Alcohol consumption in diabetics have increased risk for developing retinopathy

Patients with diabetes mellitus who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are not at an increased risk for developing retinopathy, but are at an increased risk for losing visual acuity, research shows.

“The relationship with the decline in visual acuity was continuous through the distribution of alcohol consumption,” report Joline Beulens (University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands) and colleagues in the journal Diabetic Medicine.

There are limited data to date on the association between alcohol consumption and diabetes mellitus, but lifestyle factors, including alcohol consumption, can increase the risk for developing microvascular complications.

The researchers also note that alcohol is toxic to neurological tissues, including the retina, and heavy cheap lexapro 10mg drinking might cause oxidative stress in these tissues and impair vision.

In this study, the group analyzed data on 1239 individuals aged 55 to 81 years with Type 2 diabetes previously enrolled in the AdRem study, a sub-study of the Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease: Preterax and Diamicron MR Controlled Evaluation (ADVANCE) trial.

Alcohol consumption was self-reported, with moderate drinking defined as one to 14 drinks per week and heavy drinking defined as more than 14 drinks weekly.

After a mean follow-up of 5.5 years, 182 individuals were diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, while 640 had retinal vascular lesions, and 693 had declines in visual acuity.

In a logistic regression model, moderate or heavy consumption of alcohol, compared with no drinking, was not associated with the presence or progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Regarding visual acuity, after adjusting for potential confounders, moderate and heavy alcohol consumption was associated with an approximate two-fold increase in risk. For moderate drinking, compared with no drinking, the odds ratio was 1.83, while for heavy drinkers, the odds ratio was 2.09.

“When modeling alcohol consumption as a continuous variable, we observed a 2% increase in the risk of deterioration of visual acuity for each additional alcoholic drink consumed per week,” report Beulens and colleagues.

No type of alcoholic beverage was worse than any other, although the magnitude of association was slightly increased with beer compared with wine, they add.

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