Archive for the ‘eye health’ Category

Diabetes and Eye Health

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There is a strong connection between diabetes and your vision health.  If you have pre-diabetes or diabetes it is important to get your blood glucose levels under control.  The American Diabetes Association says that individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of blindness than do those without diabetes and are 40 percent more likely to have glaucoma and 60 percent more likely to have cataracts.  Those statistics are staggering and we must protect the gift of sight.

There are various types of retinal damage caused by diabetes.  This is typically referred to as diabetic retinopathy.  If you have chronic blood glucose levels (high blood sugar) the tiny blood vessels that supply needed blood to your retina in your eye get damaged and are unable to function properly.  Lack of blood supply to the retina can eventually cause vision loss.  Additionally, your body may trigger the development of new blood vessels (to compensate for the damaged blood vessels) which can rupture and leak blood.  These blood vessels can eventually cause retinal detachment or glaucoma.

The longer you have had the diagnosis of diabetes increases your risk of getting retinopathy.  If your blood sugar is not under control, the likelihood of complications increases substantially.

What are the common symptoms?

  1. blurry vision
  2. dark floating spots

See your ophthalmologist every six months if you are diabetic.  Additionally, it is important that you manage your blood sugar levels.  Many diabetics will check their blood sugar levels at home, but be sure to see if you are managing those levels by getting a Hemoglobin A1c test which is a way to find out your average blood sugar levels over time.

Some discount blood lab tests to consider:

Or order our Diabetes test package for a economical way to get all the tests above plus additional screening tests to be sure your organs are not affected by high blood glucose levels.

Take care of you health!

Additional resources:

Basic Diabetes Information from Mayo Clinic

American Diabetes Association

Two websites for you to place your orders:

www.HealthOneLabs.com

www.InquireLabs.com

 

 

 


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If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, you are probably checking your blood glucose levels and watching your diet.  Some have added an exercise routine and these actions are all part of the overall program to keep your blood sugar in check.  It is also recommended to take additional routine tests since diabetics have a higher incidence of secondary health issues that should be addressed early:

  1. blood pressure
  2. foot exam
  3. Hemoglobin A1c blood test
  4. urine microalbumin test
  5. cholesterol tests
  6. eye dilation exam

diabetes tests

Blood Pressure

If you have diabetes, the risk of developing high blood pressure doubles.  The latest recommendations are systolic and diastolic values under 120/80.  Interestingly, a nurse said there is no such thing as “White Coat” symptoms : when a patient has unusually high blood pressure while getting measured by a health professional.  She indicated that if a person has high blood pressure they have high blood pressure no matter who is taking their vital signs.  If you are unsure, invest in a home blood pressure monitor and track your blood pressure.  Take these readings to your physician to determine if additional diet, exercise or medication needs to be adjusted.

Check Your Feet

A diabetic’s foot is very sensitive.  Do a self check to ensure there are no pressure sores, cuts or ingrown toenails that can ultimately lead to infections and gangrene.  Infections can lead to amputation.  Doctors recommend you do a self exam daily.

Average Blood Sugar – Hemoglobin A1c

This test measures how well you are managing your blood sugar levels over the last two or three months.  Order a Hemoglobin A1c test every 3 months to see if your protocol for blood sugar management is indeed working or if it needs adjustment.

Urine Microalbumin Test

This urine test measures the amount of albumin, a certain type of protein in your urine.  Abnormal ranges of albumin may indicate kidney damage.  It is recommended to order a urine microalbumin test once a year.

Lipid Profile Test

Lipids are the fats in your blood and this test will measure cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoproteins and low density lipoproteins and determine if they are within the recommended ranges.  It is recommended that you order a lipid panel test every 6 months.

Dilated Eye Exam

If you have diabetes, your ophthalmologist or optometrist should perform a dilated eye exam to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy.  It is recommended that you conduct this test annually.

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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Cataracts – Potential Causes

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eyeball image

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens, typically from a buildup of protein, that can impair vision.  Almost half of all Americans that are 65 years or older have cataracts which prevents light from passing through the lens ultimately causing some loss of vision.

There is not an effective drug therapy to prevent cataracts but those that smoke cigarettes, take certain medications, have had previous eye injury, excess exposure to sunlight, are diabetic or obese can increase their risk of cataracts. 

Decreasing Your Risks for Cataracts:

  1. Stop smoking as smoking may reduce the nutrients in the blood that are needed to maintain lens health.
  2. Wean yourself from corticosteroids, if your physician advises.  A study of individuals taking 15 mg oral prednisone for 1-2 years, 80% developed cataracts.
  3. Wear sunglasses and avoid the sun.  Prolonged exposure to UV radiation in sunlight more than doubles the risk of cataracts.
  4. Regulate your blood sugar.  Those with diabetes are at increased risk to get cataracts.
  5. Lose weight.  The link to obesity and cataracts is unclear, but studies show that maintaining a proper weight may reduce cataract formation by decreasing blood glucose levels.

What are Symptoms of Cataracts:

Since cataracts develop slowly, you may not notice the symptoms right away.  Symptoms can include:

  • blurry, foggy or cloudy vision
  • changes in the way color is seen
  • difficulty driving at night especially glare from headlights, streetlights and rain
  • double vision
  • sudden change in eye glasses or contact lens prescription

Treatments for Cataracts:

The least invasive treatment for cataracts is a new eyeglass prescription or magnifiers to help the individual see better.  However, cataract surgery is the most successful at restoring vision and is performed quite frequently.  The prognosis of cataract surgery is great:  most surgery recipients regain vision between 20/20 and 20/40.

What does the surgeon do?

The surgeon removes the clouded lens and replaces it with a intraoccular plastic lens.  The advances of these lens help patients correct vision for near/far sightedness and can also offer UV protection to avoid damage to the retina.

Most patients have improved vision within days after the surgery and the eye is completely healed within 6 weeks.

Interestingly, people who underwent cataract surgery lowered their risk of hip fracture according to a study in JAMA.  Visual impairment is a high predictor of an increased risk of fractures as sight provides information for postural balance and stability.  With a cloudy lens, the risk for falling can increase.

Take Control of your Health!

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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