Who wants to lose the ability to breathe? As with so many other serious health conditions, the answer to that question is determined by how you choose to live each day. Lead a healthy, energized life, and the chances of COPD ever entering your life will be remote.
Here are some specific ways you can prevent COPD from entering your life.
Of course, we can say this enough. Cigarettes are by far the number one cause of COPD. There are so many arguments for quitting, and this is yet another big one.
Stick to smoke free bars and restaurants
Even if you don’t smoke, being around people who do significantly increases your risk of COPD. Chinese researchers estimated that the equivalent of 40 hours per week of such “passive smoking” for five years made people who never smoked nearly 50 percent more likely to develop COPD than those who weren’t around the smoke.
Follow a Mediterranean diet
This approach to eating, with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, fish, and whole grains, can reduce your risk of COPD by 25 percent. In contrast, following a typical American diet high in refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts, and French Fries increases the risk by 31 percent. Meanwhile, other studies find that diets high in starches and sodium also significantly increase risk of developing COPD. The Mediterranean diet’s anti-inflammatory effects may be one reason for its impact on COPD risks.
Exercise, particularly aerobic exercises like walking, biking, or swimming, help your lungs become more efficient at providing your body with the oxygen it needs. Not only do your heart and lungs benefit by the more robust breathing but so do all the muscles and connective tissues in and around your lungs. If you get winded easily, it’s time to take daily walks and build up your aerobic fitness.
Become a healthy breather
Too many people take lots of small breaths as they go about their business. Rapid breathing also becomes the norm in stressful times. But for better lung health – and overall health, for that matter – learn to breath more deeply and less frequently. Inhale through your nose slowly and fully; your chest and abdomen should move together. If only your chest moves, your breathing is too shallow. Exhaling should take twice as long as inhaling. The more you clear your lungs out with strong exhalations, the healthier and fuller your inhalations, will be! While there’s no agreed upon standard, try to reduce the number of breaths you take in a minute to just six. Deep breathing not only improves lung function but can also lower blood pressure and provide relaxation, even in stressful times.
Are you already suffering from COPD? There is a good chance if you are your doctor has already prescribed you various medications and programs to help you. Come back on Wednesday for some simple lifestyle improvements you can also do to help you manage your COPD.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is called the forgotten killer and is currently the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death in the world. In Canada, it kills more women than breast cancer. And throughout North America, it’s the only common cause of death still increasing in prevalence. Yet when is the last time you heard of a fundraiser to fight off this forgotten killer?
COPD is a collection of chronic lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that clocks the airways and restricts oxygen flow throughout the body. The condition has long been linked with cigarette smoking, and smoking does remain its top cause. But researchers now know that some cases of COPD are also the result of exposure to dust, fumes, and secondhand smoke; decades of living with asthma; poor diet; and even a wily bacteria that shifts just enough to continually outwit the antibiotics used to vanquish it.
Researcher also think COPD is more than just a disease of the lungs. In an editorial in the British medical Journal The Lancet, doctors from the Netherlands and Italy suggested that in many people, COPD is part of a cluster of conditions, all related to chronic inflammation in the body. This systemic inflammation is likely responsible for the high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and even cancer that tend to exist along with COPD. They recommend that people with at least three of the following be diagnosed with what they call Chronic Systemic Inflammation syndrome, not just a single disease:
Other evidence that COPD is often part of a broader syndrome comes from researchers in Great Britain, who found that people with the disease develop arterial stiffness, or atherosclerosis, far earlier than those without COPD. The researchers also found high levels of inflammatory chemicals in the arteries of people with COPD. All of which adds up to one thing: COPD, whether on its own or part of a cluster of conditions, is scary stuff.
Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. COPD symptoms often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues. For chronic bronchitis, the main symptom is a daily cough and mucus (sputum) production at least three months a year for two consecutive years.
Other signs and symptoms of COPD may include:
People with COPD are also likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms become worse than usual day-to-day variation and persist for at least several days.
The good news is that COPD is preventable and is treatable. In my next blog I will give you 5 ways to prevent COPD, so come back on Monday to find out what they are.
Are you already struggling with insulin resistance or diabetes? These six tips have been shown to have a wonderfully stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels.
