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Diabetic Retinopathy: Why blurred vision should raise red flags for diabetics

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Though it starts as a mild disease, Diabetic Retinopathy can cause severe visual impairment and in some cases, blindness. As the name suggests, this disorder strikes diabetic patients, especially those with high sugar levels. As the symptoms are not immediately evident, the disease can often go unnoticed and later diagnosis may make the problem more severe. Since forewarned is forearmed, here is all you need to know about Diabetic Retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) affects the light-sensitive tissue blood vessels in the retina that line the back of the eye. It can cause the leaking of the blood vessels in the eye and when the fluid gets accumulated in macula–the part of the retina that controls the most detailed vision abilities–blurred vision can be caused.

How is it caused?
Diabetic Retinopathy is caused mainly due to high sugar levels in the blood that damage the network of tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the retina of the eye. The severity of the effect of the sugar on the retina determines the effects of DR.

What happens in Diabetic Retinopathy?
During the initial stages, the blood vessels in the retina become weak and small bulges called microaneurysms are developed. These may burst and cause tiny blood haemorrhages on the retina, as per Sankara Eye Hospital.

Abnormal retinal blood vessels bleeding causes the appearance of wavy vision and colour changes. When blood vessels leak into the centre of the eye, it is identified as Proliferative Retinopathy. Blurry vision is one of the signs along with spots or floaters, or having trouble with night vision.

How likely is a diabetic patient to get DR?
Whether a person will conceive the disorder depends on the duration of their illness. If they have had diabetes for more than ten years, it is likely that 60 per cent of patients will develop these complications, says Dr S K Wangnoo, diabetologist, Apollo Hospitals.

What are the conditions conducive to DR?
Patients whose sugar level is not controlled are likely to develop DR. Diabetes starts affecting the eye when the HbA1C level (the glucose level in the blood) of the person is higher than seven.

What precautions can be taken?
Dr S K Wangnoo shares some pointers that one can keep in mind to keep DR at bay.

* Keep the HbA1C level less than 7.
* Keep ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL less than 90.
* Keep the blood pressure less than 140/80.
* Exercise regularly and get the eyes checked every year.

How is it diagnosed?
In the early stages, DR does not cause any noticeable symptoms. Therefore, it tends to be diagnosed as a result of a diabetic eye screening test. This includes a comprehensive eye exam including a slit lamp examination, a dilated retinal check, and the measure of intraocular pressure. Thereafter, additional tests like a Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA), Ultrasound B-Scan or an Optical Coherence Tomography to study the structure of the eye may be done.

What is the treatment for this?
Laser treatment can be performed that focuses on retinal thickening and stopping the bleeding. The Surgical treatment is done for the advanced stages of DR. A procedure called vitrectomy is performed to correct this. In selected conditions, intravitreal injections are also given.

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Blurred vision may indicate retinal disease

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People experiencing blurred vision or decreased colour sensitivity need to get their eyes checked as these seemingly minor problems may actually indicate retinal diseases that account for a significant share of the vision loss burden in the world, experts have warned.

Retinal diseases often get underdiagnosed as people feel no pain when symptoms start showing up and the other eye often compensates for the poor eye, experts from the All India Opthalmological Society (AIOS) said at a workshop on retinal disease here.

Among the various retinal disorders, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME) are the major types that account for about 8.7 per cent and 4.8 per cent of blindness in the world respectively.

“The common symptoms of retinal disorders like AMD include blurred or distorted vision, dark spots in central vision or straight lines appearing wavy,” said Rajvardhan Azad, President of the All India Collegium of Ophthalmology, a fellowship programme of AIOS.

“These diseases often go underdiagnosed as they get noticed only when profound loss of eye sight occurs or the patient closes one eye. It is, therefore, imperative to understand the symptoms and seek expert advice as early diagnosis can help prevent loss of vision,” Azad, who is also an eye specialist at Bharti Eye Hospital in New Delhi, said.

Early detection of AMD and DME increases the possibility of preventing vision loss, and according to Azad, treatment becomes difficult for those who have completely lost their sight.

Some of the treatment options available in India include laser photocoagulation, anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) injections and combination therapy which includes laser and anti-VEGF treatment.

People with diabetes should be especially alert as they are more prone to develop diabetic retinopathy, Azad said.

