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DiabetesDo you or someone that you love suffer from diabetes? November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and we want to take the time to not only bring awareness to the effects diabetes can have on your eyes but also on the effects the disease can have on your overall health.

Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. That can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar can also lead to cataracts and glaucoma, which happen earlier and more often when you have diabetes. Some of the symptoms of eye damage conditions include floaters or spots in your field of vision. Many of the symptoms may be very mild at first, which is why we stress the importance of regular eye exams for diabetics, in particular, to provide early detection of treatable eye problems

While Type I Diabetes is usually discovered at a young age and requires insulin injections to maintain the body’s proper blood sugar levels, Type 2 Diabetes (which is usually controlled with diet, exercise, and oral medication) can eventually lead to insulin injection dependency. The key to helping avoid diabetes is proper exercise, diet, and weight management.

Diabetes can have negative effects on all parts of the body. It can cause problems with the circulatory system, the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and vision.

There are several ways to help reduce the probability of developing diabetes. Nearly 80% of people who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are considered overweight. It is easy to say that weight loss is the first way to help reduce your chances of developing this disease. While many people may be overwhelmed at losing 40 to 50 pounds, take small steps. Simply losing 10 pounds can have a positive effect on your body.

By losing the extra weight, it allows your body to function more normally and reduce the stresses that the extra weight but on your body. Exercise also helps the body to function normally by helping the body to burn off the excess sugar. This reduces the strain on your body and the amount of insulin needed to help convert the sugar into energy.

By watching your diet, monitoring your weight and exercising regularly, you can help to reduce your chances of developing diabetes. Small changes in your life from what you eat to whether you take the stairs or the elevator are simple changes that you can make today to help you to live healthier and happier!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.