Diabetes is a metabolic disease where blood sugar levels are raised. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause complications including kidney failure, stroke, foot ulcers and eye damage.
Diabetes is caused either by the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the body not responding properly to the insulin produced.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes results from the pancreas’ not producing enough insulin. The cause is unknown. Type 1 diabetes must be managed with insulin injections,
- Type 2 Diabetes begins with insulin resistance where the body fails to respond to insulin properly. The primary cause is excess body weight and a lack of exercise. Type 2 diabetes may be treated with medications which may include insulin or other medications to help regulate blood sugar.
- Gestational Diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop a high blood sugar level. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the birth of the baby.
Prevention and treatment of diabetes involve a eating a healthy diet, regular physical exercise, not smoking and maintaining a normal body weight.
Blood pressure control and proper foot care are important for people with Diabetes.
The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK is estimated to be approximately three million. This represents 6% of the UK population. It is also estimated that there are more than half a million people in the UK that have diabetes which has not been diagnosed. The majority of these cases are of type 2 diabetes, which has been linked to increasing obesity.
Diabetic Eye Screening
The NHS aims to reduce the risk of sight loss due to complications arising from diabetes with a national eye screening programme. The programme is coordinated centrally with screening delivered locally in line with national quality standards and protocols.
All patients over the age of 12 who are diagnosed with diabetes are enrolled in the local diabetic eye screening programme and are recalled to attend eye screening clinics.
Eye screening is an important part of diabetes care. If you have diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy, which is a condition that if left untreated can lead to sight loss. Eye screening is therefore vital for those suffering from diabetes.
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For more information and resources on patients diagnosed with diabetes click on the following links: