blindness

Building a True Picture of Diabetes During American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month, and this year, the American Diabetes Association is working to reshape the understanding of diabetes.  The goal is to raise awareness of the fact that diabetes is life-changing disease with a huge societal impact – and not a minor hindrance, as some people think. As part of this mission, the ADA is asking patients with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes to send in a photo that captures what life with diabetes is like.  What are the everyday challenges and considerations?  Help the ADA build a mosaic of the “true picture of diabetes” and CVS will donate a $1 for every photo uploaded, up to $25,000. Another way to get a clearer picture is to consider some of the alarming facts about diabetes, which is projected to affect as many as one in three Americans by 2050: 26 million Americans are currently living with the disease 79 million Americans have prediabetes, putting them at risk for type 2 diabetes Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart attack or stroke Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of adult blindness The cost of diabetes is $1 out of …

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Glaucoma: The Disease That Steals Your Sight

Did you know that as much as 40% of your vision can be lost due to glaucoma – without  your notice? That’s why they call glaucoma the “sneak thief of sight.”  There are no symptoms, and once your vision is lost, it’s permanent.  This is one of the urgent messages of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which takes place every January.  (And for good reason – according to a National Eye Institute survey, only 8% of Americans are aware of the fact that glaucoma has no early symptoms.) Over four million Americans have glaucoma, and given its stealth progression, approximately half of them don’t know it.  The leading cause of preventable blindness, glaucoma is more prevalent in African American and Latino populations.  For example, it is six to eight times more prevalent in African Americans than Caucasians.  People who are severely nearsighted, have diabetes or who have family members with glaucoma are also at higher risk. While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments (including medication and surgery) that can help slow or prevent vision loss.  That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye exams, especially if you are over 60.  The disease can strike at younger ages, though, as …

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Battling the Complications: An Interview with Diabetes Patient Michael Burke (Part II)

Last week, in Part I of this interview, PatientsLikeMe member and blogger Michael Burke shared his sister Linda’s struggle with type 1 diabetes.  Today, we learn about his own type 1 diabetes journey, including his June 2011 kidney transplant as a result of diabetes-induced kidney failure. 1.  What diabetes complications have you faced? Diabetes is a disease that appears to be misunderstood by most people, in that the consequences of the disease can lead to many different complications.  As I mentioned earlier, both Linda and I suffered from diabetic retinopathy…essentially, you can go blind from diabetes.  Another complication is nephropathy, or kidney disease.  For me, this led to kidney failure and the eventual need for a kidney transplant this past June. Heart disease is another major complication.  Personally, I never knew that I had any heart disease until one day my primary care physician sent me for a routine stress test.  During the stress test, the cardiologist felt it necessary to immediately admit me to the hospital and do a cardiac catheterization the next morning.  When he did, he found two blockages in my right coronary artery – one was a 90% blockage and the other was an 85% blockage.  …

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