What can you do to help prevent diabetes?

Currently in the United States about one in ten people have been diagnosed as having diabetes. As bad as that number is, it is projected to climb even higher. It is estimated that by 2050 that number will be somewhere between 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 people. Why is this happening and what can you do to help prevent diabetes?

We probably all know the reasons this increase is occurring. We are sitting too much, watching too much instead of doing, eating too much and we are eating the wrong types of food. Our nutrition in this nation as a whole has been neglected and we aren’t exercising enough. We are eating too much fast food, too many refined carbohydrates, too much fat and we are not walking and playing and working hard physically. Our bodies were made for vegetables and fruits and lots of physical activity. Most of us need to do better with nutrition and exercise.

So get up and start walking. Drop that extra weight. Eat your veggies instead of that donut. Get rid of that super-sized soda. I promise you , you do not want to have diabetes. I know because I have type 2 diabetes. I have to walk the walk. I have to practice what I preach because I don’t want to lose my eyesight or kidney function or the ability to be physically active.

So what does diabetes have to do with your eyes and your vision? Plenty!

First, if your blood sugars are not stable, the focus of your eyes will be unstable as well. The amount of farsightedness or nearsightedness that you show will change from one day to the next and from one part of the day to another if your blood sugars are out of control. If your blood sugars are out of control, your glasses won’t work for you very well. On the other hand, the better you control your blood sugars the more stable your focus becomes.

Diabetes can also accelerate cataract formation and it can put you at higher risk for glaucoma. There also exists correlation between macular degeneration and diabetes.

The biggest eye-health concern we have with diabetes, however, is in regards to the health of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is a big concern for those who have been diabetic for a long time and for those whose blood sugars are high and/or unstable. The longer you have had diabetes the greater your risk becomes that you will develop diabetic retinopathy. Conversely, the better you control your blood sugars and the more stable your blood sugars are the lower your risk of diabetic retinopathy. What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic eye disease

The retina covers the back of the inside of the eye. it is the orange part that you see in the picture. you also see blood vessels and you see lots of bleeding in the picture as well. Plus we see some white areas. The white areas occur because of long term blood vessel leakage. This picture shows advanced diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetes makes the blood vessels leaky and if there are leaky blood vessels in your eyes there are leaking blood vessels in other parts of your body as well. As you might guess, blood that is outside of the blood vessels is not a good thing. The more bleeding we see, the more concerned we get about a person’s vision and good eye health. Untreated diabetic retinopathy leads to blindness. The bottom line is this. If you have diabetes you need to control your blood sugars and you need to have an examination for diabetic retinopathy at least once a year. Even if you are confident you don’t have retinopathy you need to make sure your retinas are healthy. Early stage retinopathy has no symptoms.

And now here is some good news: at Jensen Eye Care, we have recently acquired an amazing technology that allows us to better pick up early diabetic changes. It is called the Retinal Health Assessment (RHA). Give us a call at 265-7008 if you have diabetes. We offer free RHA retinal screening for first time diabetic patients. We look forward to your visit and our discussion.

You have a lot of world yet to see, don’t you think?