Diabetes- The soft and silent killer !

The minute most of us hear “Diabetes”, we think of Blood Sugar.

Blood sugar is elevated level of sugar or glucose in the blood which if unchecked overtime, leads to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, inability of our body to convert sugar into glucose and subsequently elevated levels of glucose in the blood.

We all know about Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes but whats important is what happens in the body, when we have elevated levels of sugar in the body for long.

Common Effects and Risks associated with high sugar levels and diabetes are:

Diabetes complications affected organs. diabetes affects nerves, kidneys, eyes, vessels, heart, brain and skin

Risk of stroke: Diabetes or elevated sugar levels, increase our risk of stroke, about 4 times more than non diabetics

Risk of Heart Disease:  Diabetes increases risk of heart attack , heart disease. As the blood vessels get damaged, it puts the heart under pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks.  High glucose levels also lead to fatty deposits. Coupled with obesity, high blood pressure, it puts you at a severe risk and an angioplasty  or an open heart bypass surgery may even be required.

Risk of Cataract: Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing cataracts

Risk of Glaucoma: Glaucoma risk is significantly more for diabetics. If left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Risk of Pancreas Malfunction: A malfunction in pancreas leads to diabetes and higher blood sugar levels in turn continue to damage the pancreas.
Risk of Gastroparesis:   Increase in blood sugar levels also makes it hard for the  stomach to empty completely. This also in turn leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, and heartburn are common symptoms.
Risk of Kidney Damage:  Unchecked High sugar levels and diabetes, damages the kidneys, leads to diabetic neuropathy and eventually one may need a dialysis or even a kidney transplant.
Risk of Nerve Damage: Diabetics often  have tingling sensation in the foot and suffer from nerve damage. Lack of sensation or peripheral neuropathy is dangerous as due to lack of sensation, one may fail to notice injuries

Foot Problems:  Unchecked diabetes can lead to diabetic foot where the entire foot may even need to be amputated.
Ketoacidosis:   In absence of insulin,  the body uses alternate hormones to turn fat into energy, which creates a high level of toxic chemicals such as acids and  ketones, which may lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.  Diabetic ketoacidosis  often leads to loss of consciousness and other life threatening complications. A Fruity Breath or a sweet smelling breath is often an indicator of diabetes and calls for a check on blood sugar levels.
Visual Problems:  Diabetics often face visual problems, as high glucose levels often lead to swollen, leaky blood vessels in the eye, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy.  These vision problems,  may even lead to partial or total loss of vision Vision problems can be gradual hence routine eye checkups if you are diabetic or have pre diabetes are a must.

Risk of damage to blood vessels:  High blood sugar levels or high glucose levels,
restrict blood flow, damaging the blood vessels.

As unchecked diabetes, leads to a host of problems, it is important to make life style changes. Pre diabetes conditions can be reversed by exercise and dietary changes.  Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed if significant life style changes are made.

One of the most important life style change is to Quit smoking as diabetes and smoking leads to an enhanced risk of heart disease.

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Bloodshot Eyes ? Ever Wondered Why ?

cornea transplant
Bloodshot eyes

Ever wondered why many of us have blood shot eyes ?

Is this indicative of a serious medical problem , glaucoma, cataract or retinal detachment or are there any other reasons ?

Read below to know more on possible reasons for why we have red eyes.

Lack of sleep : A primary reason for blood shot eyes is not getting enough sleep.
When we sleep, our eyes get rest and are refreshed. Lack of sleep over a period of time leads to redness in the eyes. Resting up, catching up on sleep and using artificial tears helps take care of the problem

Too much Alcohol : Excess alcohol in the blood causes blood vessels to dilate which means more blood flowing through, which leads to redness in the eyes.

Smoking, both active and passive : Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke causes blood vessels to constrict and leads to dry eyes. Overtime, the irritation may lead to macular degeneration, cataract and even vision loss.

Eye infection : Eye infections even though mild lead to redness. Antibiotics and tear drops can help deal with redness and once infection clears, the redness goes away.

Pollution : Excess pollution levels and toxic gasses in the environment also lead to irritation, subsequent redness in the eyes and overtime vision problems.

Allergies : Being allergic to pollen, paint and other allergens also leads to irritation and often blood shot eyes. Worse still using anti allergens also leads to dryness and red eyes.

Dry eyes : Dry eyes are often a result of hypothyroidism, working on the computer screen the entire day also leads to dryness. Managing thyroid levels is a long term solution Using tear drops helps with dryness.

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Glaucoma Who is at Risk

What is Glaucoma ?

Glaucoma is a medical problem of the eye. In Glaucoma, the optic nerve gets damaged, and may even worsens over time leading
to loss of vision and if left untreated, permanent blindness.

Glaucoma Causes

Severe eye infection, inflammation in the eye, blockage of blood vessels in the eye, injury to the eye, chemical damages
to the eye are the usual culprits.

Glaucoma Symptoms

  • Vision loss
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Redness in the eye
  • Sudden hazy or blurred vision
  • Pain in the eye
  • Narrowing of vision (tunnel vision)
  • Flashes of light or black spots
  • Double vision
  • Seeing spots, ghost-like images

Who’s at Risk for Glaucoma?

  • Genetics and family history play an important role.
  • African Descent- People from africa tend to suffer more from Glaucoma.
  • 40+, Age related degeneration takes place, over 40.
  • Poor vision in general.
  • Thin corneas increase the likelihood.
  • Diabetes increases risk factor.
  • Trauma to the eye
  • Intake of steroid medications, such as prednisone

Glaucoma Treatment

There are several ways in which Glaucoma can be treated which could be prescription eye drops for less severe problems,
microsurgery to drain out excess eye fluid , or various laser surgery procedures.

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Eyes ? Do they also get affected by high blood pressure

High Blood PressureBlood vessels supplying blood to eyes can also get damaged over time due to high blood pressure leading to blurred vision, bleeding and even loss of vision.

The 3 major conditions that happen due to damage from high blood pressure are
Retinopathy– The blood vessels supplying blood to the retina get damaged due to high blood pressure leading to Retinopathy which causes bleeding, blurred vision and loss of vision.
Choroidopathy is fluid build up under the retina due to blood vessels which start to leak as they get damaged due to high blood pressure which results in blurred vision, distorted vision and permanent impairment

Optic Neuropathy results when the optic nerve gets damaged due to high blood pressure, which results in bleeding and vision loss. Damage is often irreversible.

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