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Diabetes May Cause Blindness in Nearly 8 Million Americans

Emma | December 3rd, 2012

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Managing Diabetes with DietAn estimated 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and 40 to 50 million have pre diabetes. An additional 10 million have already developed diabetes but are unaware of their condition. Adding to these staggering numbers, nearly 8 million diabetes sufferers have what is known as diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to permanent blindness. What is most shocking is that millions of Americans may have already developed a precursor to blindness, and yet they are unaware they are even at risk.

The good news is that reversing pre diabetes – or even full-blown type 2 diabetes – is possible with a diabetes diet. By making some simple changes to the way they eat and live, people with diabetes can not only reverse their condition but eliminate the possibility of going blind. If you are interested in more information on the diet plan for diabetics, physician-guided programs, such as those available through The Center for Medical Weight Loss, are an excellent option.

Diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent blindness

Diabetic retinopathy is a retina disorder, meaning that it affects the light-sensitive inner lining of the eye. The retina includes the macula, the part of eye responsible for sharp central vision. During the first stage of the disorder (non-proliferative), normal blood vessels develop weak spots that can cause blurred central vision. During the second, more advanced stage (proliferative diabetic retinopathy), the abnormal blood vessels grow and fill the eye with blood and scar tissue and cause retinal detachment and eventual blindness. Interestingly, the strongest risk factor for diabetic retinopathy is the duration of diabetes. In fact, the Wisconsin Epidemiological Study of Diabetic Retinopathy showed that people who have had diabetes for only three years have a 5% chance of developing the disorder, but the risk soars to 80% after 15 years with diabetes.

Diabetics may not notice eye problems early on

Most diabetics who begin to develop diabetic retinopathy will not notice the condition until their eyesight is severely compromised. For this reason, the American Diabetic Association recommends a comprehensive eye exam every year, regardless of whether the patient has noticed vision problems. Between visits, patients can take several measures to prevent or control the progression of the disorder, including intense blood glucose control, blood pressure control, weight maintenance, not smoking, regular exercise, and a healthy diet.

Diabetes diet can help prevent blindness

A diet plan for diabetics and pre-diabetics can help control blood glucose, shed pounds, and promote healthy living – three factors that are essential to the reversing pre diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The best diabetes diet is one that is monitored by a physician who understands your condition and medical needs. The Center for Medical Weight Loss has produced thousands of successful weight loss stories by offering physician-guided diet and exercise programs to help you keep your blood sugar down and even reverse diabetes. For more information, enter your zip code in the box at the right and contact a Center near you. Introductory offers are available for first-time visitors at select locations.