On cereal, low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt, even over fruit. The fragrant herb contains numerous compounds called polyphenolic polymers that improve your cell’s ability to use glucose, enabling them to pull more out of your bloodstream. It doesn’t take much; in one study from the United States Department of Agriculture, less than a ½ teaspoon a day for 40 days significantly reduced blood sugar levels in 60 people with type 2 diabetes.
Switch to Soba
Instead of pasta, ladle you tomato sauce and turkey meatballs over soba noodles, made with buckwheat. Canadian researchers found extracts of the grain reduced blood glucose levels by 12 to 19 percent in diabetic rats, and a similar affect appears to occur with people. You can find soba noodles in the Oriental food section of supermarkets.
Pop some cherries
These sweet-and-sour fruits are filled with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that can increase insulin production up to 50 percent, according to animal studies.
Get a good night’s sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep, or you toss and turn all night, don’t be surprised to find your blood sugar levels higher than normal the next day. One study of 161 people with type 2 diabetes found 67 percent had poor sleep quality. Lack of sleep and poor sleep wreaks havoc with a multitude of hormones responsible for metabolizing glucose and regulating appetite, studies find so much so that some researchers suggest our 24/7 society may, in part, be contributing to the current diabetes epidemic.
Try Tai Chi
Researchers from Taiwan had 32 people with type 2 diabetes participate in a 12-week tai chi program. The Ancient Chinese martial art uses a combination of movement and breathing exercises to strengthen the body and mind. After 12 weeks, participants showed a significant decrease in their A1c levels, a marker of glucose levels, over time, and fewer pro-inflammatory chemicals.
Another study, this one from the University of Queensland in Australia, involved 12 people with type 2 diabetes who practiced Qigong and Tai Chi three times a week for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, participants’ blood sugar levels had significantly improved, and they’d lost weight, were sleeping better, and had more energy.
Eat protein with Breakfast
Breakfast is usually an important part of the day to balance blood sugar. If you are not hungry for breakfast, it indicates that you may suffer slow digestion. It can also be a sign that your stress hormones are out of whack. When we skip breakfast, the body increases production of stress hormones and starts to break down muscle for energy. It’s a very stressful situation for the body and wreaks havoc on blood sugar balance for the rest of the day. Focus on fat and protein at breakfast, rather than carbs.
Are you unsure if you are struggling with blood sugar issues? Any time you are experiencing abnormal symptoms you should make a visit to your doctor as well as annual checkups. Some symptoms to specifically watch for are things like feeling hungrier or more fatigue than usual with no obvious reason. Also being thirstier, or peeing more often. Blurred vision can also be a sign for some people. Try and schedule checkups regularly and request to get lab work done at these visits to make sure every is in check.
Once you have diabetes, you become subject to a range of complications as you age with it, including blindness, chronic nerve pain, nerve damage, incontinence, impotence, memory loss and, of course, the biggie: heart disease. If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have a heart attack than a lifelong smoker – even if you never took a puff yourself. Diabetes is also the strongest predictor of functional decline in older people, that is, handling the day-to-day task of life like walking, dressing, or housecleaning. You’re more likely to be depressed or to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And it means you’re likely to be in the hospital and require other medical services at twice the rate of people your same age without diabetes.
The answer? Prevent Diabetes!
6 Ways to prevent Diabetes
The good news is that insulin resistance and, in some cases, type 2 diabetes can be reversed through generally healthy living. The following tips have been proven in studies to have particularly strong preventative powers.
Strengthen your muscles
Work out with hand weights, six days a week. It’s the best thing you can do to prevent diabetes! Every time you stress muscles cells with strength training, you increase their need for glucose, thus reducing insulin resistance. The more muscle you build, the more glucose they need. That means more insulin receptors on cells, and less glucose in your bloodstream.
Maintain your level of activity
If you’re using aerobic activities like walking, playing tennis, and bicycling to maintain healthy glucose levels, don’t let up. When you’re young, the boost in insulin sensitivity you get from one bout of aerobic exercise can last up to four days. But once you pass age 40, that boost has a shorter and shorter time span. That makes it crucial that you get some type of activity most every day.
A compound in black, green, and oolong tea called epigallocatechin gallate substantially increases the ability of cells to take in insulin. Just skip the milk; adding just a teaspoon of 2 percent milk reduced that benefit by a third. Also stay away from nondairy creamers and soy milk, which also significantly reduced the benefits.
