Louisville, KY (March 22, 2011) – Diabetes is often called the “silent killer” because people who have it are often unaware they are affected. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 26 million people – including children – in the United States. Approximately one-quarter of those people do not know they’re living with the disease.
“Many people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which can have serious effects on a person’s eyesight,” said Dr. Mark Lynn, owner and operator of 45 Dr. Bizer’s VisionWorld, Doctor’s ValuVision and Doctor’s VisionWorks in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia. “Those who have diabetes are at greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss and more serious problems with the eye.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. People living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, caused by damage to the retina’s blood vessels. There are two types of retinopathy:
• With the first type, blood vessels in the eye become larger and often blocked. Small amounts of bleeding may occur, and fluid can seep into the eye’s retina.
• The second type is a more advanced form of the disease. With this type of retinopathy, new blood vessels can grow in the eye, often causing bleeding and scarring. It often will result in vision loss or more serious problems.
Those with diabetes could also develop: macular edema, or blurry vision; retinal detachment, or scarring that causes the retina to detach from the eyeball; glaucoma, which can lead to blindness; or cataracts.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day “wake-up call” designated for people to take the Diabetes Risk Test to determine if they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. On Diabetes Alert Day, The Association encourages people to “Join the Million Challenge” which kicks off on March 22nd and runs through April 22nd. During that time, the American Diabetes Association hopes to rally one million Americans to take the test.
Signs of diabetic retinopathy include: blurred vision, gradual vision loss, missing areas of vision or difficulty seeing at nighttime. Those at a higher risk of developing diabetes include people who are overweight, under active and those over the age of 45. In addition, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk of having diabetes. The American Diabetes Association reports studies show losing 7% of body fat can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
To take the Diabetes Risk Test, call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit www.stopdiabetes.com. For more information, visit the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.