CHRISTUS St. Vincent - LiveWell

Spring 2017

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Keep an Eye on Diabetes Diabetic retinopathy isn't the only eye disease related to diabetes. Adults with diabetes are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma and 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts, according to the American Diabetes Association. Controlling your blood sugar by eating a nutritious diet and taking medications as recommended is the best way to prevent diabetes-related eye conditions and potentially serious consequences such as vision loss. In addition, visit your ophthalmologist for an eye exam every year. This helps ensure problems are caught early when they're easiest to manage. Regular eye exams can reveal more than whether or not you need a new pair of glasses. They also allow providers to spot warning signs of potentially serious medical conditions, including: Health Windows to Your Did you know your eyes may hold the fi rst clues to illness? DIABETES A variety of eye conditions are associated with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy). One of the most common eye issues related to diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. This condition damages blood vessels in the retina, the layer of tissue that lines the back of each eye, which can lead to retinal bleeding. Eye doctors can detect diabetic retinopathy during a routine exam. HEART DISEASE AND HEART ATTACKS A 2011 The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal)-published study found that xanthelasmas— small, yellow patches of skin that develop on or around the eyelids — raise a person's risk of dying from a heart attack or heart disease. A potential reason for the link? Xanthelasmas occur when fat deposits build up under the skin and may be a warning sign of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Sjögren's syndrome are among the autoimmune disorders that can a ect the eyes by causing excessive dryness and/or eye pain and irritation. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE Just like diabetes, high blood pressure can visibly damage the blood vessels in the retina, a problem known as hypertensive retinopathy. SHOW YOUR EYES SOME TENDER, LOVING CARE Nourishing foods that help safeguard your heart are also kind to your eyes. Leafy greens rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, help prevent cataracts and other age-related eye concerns, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It's also important to give your eyes frequent screen breaks. After 20 minutes of screen time, look away from the screen and focus on a distant object for at least 20 seconds. ✚ BE WELL 10 For help managing diabetes, call the CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Diabetes Center at (505) 913-4307. st | Spring 2017

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