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Ayurveda For Eyes: Home Remedies And Diet Tips To Follow During Summers

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Imagine the world without the efficient functioning of the eyes; blank, isn't it? Summers are upon us and it is time to take extra care of them, especially as they are most exposed to heat, sun, pollution, et al, which may further lead to weaker eyesight, conjunctivitis, pre-mature macular degeneration and vision problems. While one of the best ways to take care of your eyes is to wash them with water, it is imperative to load up on healthy foods in order to ensure a healthy pair of eyes. Ayurveda is known to consider food just as powerful as medicine. Similarly, it suggests some foods that may help strengthen your eye health.

According to the book, 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad, individuals who work in front of a computer for a long time, watch a lot of television or movies, or live in a city with high air pollution, may find their eyes become irritated and strained. The irritation may be due to the dryness of conjunctiva that results from excess vata dosha, or it may be related to excess hyper-acidity or pitta dosha in stomach. Liver and eyes are closely related, so one of the reasons can be problems occurring in the liver.

Here are some of the essential home remedies as suggested by Ayurveda in order to keep your eyes healthy.
1) According to the book, you can prepare a solution of rose water. Use a dropper or an eye cup; make sure the water is neither too hot nor too cold. A drop or two in the eye will help soothe the irritation.

2) The book also suggests putting a single drop of pure castor oil into your eyes at bedtime. Make sure the oil does not contain any preservative.

3) According to the book, 'Home Doctor' by Dr. P.S. Phadke, if you experience redness, pain or even swelling in the eyes, boil a teaspoon of turmeric in two cups of water. Reduce it to a cup and let it cool. Strain four to five times with a muslin cloth. This extract can then be used as an eye drop. Use it at least three to four times a day.

4) Infusions made of coriander seeds or fennel seeds can be used as cold eye-washes.

5)If there is only a burning sensation in the eyes, cold compress will work. In fact, direct cold application of a little cream of cow's milk or fresh yogurt will also help soothe the eyes. Make sure the application is cold.

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Cauliflower Nutrition: Here Is Everything You Should To Know About This Veggie

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Cauliflower, or phool gobhi as we lovingly call it, is an immensely popular vegetable in north India. Gobhi ke paranthe and aloo gobhi ki sabzi are probably the most consumed item in a typical Punjabi home. Cauliflower's origin can be traced to Cyprus from where it moved to west Asia, and Europe. The British brought it to India about 150 years ago, thereafter, our farmers raised their own seeds, creating the Indian cauliflower. Four of the earliest varieties listed are the Early and Main Crop Patna and Early and Main Crop Banaras. Botanically speaking, cauliflower belongs to the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which belongs to the family Brassicaceae. Other popular vegetables in this species include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, which are also referred as cole crops. The edible white flesh of cauliflower is referred to as "curd" and we normally eat both the stem and flower tissue.

Not All Is White: While white is the most popular and common coloured cauliflower, there is one in orange too, and its colour comes from beta carotene, which is a vitamin A precursor. Then, there is a green variety known as broccoflower. And, the very less popular purple coloured cauliflower is known to have anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants also present in red cabbage and red wine.
Nutritionally 100 g of Cauliflower will provide:
-96kj/100gms
-2.15g protein
-0.44g fat
-2.03g carbohydrate
-3.71g fibre, both soluble and insoluble fibre.
-Vitamins B - thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6
-47mg/100g vitamin C (mzkes it one of the richest sources in our food)
-14 microgram/100g of vitamin K, which is 20% of our daily requirement
-45.95 microgram/100 g of folates

Health Benefits: Broccoli is generally touted as one of the healthiest vegetables, whereas cauliflower has never got that position. Surprisingly, white cauliflower's nutritional value is quite high. Its health quotient is as good as its fellow green cruciferous vegetables. Some of the benefits it brings to our table are:

1. Reduces The Risk Of Cancer: As per various studies, Cruciferous veggies are linked to a reduce the risk of cancer. A group of compounds - glucosinolates are known to have anti-cancer properties. These compounds are converted to Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are believed to destroy potential cancer-causing substances before they can damage a cell's genetic material (DNA) or work to prevent healthy cells from becoming cancerous. ITCs also help in increasing detoxification of toxic substances that might be detrimental to cancer risk.

2. Relieves Inflammation: Chronic health problems are a public health concern today. Most of these are outcomes of imbalanced metabolic systems, which cause injury to our body leading to inflammations, when left unchecked. Cauliflower has one of the richest antioxidant profile containing anthoxanthins, which gives cauliflower its signature white colour, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol. In addition, it has one of the highest contents of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant system in our body. Vitamin K, present in cauliflower, also works on the anti-inflammatory system and prevents it from going into an overdrive. The omega -3 fats present in cauliflower also add to its anti-inflammatory ability.

