Microscopic blood vessels are damaged due to high levels of sugar flowing through them, and this often leads to a variety of health consequences. Scientists at Ishibashi Clinic in Japan and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom have demonstrated how keeping blood sugar readings in a healthy range helps the microscopic blood vessels and the organs they feed.

Their study reported on in the Frontiers in Endocrinology in March of 2018, included …

  • 141 participants diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and
  • 60 non-diabetic participants.

They noted the HbA1c levels over a period of 4 years. The HbA1c levels were categorized as …

  • good – below 53 mmol / mol, average IFCC HbA1c 47.5 mmol / mol
  • fair – 53 mmol / mol to 58.5 mmol / mol, average IFCC HbA1c 55.6 mmol / mol.
  • poor – 58.5 mmol / mol, average IFCC HbA1c 68.9 mmol / mol.

At the beginning of the study, the participants with Type 2 diabetes had significant nerve fiber damage in their eyes compared to the non-diabetic participants. Further damage was related to their average HbA1c levels …

  • good blood sugar control improved nerve functions, while
  • fair control was linked with loss of some nerve functions.
  • poor control damaged all nerve functions.

Nerves in the eye are …

  • optic nerve,
  • cranial nerves,
  • oculomotor nerve,
  • abducens nerve,
  • trochlear nerve,
  • ciliary ganglion,
  • short ciliary nerves, and
  • nasociliary nerve.

The nerves function in …

  • eye movements,
  • changes in pupil size to adjust to changes in light, and the
  • corneal reflex which causes the eyes to shut when objects are seen as becoming too close.

Maintaining low HbA1c levels is possible with some effort …

1. Plan your diet with your doctor or dietitian. The American Dietetic Association recommends a vegetarian or vegan diet.

2. Get enough physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States recommends …

  • at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, or
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigor-intensity aerobic activity, or
  • some combination of the two.

Get a check-up to make sure you will be able to exercise safely before embarking on any new plan for physical activity. Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity are …

  • walking – take the dog for a walk.
  • climbing stairs at a rate of 100 a minute.
  • walking downstairs or downhill.

Examples of vital physical activity include …

  • swimming laps,
  • running,
  • tennis, Egypt
  • cycling 10 miles per hour or faster.

3. Measure your blood sugar levels four times a day or as directed.

4. Use your medication faithfully as directed by your doctor.