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Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

Por MyDiet™ Team -
Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

You've probably heard about diabetic retinopathy. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is the most common cause of new cases of blindness in adults within 20 to 74 years of age. 

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people that already suffer from this disease, blood vessels may become swollen and permeable, thus letting liquids escape. In other people, there may be an abnormal growth of the blood vessels on the surface of the retina.

Initially this may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) or only cause minor vision problems. However, as time passes, it can worsen and cause vision loss. There are four stages in diabetic retinopathy:

  • Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy:  It occurs in the earliest stage when microaneurysms, which are small areas of inflamed blood vessels, are formed, simulating a balloon-like bulge.
  • Moderate Nonproliferative Retinopathy:  As retinopathy progresses, some of the blood vessels of the retina may actually become blocked.
  • Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy:  As blood vessels get blocked, more areas of the retina are deprived of nourishment and oxygen, so they send signals to the body to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels.
  • Proliferative Retinopathy:  New blood vessels grow. However, they are fragile and grow around the retina, which is not normal. These new blood vessels can easily break and hemorrhage, which leads to vision loss. 

Any person with diabetes can present diabetic retinopathy, but there is greater risk if you have little or no control over your blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, high  cholesterol levels, or if you smoke. The risk also increases according to the time since you were diagnosed with diabetes. 

If you have diabetes and want to prevent retinopathy, here are some recommendations:

  • Commit yourself to having a good control in managing your diabetes.
  • Monitor your blood glucose levels.
  • Keep your  blood pressure and cholesterol levels within normal values.
  • Avoid  smoking.
  • Pay attention to any change in your vision.
  • If you've already experienced vision loss or alteration, consult a specialized ophthalmologist or optometrist. 

Keep in mind that diabetes won't necessarily cause the loss of your vision. If you take an active role in controlling your diabetes, keep your blood sugar levels within the recommended ranges, and regularly get eye check-ups, you can prevent this complication.



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