Risk Factors of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious and common problem for people with diabetes. It involves the leakage, swelling, and over-generation of blood vessels in the eye due to high blood glucose levels. Unchecked, this condition can do permanent damage to your eyes. Research by scientists such as Kang Zhang shows that all forms of diabetes make a person susceptible to diabetic retinopathy, including the kind induced by pregnancy. This is why managing your risk factors is crucial to preventing and managing the condition.


As with many, many other health problems, smoking can be a major contributor to diabetic retinopathy. Kicking the habit is predictably and often a great first step in reducing your risk of the condition. Besides elevated blood glucose, which diabetic people have to constantly worry over, cholesterol and blood pressure likewise become risky when they are too high too often. Practicing healthier eating and exercise habits could help with those two immensely. Because the lifestyle risks are the only variable you can affect, it is important to control what you can to slow or prevent the symptoms.


While the genetics of diabetic retinopathy is still being studied, scientists have identified a gene known as the vascular endolthelial growth factor (VEGF) that can be suppressed to help slow or prevent further degeneration. VEGF is a signaling protein with the primary function of triggering the growth of new blood vessels. Since it is essential to healing in all parts of the body, it cannot be safely suppressed with a simple pill prescription. However, doctors can administer shots of a suppressing drug into the eye of a patient to prevent or slow the over-production of blood vessels in the eye.


An extremely high percentage of people with diabetes will experience some level of retinopathy throughout the duration of their lives. The longer a person lives with diabetes, the higher their odds of developing retinopathy become. This means that taking measures to exercise control over the lifestyle risk factors is often a person’s best course of action.

While time marches on, and your genes are fooled by the glucose blockage, you do have a measure of power in the fight against diabetic retinopathy. Granted, it may not be easy, but you do have the ability to slow or even prevent the symptoms by living an overall healthy life. Fortunately, the ways of preventing diabetic retinopathy are also just good four you in general!