Are you at risk of diabetic retinopathy?

If you’ve had diabetes for quite some time and you’ve barely kept control of the glucose levels in your body, there’s a real risk that you might develop diabetic retinopathy. This disease is a health complication of diabetes caused by the high blood sugar levels damaging the back of your eye, also known as the retina. If left unchecked, this can cause blindness although it generally takes several years for diabetic retinopathy to develop to a point where it could adversely affect your sight.

The risk of you developing diabetic retinopathy mainly depends on two factors, namely the duration of which you’ve had diabetes and if you’ve kept strict control over the glucose levels in your body. Thankfully, there are some risk factors you can actually control, and again, if left unchecked, can possibly increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy and its complications.

If you’re pregnant and have diabetes, there is an increased risk of developing retinopathy. Conversely, if you already suffer from diabetic retinopathy and become pregnant, the effects of the disease can quickly spiral into serious consequences. If you do get pregnant, you require an eye exam during the first 3 months of your pregnancy, and it’s important that you have constant follow-up appointments during your pregnancy and for one year after you give birth.

Having high blood sugar levels also increase your risk of developing retinopathy. Making sure that you keep them at acceptable levels will go a long way in reducing your risk for diabetic retinopathy and can even retard the progression of the disease. In a similar vein, people with diabetes who also have high blood pressure are more inclined to develop conditions that affect their blood vessels in the body, including the eyes.

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