Get your grains
Whole grains – whether wheat, quinoa, rice, rye, or oats – should be considered diabetes prevention in a plant. Because these grains haven’t been stripped of nutrients containing components and fiber, they pack a powerful nutritional punch. How powerful? A study of nearly 43,000 male health professionals found those who had the greatest amount of whole grains in their diets were 42 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who got the least amount of grains. Whole grains’ benefits likely come from their ability to slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream, thus tempering that post-meal insulin spike. Studies find diets high in fiber naturally improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin secretion.
Load up on Magnesium
Found in high amounts in whole grains (yet another reason for that morning bowl of oatmeal), magnesium influences the release and activity of insulin, and plays a role in your body’s ability to use carbohydrates. When blood sugar levels are high, your body loses magnesium. Numerous studies, including two that followed more than 170,000 health professionals for up to 18 years, found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was much higher in men and women with low dietary levels of magnesium than in those with high levels. Other good sources include halibut, almonds, cashews, soybeans, and spinach. Just an ounce of almonds or cashews provides 20 percent of your recommended daily intake of magnesium.
When researchers evaluated the diets of 69,554 women ages 38 to 63 over 10 years, they found that every 3-ounce serving of red meat increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent, with an increased risk of 73 percent for every serving of processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, lunchmeat, and so forth) Lean chicken had no such affect.
If you are already struggling with insulin resistance or diabetes, come back for my next blog post on strategies to stabilize your blood sugar.
If you haven’t heard the word “epidemic” linked to the word “diabetes,” then you’ve clearly chosen to avoid TV news, the newspaper, or even the Internet. For few health stories have gotten so much coverage in the recent years – and validly so – than the growing menace of type 2, or “adult-onset” diabetes.
As the World Health Organization puts it, “Diabetes is a common condition and its frequency is dramatically rising all over the world.” Today at least 171 million people worldwide have the disease, a figure likely to more than double by 2030 as populations age. And just who are these people? Primarily, those “above the age of retirement” according to the World Health Organization. In other words, older people . In fact, one out of five people age 75 and older have diabetes.
But let’s be clear: Diabetes is not merely a side effect of aging. Yes, it’s true that as we age, our bodies become less efficient at producing and using glucose and insulin – the two key factors in type 2 diabetes. But this natural decline isn’t enough to cause the disease. Instead, look at the other major lifestyle issues of our time.
But how do you “get” diabetes? By eating too many candy corn? Eating a plateful of Halloween sugar cookies? How does your body get so messed up?
Not too long ago, many people – and doctors – blamed a diet high in sugar as the cause of type 2 diabetes. Today, we know that’s not the real issue (though, yes, eating lots of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates does cause troublesome peaks and valleys in your blood sugar amounts that makes diabetes problems worse). More recently doctors have shown that being overweight is a major risk factor for the disease.
But here’s the breakthrough news, based on an increasing body of evidence: The amount you exercise – not just how much you eat – in large part determines your risk of developing diabetes or its precursor, insulin resistance. Put simply sedentary living, coupled with excess body weight, are the real culprits. And you control both!
To prevent diabetes, then, you need to take action. And the first step is to become educated about the disease.
Understanding Insulin Resistance
To start, there are two types of diabetes. Type 1 starts in childhood and is usually related to a malfunctioning pancreas. It requires a lifetime of careful management, and often, daily insulin injections. Type 2 is far more common, and is the form of diabetes that is rising in epidemic proportions, due in large part to the growing unhealthiness of our daily lives.
Type 2 diabetes usually progresses along a predictable pattern. Before there is diabetes, there is insulin resistance. It works like this. Every time you eat, your body signals “beta” cells in your pancreas that it’s time to pump out the hormone insulin. Insulin’s job is to shepherd the energy extracted from your food – in the form of glucose, commonly called blood sugar – into each living cell of your body.
Insulin does this in a kind of lock-and-key process by fitting into molecules on the surface of cells called insulin receptors. Once “unlocked” the cell does its energy exchange, either pulling in glucose from the bloodstream to use or store, or sending out stored energy – in the form of either fat or glycogen (the stored form of glucose) – to be used by other parts of your body when they have depleted their own energy stores.
