Do you know the contribution of developing countries to the global count of diabetic patients? They are responsible for 80 per cent of total diabetes cases and the number rapidly increases only to take this 80 to probably 90 per cent or ahead of that. And yes, India is one of the major contributors to this number.
Out of the two, diabetes mellitus is more common with devastating effects on the overall well-being and health of patients. Diabetic retinopathy is one of those effects that silently makes its way as you keep avoiding high sugar content in your blood or the necessary precaution after being diagnosed.
What is the relationship between Diabetes Mellitus and Retinopathy?
Medically, diabetic retinopathy is a degenerative, irreversible, clinical, vision-threatening disease. The constantly high blood sugar levels damage the neurons and mini blood vessels in the retina causing irreparable changes. It is one of the leading causes of permanent blindness in diabetic patients.
When you overlook your blood sugar levels and continue with your careless lifestyle, it starts stressing your intermediate metabolism, imbalances insulin production, and speeds up the ageing process of your cardiovascular system. The total number of diabetes patients is expected to cross the massive figure of 134 million by 2025. It is definitely a matter of grave concern and cannot be overlooked.
The prime reason for such grave concern is not just the risk of early death that diabetes mellitus places on the patient but it may take away the light from their life silently in the form of diabetic retinopathy.
Who Is More At Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy?
People suffering from type 1 diabetes are more prone to retinopathy as compared to those suffering from type 2 diabetes. It emerges in the body as a repercussion of an unhealthy lifestyle and damages several body organs including the eye. If data is to be concerned then people with high blood sugar levels for more than 2 decades are highly susceptible to diabetic retinopathy.
It is estimated that in ninety per cent of cases, the progress of diabetic retinopathy can be arrested if the problem is diagnosed at this stage. Proper treatment, management, and clinical procedures have proven their efficiency in the successful treatment of this disease.
How Does It Begin?
Usually, the disease affects the patients belonging to a certain age group that ranges from 20-64. The initiation of this problem can be ascertained through the appearance of symptoms like mild blurriness, constant pain in the eyes, and redness. The situation may worsen quickly leading to various stages of blindness. The pace of this disease is such that it may not give you any symptomatic warnings after the initial symptoms.
Doctors categorize the progress of diabetic retinopathy into two stages. The first stage is the silent stage that progresses while the vision is stable and seems perfect. It is known as Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR). The diagnosis of this stage is done through special techniques like fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, etc. The patient may suffer from macular edema during any phase of this stage. The rate of vision disorders, as well as image distortion, may differ between the two eyes.
The second stage of this disease is known as Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy or PDR the blood vessels present at the rear end start bursting and bleeding in the vitreous humour inside the eyes. It leads to instant blurriness in vision. There is one more stage in-between these two stages that is known as Pre Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy Stage. In this stage, bleeding is minimal that only leaves some floating parts in the focal range of the eye. These floating parts may be seen temporarily and they may disappear within some time. But as the advanced stage of the disease progresses, the blurriness increases and leads to multiple haemorrhages especially during sleep. If the problem is overlooked to this point, it results in permanent blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment in Ayurveda
Ayurveda terms diabetes as Prameha or Madhumeha Janya Timira. The traditional observations of Ayurveda suggest that 20-25 per cent of diabetes patients are vulnerable to blindness. Ayurvedic practitioners suggest that Dhatu and Avarana Kshaya lead to uncontrollable hyperglycemia that results in conditions leading to diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy treatment includes two conventional systems of medicines: Ayurveda and Allopathy. Out of the two, Ayurveda has shown more success in treating and managing diabetic retinopathy and in several cases, it managed to show permanent relief from the problem. The basic reason for this success credits to the approach, the diabetic retinopathy treatment in Ayurveda focuses not only on the disease but also on the disease carrier.
The diagnosis of the disease not just tests the physical aspects of the patient but also looks into the psychological state of the given person. It plays more emphasis on the observed symptoms as compared to the data relayed by conventional diagnostic methods. Therefore, the final treatment is a combination of medication, therapies, and lifestyle modifications. It controls the blood sugar levels while rectifying the overall lifestyle of the patient that led to diabetes in the first place.
The Panchakarma therapies have their own role to play where natural therapeutic oils, ointments, and herbal decoctions are used to detoxify the patient’s body internally and externally. These therapies are unique to each individual based on the stage of diabetes and retinopathy he or she is on. Alongside, a simple diet and lifestyle help in simplifying the basic causes of the problems and relieve stress from the patient’s life. The medications work on healing the damages and restoring the eyes to their healthy state. The Ayurveda based treatment can give satisfactory results within 2-3 months and can be very helpful in avoiding surgeries and other invasive procedures.
Dr. Dinesh Sharma
Dr. Dinesh Sharma is an Ayurvedic Eye Specialist and Founder of Prakash Nethralaya treating severe eye and chronic diseases since 2005 and promoting ways to keep eyes healthy with a crystal clear vision. Know More
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