Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Insulin doesn’t cause loss of vision, blindness: FDA

INTERNET RUMORS:Kidney failure, vision loss and blindness are complications of poor control of blood sugar levels, not from insulin injections, the agency said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Insulin in diabetic patients does not increase the risk of vision loss or blindness, but a patient’s poor control of their blood sugar level can, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.

Many people hold the misconception that insulin injections cause more adverse health effects than oral drugs and that they can even lead to blindness or the need for dialysis, the agency said.

After rumors began spreading on the Internet, the agency said that kidney failure, vision loss and blindness are complications caused by poor control of blood sugar levels, not from insulin injections, so people who have those symptoms should consult a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

Early warning signs of diabetes include hunger and fatigue, urinating more often and being thirsty more often, a dry throat and itchy skin, blurred vision, weight loss, sores that heal slowly, having more infections than usual, and numb or tingling hands or feet, the agency said.

Treatment of diabetes varies depending on the patient’s condition, but whether a patient should receive insulin injections or take oral medication should be evaluated by a licensed physician, the agency said.

The prevalence of diabetes in people aged 18 and over in the nation is 11.5 percent — about 2.27 million people — and approximately 25,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, according to a survey conducted by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA).

Untreated diabetes can lead to various complications, including diabetic retinopathy, which causes blurry and worsening vision that could lead to vision loss if left untreated; diabetic nephropathy, which can progress to kidney failure if left untreated; as well as diabetic foot or heart disease, the HPA said.

A study in 2011 suggested that the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in people with diabetes was about 31.1 percent, but National Health Insurance Administration data in 2015 showed that only 36.8 percent of those with diabetes undergo an eye examination each year.

Those with diabetes are urged take their medication or insulin according to their prescription, to control their blood sugar level, maintain a healthy balanced diet, exercise and get regluar health checkups to prevent complications developing.

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