Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health. These can impact the health of your eyes as well.
(BPT) - Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health.
What many don’t realize is that when blood flow is blocked or slows down, the health of our eyes can also be affected. That means that wearing neckties too tight or doing certain yoga poses, such as the downward dog, can increase pressure in the eyes, which can lead to an eye disease called glaucoma. Glaucoma has few warning signs, and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60. Being overweight or having high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk for another common eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.
Vision loss — or even worse, blindness — can negatively impact the quality of life, independence and the ability to do daily things such as driving, reading or seeing grandchildren.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that individuals 65 and older get an annual medical eye exam with an ophthalmologist, which is a medical doctor who specializes in medical and surgical eye care. Through comprehensive eye exams, ophthalmologists can check a person’s eyes for hidden signs of eye disease, which may have no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Once diagnosed, ophthalmologists can provide treatments to help prevent vision loss.
For those concerned about the cost of an exam, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. More than 5,500 dedicated volunteer ophthalmologists provide eye exams and care, often at no out-of-pocket cost to eligible patients. Since 1985, the program has helped nearly 2 million people in need.
EyeCare America serves U.S. citizens or legal residents who do not belong to an HMO.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America seniors program, an individual:
* Must be age 65 or older, and
* Have not had an eye exam by an ophthalmologist in three or more years.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America glaucoma program, an individual:
* Must not have had an eye exam within the last year, and must be at an increased glaucoma risk due to age, race and/or family history.
Many sight-stealing conditions can be prevented or slowed down with proper care and making simple lifestyle adjustments such as:
1. Avoid inverted postures in yoga. Studies show head-down positions can increase eye pressure and are not recommended for glaucoma patients. There are plenty of yoga exercises that don’t have this effect.
2. Avoid tight neckties. Researchers say that a too-tight necktie may increase the risk of glaucoma by increasing blood pressure inside the eyes.
3. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially green, leafy ones. One study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Why? Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
4. Exercise regularly. According to the National Eye Institute, eating a healthy diet and getting exercise have been shown in earlier studies to protect against AMD. A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity appear to have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. This is because blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise.
For more information about EyeCare America or to see if you or others are eligible to be matched with one of its volunteer ophthalmologists, visit www.aao.org/eyecareamerica.
EyeCare America is cosponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., with additional support from Alcon and Regeneron.
From the cost of gym memberships to prepping healthier meals, living well can be expensive. Before you abandon your goals for a healthier lifestyle, consider these tips that show you don't have to overspend to live a better life.
Budgeting Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle
(Family Features) From the cost of gym memberships to prepping healthier meals, living well can be expensive. Before you abandon your goals for a healthier lifestyle, consider these tips that show you don't have to overspend to live a better life.
Plan Your Meals
Weigh Your Workout Options
Invest in Rest
Additional research shows that 64 percent of people experience improved sleep quality after investing in a new mattress. As the nation’s largest bedding retailer, Mattress Firm’s purchasing power translates to affordable prices and a wide selection of mattresses and bedding accessories, which can help you stretch your budget further. Find more sleep tips and budget-friendly ideas at TheDailyDoze.com.
A healthier lifestyle requires commitment and hard work, but as these tips prove, creating a better life doesn’t have to mean overhauling your budget.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Inspiration to give back to your community can come from any number of places, from a personal desire to make a difference to fulfilling a graduation requirement for community service hours. If you’re committed to contributing to your community in a meaningful way, consider one of these ideas to improve the lives of those around you.
Giving for Good: Make an impact in your community
Make an impact in your community
(Family Features) Inspiration to give back to your community can come from any number of places, from a personal desire to make a difference to fulfilling a graduation requirement for community service hours. No matter the reason or the origin, chances are strong that you can make an impact.
Giving back may be as simple as writing a check to an organization that works to further a mission you care deeply about. Or it may mean lending a hand to put on a fundraising event in your community. Perhaps you have a skill or talent you can share with others in the name of a good cause.
If you’re committed to contributing to your community in a meaningful way, consider one of these ideas to improve the lives of those around you:
Spend Time with the Elderly
Donate to Nonprofits
Be a Mentor
Help Create Future Leaders
Plant Flower Beds
Get Involved in Schools
Farmers can find more ways to give back to their communities along with program information and official rules at AmericasFarmers.com.SOURCE:
Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents. With these modifiable tips, communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.
5 Steps to Creating a Healthier Community
(Family Features) Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents.
What can prove to have an enduring impact on improving community health is a broad coalition of stakeholders coming together to create a culture of wellness. For example, the City of West Chicago, with its Healthy West Chicago initiative, is a case study in how to galvanize a community toward collective better health. With these modifiable tips from Mayor Ruben Pineda, other communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.
Have a champion
Engage other community members
“The key to a sustainable, healthy future is to change the way the next generation thinks about nutrition and exercise,” Mayor Pineda said. “This makes the public school system critical to driving the behavioral changes that contribute to positive outcomes.”
Measure and adjust
Keep it fresh
For more information about how to implement a health and wellness program in your city, contact Mayor Pineda’s office at (630) 293-2200 extension 135, or visit healthywestchicago.com.
Photo of Mayor Pineda walking with students courtesy of Healthy West Chicago
City of West Chicago
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