When you think about diabetes, you probably think about controlling your diet and monitoring your blood sugar levels. The furthest thing from your mind is the possibility of going blind.
Believe it or not, though, diabetes, in some cases, can render a person legally blind or can cause him or her to suffer from other serious eye conditions and eye diseases.
For that reason, if you are diabetic, it is very important to educate yourself on the link between blindness and diabetes. That way, you can do everything in your power to prevent vision impairment in the future.
Know the Link Between these Two Conditions
The first thing to understand is that, fortunately, diabetes itself does not necessarily have to lead to blindness or other eye conditions.
Instead, it is when diabetes is not well-controlled that vision issues can arise. When blood sugar levels are allowed to get and stay high, this can cause damage to the retina, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. A simple vision test can often determine if diabetic retinopathy or other eye problems are developing as a side effect of poorly controlled diabetes. For this reason, regular visits to an optometrist are particularly important for diabetics.
Also, diabetics should understand that their chances of blindness and general eye damage increase the higher their blood sugar levels get and the longer they are allowed to remain that way. For this and many other reasons, diabetics must strive to do their best to stay within their target blood sugar ranges.
The Importance of Staying Healthy
As you can tell from the information above, being diagnosed as a diabetic does not necessarily mean that you will develop eye problems or go blind.
It simply means that you have to take extra efforts to protect your overall health and your eye health. Fortunately, by striving to be a healthy person in general, by seeing a doctor regularly to ensure your diabetes is under control, and by following some simple tips, you can greatly reduce the chances that you will ever suffer from blindness or other eye damage.
Be Sure to Exercise Regularly
One simple way to keep your blood sugar levels in the target range and, thus, to reduce your chances of diabetes is to get exercise on a regular basis.
Exercising can help you to lose weight if you are overweight. That, in turn, can increase your insulin sensitivity and help your body to better use the sugar you put into it.
This, plus the fact that you use up blood sugar stores when exercising can all help you to keep your blood sugar in the target range, thereby keeping your eyes healthy.
Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber
In addition to ensuring that you get plenty of exercise, you will also want to incorporate more fiber into your diet, especially soluble fiber.
This type of fiber is particularly good at slowing down how quickly you digest sugar, which can keep your blood sugar levels from rising too quickly. This certainly isn’t a “free pass” to eat as much sugar as you want- you’ll still need to control your diet- but adding in more fiber is definitely smart.
You should talk to a doctor about what your ideal fiber intake per day should be. Generally, though, it’s recommended that adults get between 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day.
The good news is that most food that contains fiber is relatively healthy, so you’ll kill two birds with one stone by making an effort to up your fiber intake.
Control What You Consume Each Day
Every diabetic knows that diet plays a huge role in health and in blood sugar levels.
Thus, make sure you are doing your best to follow a healthy, controlled diet each day. In fact, ideally, you should be carefully following a meal plan given to you by your doctor or a professional nutritionist who understands the specialized needs of diabetics.
The bulk of your diet should consist of leafy green vegetables and lower-sugar fruits. Protein is also important, and sugars and oils should be consumed only in moderation.
Also, make sure that you do not engage in binge eating. Eating too much at a time spikes blood sugar levels, which is the last thing you want.
As a diabetic, it is typically best to eat several small meals throughout the day. Making an effort to control what you eat and to aim for superior nutrition will greatly help you to control your blood sugar and protect your vision.
Being a diabetic can make you feel out of control, but, as you can see, you can protect yourself and take back the control over your body by making the right choices.