Once a cell if filled with fat or glycogen, or if the cell has been inactive for a long time, it moves the insulin receptors deep within, effectively making it impossible for insulin to reach them. But as the cell uses up its energy stores, it becomes thinner, and those insulin receptors move to the cell’s surface again. And the cycle resumes, with the receptors ready to bond with insulin and usher in more glucose to the cell.
But if you’re overweight and/or sedentary, more of those insulin receptors stay hidden within the cell. The result? Glucose and insulin build up in the bloodstream. Those high levels of glucose signal the beta cells in your pancreas to pump out more and more insulin, vainly trying to move that glucose into cells. Eventually, thanks to sheer numbers, some insulin links up with insulin receptors and some glucose gets in. But this process gets more difficult every year, until, finally, your beta cells wear out like an overworked engine. Next thing you know, your body lacks the capacity to make enough insulin to carry energy to all your cells. And that is why many people with diabetes need insulin shots.
The relatively simply relationship between glucose and insulin becomes more complex as you age because of the presence of a second hormone called glucagon. While pancreatic beta cells react to high glucose levels by issuing insulin, their neighbors, alpha cells, react to low glucose levels by issuing glucagon. This hormone gloms onto receptors in the liver, telling it to release glucose into the bloodstream to provide energy for the rest of the body.
The thing is, alpha cells only learn about the state of the blood glucose levels from signals they received from beta cells. In older people with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, communication breaks downs between alpha and beta cells in the pancreas. So even while beta cells are releasing insulin in response to high blood glucose levels, alpha cells are releasing glucagon, stimulating even more glucose to be release into the bloodstream. You can see where this would become a real mess. And this mess is called diabetes.
Whew! That was a long, but important, explanation of how diabetes happens. In my next blog I will return with some strategies to prevent Diabetes so you can prevent this explained “mess” above from happening to you.
In my previous blog I focused on ways you can preserve your hearing from noise pollution. Today my focus in on how your health affects your hearing.
The Environmental Protection Agency warns that health problems related to noise can included blood pressure, sleep disruption, stress related illnesses along with countless other adverse health issues.
Here are some strategies you can start today, to help guard your hearing from future break down.
Control your blood sugar
When University of Maryland researchers compared the blood sugar levels and hearing levels of 1,644 women and men, they found that those with diabetes were 30 percent more likely to have hearing loss than those without diabetes. High blood sugar damages tiny nerves and blood vessels in the ears – and throughout the body – giving people with diabetes one more reason to keep sugar levels healthy.
Snack on Pumpkin Seeds
In lab studies, magnesium deficiencies seem to stress cells in the ear. A two month study of army recruits found that a little magnesium seemed to protect them from some permanent noise-related hearing loss. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of magnesium, and is Swiss chard, halibut, flax seeds, brown rise, and navy beans.
Have a glass of orange juice at breakfast
In a Dutch study of 728 older women and men, those who got 800 micrograms of folic acid a day had less hearing loss after three years than those who didn’t. Split pea soup, whole-grain bread, spinach, and fortified breakfast cereals are also great sources of this important B vitamin.
Enjoy a glass of wine, in silence.
Soothe- and protect – your ears at the same time. Some research suggests a little alcohol somehow slows age-related hearing losses.
Exercise improves the flow of blood to every cell in your body – including the ever-so-delicate hair cells inside your ears. But don’t listen to loud music on headphones while you walk or work out. A Swedish study found that even at a moderate volume, exercisers with headphones had hearing loss after just 10 minutes.
Stop the buss of tinnitus
Ringing in the ears is a problem for 10 to 14 percent of older adults – and often, the head noise may sound like a squeak, a roar, or a whistle or a hiss. Controlling your blood pressure and lowering your cholesterol can help. So can avoiding excessive alcohol, which increases blood flow to the inner ear. Quite “white noise” like a fan or soft radio static can help mask the annoying buzz, too.
Have a bowl of vegetable soup and a fruit salad topped with nuts
In a lab study at the University of Michigan, extra vitamin A, C, and E seemed to protect against ear damage caused by exposure to loud noises. Skip the supplements, though. Get extra vitamin A from sweet potatoes, carrots, and turnip greens as well as mango, papaya, and apricots. Soak up extra E in almonds, pistachios, and wheat germ. For Vitamin C, how about citrus, strawberries, and red peppers?
