November is National Diabetes Month
November 2014 is National Diabetes Month, and many organizations are teaming up to fight this devastating disease. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), nearly 30 million American children and adults have diabetes, and another 86 million have pre-diabetes. The ADA also estimates that 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050 if we don't take steps toward battling this disease now! In addition to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, limb loss, and more, diabetes can have serious effects on vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which the blood vessels of the retina swell, leak, or close off completely. In some cases, the blood flow to the retina is so poor that new blood vessels grow which can bleed within the eye and can cause retina detachments. This can impact vision severely. This short video helps to demonstrate this condition called proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).
The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetes is to keep your blood sugar controlled! You also need to keep up with your annual eye exams. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), as partnership of the NIH and CDC, is promoting "Be Smart About your Heart: Control the ABCS of Diabetes" this month.
A = A1c level, a blood test that measures your blood sugar control over a 3 month period
B = Blood pressure control
C = Cholesterol control
S = Stop smoking! (click for a guide to quitting smoking from the American Cancer Society)
Additional tips for managing diabetes include: choosing a healthy diet, exercising regularly, taking your medication even when you feel good, and monitoring your blood sugar. The NDEP provides additional information here.
Start your diabetic eye exams now. Identifying problems early can help prevent vision loss and, in some cases, can be life saving!
Category: Patient Education