When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I didn’t realize the complications it could lead to – or that you can experience them at any age. As someone living with both type 1 diabetes and non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, I know how important it is to stay on top of your health as best you can at all times.
I knew that diabetes came with complications, but when I was diagnosed with a diabetes-related eye disease, it was still a shock to me. While I knew diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss in the US, I thought it was something that could only happen later in life. Now I know that diabetes-related eye disease and other complications associated with diabetes can happen to anybody at any age, so it’s important to take steps to prevent complications from happening and manage complications when they do arise.
Living with diabetes and related eye disease, I know firsthand the impact it can have on your overall health. That’s why it’s so critical to not only prioritize your physical health, but your mental and emotional wellbeing as well. Living with this disease and its complications creates a cycle of stress and fatigue, which leads to declines in both my physical and mental health.
That’s why it’s so integral to have doctors who talk to you, not just at you, and doctors that provide solutions and ways to realistically manage this disease on a day-to-day basis. Even with the access to resources and care that I have, diabetes and related eye diseases can still be scary and distressing conditions to live with—so making sure everyone has access to those same resources in order to best manage this chronic disease is the first, most important step.