The 3 hearing Thieves to Avoid
These three habits have been shown to have particularly bad effects on your hearing.
Make your morning blend decaffeinated. Caffeine can worsen tinnitus, another ear problem associated with hearing loss.
Choose low-sodium soups and frozen entrees, and rinse canned beans thoroughly. Take the saltshaker off the table too. There’s evidence that controlling your sodium levels can help reduce your odds for vertigo problems called Meniere’s disease, which is also linked with hearing loss. Too many high salt foods can alter the pressure of fluids in your inner ear.
Exposure to tobacco smoke – from your own cigarette or someone else’s – raises your odds for more severe age related hearing loss.
Follow these suggestions and you are on track to preserving the good hearing that you are enjoying today!
Most medical issues are complicated; hearing problems, by contrast, are pretty simple. In the majority of cases, they are caused by – you guessed it – prolonged exposure to loud sounds.
Sadly, modern living is decidedly noisy. Whereas most of man’s history lacked engines, machines, and amplified music, today’s life exposes us to a never-ending parade of loud sound. Some of that is lifestyle – living in a urban environment, a love of rock music, flying frequently. For many others, it’s their jobs: merely a week as a firefighter, police officers, factory worker, farmer, construction worker, musician, or in the military or heavy industry can damage your hearing.
Your first move? Do all you can to protect the hearing you have right now. The first batch of tips are common sense – protect yourself from loud noises. But they may be the hardest to take action on: Many people worry that earplugs and hearing aids make them look old or silly, but with the latest technology hearing aids at least, are smaller than ever. You can hardly even notice someone is wearing them. Also with the rise of cell-phone usage and portable music devices, there’s hardly any adult – or teenager – who doesn’t have ear gear of some type. No one notices if you have a hearing aid or sound blocking tool in your ear.
Here are 7 things you can do today to help protect your hearing now and for the future.
Buy earplugs and keep them in your home, garage, car, and purse
Wear them when you’ll be exposed to any sound over 85 decibels – such as lawn equipment, a loud concert, a wedding or social event with loud music, an afternoon hunting or target-shooting, even time in a loud health club. Don’t rely on cotton balls or bits of paper stuffed in your ears; they’ll only screen out about 7 decibels of sound, while foam earplugs can block up to 32 decibels. Need more protection? Look into custom-made earplugs from an audiologist, or special sound-deadening earmuffs.
Love your headphones? Ask a friend if they can hear the music, too.
Your tunes are turned up too loud if others can hear the sounds from your earbuds or headphones. And only listen to music piped directly into your ears for about 1 ½ hours per day at normal volume – just 5 minutes at top volume, suggest University of Colorado at Boulder researchers. Beyond that, you can cause hearing loss.
Change seats at a noisy event
If it’s too loud where you are – at a concert, meeting, or social event – move. Do the same if you can’t hear someone who’s just two feet away, if you have to raise your own voice to be heard, or if the sounds around you begin to seem muffled. Again, there’s nothing old-fashioned about removing yourself from overly loud situations. In fact, your conversation mates will be grateful.
Wear Earplugs on holidays celebrated with a bang, too.
Fireworks and loud, booming rockets are a staple of holiday events around the world. Enjoy them to the fullest – with your eyes. Meanwhile, keep earplugs firmly in place in your ears.
Keep earplugs on your bedside table.
A small Canadian study found that bedmates of snorers suffered hearing loss in the ear closest to the person making all that night noise. Snoring can reach 80 decibels – as loud as someone yelling for help – or even 90 decibels – equivalent to truck traffic.
Get a med check
Many prescription and nonprescription medications can damage the ear and cause hearing loss. These include high doses of aspirin, anti-malaria drugs, and antibiotics, including erythromycin, vancomycin, tetracycline, gentamicin, and streptomycin.
Ask about earwax
Sometimes, hearing loss is simply the result of a gradual accumulation of earwax. It can block the ear canal and prevent the transmission of sound waves. Ask your doctor to check your ears and remove any buildup.
Check back for my next blog post when I will reveal 7 more ways you can prevent hearing loss right away!
