Good News for Friday!

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 34 – 3/20/15

bea

Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

Don’t know about you, but Bea gets tired of seeing bad news on television or on the Internet.  She has a tendency to yell at politicians when she sees them on the tv screen, causing her blood pressure to rise dangerously. She gets angry when she sees people being victimized by thugs and scammers.  She cries when she sees children getting killed by bullets being shot into their homes. 

So this week, in honor of spring springing, she decided to look for some good news – and guess what?  She found it.  

From the AARP Bulletin (March 2015) – Great news relating to Bea’s previous post about protecting your vision

  • New technologies, such as telescopic implants, for macular degeneration.  Contact lenses containing eye medication for glaucoma sufferers.  Injection therapy to help those of us with the wet form of macular degeneration.  

From the Good News Network:

Inspiration from the Philly.com website:

  • Centenarian Frieda Lefeber has her first solo art exhibition at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania.  She started taking art courses there in her 70s, and published her autobiography at age 88!  Read more about Ms. Lefeber and her philosophy about life in this article

And hey, the official start to spring is simply great news!  Life is good today.  

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

 

Don’t Know Much About: Macular Degeneration

My mom suffered from a multitude of health conditions, including one that diminished her vision: macular degeneration.

As a person who’s suffered from nearsightedness for most of my life, which steadily worsened until just a few years ago,  macular degeneration is something I fear.  Simply because I want to maintain what vision I have left for as long as I can.

Let me put it this way: Without my glasses on or my contacts in my eyes, I can’t read the computer screen unless I put my face about 12 inches from it! That’s bad enough for me!

So what is macular degeneration?

According to the National Eye Institute, (NEI) macular degeneration is an age-related condition, one that progressively destroys a person’s “sharp, central vision.” Central vision is needed for driving, reading, and simply seeing objects clearly.  Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, affects the eye’s macula, which helps the eye see fine detail. For people over 60,  AMD  is one of the leading causes of vision loss.

Diagram of a human eye; note that not all eyes...

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Two Forms of AMD: Wet and Dry

Here’s how the NEI describes Wet AMD:

“Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina  start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile  and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its  normal place at the back of the eye. Damage to the macula occurs rapidly.”  It is an advanced form of the disease, one in which a person can quickly lose their vision.

Dry AMD, on the other hand, gradually causes central vision loss.  The NEI describes the dry form this way:

“Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula  slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry
AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over  time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the  affected eye.”

The Mayo Clinic talks more about Dry Macular Degeneration, the more common form,  at this link.

Whike age is the primary risk factor for developing AMD, there are others.

These include:

  • Smoking (One more reason to quit!)
  • Obesity
  • Race (More common in whites than in African Americans)
  • Family History
  • Gender (Females get AMD more often than males)

How We Can Reduce our Risk of Getting AMD:

  • Eat a healthier diet, one that’s low in bad fats and cholesterol.  Highly processed foods increase our risk of developing AMD.
  • Eat dark green leafy veggies and yellow veggies.  You can find a list of great options at this article from the Third Age website.
  • Eat more fish to get your Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Watch your blood pressure and weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses.
  • Get your eyes checked regularly.

 

To learn more about AMD, go to the eMedicine Health website. This site provides a comprehensive discussion of the disease.

 

For Johns Hopkins free Health Alerts Guide to Macular Degeneration, click here.

Sources:
National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute: Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

ThirdAge.com, Macular Degeneration Prevention

 

 

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Zen To Fitness – A Good Read!

I’m always looking for well-written and informative health and wellness blogs, and I found one in Zen to Fitness, written by Chris, a certified Personal Trainer. He is also studying Naturopathic Medicine, which is “based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability” according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

The Zen to Fitness format is clean and crisp, which complements Chris’s “simple no-nonsense guide to staying fit while living life.” Chris isn’t claiming to be a medical expert.  He has created something of value simply by being a student of health and wellness, and by  sharing what he has learned over the years. 

Here are a few of his posts that I like:

If you check out Chris’s archives you’ll find a nice variety of posts that talk about:
–living a happier, healthier life

–tips for better sleep

–exercises

–recipes

–foods that are good for you

–foods that aren’t so good for you,

and many more.  All with simple and straightforward information and advice.

I just bought Chris’s e-book, priced at a reasonable $10.  The book is titled “A Simple Guide to Eating Well.” I’ll review it in a future blog post.

March – Save Your Vision Month

A modern pair of prescription glasses with a h...Image via Wikipedia

I started wearing glasses at age 12. I’ll never forgive my brother-in-law, who noticed me squinting at the television and said to my mom, “You need to take this kid to the eye doctor!” I was about to enter middle school, that dreaded adolescent battleground; with “four eyes,” and a polyester wardrobe, I didn’t stand a chance.

There I was, walking timidly through those hallowed halls, and sitting on top of my nose (okay, sliding down my nose) was the most god-awful pair of cat-eye shaped glasses the world had ever seen.  My mom must have picked them out. I’m sure I had much better taste than that, even at 12.

Over the next several years I tried different styles of glasses, always looking for a pair that would make me look “cool.” Ha. Never happened.

I hated them. The lenses made my eyes look smaller. They left marks on the bridge of my nose. They got splashed on like a windshield when it rained. They’d get all steamy when you walked inside on a cold winter’s day. (Hey, why doesn’t someone invent eyeglass wipers, and defrosters built in for when the darn things fog up on you?)

Finally, I turned 18, got a job, bought contact lenses and whoo hoo, I was on my way to being gorgeous. (Okay, not true.  But I was definitely stepping out of the nerdly zone)

Now I’m pushing 53, and I’m no longer simply nearsighted. I’ve graduated to bifocals (no line, thank you very much) with scratch resistant, super thin lenses that change color in the sun. They cost around $400 with insurance coverage and do I wear them to work? No way – I still reach for my contact lenses.

Of  the five senses, my sight (or what’s left of it!) is the one I simply don’t want to lose as I continue aging. Not being able to read, or drive, or see the faces of my loved ones – that would be too heartbreaking for me. And it’s a fact that aging puts us at risk for eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, as well as macular degeneration.
Resources
The Prevent Blindness America website is a great all-around resource for eye topics.
I hope  on living for a long time, and having a fun time doing it.  Which means I want to see!
Catch a wave, Bea! (Or is that an old man on that board?)
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