Friday, 1 June 2012

Diabetes problems

What are diabetes problems?


Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause diabetes problems. This high blood glucose, also called blood sugar, can damage many parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. Heart and blood vessel disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes. You can do a lot to prevent or slow down diabetes problems.
This booklet is about eye problems caused by diabetes. You will learn the things you can do each day and during each year to stay healthy and prevent diabetes problems.

Drawing of a cross section of the eye with the retina, blood vessels on the retina, the optic nerve, the vitreous, and the lens labeled. 

What should I do each day to stay healthy with diabetes?


Drawing of a bowl containing bananas, grapes, and an apple. Follow the healthy eating plan that you and your doctor or dietitian have worked out.
Drawing of a silhouette of a woman who is walking. Be active a total of 30 minutes most days. Ask your doctor what activities are best for you.
Drawing of an open pill container on its side with some pills spilling out and an insulin bottle. Take your medicines as directed.
Drawing of a hand holding a blood glucose meter that reads 114. Check your blood glucose every day. Each time you check your blood glucose, write the number in your record book.
Drawing of two hands holding a bare foot. Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails.
Drawing of a toothbrush with toothpaste on it and an open container of floss with some floss hanging out. Brush and floss your teeth every day.
Drawing of two arms with a blood pressure cuff around one arm. The hand of the other arm is holding the pump connected to the cuff. Control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Drawing of a lit cigarette in a circle covered by a slash sign to show that smoking is not allowed. Don't smoke.

What can I do to prevent diabetes eye problems?


You can do a lot to prevent diabetes eye problems.
  • Keep your blood glucose and blood pressure as close to normal as you can.
  • Have an eye care professional examine your eyes once a year. Have this exam even if your vision is OK. The eye care professional will use drops to make the black part of your eyes-pupils-bigger. This process is called dilating your pupil, which allows the eye care professional to see the back of your eye. Finding eye problems early and getting treatment right away will help prevent more serious problems later on.
  • Ask your eye care professional to check for signs of cataracts and glaucoma. See What other eye problems can happen to people with diabetes? to learn more about cataracts and glaucoma.
  • If you are planning to get pregnant soon, ask your doctor if you should have an eye exam.
  • If you are pregnant and have diabetes, see an eye care professional during your first 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Don't smoke.