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Diabetic African-Americans may need to adjust diet

Diabetic African-American patients may benefit from a reduction of calories and sodium in their diets. Regulating caloric and sodium intake may reduce the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy. The leading cause of blindness in 20 to 64 year-olds, diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina are damaged by diabetes-related changes in the body. There are two causes of vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy: proliferative retinopathy and macular edema. 469 African-American patients were evaluated in the study which was published in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Patients with the greatest caloric intake at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop the vision-threatening retinopathy while those with high sodium intake were more likely to develop macular edema. Researchers concluded that a change in diet may slow progression of diabetic retinopathy in African-American patients. Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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