Diabetics are More Than Twice as Likely to Develop Cataracts
Need another reason to get your weight under control? A new study of over 56,000 diabetes patients will provide renewed motivation. It concluded that diabetics are at least twice as likely to develop cataracts as non-diabetics.
Diabetes is now a global epidemic and is skyrocketing in the United States. Over 30 million people, or 9.4% of the US population have diabetes, according to the latest figures amassed by the Centers for Disease Control. Another 84.1 million adults, more than 1/3 of all adults, have prediabetes, a precursor of the disease.
The single best predictor of type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight prevents high blood sugar levels which slowly erode the ability of pancreatic cells to make insulin.
Cataracts Are All Too Common
More than 22 million Americans have cataracts, which are characterized by a clouding of the lenses in your eyes. Cataracts are very common in older adults, but not inevitable. This disease is the leading cause of blindness in the world. By age 80, more than half of all people in the United States have a cataract or have had one surgically removed. In fact, cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States with an average of 3 million Americans undergoing the procedure annually. Fortunately, it has a 95 percent success rate. But why not avoid developing cataracts all together?
New Study Shows Strong Link Between Diabetes and Cataracts
A new study published in the journal Eye revealed that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataracts as the general population and that the risk is highest in those aged between 45 and 54.
Researchers analyzed data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which covers about 7% of the UK population. The study reviewed the medical records of 56,510 diabetes patients who were aged 40 or over.
Here are the findings:
- Overall, twice as many 40+ aged diabetics developed cataracts compared with non-diabetic adults,
- Diabetic patients aged between 45 and 49 were 4.6 times more likely to be cataract suffers, and
- The highest rates were diagnosed in diabetics 50 and 54, who were 5.7 times more at risk than their healthy counterparts.
Co-author Rupert Bourne, Professor of Ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University’s Vision and Eye Research Unit, said: “The report has shown that having diabetes doubles your risk of being diagnosed with a cataract, and that this risk is six times higher if a diabetic patient has significant diabetic retinal disease, called diabetic maculopathy.”
If you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, you can reverse the diagnosis by adopting a healthier diet and losing weight. Many people are confused about what to eat on a healthy diabetic diet. Here are some general guidelines from the National Institute of Diabetes.
Guidelines for a Healthy Diabetic Diet
Foods and Drinks to Limit or Avoid
Foods and drinks to limit include the usual suspects:
- Fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat and trans fat
- Foods high in salt
- Sweets, such as baked goods, candy, and ice cream
- Beverages with added sugars, including, soda, and energy drinks
- Alcohol except in moderation and preferably with meals
Eat a Varied and Balanced Diet
Eat a healthy balanced diet from all food groups:
- Eat non-starchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
- Avoid starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
- Eat fruit but focus on those with a lower glycemic load
- Examples: oranges, pears, melon, berries, and apples
- At least one-half of your daily grains should be whole grains
- Examples: 100% whole wheat, oats, barley, quinoa
- Avoid: white bread and white rice
- Eat: lean meats, fish, beans, eggs, tofu
- Avoid: Red meat
- Choose: low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese
- Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
- Avoid: Saturated fats and trans-fats
- Good oils: olive, canola
- Eat healthy fats: avocados, fatty fish, and nuts (in moderation)
Try these recipes for a healthy diet:
- Breakfast: Tomato-Broccoli Frittata from Diabetic Living
This egg dish will get your day off to a healthy start. It features eggs, the most easily digested source of protein. Broccoli and tomatoes provide fiber and vitamins and add flavor without a lot of calories. You can freeze the excess and eat it later.
- Lunch: Barley and Black Bean Salad from com’s Tasty Diabetic Recipes
This is a perfect salad to prepare the night before and bring to the office for lunch. It can be made in 10 minutes with quick cooking pearl barley and canned black beans.
- Dinner: Baked Red Snapper with Golden Onions from American Diabetes Association
This recipe is designed for non-fish lovers. Red snapper is a delicate and mild white fish. Its red skin gives it a tinted pink hue. When it bakes, it retains its moistness and has a mildly sweet flavor.
Thank you to our wonderful guest blogger, Lorie Eber, Precision Nutrition Certified Professional / Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach / Wellcoaches Credentialed Wellness Coach / NASM Certified Personal Trainer / Gerontologist / Attorney / Author / Keynote Speaker. For more information about Lorie please visit Lorie Eber Wellness Coaching.