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Diabetes Can Double Your Risk of Developing Cataracts

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As we age, cataracts are of one of the most common reasons we lose our sight. Cataracts, or a clouding of the lens of your eye, affect almost 25 million Americans who are 40 years of age and older. And about one in every two adults develops cataracts over the age of 75.

However, if you are diabetic, you are twice more likely than non-diabetics to develop cataracts. And the relative risk is highest between the ages of 45 and 54. This news comes from a new study out of the United Kingdom.

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Middle-Aged Diabetics More Likely to Develop Cataracts

A team of researchers analyzed the medical records of 56,510 diabetes patients. They found that those aged 40 and over had an overall cataract diagnosis rate of 20.4 per 1000 people. In the general population, that rate runs much lower — 10.8 per 1000.

However, when ages were broken down even further, some startling data was revealed. Diabetics between the ages of 45 and 54 were considerably more likely than non-sufferers to develop cataract.

Diabetics between 45 and 49 were 4.6 times more likely to develop cataracts, and those aged between 50 and 54 were 5.7 times more at risk than their healthy counterparts.

In conclusion, the study clearly states: “The risk of cataract associated with diabetes is highest at younger ages.”  This is a disturbing result, especially considering that we normally associate cataracts with people in their 70’s and 80’s.

Control Blood Pressure to Lower Cataract Risk

High blood sugar (glucose) is a key issue in diabetes. And it is also what makes diabetics more prone to cataracts.

In the simplest of terms, the lenses of your eyes contain an enzyme that converts glucose to sorbitol. As sorbitol accumulates, it damages lens fibers and causes lens cells to collapse. This eventually leads to the development of cataracts.

As a result, it is extremely important for diabetics to manage glucose levels through diet, a regular exercise routine and other healthy lifestyle habits if they wish to prevent cataract formation.

In particular, avoiding foods with a high-glycemic index is a very important first step for anyone who needs to bring their blood sugar levels under control. Some of the worst high-glycemic offenders include foods that are processed, sugary, contain white flour or are made with white potatoes.

Sources:

Becker C, et al. Cataract in patients with diabetes mellitus-incidence rates in the UK and risk factors. Eye (Lond). 2018 Feb 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Anglia Ruskin University. “Diabetes doubles chance of developing cataract: New study finds relative risk is highest among people aged between 45 and 54.” ScienceDaily. Feb 2018.

Sayin N, et al. Ocular complications of diabetes mellitus. World J Diabetes. 2015 Feb 15; 6(1): 92–108.


Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”


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