Diabetes can affect the entire body, including your eyes.
It is a serious complex condition which requires daily self-care and, if complications develop, the condition can seriously impact the quality of a person’s life – even causing blindness.
Diabetes is debilitating. Not only can it lead to blindness, it can cause heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, limb amputation, depression, and anxiety.
Less visible are the mental health complications of diabetes which impacts almost half of all people living with the disease, with many regularly experiencing moderate to severe anxiety or stress.
To help improve a person’s mental health, Diabetes Australia has launched a new campaign called Heads Up on Diabetes.
Heads Up on Diabetes
The mental and emotional health challenges of living with diabetes are very real.
“Nearly half of all adults with diabetes experience mental health challenges, including diabetes related anxiety, distress and depression during their lives,” says Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson.
Heads Up on Diabetes, launched during National Diabetes Week 2020, is designed to raise awareness of the mental health burden associated with diabetes and encourage people to seek help if they need it.
Living with Diabetes is not only stressful, managing it is time consuming and requires a great deal of organisation to get through each day including keeping track of medications, blood glucose monitoring, and constant ongoing health checks.
Mental Health Challenges
Research shows that living with a chronic condition like diabetes can more than double a person’s risk of developing depression.
“Two-thirds of people with diabetes are worried about their long-term risk of developing serious diabetes-related complications like losing limbs, eyesight, experiencing kidney failure or heart failure,” says Professor Greg Johnson.
“The mental health challenges associated with living with diabetes can make it harder for people to manage their physical health and increase their risk of developing serious diabetes-related complications.”
People living with diabetes need to stay on top their routine health checks including having regular eye examinations, which will help decrease the risk of depression.
A national diabetes eye health register; KeepSight, encourages people living with the disease to have regular eye examinations.
The program has been running for two years and has had a significant impact on the eye health of Australians with more than 66,000 people with diabetes now enrolled in the program.
Receiving these reminders is a great way to help people to stay on top of appointments that are set months, and sometimes, years in advance.
People living with diabetes may not experience symptoms. Many can feel that there is no need to have their eyes examined and that if everything checked out last time, then they can miss their next eye appointment or two.
Diabetic eye disease can cause a range of eye problems, the most common being Diabetic Retinopathy, in which the blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye are damaged.
The disease is subtle with no warning signs, so it can be easy to neglect regular eye checks. The problem though is that without annual eye examinations, diabetic eye disease can cause permanent vision loss.
Many Australians with diabetes lose their sight each year, but this can be avoided by having regular eye tests.
To find out more about diabetes visit www.diabetesaustralia.com.au or contact 1800 533 774 to arrange a free conversation with a trained psychologist.