STUDY: Calorie & Sodium Intake Linked To Diabetic Eye Disease In African Americans

pizzaAccording to findings from a six-year study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, high caloric and sodium intake appear to be linked with the progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in African Americans with type 1 diabetes.

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“Clinical risk factors for progression of DR have been previously reported for various populations with type 1 DM [diabetes mellitus], including those who are African American,” wrote Monique S. Roy, MD, from New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, and Malvin N. Janal, PhD, of the New York University College of Dentistry, New York.

“The risk factors include longer duration of diabetes, poor glycemic control, and systemic hypertension. In patients with DM, glycemic and blood pressure control are achieved through medication and specific dietary recommendations established by the American Diabetic Association (ADA).”

Researchers were interested in determining the association of dietary nutrient intake over a six-year progression of DR in African Americans with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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The study included 469 patients at risk for the progression of DR. Participants were given a food frequency questionnaire at baseline (start of the study) to collect nutrient intake. A structured clinical interview, ocular examination, grading of 7 standard field stereoscopic fundus photographs, blood pressure measurements, and blood and urine testing were performed at baseline and at the six-year follow-up.

At the conclusion of the study, study authors found, “In African American patients with type 1 diabetes, high caloric and sodium intakes are significant and independent risk factors for progression to severe forms of DR.”

“Dietary recommendations of low caloric and sodium intakes may be beneficial in relation to the development of DR.”

The study was supported by grants from the National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, and a Lew Wasserman Merit Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc, New York.

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