these conditions keeps rising each day. This is attributed to the unhealthy lifestyles and dietary decisions that they take up. It is imperative to have some information on these conditions as it will be easy then to help the patients lead a better life. To get to know about these two closely related diseases, you must learn the difference between the two. Usually, people tend to confuse the two types of diabetes. However, they have different causes, and as such, different treatments. Taking medication for one type if you have the other, can be detrimental to your health and even lead to death in some instances.

Test for insulin levels

To begin with, you must discern the difference between the two types of diabetes. First, the level of the c-peptide of type 1 diabetes is very low while I type 2, the same is either normal or elevated. The level of c-peptides is a determinant of insulin levels in the blood. It is a more reliable way than just measuring the level of insulin itself.

Let’s look at the functional difference between diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2

Type 1 diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, insulin is no longer produced by the pancreas since the beta cells have been destroyed through the process of autoimmune response. This is, essentially, to say the person’s body has rebelled against them and, particularly their pancreas, leading to the destruction of something that is desperately needed by the body. Without insulin, it ‘s hard for your cells to absorb the sugar into the bloodstream. This basically means the cells will be starved. If your body lacks insulin, your cells will no longer function properly, or worse, stop working at all. The people with diabetes in this category need to get regular insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes have almost similar effects as type 1s although the type 2 patient gets the effect for a different reason. Here, the individual’s body is still producing. However, the insulin may not be absorbed properly. At other times, the absorbed insulin may not be sufficient for the amount of sugar present in the blood. Unlike with type 1, the patient in this type of diabetes may not even need insulin at all. Here, the primary factor that causes it is lifestyle choices including the kind of food you take. A significant percentage of people with type 2 are overweight though are factors have a hand too. The person often takes food high in calories and lives a sedentary lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes can, in many cases, be readily managed.

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Understanding Diabetes Awareness Month

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Image is from CEAP

If you are fighting diabetes, no one knows your fight better than another person who is fighting the same battle. If a person is not battling the war on diabetes, more than likely they do not give this illness a second thought.

Is it possible you do not know what an insidious illness diabetes really is to those fighting this illness? During National Diabetes Awareness Month it gives individuals time to reflect, considering their own risks?

Are you even aware of National Diabetes Awareness Month?

Did you know that diabetes affects people in any age group, children, and adults?

Were you aware of the impact diabetes has on your vital organs?

  • Heart Attack
  • Kidney Disease
  • Vision Loss
  • Amputation of an extremity
  • Stroke

Do you know what health care options are available for you if you have diabetes?

Do you know the warning signs of diabetes if you or a loved one gets this disease?

Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have of this disease it helps you protect yourself and your family.

Do you know what your risk factors are for contacting this disease?

  • Heredity from a family member
  • Unhealthy eating patterns
  • No exercise
  • Overweight

Did you know that diabetes cases are spiraling out of control throughout the world?

National Diabetes Awareness Month gives you knowledge, and this knowledge gives you the power to fight diabetes, monitor its warning signs, and affords you ways to protect yourself and loved ones.

Diabetes Awareness Month was born in the late 1970’s, proclaimed by the president and Congress as a special day and month to help make everyone aware of diabetes. Now this day is celebrated all over the world on November 14th.

Were it not for the tireless efforts of a Dr. Frederick Banting, your fight with diabetes would be terminal. Dr. Banting discovered insulin, so if you have diabetes, you can control your blood sugar levels, preventing damage to your vital organs.

Twenty years later in the early 1990’s The Diabetes Foundation proclaimed, “World Diabetes Day,” for the sole purpose of informing people. Many special events are set aside in the month of November, such as but not limited to,

  • Public Diabetic Screening
  • Special Educational Materials and Events

When you see a blue and gray ribbon with a drop of blood or a small heart, this is the symbol for diabetes. The blue circle stands for vitality, health, and life.

If you have diabetes, you need to educate and re-educate yourself so you can help yourself and others regarding living with diabetes, maintaining diabetes, and discovering healthy options for diabetes.

Keep in mind that fighting diabetes lasts a lifetime. Diabetes involves making a lifestyle change in the way of regular screenings, proper diet, exercise, education, and a close relationship with your doctor.

National Diabetes Awareness Month wants to make sure you can sort out all the myths concerning diabetes such as,

  • Never let anyone tell you that diabetes is not a serious disease.
  • If you are overweight, you will develop diabetes.
  • If you eat too much sugar, you will develop diabetes?
  • If you have diabetes, you need to eat diabetic foods.
  • Starchy foods do not cause diabetes.
  • If you have diabetes, you cannot eat sweets or chocolate.
  • People with diabetes become sick more often.
  • Diabetes is catchy.
  • If you have diabetes and suddenly need to start insulin, it means you are not taking care of your diabetes.
  • Since fruit is good for you, you should eat as much fruit as you want if you have diabetes.

Get your gray ribbon in November and pass the word on to others.

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