Important Information For People Taking Corticosteroids About Diabetic Retinopathy

If you are taking corticosteroids for managing inflammation associated with diseases like arthritis, you should know that long term use of cortocosteroids has been found to induce Type II diabetes. Unfortunately, the Type II diabetes brought about by steroids is permanent and will need to be managed for life. If you take corticosteroids, making sure you know the symptoms of diabetes is extremely important because you could go blind if they are left unchecked. Diabetes causes an issue in the eyes called diabetic retinopathy, a serious problem that can lead to permanent vision loss.

Symptoms To Know When You Are Taking Corticosteroids

Knowing what symptoms to look for that are related to diabetes when you are taking corticosteroids can help you catch the onset of the disease early. If you experience any of the following symptoms, visiting your doctor as soon as possible is important:

  • Abnormal thirst that does not seem to go away after drinking

  • Frequent urges to urinate, despite not drinking any more than normal

  • Dry mouth that won't go away with things like liquids or hard candy

  • Unexplained tiredness and fatigue

  • Blurred, spotty vision

While taking corticosteroids, diabetic symptoms may not occur until your blood sugar levels are extremely elevated.

Retinopathy Caused By Steroid-Induced Diabetes

Both Type I and Type II diabetes causes vision problems, some of them being worse than others. Vision troubles come with diabetes whether you get it through genetics or from taking corticosteroids. If you begin seeing floating spots in your vision, it is a strong indicator of damage caused by retinopathy. Retinopathy happens when the small blood vessels in your retina rupture and begin hemorrhaging.Retinopathy is a common eye problem in diabetics. In many cases, the floating spots come and go as retinopathy progresses. However, in some other cases, sufferers do not have any vision troubles hinting there is a problem, suddenly losing all vision at one time. For this reason, maintaining regular eye examinations while you are taking corticosteroids is vital.

Factors That Can Increase Your Risk Of Diabetes While talking Corticosteroids

Some risk factors like these can be a warning you should refrain from taking corticosteroids:

  • If you are overweight, you have a greater risk of developing diabetes, even more so when taking corticosteroids

  • Middle-aged Caucasians are at greater risk of developing steroidal induced diabetes

  • If there is history of Type I or Type II diabetes in your family

  • People of Middle Eastern and African-Caribbean descent are at greater risk of diabetes induced by corticosteroids

  • Women that have experienced gestational diabetes during pregnancy or those that have suffered with polycystic ovary syndrome are at higher risk of diabetes induced by corticosteroids

Your physician can choose another medication for treating inflammation in your body if you are at higher risk of steroidal induced diabetes. Making sure you remain aware of any unusual symptoms that are similar to those of diabetes is important, especially when it comes to your vision. For more information, visit sites like