Diabetic Retinopathy – How It Can Relate to What You Eat This Thanksgiving

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During this Holiday of smorgasbord dining, the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind is creating awareness of the leading source of blindness in individuals between the ages of 20 and 74 – Diabetic Retinopathy.

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the thought of what to eat and how much to eat can often create unwanted anxiety for those struggling with diabetes. Traditionally, Thanksgiving consists of high fat and high carbohydrate meals, which can lead to poor control of blood sugar levels. Elevated levels of glucose in the blood, over time can lead to a number of damaging complications, one being diabetic retinopathy. During this Holiday of smorgasbord dinning, the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind is creating awareness of the leading source of blindness in individuals between the ages of 20 and 74 – Diabetic Retinopathy.

Nearly half of all diabetics have some form of diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when blood vessels to the retina become blocked or leak fluid or blood, causing vision loss. All individuals with diabetes, type 1 and type 2, are at risk for diabetic eye diseases and are more susceptible to them the longer they live with diabetes. In the early stages of diabetes, you may not notice any change in vision, but it can lead to sight-threatening forms of disease if not detected. Any one experiencing blurry or clouded vision, floaters or dark spots in vision, straight lines, such as flag poles or street lights, not appearing straight, difficulty seeing in dim light or tunnel vision, should see an eye doctor immediately.

Most vision loss due to diabetes can be prevented, but it is vital that it is diagnosed early. Don’t let your diabetes damper your Holiday. Here are a few healthy choices you can make to ensure many more celebrations with your family and friends;

1.Get an annual eye exams; to include dilating the pupils;
2.Lower your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels;
3.Don’t Smoke;
4.Maintain a healthy diet and;
5.Exercise regularly.

For more information on how you can protect your vision and for some helpful tips on how to cut back on fats and carbohydrates this Thanksgiving, visit http://www.pablind.org.

Contact: Katie Schock - PA Assn. f/t Blind Phone: 717-766-2020 Email: Katie.schock(at)pablind(dot)org

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Katie Schock
Pennsylvania Association for the Blind
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