Additional Diabetes Information:
In November of 2010, UnitedHealth made a startling prediction that by the year 2020 15% of the U.S. population will have been diagnosed with diabetes and 37% with prediabetes. These numbers were in stark contrast to 2010's statistics of 12% and 28%, respectively. Healthcare costs for treating this disease are projected to cost our country $250 billion if something is not done to halt the ominously steady march of diabetes.1
Unfortunately, diabetes treatment is not always limited to insulin, exercise and a strict diet. Complications can develop, and are much more likely to develop, if those with diabetes are not responsibly monitoring and maintaining their blood-glucose levels. But even Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics who are extremely attentive to their treatment are highly likely to develop complications the longer they live with the disease.
One of the many complications patients could develop is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the retina's (the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye) blood vessels. 2 There are two forms of diabetic retinopathy, which are nonproliferative and proliferative retinopathy. Nonproliferative retinopathy develops first.
In nonproliferative retinopathy, capillaries in the back of the eye balloon and form pouches. This form of retinopathy is classified in stages (mild, moderate, and severe), as more and more blood vessels become blocked. 2, 3
In some people, retinopathy progresses after several years to a more serious form called proliferative retinopathy. This form of retinopathy is more advanced and severe. In this stage, the blood vessels are so damaged they close off. In response, new blood vessels start growing in the retina. These new vessels are weak and can leak blood and block vision, a condition called vitreous hemorrhage. The new blood vessels can also cause scar tissue to grow. After the scar tissue shrinks, it can distort the retina or pull it out of place, a condition called retinal detachment. 2, 3 Retinal detachment sometimes requires surgery, unless it's too late and nothing can be done.
Your retina can be badly damaged before you notice any change in vision. Most people with nonproliferative retinopathy have no symptoms. Even with proliferative retinopathy, the more dangerous form, people sometimes have no symptoms until it is too late to treat them. 2, 3
The exact developmental causes of diabetic retinopathy are still somewhat of a mystery, since even diabetics who have taken the utmost care to live responsibly with the disease have a high probability of developing this complication. While all the exact causes and preventative measures are unknown, it's commonly known that oxidative stress is definitely a factor4. Oxidative stress is defined as a biological system's inability to regulate the imbalance of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as free radicals. When oxidative stress occurs, the body is unable to detoxify the unregulated free radicals or to repair the resulting damage.
As antioxidants are incapable of fighting free radicals without the help of reactive molecules, a redox signaling supplement can introduce the needed reactive molecules to help an impaired biological system operate more efficiently and at optimum health. These reactive molecules are produced by a complex proprietary electrochemical process and are bio-identical to those in the body. Replenishing these molecules increases antioxidant efficiency of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) inside living cells by more than 500%. Thus the efficiency of communication signals between cells, specifically those involved in cell damage detection, repair, and replacement, is greatly increased and oxidative stress is decreased.
- UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization (2010) . The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and opportunities in the decade ahead. (Retrieved from unitedhealthgroup.com/hrm/unh_workingpaper5.pdf )
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia (2012). Diabetes and eye disease. (Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002192/)
3.American Diabetes Association. Eye complications. (Retrieved from diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/eye-complications/)
4. Renu A. Kowluru and Pooi-See Chan. Experimental Diabetes Research. Volume 2007 (2007). Oxidative Stress and Diabetic Retinopathy.