Posted on Apr 20, 2018, 7 p.m.
When most people think about diabetes they immediately think of glucose monitoring, but rarely anything past that point, but diabetes affects much more than sugar levels.
There has been substantial increases in the number of diabetes cases worldwide over the past few years, corresponding with the increase in globesity. According to WHO the number rose from 108 million to 422 million with 8.5% of adults aged 18+ being diagnosed in 2014. Ramifications of this increase was an exponential rise in economic and social expenses to the patients, their families,friends, and surrounding communities due to direct costs of treatments and indirect cumulative cost of wages lost and work.
Majority of people are not aware that diabetes has effects on all body organs, including the eyes. Leakage in retinal blood vessels in the back of the eye can impair vision, if severe or prolonged permanent damage can occur to vision. If diabetic retinopathy is not monitored it can cause a large blind spot or blindness. Severe cases growth of abnormal vessels can damage the retina and lead to detachment and permanent visual impairment, making regular ophthalmologist check ups important and possibly sight saving.
Many people are not even aware that they have diabetes until they are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy or maculopathy during an ocular exam, following this the patient is referred back to their primary physician or an endocrinologist for diagnosis and consultation. Early detection is key to protect eyesight and health and function of all bodily organs.
Monitoring blood glucose is most important to prevent damage in diabetes patients. There are some steps that can be taken to help prevent vision loss kidney failure, and peripheral neuropathy.
It is universally agreed that diabetics who smoke are by far more likely to experience diabetic maculopathy and retinopathy, it increases risk of diabetic eye diseases by 10 fold.
Diabetes combined with hypertension increases risk of diabetic eye disease by 70%, it is suggested to keep target blood pressure of less than 130/75 mmHg.
Elevated serum cholesterol and lipid levels double incidence of developing diabetic eye disease.
Combination of diabetes and anemia is a well known risk factor for diabetic eye diseases and risk for deterioration of diabetic retinopathy.
Obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with higher incidence of diabetic eye.
Of the above mentioned things smoking is considered to be the most critical in reducing the risk of developing diabetic eye complications. Morbidity and mortality from diabetes and related complications can take adverse tolls on the patient, family members, friends, and society. Monitoring and controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and refraining from tobacco products while seeking treatment for medical conditions which can cause additional complications may not prevent the increase in the number of cases worldwide, but it can have profound impacts on enhancing eyesight and general overall quality of life for individuals with diabetes.
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- Relationship between diabetic retinopathy and sleep-disordered breathing. Am J Ophthalmol. 2009;147(6):1017–1021.