Friday, June 10, 2011

Let Someone Look Deep Into Your Eyes

A little fact I picked up from a book I'm reading, Eternity Soup by Greg Critser:
"Every gram of human tissue has one billion cells, and every cell must be within five microns (or five 25,000ths of an inch) of a blood vessel."
A gram is puny. About a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar weighs a gram. But that's the weight of a dry item. Wet living cells may be denser and take up less volume. The extent of blood-vessel branching needed to support the billion cells in something the size of a pencil eraser is just incredible.

In people with diabetes, the very tiny blood vessels, the capillaries, in the retina of the eye (and of course elsewhere like the kidney) get clogged and leak. Eventually, when insufficient nutrients reach the retina, new blood vessels grow (which is also incredible). These new vessels are very fragile though and aren't as efficient as the ones they replace.

All those leaking vessels eventually lead to vision loss ... but not at first! In the beginning, when your macula is swelling and your vessels are leaking ... you may notice nothing, feel nothing, see nothing unusual ... maybe a few floaters or some blurry vision. It's why anyone with diabetes really should have someone look deep inside their eyes regularly. (Sadly, millions of people don't even know they have diabetes and their retinopathy is silently progressing.1)
1 CDC: National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011 (pdf):
Undiagnosed: 7.0 million
Prediabetes: 79 million


Laurie Endicott Thomas said...

Why does the medical profession keep urging people with type 2 diabetes to see an eye doctor every year, but neglect to tell people how to make themselves un-diabetic within a matter of weeks by going on a low-fat, high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet? Why don't they tell people that you can prevent most cases of type 1 diabetes by taking the cow's milk out of children's diets?

Bix said...

Yes, why.

I think physicians are taught (and encouraged by drug and medical industries) to fix, not to prevent. Even if prevention fixes, it's not lucrative.

OmaLinda said...

With regard to the cow milk and diabetes, is the problem with cow milk per se (as opposed to goat milk or camel milk), or is it pasteurized cow milk as opposed to raw cow milk? Raw cow milk was used to cure many diseases (including TB) in the 1930's, and we have friends whose young daughter has no problem with her asthma as long as she drinks raw goat milk (as opposed to pasteurized cow milk). Her doctor says it's because raw goat milk has an enzyme that her body needs and doesn't get anywhere else.


Bix said...

OmaLinda, There's a theory that type 1 diabetes, which involves the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, involves a protein in cow's milk.

Some children fed cow's milk develop antibodies against a protein in that milk which resembles a protein on the surface of our beta cells. The child's immune cells may then attack not only the foreign cow's milk protein, but also the similar-looking beta-cell protein:

A Bovine Albumin Peptide as a Possible Trigger of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

In the study above, all of the children with type 1 diabetes had elevated levels of antibodies against bovine serum albumen, while none of the children without type 1 diabetes had elevated levels.

I would guess that both raw and pasteurized cow's milk contain the protein.