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Eating Disorder Can Cause Diabetic Retinopathy: Study

A recent study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders has claimed that eating disorders can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy among people with diabetes. According to the research, diabetes is characterised by high concentrations of glucose in the blood of an individual. This excess glucose leads to tissue damage in several parts of the body including the feet, heart, and eyes as well.

After combining data from several studies, academics from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) observed that people with eating disorders were 2.94 times more prone to diabetic retinopathy as compared to people who do not have an eating disorder.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication that affects the eyes of a diabetic person. This usually causes blindness or vision loss in people by damaging the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue present at the back of the eye or retina.

A person suffering from diabetic retinopathy can experience certain symptoms as the condition progresses. These symptoms include spots or dark strings in the vision, blurred vision, or empty or dark areas in vision. Apart from this, one can also witness fluctuating vision or even a complete loss of vision.

In the study, researchers have considered and linked some eating disorders to an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy. One of the disorders considered is anorexia nervosa. In this disorder, people usually try to keep their weight excessively low by limiting their food intake or by burning too many calories through exercise. Another disorder mentioned in the study is bulimia nervosa where a person tends to eat large amounts of food in a short period and then tries to purge it through vomiting or by using laxatives.

According to the lead author of the study Mike Trott, they found a positive association between pathological eating disorders and the risk of diabetic retinopathy. As per the findings, there is poor control of blood sugar levels in people with eating disorders or in people who deliberately do not take insulin to lose weight.

The researchers have suggested that doctors should pay special attention to people with eating disorders. Any abnormal eating behaviour in people should be addressed swiftly so that the risk of diabetic retinopathy can be reduced.

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