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Deep within your inner ear, tiny “hair cells” are dancing to the soundtrack of your life. Whether you’re listening to the quiet strains of a solo violin or the roar of a chainsaw, these microscopic bristles quiver, quake, and shimmy – and convert sound waves into electrical signals for your brain. But when they die off – the result of too many rock ‘n roll concerts in your younger days, too many lawns mowed without ear protection, even too many nights with a snoring bed partner – they’re gone. And so is some of your hearing.
A little hearing loss is inevitable as we grow older. By the time you’re in your twenties, you may have already lost the ability to detect extremely high-pitched sounds. In later years, as hair cells die a natural or unnatural death, you may have difficulty hearing lower tones as well. If you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, frequently turn the volume up on the TV, or don’t always notice that the telephone is ringing, you’re in good company. Between 24 percent and 40 percent of adults over age 65 have difficulty hearing, as do up to half of people over age 75. By age 85, 30 percent are even deaf in one ear.
The truth is, some hearing loss can’t be stopped. And once it’s gone, you’ll need hearing aids to get it back. The good news is that much hearing loss can be avoided – and it’s never too late to preserve what you have.
If you’re planning to use all the strategies at your disposal to live a long, happy, healthy life – from eating well to exercising frequently, from socializing often to keeping your mind active with cultural and educational activities – you’ll need your ears. When University of Florida researchers checked the hearing and health of 152 people – ages 60 to 90, they found that those with more hearing problems were in poorer health. Other studies show that hearing loss contributes to feelings of depression, isolation, and anxiety, as well as no longer feeling in control or independent.
In contrast, a survey of 2,069 people with hearing problems and their families underscores how vitally important sharp hearing is for good health and a long life. Among those who made the decision to wear hearing aids, 71 percent said life was better. 35 percent felt more self-confident, 40 percent were involved in more social activities including sports and clubs, 53 percent had better relationships with grandkids and kids, 28 percent said their physical health improved, 35 percent were less dependent on others… and 13 percent said their sex lives improved.
As you can see by the numbers, good hearing is a vital part of living a long and healthy life. The key here is not to wait until you start losing your hearing later in life. You need to start NOW! At whatever age you are at. In my next blog post I will be revealing 14 ways to preserve your hearing. If you would like to get an email alert when the next blog post is up, click below to sign up for Email notifications.
I don’t know about you, but for me my sight is even more important to me than being able to walk. It’s that important.
If you read my last blog I gave 6 ways you could start protecting your site against the 4 Thieves of Sight. Because your sight is so important I wanted to continue the discussion with 5 more ways you can prevent The Thieves of Sight.
Snack on an orange or red fruit or vegetable at least once a day.
A tangerine, a clementine, a handful of ripe strawberries, strips of red bell pepper.. these high vitamin C foods add delicious sweetness and crunch to snack time and pack an eye-guarding bonus. In a study of 247 women, ages 56 to 71, those who got the most vitamin C over 10 years cut their risk for early signs of cataracts by 77 percent. Some researchers think that if more people ate high-antioxidant foods, including those rich in vitamin C, it would cut the need for cataract surgeries in half.
Have Salmon burgers tonight for dinner
Yet another study has found that omega-3 fatty acids, and by extension, flaxseed, can reduce the risk of AMD. The results of a Harvard Study, showed that people with a high intake of omega-6 (vegetable oils) were more likely to develop macular degeneration, while those with combination of lower omega-6 intake and higher omega-3 intake were less likely to have the disease.
Ask your doctor about a vision-protection supplement
If you have intermediate-stage AMD in one or both eyes, or advanced AMD in just one eye, ask your doctor about taking a well-studied supplement containing antioxidants, zinc, and copper. In a large study, this combo cut risk for AMD progression by 25 percent and reduced AMD-related vision loss by 19 percent. The winning combination contained 500 milligrams of vitamin C; 400 international units of vitamin E; 15 milligrams of beta-carotene; 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide; and 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide (Copper is added to avoid copper deficiencies that can be the result of getting high levels of zinc.)
Don’t take high-dose antioxidant supplements of C,E, and/or Beta-carotene alone – studies show that without zinc, they don’t seem to help. And if you smoke, skip this supplement completely. Studies show that smokers who take beta-carotene supplements may raise risk for lung cancer.
