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Decrease Diabetic Complications by Increasing Activity

diabetic complications

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes and can lead to blindness. The less controlled your blood sugar – the more likely you are to develop.


Over time, too much sugar in the blood can lead to a blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, cutting off its blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. But these new blood vessels don't develop properly and can leak easily, leading to the disease we know as diabetic retinopathy.

Controlling your blood sugar can prevent this from happening. Diet is extremely important, as is taking your prescribed medication appropriately. But you also need to be sure to include some activity in your daily routine.

Dr. Paul D. Loprinzi PhD of the University of Mississippi utilized data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which included 282 participants with diabetes. He found that those who were more sedentary were at a greater risk for having diabetic retinopathy.

If you have diabetes, you can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by doing the following:

• Manage your diabetes. Taking an active role in your diabetes can prevent complications that can lead to diabetic retinopathy. Make healthy eating and physical activity a priority. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as walking, each week.

• Monitor your blood sugar level. Take your diabetes medication as directed and continue to check and record your blood sugar level often to ensure you are under control. Remember that more frequent measurements may be required if you're ill or under stress. If you are unsure, ask your doctor how often you need to test your blood sugar.

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• Ask your doctor about a glycosylated hemoglobin test, or A1C. This test reflects your average blood sugar level for the past three months. For most people with diabetes, the A1C goal is to be under 7 percent.

• Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and losing excess weight can help but sometimes medication is needed, too.

• If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, quit. Smoking increases your risk of many diabetes complications, including diabetic retinopathy.

• Pay attention to vision changes. Contact your eye doctor right away if you experience sudden vision changes or your vision becomes blurry, spotty or hazy.

Journal Reference:
Paul D. Loprinzi. Association of Accelerometer-Assessed Sedentary Behavior With Diabetic Retinopathy in the United States. JAMA Ophthalmology, 2016; DOI: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.2400

Additional Reference:
The Mayo Clinic

Photo Credit:
By BojanaIv - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons