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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Prevention is Key to Fighting Age-related Macular Degeneration

Written by Sandra Emmi


Age-related macular degeneration is a potentially devastating eye disease affecting nearly 2 million people in the United States, a number that is expected to double as the population ages.

However, there are several lifestyle changes that people can make to avoid the onset of this disease, which destroys vision by damaging the central portion of the retina. The onset of macular degeneration can be slow or rapid, and can occur in otherwise healthy individuals. Left untreated, AMD progresses to the point where people are left legally blind and unable to read, drive, or take part in other daily living activities that often taken for granted.

What can you do to fight age-related macular degeneration? For starters, do not smoke. Smoking decreases oxygen in the body, and the eyes of those with age-related macular degeneration are already suffering from a lack of oxygen.

You should also be sure to get plenty of eye-healthy nutrients in your diet. Diets high in leafy green vegetables and fish, nuts, or other sources of omega-3 fats are good for vision, and research shows that certain supplements may help ward off eye disease as well.

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women over 40 who took of folic acid and vitamin B-6

and vitamin B-12 supplements over the course of seven years were at less risk of developing AMD. However, Emily Chew, one of the researchers at the National Eye Institute who conducted the study, said that more information was necessary before a firm link between these supplements and the prevention of AMD could be established, as it was uncertain if all of the women in the study had the regular eye examinations necessary to detect vision problems.

Another 2001 study found that a supplement cocktail containing vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper could stop the progression of AMD in those who were already getting a buildup of drusen (yellow deposits under the retina that are indicative of moderate AMD).

Women are more likely to get AMD, as are whites, those who are overweight, and those with a family history of the disease. Of course, everyone over 40 should have their eyes examined by an ophthalmologist, and those over 65 should do this every year. Regular eye exams can help catch the disease early, which greatly improves the odds that medical treatment will be effective.


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2 Comments:

At May 16, 2009 9:52 PM , Anonymous Lisa411 said...

Find out why many American households are choosing to protect their families by taking a Proactive Wellness approach to Family Health! If you drink alcohol, coffee, caffeinated beverages, smoke, have an immune system compromised due to environmental factors, or suffer from the persistent discomfort of dehydration you owe it to yourself to adopt a proactive wellness strategy. Read Superfood v. Smartfood (hyperimmune technology) @ http://www.webspawner.com/users/familywellness/index.html

 
At June 8, 2009 7:28 AM , Blogger DMunro said...

Hi,

I take Omega 3 fish oil soft gel tablets every day as a supplement for my diet. Is this a good substitute for eating fish (I hate fish), and will that help prevent Macular Degeneration?

Speaking of fish, I read an interesting article on ConditionNutrition.com (here's the link: http://www.conditionnutrition.com/reviews/japanese-diet-vs-chinese-diet-is-one-better-than-the-other/) that compared the diet of Japanese and Chinese. Both are better than American eating habits because they contain more veggies and fish and complex carbs.

In the meantime, I'll continue with my Omega-3 capsules.

 

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