Rising Cases of Diabetes in the US
Like an irked whirlwind, diabetes is spreading around its menace in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, the number of Americans diagnosed with Diabetes is forecasted to increase to 29 million by the year 2050. Consequently, there will be a surge in the overall impacts of diabetes on the body.
Why Is The Number Of Diabetic Patients Rising In The US?
According to the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes in the US. Type 2 Diabetes, which pertains to the insensitivity of the cells to insulin and an increase in blood sugar levels, is mounting at an alarming rate.
It is important to look into the unhealthy habits of the Americans that are resulting in a swell in the victims of this chronic disease. It is a disorder that most commonly shows up where there is a lack of physical activity/exercise, unhealthy eating, or the genes that carry it.
Some of the key factors contributing to the rapid increase in diabetes cases in the US are as follows:
One of the major factors to be blamed for a rise in Diabetic patients in the US is obesity. The augmented levels of fatty acids and inflammation cause insulin resistance in an obese person. This leads to type 2 Diabetes in the person.
Lack of Physical Activity
We cannot deny the fact that we have become indolent, losing the active and healthy lifestyle and acquiring a sedentary behavior. Cutting off physical activity partially or completely from our lives impairs the glycemic control (control of blood sugar levels) in people resulting in a greater risk of diabetes.
Unhealthy Eating Routine
Giving up on eating healthy and munching on unhealthy junk food is causing more problems than we could ever think. To make our taste buds dance, we satisfy our sweet tooth by devouring sweet bakery products, packed and preserved instant sweets, and by consuming those unhealthy oily foods. These collectively make up the unhealthy eating patterns that can provoke chronic inflammation, which is a key factor that leads to diabetes. Moreover, sipping carbonated drinks may also lead to diabetes by increasing the blood sugar level.
As insulin resistance increases with age, older adults are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The older adults diagnosed with diabetes are more prone to getting a cardiac arrest, lower-extremity amputation, visual impairment, or renal diseases.
What are the Long-term Impacts of Diabetes on the Human Body?
Diabetes haunts people for the rest of their lives with long-term effects (diabetic complications) that cannot be ignored or neglected. Though the damaging effects of diabetes can harm any part of the body, some parts receive more detrimental effects.
Effects of Diabetes on the Kidneys
The risk of kidneys receiving damage due to diabetes is always high due to an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The condition that occurs due to the damaging effects of diabetes on the kidneys is termed Diabetic Nephropathy, which refers to the deterioration of the normal kidney function.
Effects of Diabetes on the Nerves (Neuropathy)
High blood glucose levels directly harm the nerves by damaging the blood vessels. This induces diabetic nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain. The effects of nerve damage are generally observed by
- Tingling or numb feet or hands
- Slow metabolism causing delayed stomach emptying
- Sweating more than usual
Effects of Diabetes on Digestion
Diabetes has a direct effect on digestion, especially when it comes to nerve damage. The increased blood sugar level can give rise to a condition called gastroparesis that has a direct effect on digestion. It can provoke nausea, constipation, heartburn, bloating, and diarrhea.
Effects of Diabetes on the Heart
People suffering from diabetes are more at risk of getting chronic heart diseases. The increased blood glucose level when combined with the free fatty acids in the blood can alter the blood vessels which leads to cardiovascular diseases.
Effects of Diabetes on the Eyes
Diabetic patients are prone to get affected by several eye conditions. A prolonged poorly handled case of diabetes gives birth to serious eye conditions termed Diabetic eye diseases. Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic macular edema, optic neuritis, and diabetic papillopathy are the most common eye diseases included in this group.
The most common symptoms of these conditions include distorted vision, dark strings (floaters), flashes of light, and poor color vision.
How Diabetes affects Vision?
The blood glucose level of a person can augment to an extent where it can cause inflammation of the tissues in the eyes that aid in focusing, causing distorted vision. This distorted vision is a temporary condition that gets back to normal once the glucose level comes down to normal.
However, if the blood glucose level remains high for a prolonged period, the minuscule blood vessels present at the back of the eyes get damaged. Consequently, the damaged blood vessels cause inflammation due to fluid leakage. This leads to the formation of weak blood vessels that cause bleeding into the central part of the eye. The bleeding, therefore, causes scarring and elevates the pressure in the eye.
How is Technology Overcoming these Visual Limitations?
Keeping in view the irreversible damage that diabetes causes to the eyes, technology has been playing a pivotal role in overcoming visual limitations.
The smart use of technology has unveiled numerous low-vision solutions over the years that have been assisting the legally blind community and people with severe eye conditions to see better and lead an independent life.
Some of the remarkable technological inventions that have been aiding the visually impaired community include; electric vehicles, 3-D sound maps, screen readers, braille watches, braille printers, smart canes that detect obstacles with an ultrasonic sensor, and low-vision glasses.
Keeping in view the needs of the visually impaired, the European Union has made it mandatory through the new legislature for all electric cars to have artificial engine noise. This is to overcome the difficulty that pedestrians, specifically blind pedestrians face while spotting quiet electric vehicles approaching.
3-D Sound Maps
Just like a normal person taking a stroll down the street and observing every little detail around him, 3-D sound maps enable the person with visual impairment to take in all the details of the happenings around him by building a detailed audio map.
People with severe visual impairment can use a computer by the help of screen reader, which is an application software programmed to identify the general graphics on the operating system (OS), providing information about the dialogue boxes, files and folders, icons, and menus.
The smart canes for the blind consist of an electronic handle mounted on the regular cane. The ultrasonic sensor installed in it can detect obstacles through the sonic waves and warn the user through vibration in the handle.
Low-vision Glasses for the Visually Impaired
With the invention of low vision glasses, the lives of the visually impaired and legally blind community have been revolutionized. These devices are capable of instantly restoring vision by stimulating the functional areas of the eye.
IrisVision Live headset is one of the most innovative and ground-breaking low-vision solutions that emerged as a wearable technology which targets the functional areas of the eye and amplifies the leftover vision to improve the visual acuity of the eye.
To cater to the plethora of diabetic eye diseases and the various vision problems adhered to it, the IrisVision Live headset holds numerous assistive features and software lenses.
Diabetic eye diseases mainly include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.
When a person is suffering from Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Cataracts, or RP, the peripheral vision of the eye is affected. This creates the tunnel vision effect, causing visual field loss (deterioration or loss of the side vision). The scene mode installed in the IrisVision Live headset is capable of reducing the visual field loss by offering a 70 degrees field of view and magnification upto 14X.
“I promise you, it will change the way you do things.”
This claim voiced by Cameron Migs, a Monster Truck mechanic from Kentucky, sums up what IrisVision is all about. After living with Juvenile Macular Degeneration for years, Cameron could not hold back his joy when he tried on the IrisVision Live headset, which lets him watch TV shows again without even having to sit in front of the TV screen or using a phone without holding it up close.