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Diabetes In Young Patients

Main St Optometry Newmarket
Published by in Eye Exam · 11 February 2019
A sense of urgency creeps into the conversations of David Masihdas,  O.D., and Linda Chous, O.D., as they talk about diabetes and its  troublesome rise in children and young adults.
According to studies published online in 2017, the incidence of diabetes grew among young people.

The study calls the diagnosis of diabetes in youth "a  substantial clinical and public health burden."

"If you're developing diabetes when  you're 14 years old, and you're developing blinding retinopathy, your  quality of life may not be great. It's something we have to be concerned  about when you still have a lot of productive life ahead of you."

The same  risk factors, an inactive lifestyle and poor diet, apply to adults,

4 ways to make a difference

  1. Provide patient education.

    Patient education  is key,  because the disease is manageable  through diet, exercise and medication. Patient education pamphlets need  to be available, and a healthy relationship with a patient's primary  care physician should be cultivated. "Dealing with diabetes is a  lifestyle,"  adding that doctors of optometry also need  to have frank conversations with patients about their eating habits, as  well as their overall health.

  2. Connect with other care providers.

    Doctors  of optometry should be an integral part of the patient care team. "We  need to connect with pediatricians and other primary care providers,"  That list of contacts might also  include dentists and even dieticians, they say. Diabetes has been linked  to gum disease. Together they would all deliver and re-enforce the same  message.

  3. Raise public awareness.

    "You should be  getting out of your office,"  "You need to  be connecting with pediatricians and other primary care providers. But  you've also got to get out there where the people are. There are always  speaking engagements at public health fairs. The American Diabetes  Association has regional events, and you can get involved in those."

  4. Educate yourself.

    Doctors of optometry need  to be well-informed on diabetes, beyond diagnosing diabetic retinopathy,  They should know what kind of exercise or diet to  recommend to patients, he says. "We need to be well-informed about the  side effects of the medications diabetic patients are being prescribed  by their primary care doctors," he adds. "We need to go further, be more  pre-emptive."





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