Published on September 26, 2020
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Just as pipes are the strong tube-like structures which carry water where it needs to go throughout our homes (faucets, fountains, lawn sprinklers, shower heads, commodes), blood vessels (veins, arteres, capillaries) are strong tube-like structures through which blood travels to get to where it needs to go throughout our bodies. The pipes in our homes must be maintained for quality endurance and efficiency; proper care must be given to prevent corrosion or blockage, which weakens the entire plumbing structure of our homes. So, too, must we do the same with our blood vessels.
Every winter in many areas of the country the roads start to resemble the moon’s surface. The de-icing rock salt strewn about on our roadways and highways helps to eat away at the asphalt, weakening its structure and ability to hold, thereby creating those unsightly potholes.
Well, sugar does to your strong blood vessels what rock salt does to our nicely paved roads: It literally eats away at the insides of the veins through which it travels, thereby weakening their structure.
What happens when veins become weak? They leak (which is, by the way, why surgery for overweight and obese people is always more problematic because the weaker the veins the more bleeding).
Diabetes can affect all the structures in the eye. But the major effects are generally in the retina, which is the light-sensitive membrane that lines the back of each eye. Diabetes-related damage to the retina is called diabetic retinopathy, and can cause a variety of problems, including retinal bleeding, changes to the shape and course of blood flow within the retina, and thickening and swelling of the center of the retina (diabetic macular edema). Diabetic macular edema is the leading cause of moderate vision loss. Patients with diabetes are also at a higher risk for cataracts (a clouding of the lens at the front of the eye).
In addition to high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also factors in retinal complications and vision loss. The major cause of all three — high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — is obesity!
The major cause of diabetic retinopathy is high blood sugar levels, and the most important risk factor for diabetic retinopathy is the duration of diabetes. If you’re over-fat, make weight loss a priority NOW . . . and see yourself to good health.