Diabetic retinopathy, what does it consist of?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication that appears in those who suffer from diabetes, regardless of whether it is type 1 or type 2. Although its incidence has been decreasing, It affects almost 15% of people in Spain today.

Specifically, it is estimated that it affects almost 98% of patients with diabetes mellitus Type 1 after 20 years of illness. In the case of type 2, the percentage reaches almost 60% when 20 years have passed after diagnosis.

Diabetic retinopathy arises from the damage caused by diabetes in the blood vessels that provide blood to the retina. It tends to affect those people who have suffered from diabetes for a long time.

In fact, the likelihood of suffering from this disorder increases when there has been no good blood sugar control. In the long run, this pathology can lead to complete loss of vision..

Therefore, due to its importance, In this article we explain what the disease is, and what its causes and symptoms are, so that its incidence continues to decrease.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that is characterized by impaired visual health. It occurs when blood sugar levels are too high and are not controlled.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when sugar levels remain high and uncontrolled in blood for periods of time. The blood vessels of the retina undergo certain changes in response to this damage. The process is divided into several stages:

  • Light nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. It is the earliest stage of the disease. Small areas of inflammation appear in the blood vessels. They are microaneurysms.
  • Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy. If the pathology does not stop, some vessels become clogged and the severity increases.
  • Severe nonproliferative. At this time there are already many clogged vessels. Therefore, the retina does not receive blood properly. The organism stimulates the formation of new vessels, to try to maintain the irrigation of the retina.
  • Diabetic Proliferative Retinopathy. New blood vessels are created, but they are fragile and form on the retina. Because they are weak, they can let the blood drip and a loss of vision occurs.

On the other hand, inflammation of the macula can also occur. The macula is a part of the eye that is involved in the vision process. This inflammation is due to macular edema., which can occur in any of the stages mentioned, causing blindness.

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What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

Normally, the person who suffers Begins to notice the symptoms when the disease has already progressed too much. Therefore, in order to avoid it, all diabetics should periodically perform tests to check the retina.

It is a simple and painless procedure called fundus. Detecting the pathology in time helps prevent it from progressing and thereby stop the loss of vision. As retinopathy progresses, the symptoms may be as follows:

  • Gradual loss of vision.
  • Bad night vision
  • Problems to distinguish colors. In addition, the vision can be blurred and even variable depending on the moment.
  • Sometimes spots appear in the visual field. They can be dark areas, which is one of the symptoms of retinal detachment.

Retinal detachment consists of a separation of it from the posterior wall of the eye, to which, under normal conditions, it is attached. It is a serious complication and a medical emergency.

How can we avoid this pathology?

A timely diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy is decisive for a more successful treatment. In addition, it is essential to control blood glucose levels.

Diabetic retinopathy can be prevented in a large number of cases thanks to a series of simple measures. First, it is essential that diabetics go to regularly check their eyesight.

There are numerous studies that show that the early detection of pathologies such as diabetic retinopathy they can help improve both healthcare costs and the quality of life of patients.

In the same way, control blood sugar levels and blood pressure is paramount. It is necessary to carry out a healthy diet and exercise in a moderate and constant manner.

Ideally, follow the treatment guidelines that the doctor indicates. To make sure everything is correct you can measure your sugar levels frequently. In addition, you should also avoid toxic habits such as tobacco and alcohol.

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In conclusion

When blood sugar levels remain high, blockages in the blood vessels of the retina can occur. Consequently, the eye tries to develop new blood vessels. However, these are fragile and can bleed easily.

This causes progressive vision problems to be established. Therefore, if you are diabetic, you cannot neglect the health of your vision. You should see a doctor frequently to check your health status.