Ask your doctor about preventative eye drops
If you have a family history of glaucoma or elevated eye pressure but no sign of nerve damage, using pressure-lowering eye drops could drastically reduce your odds for developing glaucoma in the future, report researchers at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. They found that people who used preventative drops for five years cut their odds for glaucoma-related optic nerve damage in half.
Pamper your eyes
If you have diabetes, high blood sugar raises your risk for cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy – damaged blood vessels within the eye that leads to blindness. Controlling your blood sugar and getting a yearly eye exam in which the doctor dilates your pupils to look carefully at the inside of your eyes can greatly reduce your chances of future vision troubles.
Here are three more things you can control that can hurt your vision as you age:
Yes, this is really a thing. When researchers tracked nearly 4,000 residents of a town in Wisconsin for 15 years, they found that those who climbed more than six flights of steps a day or walked more than 12 blocks were 70 percent less likely to develop advanced AMD than their more sedentary neighbors. Turns out a sedentary lifestyle – called sitting disease – can even harm your eyes!
Cigarette-smokers are up to four times more likely than nonsmokers to be blinded by AMD later in life.
Seriously. Tight neckties raised the pressure of fluid within the eye – a risk factor for glaucoma – significantly in a study of 40 men conducted at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. And if you do have glaucoma, a snuggly cinched tie could make it worse. If you wear neckties, you should be able to easily slip two fingers inside your collar. If you can’t, loosen up your tie.
Start protecting your sight today. It's that important!
In my previous blog I revealed the 4 thieves of sight. If you would like to read it you can do so here: The Thieves of Sight.
Now I would like to focus on how you can prevent these 4 thieves of sight.
You can lower your odds for ever having many common vision problems by following these smart lifestyle steps.
Order bouillabaisse or pasta with clam sauce the next time you dine
Shellfish, such as clams, oysters, and mussels, are rich sources of zinc – a mineral known to protect against AMD (Age-related macular degeneration). Other good zinc sources include lean meat, wheat germ, whole grains, and yogurt.
Start the day with Steel Cut Oatmeal
Packed with fiber, this breakfast cereal is especially good at keeping your blood sugar on an even keel. Your eyes will thank you. In a study from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, 500 women, ages 53 to 73, who chose high-fiber foods such as oatmeal – and steered clear of white bread, sugary drinks, and high-sugar desserts – cut their risk for developing early signs of AMD in half, compared with women who ate high-sugar, refined-carbohydrate foods.
Why steel cut and not just regular oatmeal? Steel Cut Oatmeal is less processed than your regular oatmeal therefore it retains more of its nutritional value.
Cook up a dinner omelet.
Fast and fresh, a two-egg omelet is a delicious evening meal. The bonus for your eyes: Egg yolks are the food world’s richest, most easily absorbable and usable source of eye-protecting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and seaxanthin accumulate in the eye’s lens and retina, creating a natural filter from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sun damage is a leading cause of cataracts and AMD. People who get plenty of these healthy antioxidants have a 20 percent lower risk for cataracts and a 40 percent lower risk for AMD.
Add a side of dark, leafy greens.
Adding spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards, or other greens to salads, soups, and sandwiches is a smart, eye-protecting move. They’re also rich in the eye-protecting antioxidants lutein and Zeaxanthin, as well as beta-carotene.
Wear sunglasses in the spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Year-round protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays can help lower your odds for major vision-robbing problems, as well as eye cancer, nerve damage, and even burns on your cornea. Think of sunglasses as sunblock for your eyes. Look for close-fitting shades (like wrap-around styles) that entirely block UVA and UVB rays. The price and the color of the lenses won’t affect how well they deflect the sun’s damage. If you already have sunglasses that you like, get the UV protection level checked at an optical shop – most are equipped with a machine called a photometer that can gauge UV-blocking levels.
Add a broad-brimmed hat.
Not only good at protecting your skin, wearing a hat can also protect your vision. You may be especially vulnerable to sun damage if your eyes are blue, if you spend lots of time outdoors – especially at the beach, on the water, or on snow, which reflect and magnify sun exposure – or if you take sun-sensitizing drugs (ask your doctor about your prescriptions; many classes on drugs have this effect). If any of these apply to you, wear a broad-brimmed hat plus sunglasses for double protection.
You know how important your sight is to you. There is no better time than right now to start protecting them!
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