A recent study has found that our eyes hold the clue of the blood vessel health in our legs.
It showed that that changes in tiny blood vessels of our eyes may predict a higher risk of blood vessel narrowing in the legs in the future.
In this study, the researchers examined 9,390 people from the long-term Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.
Each participant had their retinal photographs taken between 1993-1995. During that time, they did not have peripheral artery disease (PAD).
During a 19-year follow-up, the team found 304 people developed PAD. They required hospitalization or surgery to open narrowed leg vessels.
Among these people, 92 had the most severe form of PAD. It is called critical limb ischemia (CLI) and can cause ulcers on the leg, gangrene and the need for amputation.
Moreover, the team found that when retain scans showed any type of problems, parents had 2.16 times greater risk of PAD developing during the follow-up years.
They also had a 3.41 times greater risk of CLI.
The retina problems include bleeding, yellow spots from the breakdown of lipids and areas of blood protruding from vessels in the back of the eye.
Interestingly, the link between retinal damage and PAD was stronger in people with diabetes.
The researchers suggest that microvascular abnormalities (showed in the eyes) may impair wound healing.
They may also damage the creation of alternative routes for blood to flow around narrowed leg vessels.
These could lead to more severe PAD symptoms.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention conference.
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