3. Reduces The Risk Of Heart And Brain Diseases: The antioxidant profile of cauliflower also help reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and stroke. They also exert a protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Vitamin C, vitamin k and the omega -3 are documented to prevent plaque formations; keep blood pressure under check; and control cholesterol build up. By binding with bile acids, cauliflower helps regulate cholesterol.

4. Great Detox: Sulphur compounds present in the veggie - glucosinolates, which impart the typical smell to cauliflower, are very beneficial for our digestive system. They help with nutrient absorption while aiding toxin removal. They also aid in the development of good gut bacteria.

5. Weight Loss: Since cauliflower is low in calories, adding to your weight loss diet is not a bad idea. Its good fibre content leads to early satiety and being low in carbs and fat make it as a favourable veggie for weight watchers.

6. Good For Eye And Skin: The sulphur compounds protect our retina against oxidative stress preventing cataract and macular degeneration. The vitamin C, also known as the skin vitamin, protects against signs of early ageing like wrinkles and dryness of the skin.

7. Cook It Right: Keep the cooking time, and contact with the cooking surface, to the minimum, which enhances the flavour and also retains the essential nutrients. Boiling or steaming cauliflower isn't great for its texture or flavour enhancement. Studies have shown that cauliflower stands up well to various cooking methods without losing its nutrient levels. Vitamin C, phytonutrients and flavonoids present in the vegetable aren't destroyed after cooking. In fact, researchers have found that the bioavailability of nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin improves after cooking.

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Tomato Juice Benefits: From Improving Digestion To Boosting Eye Health And More!

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Tomato makes an indispensable part of the Indian and international cuisine. This beautiful red fruit not just adds a tangy flavour to innumerable delicacies but has several health and beauty benefits to offer. Not just tomato, but its juice is also nutrient-rich and low in calories and fat. So, if you are looking to lose weight, this drink is just for you. In fact, according to the book 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing, one glass of tomato juice contains 74 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C intake. Other key vitamins include K, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals such as potassium, manganese and iron. If you haven't known the many benefits of tomato juice yet, there is a chance you are missing out on something important and beneficial.We tell you some amazing health and beauty benefits of tomato juice that will convince you to add the colourful drink to your daily diet.

Health Benefits Of Tomato Juice

1. Super Antioxidant Properties

One of the biggest selling features of tomato juice is its antioxidant properties. It is particularly rich in beta-carotene and lycopene, which are responsible for a tomato's deep red colour, and has been linked to reduce the risk of developing heart diseases. These powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients defend your body from free radicals that cause damage to your cells.

2. Helps Regularise Digestion
Consuming tomato juice regularly may help stimulate the bowel movement, further preventing constipation and boosting digestion. Tomato juice is rich in fibre and functions as a mild laxative that can help prevent constipation.

3. Helps Prevent Blood Clotting

The rich supply of phytonutrients found in tomatoes are known to prevent abnormal platelet cell clumping, which is beneficial for those who are at a risk of heart conditions.

4. Heart-Friendly

Tomatoes have a high amount of lycopene, vitamin C and E, and beta-carotene, all of which support heart health. Lycopene helps strengthen the walls of blood vessels and remove cholesterol from the blood.

5. A Great Detoxifying Agent

Tomato juice works wonders in flushing out the toxin deposition from the body. Moreover, the presence of chlorine and sulphur content helps liver and kidneys to perform their detoxification function better. In fact, tomato juice is contains potassium, which reduces water retention, moreover, it helps the body remove fat-soluble toxins.

6. Lowers Cholesterol

The excess fibre content in the juice helps to break down LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). The presence of niacin has also been found to have a beneficial impact on high cholesterol levels.

7. Boosts Eye-Health

Tomato juice is loaded with phytonutrients like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin along with vitamin C that are known to protect your eyes from eye problems like age-related macular degeneration and cataract.

8. Makes For A Great Workout Recovery

Tomato juice provides the perfect balance of chemicals to help your body recover from strenuous exercise. So, ditch the fizzy energy drinks and choose to drink the healing juice instead.

Dr. Ratnaprabha  Chaudhari
Dr. Ratnaprabha Chaudhari
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Infertility Specialist, 9 yrs, Pune
Dr. Hemant Chavan
Dr. Hemant Chavan
BAMS, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Varghese Jibi
Dr. Varghese Jibi
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sairandhri Shinde
Dr. Sairandhri Shinde
MBBS, Gynaecologist Infertility Specialist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Mayur Ingale
Dr. Mayur Ingale
MBBS, ENT Specialist, 4 yrs, Pune
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