Eating disorders linked to diabetic eye problems

People with eating disorders are three times more likely to have diabetic retinopathy

According to a new study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, eating disorders may increase the risk of people with diabetes developing diabetic retinopathy – a disease that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Diabetes is characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood, which in turn can lead to tissue damage in several parts of the body, including the heart, feet and eyes. The most common eye disease in people with diabetes is retinopathy, where microvascular changes in the retina can lead to visual impairment and even blindness. The risk of diabetic retinopathy affects people with all types of diabetes.

Academics from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) combined data from several studies, with a total of more than 1,100 participants, and found that people with diabetes who were assessed as having an eating disorder were 2.94 times more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy, compared to people with diabetes who did not have an eating disorder.

However, the researchers did not find a statistically significant link between binge eating, a condition where a person frequently consumes a large amount of food over a short period of time, and diabetic retinopathy.

Eating disorders considered in the study included anorexia nervosa, a condition where people try to keep their weight as low as possible by reducing food intake or exercising too much, and bulimia. mental illness, where a person attempts to purge food from the body either by vomiting or using laxatives.

Main author mike trottResearch Assistant for ARUs Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI) noted:

“We know that several factors can reverse or accelerate the progression of retinopathy in people with diabetes. These include physical activity, which is associated with lower risk, and high blood pressure, which may increase risk.

“Our review revealed a significant positive association between pathological eating disorders and the risk of diabetic retinopathy. The most likely reason for this is poor blood sugar control due to irregular food intake or people deliberately not taking insulin as a weight management tactic. Insulin allows glucose in the blood to be converted into energy and then usefully used by the body.

“Practitioners working with people with diabetes need to monitor eating behaviors closely so that any abnormal eating behavior can be addressed quickly to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy and resulting blindness if left untreated. “

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