Blind World Magazine

Young diabetics risk blindness for slimming.

May 30, 2005.
The Herald (Glasgow).

SCOTLAND - Young diabetics are going blind in their twenties after deliberately skipping vital insulin injections in the hope of losing weight, doctors warn today.

Diabetes specialists are urging them to stick to safer regular injections to keep their sight after a study of insulin intake in young diabetics in Dundee showed that about 28% take less than a third of what they should.

Dr Victoria Franklin, a specialist registrar in paediatrics at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, said: "We are aware that worrying numbers of young diabetics are losing their sight in their twenties and want to prevent this."

A project in which nurses text young patients with reminders to take their insulin, has been launched by the diabetic team at Ninewells. Insulin helps to turn glucose into energy. Without enough insulin, the body then creates energy by burning off stored fat.

Sarah Caltieri, 26, an actress from Leeds, went blind after going for up to three days at a time without taking insulin.

She said: "I stopped taking insulin regularly at the age of 13 because, like many young people, I struggled to cope with the pressures of teenage years. By 15, I noticed that I had lost two stones. I continued doing this until my late teens."

By the age of 24, her eyesight began to fail because abnormal blood vessels grew at the back of her eyes as a result of not receiving insulin.

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