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Diabetes and Vision

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. The following are some important suggestions that can reduce your chances of having to deal with this devastating condition.

  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. For those pressed for time, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great alternative. 

 

  • Eat a plant-centric diet (Paleolithic or Mediterranean-type diet) with a variety of whole fruits and vegetables (12 or more different types per week).

 

  • The single most impactful dietary strategy is to increase fiber to more than 25g each day.

 

  • Those above ideal body weight and diagnosed with prediabetes, consider fasting on alternate days.

 

  • Avoid foods with added sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup.

 

  • Reduce consumption of red meat and avoid meat products preserved with sodium nitrate of sodium nitrite (these preservatives are toxic to pancreatic beta cells).

 

  • Drink water, unsweetened tea or coffee, and avoid aspartame (aspartame increases insulin resistance by altering the intestinal microbiome).

 

  • Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Turn off all screens at least one hour before sleep to prevent melatonin suppression.

 

  • Get blood levels of vitamin D tested (target 40mg/ml to 60mg/ml); if below 40mg/ml, take at least 2000 IU additional vitamin D3 daily and retest in three months.

 

  • Those with prediabetes and high blood pressure who are taking hydrochlorathiazide, ask your physician about discontinuing that drug, which is commonly used to treat high blood pressure, but worsens insulin sensitivity.

Based on the evidence, a one-point decrease in HbA1c reduces risk of diabetic eye retinopathy progression by about 30%.