Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, (blood sugar), is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Disruption to this leads to diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious complex condition which can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing it.
There are different types of diabetes; all types are complex and serious.
The three main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1 (insulin dependent)
- Type 2 (age and/or lifestyle related)
- Gestational diabetes.
Is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults
Is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis
Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times
Is a major cause of limb amputations
Affects mental health as well as physical health. Depression, anxiety and distress occur in more than 30% of all people with diabetes
diabetes & the eye
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels may lead to significant variations in one’s eyesight over very short periods of time. If you suspect or know that your sugar levels are fluctuating and your vision is changing then it is important that you make an appointment to see your eye specialist, Optometrist or GP.
Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects the eyes. It's caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).
At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness.
The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication.
It is extremely important to have regular eye examinations even if you feel that there has been no change to your vision.