Retinopathy and Excessive Blood Glucose.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease brought upon by damage to the blood vessels in the light sensitive tissue of the eye and results in impairment or loss of vision over time. Early changes within the eye can be reversed if the behavioral factors causing the onset are addressed and corrected.1 If continued however, the damage to the blood vessels can be caused by thickening, narrowing, or hardening of the vessel walls which reduce blood flow to the retina.
Another cause of damage to the retina is chronic over accumulation of glucose which results in reduction of nitric oxide within the lining of the vessel walls. Nitric oxide is released into the muscles around the blood vessels causing their relaxation and in turn widening to allow more oxygen to be carried throughout the body. The restriction of nitric oxide reduces the amount of oxygen received by the cells within the retina and can cause the proliferation of new blood vessels in an attempt to bring more oxygen to the site. These new vessels are abnormal and prone to hemorrhaging causing bleeding into the eye. (Macular Edema)
The initial stages can cause blurred vision, darkened distorted images, and usually clears within a few hours. As the process increases in severity much greater leakage of blood occurs resulting in symptoms that can last from days to weeks and possibly even years before the leakage is cleared.2 This destructive cycle can result in scar tissue building inside the retina which causes the tissue to contract pulling the retina away the cells within the eye. (Detachment)
Out of the many causes and stages of retinopathy the over accumulation of glucose is a leading factor. Diabetic retinopathy affects at least eighty percent of people with diabetes and many who are unaware that their food choices place them at risk.3 Consuming processed foods and refined carbohydrates are a leading cause of obesity and diabetic cases in America.4 High glucose in the blood has many other effects on the body besides macular edema. Excessive hunger (polyphagia), urination (polyuria), and thirst (polydipsia) are the hallmarks of high blood glucose and many complications, as infections, slow healing, dry itchy skin, blurred vision, headaches, concentration difficulty, fatigue, constant constipation or diarrhea, erectile dysfunction, irritability, neuropathy, night cramps, and the onset of diabetes. Most individuals are unaware they are suffering from this condition because the symptoms progress slowly over time.
Overstimulation (bingeing) of the cells and neurons cause an addiction like response to glucose within the brain. A person who has chronically elevated their blood sugar levels can experience withdrawal and anxiety when the cells increased responsiveness have surpassed their tolerance threshold. Depression and emotional distress can occur during the phases of withdrawal due to the lack of stimulation which incurs an overabundance of motivation to re stimulate. When blood sugar decreases to normal levels, the brain can atrophy or shrink. Just like in Macular Edema the blood vessels in the brain can be affected by their weakness and lack of ability to deliver oxygen causing cognitive difficulties and spurring the development of vascular dementia, brain aging, and functional decline.5
The choices that we make in what we place inside our bodies becomes the very essence of our quality of life. Making the choice to consume what is easy or readily available to us is not always the smartest option. We must begin to understand that following our emotions and eating for satisfaction places us in a state of dependence. Foods created in a lab are designed to be addictive and are not natural. They do not work in harmony with our bodies, disrupting our homeostasis resulting in malfunctions on the deepest level of our makeup. This DNA manipulation is the prime factor in all diseases associated with nutrition. 6,7,8,9,10,11,12
Moving forward, it is imperative each person maintains regular checkups with a physician. It is also suggested to evaluate daily nutrition choices and become educated in how to eat in harmony with your body. Consulting a nutritionist and understanding the difference in eating for health vs. pleasure is highly recommended. Exercise is also a factor that can dramatically reduce the negative effects of insulin de-sensitivity within the body’s cells and help change the debilitating effects of a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity. Choose to empower yourself and take control of your future through proper nutrition and exercise. The quality of your health is literally in the power of your hand. What we place in our bodies is what we will get out of them.
In closing, the words of Edward Stanley (surgeon 1793–1862) still ring truer than ever, “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”