When is it?
World Diabetes Awareness Day runs every year on the 14th of November.
What is it all about?
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the amount of glucose i.e. the blood sugar level in your body is too high. This can manifest itself in two different ways:
- Type 1 diabetes occurs when there is no insulin produced in your body. Insulin is the key to unlocking the door to your body’s cells. When the doors remain closed, the glucose can’t move into the cells to provide your body with energy.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is either not enough insulin or your body doesn’t react correctly to the insulin produced.
Diabetes affects 3.2 million people in the UK with an additional (estimated) 630,000 people suffering from the condition without knowing it. It is expected by 2025 this number will rise to 5 million people, that’s over 400 people every day!
What’s the aim of World Diabetes Awareness Day?
The aim of the month is for you to take control of the condition. The only way to do this is by raising awareness of how diabetes can have a tremendous impact on your health and to highlight the increased risks of a wide range of complications that are part of the disease.
One of the complications is diabetic retinopathy. Retinopathy is damage to the retina at the back of the eye, which can eventually result into blindness. Did you know that every year an estimated 4,200 people in England are blind due to diabetes? Nearly all those with Type 1 suffer from retinopathy and nearly two thirds of those with Type 2 suffer from this complication to some extent. So how does diabetes affect your eye health exactly?
The link between Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy in a nutshell
The eye should be seen as an interconnected pair of layers that need to work together in order to function properly. Just like the rest of your body, it is dependent on blood supply. When your blood contains too much glucose it becomes thicker, causing blood vessels to become hardened, narrowed or blocked. As a result, these vessels can’t produce enough oxygen and deliver essential nutrients to the eye tissues. This is problematic as the macula, which is the most used area of the retina, cannot do its job in enabling you to see fine details and provide a clear central vision. Your vision can become blurred and gradually fill up with black spots. When left untreated, it can eventually lead to blindness.
What are the risk factors of diabetes that increase your risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy?
The only real risk factor of Type 1 diabetes is heredity. If both of your parents have diabetes, you have a chance of up to 30% to get it as well.
As for Type 2, you’re more susceptible to suffering from diabetes if you’re overweight, over 40, have suffered with high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes and it is more prominent ethnic backgrounds such as South-Asian, Chinese, Black African or African-Caribbean.
How to look after your health whilst suffering with Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy?
You may not be able to prevent yourself from getting Type 1 diabetes, but you can control the way you manage it on a daily basis. Along with this you can eliminate the risk factors of developing Type 2 diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy. How? By making simple changes to your lifestyle choices!
- Check and monitor the levels of glucose and fat you include in your diet. This way you can keep blood glucose, blood pressure and fats within a specific target range and maintain a healthy weight
- Stop smoking and take up more regular physical activity
- Attend annual eye check-ups
What Tower Health products are available in helping to treat Diabetic Retinopathy?
Tower Health offers two natural dietary supplements with essential ingredients that can provide support in maintaining proper eye vision.
- Retixoft is a brand new product to the UK market that counteracts macular degeneration with Alpha Lipoic Acid as a key ingredient. This dilates the blood vessels and increases the blood flow in the tissues. Supported by Vitamin B1 and Rutoside, it serves as an anti-oxidant and reduces the amount of glucose. In this way, the damaged cells of your eye are provided with essential nutrients that help to restore clearer vision.
- Vitroft mainly helps to prevent the annoyingly tiny spots, also called eye floaters, from wandering around in your vision. It contains L-lysine which prevents the collagen fibres from sticking together and subsequently ‘breaking off’ to become floaters.
If symptoms persist please do seek medical advice from your GP.
Find out more about World Diabetes Day at the International Diabetes Federation.