Can Ayurveda Really Treat Diabetic Retinopathy?

Can Ayurveda Really Treat Diabetic Retinopathy?

As the name indicates, diabetic retinopathy shares a close connection with high blood sugar levels. Its development causes damages to minute blood vessels present in the retina leading to loss of vision and blurriness. A number of signs and symptoms are closely related to this condition. Medically, it is a progressive disease that results in irreversible loss of vision, therefore, it is a must to go for regular eye checkups. If the disease is diagnosed on time, its progress can be arrested and slow to keep the patient’s vision intact for as long as possible. Diabetic Retinopathy treatment in Ayurveda is a natural and chemical free process to cure Diabetic Retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Understanding The Primary Cause of Diabetic Retinopathy

Blood sugar or glucose is the primary source of energy, however, when it exceeds a bare minimum amount it starts having a reverse effect on all our systems. Our pancreas releases a specific hormone, insulin, to utilize this extra glucose. People suffering from diabetes have a weak pancreas that does not release enough insulin to consume all extra blood sugar. Therefore, the excess glucose then starts depositing in the blood and starts influencing various parts of the body including the eyes. 

Diabetic retinopathy is not just responsible for damaging or weakening the eye’s blood vessels but also causes the formation of new and abnormal blood vessels in the retina. 

Are There Different Stages Of Diabetic Retinopathy? 

It is a progressive disease that is divided into 2 types and 4 stages. On a broad scale, diabetic retinopathy is proliferative and nonproliferative. The nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy is related to the initial stages of the disease, why proliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs at the advanced stage of this disease. 

First Stage – Mild Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

This stage marks the onset of diabetic retinopathy that includes mild swelling in retinal blood vessels. The swollen regions of the retina are known as microaneurysms. A small leakage of fluid into the retina happens in this stage which triggers swelling in the macula. If the diagnosis is made at this stage, the disease can be controlled and rectified with great ease. 

Second Stage:  Moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

When the swelling in small blood vessels starts interfering with the blood flowing into the retina,  it is known as moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. Blockage in blood supply to the retina leads to its malnourishment and accumulates excess fluid and blood in the macula. 

Third Stage: Serial nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

When high blood sugar leads to blockage of a large segment of blood vessels in the retina,  there is a significant decrease in the blood supply to it. The body receives false signals to grow fresh blood vessels in the retina which further complicates the problem. 

Fourth Stage: Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

It is the last and most advanced state of this disease that includes the formation of new blood vessels in the retina. The new blood vessels are fragile in nature and carry a higher risk of leaking fluid in the eyes. It is a serious problem that includes various effects like a restricted field of vision, blurriness as well as blindness.

Diabetic Retinopathy treatment in Ayurveda

Diabetic Retinopathy treatment in Ayurveda offers a natural and chemical-free treatment. According to Charak Samhita, diabetes is among the eight significant and chronic disorders that disturb normal routine and lifestyle. In the Ayurvedic texts,  diabetic retinopathy has been termed as ‘Madhumeha Jaya Timir’. It is a complicated medical condition that is caused by vitiation of the three governing energies of the human body, (Kapha, Vata, and Pitta) that collude the blood and saptadhatu that keep our body in shape. 

The imbalance and aggravation of the three basic doshas are considered the leading cause of diabetic retinopathy in Ayurveda. Therefore, its treatment focuses on pacification and balancing all three doshas in the body. A few other contributing factors considered under Ayurveda include stress, grief, anger, anxiety, increased food consumption, and seasonal changes. 

All these factors increase the vulnerability of retinal blood vessels and result in damage and leakage. The Ayurvedic treatment for diabetic retinopathy includes both preventive and curative measures. If the disease is diagnosed at its initial state,  the doctors follow a preventive approach to the disease that includes measures to slow down or prevent the progress of retinopathy in the patient’s body.  the primary treatments in this category include:  

  • Constant maintenance of an average blood sugar level. 
  • Maintaining normal blood pressure in the patient’s body. 
  • Totally avoiding aggravating factors like smoking and alcohol intake. 
  • Focusing on a healthy diet that controls both cholesterol levels and blood pressure. 
  • Improving and preserving eyesight through natural methods like regular I wash with Triphala powder, Yoga, etc. 
  • Regular eye check-ups of people suffering from diabetes. 

The curative treatments for diabetic retinopathy include: 

  • Controlling blood sugar with natural remedies. 
  • Classification and management of the three doshas that govern the human body. 
  • Eliminating the causes for integration and improving the overall functioning of the digestive system.
  • Preventing any kind of nutritional loss from the body. 
  • Improving nutrients and blood circulation all across the body. 

Apart from this, Ayurvedic practitioners also use Panchakarma therapies and herbal medication to manage blood pressure and blood sugar levels in a patient’s body. Measure therapies used in the process include the following: 

  • Netra Tarpana: It is one of the most basic and essential Panchakarma therapies that helps in rejuvenation of the eyes on a cellular level and improving eyesight to keep diabetic retinopathy away.
  • Seka: Highly effective therapy that helps to repair injured or damaged blood vessels in the retina and improve blood circulation in the eyes. 
  • Takradhara: A traditional Ayurvedic practice that improves the nerve signals across the head by pouring buttermilk on the targeted part. It has proved to be one of the most effective remedies for diabetic retinopathy treatment in Ayurveda. 
  • Use of Natural Herbs: A number of medicinal herbs are used to bring down blood sugar levels and secure the eyes from ill effects of diabetes.

All these points are mentioned here to give you an outline of how a disease as serious as diabetic retinopathy can be dealt with in a natural way. Ayurveda can help in simplifying prevention of the complications that emerge due to high blood sugar and help in healthy sustenance.

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