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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eye Complications Of Diabetes

By Owen Jones

Diabetics have problems with sugar and starch, both of which the body processes into glucose which it generates for energy. The difficulty with diabetics is that this glucose is not processed properly, it enters into the blood stream and is not dealt with by insulin as it should be.

The presence of glucose in the blood is normal and is called glaecemia but when the blood is over saturated, it is called hyperglaecemia. For this reason, diabetics have to be aware of their blood/sugar levels at all times, which means that they have to be wary of what they eat.

Lots of diabetics learn tell-tale signs that their bodies give to warn them of their high or low blood/sugar level, but most people also use blood tests by a doctor or even home blood/sugar monitors, which have become cheap enough to purchase for personal use.

Not having enough glucose (sugar) in the blood is known as hypoglaecemia and leaves the brain starved of energy, which leads to temporary dizziness, confusion, blackout or a convulsion. Restoring the glucose level to normal returns full awareness, Most diabetics learn to successfully circumvent this situation. More difficult is hyperglaecemia.

Hyperglaecemia is the opposite of hypoglaecemia and brings with it its own issues but they tend to cause long term issues. Protracted periods of hyperglaecemia lead to cardiovascular issues, kidney concerns and concerns with eyesight and even teeth.

These complications take a long time to develop and the diabetic might not realize that there is a problem until it is too late. Hence the need to monitor blood/glucose levels often. One of the first areas to show problems from hyperglaecemia is the retina because it is so sensitive.

Hyperglaecemic blood in the blood vessels in the retina causes them to swell creating high pressures on the sensitive eye constituent parts. Eyesight is soon impaired. The greatest worry for most diabetics is going blind or suffering macular degeneration, which impairs vision quite severely but does not lead to total blindness.

It is very important for diabetics to have an eye examination at least once a year and twice is better. The opthamologist will be on the look out for a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. If you are a diabetic you should be on your guard.

If you experience blurred vision, sudden dark spots or flashing lights before your eyes or feel pressure (not simple), you should get to the opthamologist as soon as possible.

There are treatments, especially in the early stages, but the longer you leave it the worse it gets and the more difficult to put right, if that is at all feasible.

Prevention is always better that cure, so diabetics should keep their blood glucose level within normal boundaries and maintain a proper body weight. To do this, you will need to learn how much sugar is in various foodstuffs and take frequent exercise. In other words: diet and exercise.

Other concerns that a diabetic may experience with their eyes is glaucoma and cataracts. Cataracts can be cut away quite easily, but glaucoma is very serious and leads to blindness.

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