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.
(BPT) - Warmer weather brings sunny days, fresh breezes and plenty of flora and fauna to explore. But there's another aspect to warm weather that some people dread: swimsuit season.
Three out of four women (77 percent) have felt self-conscious while wearing a swimsuit due to body issues, according to a recent Renew Life survey, and their midsection is a big reason. Belly bloat is the No. 1 reason they feel self-conscious.
Wearing a swimsuit takes guts! Most women (60 percent) typically do something in preparation to look their best for swimsuit season. To battle the bloat and feel your best at the pool, beach and beyond, follow these five simple tips.
First, prime your body with an herbal cleanse from Renew Life. This easy three-day cleanse works with the body's natural metabolism to help eliminate waste and toxins, and relieves occasional bloating and constipation. You'll detoxify, reduce water retention and immediately feel more energized.
2. Eat smart
Avoid highly processed foods to maintain a tame tummy. These foods are typically high in sodium and low in fiber, which contributes to that bloated feeling. Some vegetables should be avoided as well. Beyond beans, avoid broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, which can cause a gassy feeling.
Staying hydrated is essential on hot days, but don't reach for carbonated drinks. The bubbles can get trapped in your belly and contribute to bloating. Instead, go for good old H2O. If you need a little flavor, add a few wedges of fresh orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit for a healthy twist that's sure to quench your thirst.
4. Maintain gut health
A properly functioning gut contains a delicate balance of bacteria to help with digestive and immune health. Without this balance, you can feel bloated and unwell. Keep your gut in check with a daily probiotic supplement like Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic. Just one daily pill can help replenish the balance to help you keep bloat under control.
If you're bloated, you may be more tempted to curl up on the couch rather than get active. However, exercise stimulates the bowels and helps keep your digestive tract regular. Strive to move and groove at least 15 minutes a day. Take a short walk, turn on that workout video and sign up for that yoga class — not only will you kick bloat to the curb, but you'll look and feel great.
Don't let tummy troubles keep you from doing the things you love. With these five tips you'll have occasional bloat under control and be ready for swimsuit season.
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