Microscopic blood vessels are damaged due to high levels of sugar flowing through them, and this often leads to a variety of health consequences. Scientists at Ishibashi Clinic in Japan and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom have demonstrated how keeping blood sugar readings in a healthy range helps the microscopic blood vessels and the organs they feed.
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Their study reported on in the Frontiers in Endocrinology in March of 2018, included...
- 141 participants diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and
- 60 non-diabetic participants.
They noted the HbA1c levels over a period of 4 years. The HbA1c levels were categorized as...
- good - below 53 mmol/mol, average IFCC HbA1c 47.5 mmol/mol
- fair - 53 mmol/mol to 58.5 mmol/mol, average IFCC HbA1c 55.6 mmol/mol.
- poor - 58.5 mmol/mol, average IFCC HbA1c 68.9 mmol/mol.
At the beginning of the study, the participants with Type 2 diabetes had significant nerve fiber damage in their eyes compared to the non-diabetic participants. Further damage was related to their average HbA1c levels...
- good blood sugar control improved nerve functions, while
- fair control was linked with loss of some nerve functions.
- poor control damaged all nerve functions.
Nerves in the eye are...
- optic nerve,
- cranial nerves,
- oculomotor nerve,
- abducens nerve,
- trochlear nerve,
- ciliary ganglion,
- short ciliary nerves, and
- nasociliary nerve.
The nerves function in...
- eye movements,
- changes in pupil size to adjust to changes in light, and the
- corneal reflex which causes the eyes to shut when objects are seen as becoming too close.
Maintaining low HbA1c levels is possible with some effort...
1. Plan your diet with your doctor or dietitian. The American Dietetic Association recommends a vegetarian or vegan diet.
2. Get enough physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States recommends...
- at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, or
- 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or
- some combination of the two.
Get a check-up to make sure you will be able to exercise safely before embarking on any new plan for physical activity. Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity are...
- walking - take the dog for a walk.
- climbing stairs at a rate of 100 a minute.
- walking downstairs or downhill.
Examples of vigorous physical activity include...
- swimming laps,
- tennis, or
- cycling 10 miles per hour or faster.
3. Measure your blood sugar levels four times a day or as directed.
4. Use your medication faithfully as directed by your doctor.
Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.
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