by Jean Shaw
I've just spent several hours in the waiting room at my local hospital. I have problems with my eyes and this was a scheduled check up to see how they had fared since my last visit.
I have what is known as CSR - central serious retinitus, which basically means fluid leaks into the back of my eyes and forms blisters making it difficult to see.
The problem is fluid, being precisely that, moves around, so sometimes I can see clearly with glasses and sometimes I can't.
It's frustrating to say the least.
No-one really knows what causes it although it has been linked to having an accident, taking steroids or being under stress.
Normally the problem corrects itself over a period of time and there is no specific treatment. Occasionally, if the situation goes on for too long and the fluid is not over the centre of the eye, laser treatment is offered.
Failing that you just wait it out which is annoying. If you wear glasses the prescription you need continually changes as the fluid is reabsorbed into the eye and the blisters disappear. Either you have to change your specs regularly or struggle on with the wrong ones.
I have done the latter and thankfully received good news this time that my eyes are now as good as they are likely to be, so I shall be off to my optician to get my vision re-checked as soon as possible.
That's great news except I will no longer have any excuse for my typing errors!
However, going back to my hospital trip, I was really surprised by the amount of people in the waiting room and the long delays to see the specialists. One poor couple waited seven hours; the man had two lots of drops put in his eyes and still had to leave before ever being seen. They were relying on public transport and couldn't wait any longer.
The problem, it seems, was that it was also the diabetic clinic and most of the people that particular day had diabetes. Often diabetics require photography or laser treatment, which cannot always be predicted beforehand so this inevitably leads to long delays.
Luckily they can get a drink or snack if they need one, which brings me to the point of this article.
Many of those waiting were comparatively young and suffering from type 2 diabetes. This is the most common and appears to be on the increase. It has been suggested the rise may be linked to obesity and lack of exercise, and apparently 9 out of 10 people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are overweight. I didn't know that, did you?
Since some complications of type 2 diabetes include: heart disease (cardiovascular disease), blindness (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), and kidney damage (nephropathy) it is in every diabetics interest to lose a bit of weight to help better manage their situation.
Fast, processed food and a sedentary lifestyle is a recipe not only for potential weight gain but ill health, and the sooner you do something about it, the better.
Losing weight and keeping it off is a real challenge for most people and if you have diabetes it is advisable to consult your health care team and possibly a dietician in order to get the best possible advice.
Hopefully you'll find ways to decrease calories but still consume the foods you enjoy. Even losing a few pounds can make a real difference.
Exercise and physical activity of course is always beneficial as it helps burn extra calories and naturally increases glucose uptake by increasing metabolism and muscle mass.
It also improves the body's response to insulin and can, in some cases of type 2 diabetes actually reduce or eliminate the need for medication by lowering blood glucose levels.
Apparently one of the leading causes of death for people with diabetes is heart disease and strokes and exercise can help reduce that risk. Of course that advice applies to most people - me included.
My trip to the eye clinic proved a revelation. Unless I want to potentially spend many more hours sitting around in hospital waiting rooms I'd better start to actually take notice of the things I write.
Thankfully, for the time being at least, I can now see to read them!
Jean Shaw is the author of I'm Not Naughty - I'm Autistic - Jodi's Journey and Autism, Amalgam and Me - Jodi's Journey Continues.
Read more of her articles or visit her What a Slimming World blog
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