High cholesterol is generally associated with ill health. However, patients with type 1 diabetes are also in danger of damaging their vision, if their cholesterol levels are high. The solution, Harvard researchers have recently found, is to aggressively lower cholesterol as fast as possible.
A study by Brigham and Women’s hospital analysed data recorded over six and a half years of observations on over 1400 patients with type 1, in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. The study checked patient cholesterol levels on an annual basis, and the results were published in the medical journal ‘Diabetes.’
Patients with high levels of the bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), faced twice the risk of developing a visual impairment called macular edema. Macular edema occurs when fluid leaks into the macular of the eye.
Macular edema at a clinically significant level is the most prevalent cause of visual loss in diabetics, and the relationship between visual problems and high cholesterol comes as no surprise to many experts. However, the relationship between blood glucose and the incidence of clinically significant macular edema was not so apparent. Similarly, no relationship between cholesterol levels and the development of diabetic retinopathy was established.
The findings do indicate that high cholesterol is a risk factor in visual problems such as clinically significant macular edema. Furthermore, these results should increase support for treatment plans that involve aggressive lowering of bad cholesterol in diabetic patients.

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