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.
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
A busy schedule doesn’t have to prevent you from taking steps toward a lifestyle that fosters overall well-being. There are many easy, small changes you can make toward better living that can make a noticeable impact.
Small Changes for Better Living
(Family Features) A busy schedule doesn't have to prevent you from taking steps toward a lifestyle that fosters overall well-being. There are many easy, small changes you can make toward better living that can make a noticeable impact.
1. Choose the long route. For many people, it's an automatic move to find the closest parking space or shortest distance to the door. With your lifestyle goals in mind, consider taking a different approach. Look for ways to work in more physical activity. Seek out a spot in the back of the parking lot as an opportunity to increase your steps for the day, or choose the longer scenic route when walking your dog at the park for a more pleasant experience all-around.
2. Go for guilt-free snacks. Better living isn't about giving up everything you like; it's about balance and moderation. For example, Nonni's Foods now makes a better-for-you chocolate chip thin cookie that lets you enjoy the indulgence without the guilt. Made with real, premium ingredients like dark chocolate, crunchy California almonds and coconut oil, the individual portion packs are portable for the perfect on-the-go snack to satisfy cravings anytime, anywhere. Available in Double Chocolate, Almond Chocolate and Toasted Coconut varieties, each pack contains three cookies that are low in sugar, fat and carbohydrates with an average of only 100 calories total.
3. Take time to recharge. Even when you're strapped for time, carving out a few minutes for yourself each day to focus on your mental well-being is important. This can include simply enjoying a few moments of silence or something more specific like meditating or journaling. Busy people tend to carry more stress, so looking for ways to inject these calming activities into daily schedules can help keep you refreshed and bring you more happiness.
4. Practice self-care. Especially when you're busy, it's easy to slack on self-care, but combine that with elevated stress and you may be especially susceptible to not feeling your best. Give yourself a boost with a daily vitamin or try a warm bath with Epsom salt to soothe your senses.
5. Space out your meals. Waiting hours to eat can cause people to overeat at major mealtimes - especially dinner. Taking time to plan simple snacks throughout the day helps ensure cravings are met and overeating is avoided when the dinner bell rings. Consider keeping a snack like Nonni's Artisan Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies on-hand for guilt-free snacking when hunger strikes.
For more better-for-you snack ideas, visit nonnis.com.SOURCE:
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