Scientists from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and elsewhere found that adequate vitamin D levels in the body may reduce microvascular complications in people with type 2 diabetes.
Microvascular complications of diabetes are those long-term complications that affect small blood vessels. These typically include retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy.
Retinopathy means disease of the retina. There are several types of retinopathy but all involve disease of the small retinal blood vessels.
Nephropathy is the deterioration of kidney function. The final stage of nephropathy is called kidney failure, end-stage renal disease, or ESRD. According to the CDC, diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD.
Neuropathy is when nerve damage leads to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or more parts of your body.
The nerve damage may be because of disease, infection, injury, medicines, long-term alcohol abuse, or another reason. Sometimes no cause is found.
The associations between vitamin D levels and microvascular complications in people with type 2 diabetes are still unclear. These people often have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the associations between vitamin D levels in the body and the risk of diabetic microvascular complications.
They used data from 14,709 people with type 2 diabetes who were free of microvascular complications from the UK Biobank.
The incidence of diabetic microvascular complications was confirmed via electronic health records.
The team found during an 11-year of follow-up, 1,370 people developed diabetic microvascular complications.
Compared with people with vitamin D deficiency, people with higher vitamin D levels had a lower risk for diabetic microvascular complications, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy, and diabetic neuropathy.
Based on the findings, the team concludes that higher vitamin D levels in the body are strongly linked to a lower risk of diabetic microvascular complications.
These findings suggest a beneficial role of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels to prevent diabetic microvascular complications.
The research was published in Diabetes Care and conducted by Xue Chen et al.
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