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Diabetes, high pressure, pitch changes

Created date

March 26th, 2013

Q. I have diabetes and high blood pressure. My doctor says I am at risk for developing glaucoma. What symptoms should I look out for?

A. Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases any of which can damage the eye s optic nerve, resulting in vision loss or impairment. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. Risk factors include aging, a family history, certain medical conditions (especially diabetes and high blood pressure), and long-term use of steroid medications. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type, and it occurs when fluid builds up in the eye, thereby causing increased pressure on the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma typically has no symptoms except a gradual loss of peripheral vision, which happens so slowly you may not even notice it. Early detection is absolutely essential for prevention and prompt treatment, so have a dilated eye examination every one to two years if you are over 60.

Q. I am an 82-year-old woman and my voice is much lower in pitch than it was before, and I also have trouble making myself heard sometimes. Is there anything I can do?

A. Many changes occur in our bodies as we age, and these changes also affect our larynx (voice box). Weaker muscles along with thinner and dryer mucous membranes can contribute to pitch changes, hoarseness, or volume changes. Voice problems that result from aging changes are very treatable with the help of a speech-language pathologist who can design a voice fitness program, including vocal exercises targeted to improve your particular problem. Along with that, keeping your body fit in general can help. But before seeking out voice therapy, see your primary doctor or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) for an evaluation. Vocal changes can also be due to problems such as vocal cord polyps, nodules, or cancer. 

Vrinda Suneja, M.D.

Medical Director, Run

Novi, Mich.

Dr. Suneja received her medical degree at Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Sinai Grace Hospital, affiliated with Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. She is board certified in internal medicine. Suneja joined Fox Run in November 2003.