Eye Health Intrinsically
Linked to Overall
Not only are your eyes the window to your soul, but they are also often the best windows to your health. By looking into your eyes, a doctor and optometrist can tell a lot about your general health and can gain insight into your overall health as well as determine eye health and vision during a comprehensive eye exam. An optometrist can sometimes be the first medical professional to spot diseases like diabetes and glaucoma that can lead to blindness and other major medical issues. In fact, some systemic and chronic diseases can be detected with an eye exam. And some diseases, such as diabetes, can adversely affect your vision in addition to your overall health.
March is Save Your Vision Month - a celebration started by members of the American Optometric Association all the way back in 1927 to remind people about the importance of vision and eye care. Save Your Vision Month raises general public awareness and targets at-risk groups to remind them of the importance of regular and comprehensive eye exams to detect eye health problems, general health issues and vision difficulties and to take care and charge of your own health and eye health.
With life expectancy figures continuing to climb, managing eye disease successfully can be essential for people to live healthy, happy, and productive lives!
Diabetes, Your Eyes and Health
Since over 33% of people with diabetes don't know that they have it, an eye exam can be the only clue to detecting this potentially life-threatening disease. Changes to the blood vessels in the eye can signify various stages of diabetic retinopathy and left untreated, it can cause blindness. For those suffering from diabetes without knowing it, the detection and treatment of this disease can mean relief on many levels.
Other eye diseases, like glaucoma, may cause vision damage and eventually blindness without the person ever experiencing any symptoms. During a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist measures the pressure within the eye and examines the optic nerve in the eye, thereby determining the existence of glaucoma.
In the United States, diabetes is responsible for 8 % of legal blindness, making it the leading cause of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. Every year, from 12,000 to 24,000 people lose their sight because of diabetes-related vision problems. Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication. All of these eye problems can cause severe vision loss and even blindness. Diabetic eye disease includes glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Glaucoma, cataracts, and corneal disease are more common in people with diabetes and contribute to the high rate of blindness. People with diabetes are almost twice as likely to develop glaucoma and cataracts than people without diabetes. The longer someone has had diabetes, the more common it is for individuals to have glaucoma and risk also increases with age. People with diabetes also tend to get cataracts at a younger age and have them progress faster. The longer someone has had diabetes, the more likely they are to have diabetic retinopathy, a term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. Often there are no symptoms or pain in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy and vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. Finding diabetic retinopathy early is the best way to prevent vision loss.
Risk of diabetic retinopathy can be greatly reduced. According to The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), better control of blood sugar levels slows the onset and progression of retinopathy. The study found that the group that tried to keep their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible had substantially less eye, kidney, and nerve disease (New England Journal of Medicine, September 30, 1993).
Statistical information above regarding diabetes compiled from The American Diabetes Association.
Obesity Can Lead to Diabetes
Obesity is one of the major causes of Type II Diabetes and is one variable that can be adjusted and controlled by you to prevent onset of diabetes and thereby halting formation of diabetes related eye diseases as well.
Certain risk factors like age, family history, and ethnicity cannot be altered, but a change in lifestyle that includes a healthier diet and increased physical activity with or without weight loss may help reduce your risk.
The immense rise in Type II Diabetes in recent years, the serious health risks and costs associated with diabetes, and the fact that several of the risk factors are modifiable, have created great interest in the importance of diabetes prevention. If you have high blood pressure, are overweight, smoke, or use alcohol or drugs, you can help lower your risk by modifying your lifestyle. Obesity is a major modifiable risk factor for Type II Diabetes. Lowering weight and blood pressure and quitting smoking can significant positive impacts on health and lifestyle.
One in three Americans born today is predicted to develop diabetes as a consequence of obesity.It is estimated that at least half of all diabetes cases would be eliminated if weight gain could be prevented. Of particular concern are the current rates of overweight and obese children, due to inactivity and increases in caloric intake of almost all countries over the last 20 years.
“The rising levels of obesity worldwide are likely to drive the prevalence of diabetes even higher than present forecasts”, according to Professor Pierre Lefèbvre, President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that being overweight and obese was the single most important factor that predicted who would develop Type II Diabetes. During a 16 year follow-up period the study concluded that Type II Diabetes could be prevented by living a healthier lifestyle and risks decreased with weight loss, diet and exercise. Another study conducted by The Finish Diabetes Prevention Study Group found that with weight loss and better physical activity levels alone, people at high risk of developing diabetes could reduce their risk by more than 50%(The New England Journal of Medicine 2002; 346: 393-403). Control your weight with Native Remedies’ EcoSlim, Triple Complex Slimmer’s Assist, Detox Drops as aids to help you lose weight safely and naturally while substantially improving your health and reducing health risks.
Information compiled from International Diabetes Federation
If you have not seen your optometrist in over a year, be sure to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination right away and...
...To prevent and control diabetes and take care of your visual health at home, use Native Remedies’ Insulate Plus to assist in the treatment and prevention of diabetes and for healthy living, Vizu-All Plus for healthy eye function and visual problems and eye disorders associated with diabetes such as macular degeneration and cataracts, and Triple Complex Diabetonic to keep sugar levels stable and reduce cravings for sweet foods.