Studies Reveal Cholesterol Drug Could Prevent Blindness in Type 2 Diabetes Patients

sleepAustralia has made a huge breakthrough in preventing blindness in type 2 diabetic patients with the use of fenofibrate. For years, the United States and other countries have been using the cholesterol lowering tablet Lipidil for managing high saturated blood fat levels. Lipidil contains the ingredient fenofibrate, which is a drug that helps diminish cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. High levels of these two fats in the blood are known to increase the risk of clogged arteries.

However, Australian research has proven the pill likewise aids in reducing the progression of vision loss in patients with type 2 diabetes. In January of 2011, the National Diabetes Association released a fact sheet stating 8.3% of the United States’ population of 25.8 million has been diagnosed with diabetes. The fact sheet also indicated that in 2007 diabetes was the leading cause of new cases of blindness among individuals who were between 20 and 74 years old.

From 2005 – 2008, 28.5% of U.S. diabetics over 40 years of age were diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, which is an eye disease that can affect the ability to perform normal activities, such as reading, watching TV and driving. Of these patients, slightly less than 4.4% of them had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could result in acute vision loss. The Australian study revealed 60 percent of individuals who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will develop the eye disease within 20 years of their initial analysis.

Symptoms of the disease include a feeling of unsteadiness, problems with seeing to read and watch TV, and distorted or patchy vision that is uncorrectable with prescription lenses. People with type 2 diabetes usually have signs of eye problems when diabetes is diagnosed. In this case, control of blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol in diabetes have an important role in slowing the progression of retinopathy and other eye problems. There are three types of retinopathy in diabetes:

consulting-doctorstreeBackground retinopathy – blood vessel damage exists, but the vision is not affected. However, it is crucial to manage diabetes at this stage to prevent the eye disease from progressing.

Maculopathy – damage in area of the macula exists and vision has been affected.

Proliferative retinopathy – new blood vessels begin to grow in the back of the eye because the vessels are thinning due to a lack of oxygen. The thinned blood vessels become blocked and start to modify.

In all, diabetic retinopathy is basically a common complication of diabetes that distresses the blood vessels in the retina and occurs when the retina becomes starved for oxygen. Diabetics should control their blood glucose levels and have their eyes checked routinely, because when diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed and treated promptly, blindness is almost always preventable.