New Possible Treatments for Diabetic Eye Disease

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In a study that began in 2001, researchers tried to determine if three complementary treatments could reduce the high risk of heart disease, stroke and retinopathy of working-age adults with Type 2 Diabetes. While the risks of heart disease and stroke were not noticeably affected, researchers found that two of the treatments had a significant impact on retinopathy, a diabetic eye disease.

Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in this age group. As more Americans become obese and develop Type 2 Diabetes, researchers have been looking for effective treatments and preventions. ACCORD Eye Study, part of a larger study, found that the combination of lipid treatment and intensive (rather than standard) blood sugar control reduced retinopathy by a third.

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This portion of the study was stopped early because of the increased risk of death in that treatment group as compared to those in the standard blood sugar control group. However, just using lipid drug therapy combined with standard blood sugar control decreased the progression from 10.4% to 7.3%, significant findings with future indications of new therapy for those with Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form and occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin that is produced. Millions of Americans now have Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the elderly population.

The body breaks down all food and beverages into glucose, the body’s fuel for cells. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, carries glucose into cells. If this does not happen, the glucose builds up leading to complications from diabetes occur. Those with Type 2 Diabetes may help control these complications by taking medication, injecting insulin, and/or eating differently and with increase exercise.

For more information: Visit the American Diabetes Association website

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