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Diabetes and The Eyes - Part 1

Diabetes is one of the most if not the most common chronic diseases in our country, St. Kitts-Nevis. The saying “Your eyes are the window to your soul” has clarity when it comes to Diabetes and the eyes. It is important to note that its prevalence is related to lifestyle and hereditary. In St. Kitts, where approximately 80% of adults are Diabetic, it is sad that many sufferers are still considered negatively and a stigma when it is essentially more common to have it in the society in which we live today.

People have a way of thinking, “My mother and father are Diabetic so I’ll be Diabetic as well”. This is indeed true. The positive way we can look at it, is that it is extremely manageable and most people can live a long and healthy life without the need for pills and insulin injections. The keys to this are managing diabetes and not to stigmatize it. In this regard, it is important to note that diabetes affects the young and the old. It is not unusual to have a 21-year-old diabetic.

It is most important in fighting diabetes that we maintain a healthy weight. This is done by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Probably the most important barrier to achieving this is in St. Kitts/Nevis is changing our perception of what is beautiful and sexy. Society (mainly men but not exclusively, still feels that a “round” woman is the ideal woman. This leads to the psychology of women wanting to put weight on to fit into the norms of the Federation. Once the habit of overeating and not exercising starts, it stays with you for life. Regular checkups with your physician are also very important. Know your Numbers! In other words, don’t just say your blood sugar is good or bad; you should know what good or bad numbers are. In other words, numbers in excess of 130 should be of concern.

Old and bad habits are hard to change but we must!!!!!!

The effects of poorly controlled diabetes can be devastating and can lead to many problems. They include losing limbs, having strokes, having kidney disease and this is just the beginning. Since our office concentrates on eye diseases, we would like to bring your attention to one of the most devastating, Diabetic Retinopathy. This blog will concentrate on Diabetic Retinopathy in its various forms. This is a long and complicated topic and therefore this is the first in the series dealing with this and other topics related to diabetic diseases.

New weak blood vessels are formed in the retina due to uncontrolled Diabetes which causes bleeding in the eye which could lead to Retinal Detachment if not treated. Persons may experience blurry or decreased vision and some may not even have any symptoms. Even though there are no symptoms, it is advised that an eye examination be completed.

Persons with Diabetes should have their eyes checked annually to monitor any changes from the disease. If symptoms are present, more frequent visits are recommended.

For more information on Diabetic Retinopathy, please click here.

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