Thursday, January 17, 2008
Watch Your Mouth!
Now I know many of you visit this blog just for the gory eye pictures, and that I've been remiss in posting them lately, so here is one. This is a picture of a young woman who visited our office last week with severe diabetic eye disease. This is the retina. The white round thing in the middle is the optic nerve head (or "disc"). The 1.2 milliion nerve fibers of the retina leave the eye through the optic nerve and go to the brain (the eye is technically part of the brain -- an extension -- so yes, I'm a brain surgeon). The arteries and veins also enter and leave the retina through the center of the optic nerve. The darker spot is called the macula (which means "spot" in Greek or Latin or something). It's the specialized part of the retina that's involved with the sharpest clearest vision.
Diabetes affects blood vessels, and you can see all the massive intra-retinal hemorrhages from the diabetic damage. The retina is the one place in the body we can look directly at the blood vessels, but this same damage is taking place all over the body -- brain, heart, kidneys, feet, everywhere. Bummer.
Diabetes is a bad disease, and if I've said it once, I've said it a million times, it's a lifestyle disease. You get it by eating too much, eating fat, eating simple carbs, eating animal prodcuts, eating, eating, eating. It's prevented by keeping less than one inch of fat around your middle. It can be cured by losing the extra weight and exercising. The stage is set when you're young. So pay attention. You're not invincible. This is the reason the life expecancy for the indigenous population is 54 years. That makes 28 "middle age."