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Archive for the ‘Diet and Exercise’ Category

Jobs leaving half of workers too tired to exercise – BreakingNews.ie

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Half of Irish workers say their job leaves them too tired to exercise.

That is according to a new Mater Private report into the health and wellbeing of employees.

500 adult workers were surveyed about their attitudes towards diet, exercise and work life balance as part of this Healthy Working report.

It found one in four spend more than six hours a day sitting, and over half do not have the energy to exercise after a day's work.

The research also found that roughly seven in 10 employees experience stress at work, while four in ten claim they have suffered from 'burnout' at some point.

Mary Morrogh from the Mater Private Wellness programme says in many cases, health can take a backseat:

"We found that only 45% of people will go to their GP for a frequent check-up despite the fact that over 40% of people might have a serious illness," she said.

"The average spend of an Irish employee on personal health and well-being was only 2, which is less than a cup of coffee, just about the price of a newspaper every day."

She is encouraging people to create more healthy habits like to walk more and sit less.

She is also encouraging employers to introduce workplace benefits like healthy lunches, on-site health checks or subsidised health insurance.

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January 30th, 2020 at 9:45 pm

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‘Meal Prepping And Discovering CrossFit Helped Me Escape A Vicious Cycle Of Emotional Eating’ – Women’s Health

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My name is Frances Carpenter (@isfrannyfityet), and I'm a 30-year-old executive assistant in Riverside, California. At 331 pounds, I felt like my weight was holding me back in life, and I decided to commit to a healthy lifestyle. By following a low-carb diet, meal prepping, and trading emotional eating for gym time, I was able to lose 151 pounds.

Growing up, I would always turn to food to make myself feel better about any and every situation, good or bad. My childhood was full of dysfunction, which caused me to constantly overeat. Through adolescence and into high school I gained a lot of weight. I was around 200 pounds my senior year.

I moved to another state after graduation and gained even more weight over about seven years, and I found myself at my highest weight of 331 pounds. I would constantly eat fast food. I was a nonstop snacker, eating between every meal, and I always found myself eating late into the night.

I had limited physical ability when I was at my heaviest and I was very sad and depressed, so I continued to eat to soothe myself with food. It was an extremely hard cycle to break.

I was 26, and I was at my highest weight of 331 pounds. I was always tired because my weight was constantly interrupting my sleep.

I couldn't walk for long periods of time, and I couldn't comfortably fit in restaurant booths or movie theater seats. I was in a horrible place physically, but it was also hurting my mental state. I knew I wasn't living my life to its full potential, and there were so many things I wanted to experience without my weight being the first thing I always had to consider.

Low-carb has always been my go-to approach for weight loss. With my low-carb meal plan, I am able to eat decent-sized meals, feel energized, and lose weight all at the same time. There are so many great low-carb meal plans and recipes available to people now, and I know it will be my long-term lifestyle.

I also have a regular exercise schedule. I currently work out five days a week, alternating between different body parts. Three days a week I do 60 minutes of cardio, and the other two I do 30 minutes of cardio, which is usually the StairMaster. I also spent about three years doing CrossFit, which helped me build a workout routine and get stronger as well.

Before I started this journey, I wish I knew more about the emotional aspect of weight loss and how it would impact me. It's fun and exciting to lose weight, but I found myself having to deal with a lot of emotions, old and new. Before I lost my weight, I was using food to comfort myself and soothe past traumas, and I can no longer do that. Now, I have more time to think about and process things that before I would have shut out with foodbecause I'm not spending that time and energy eating. It's possible to get through it, but its a lot of work from the inside out.

My weight loss has changed me in ways that I did not know were possible. It has of course made me more confident in the looks department, but I have gained a new level of self-love. Even four years later, this lifestyle is still somewhat new considering how much of my life I spent obese. I choose myself now, and have made it my priority to never go back to my old ways. I have a new outlook on life and enjoy the little things that I so desperately wanted before.

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'Meal Prepping And Discovering CrossFit Helped Me Escape A Vicious Cycle Of Emotional Eating' - Women's Health

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January 30th, 2020 at 9:45 pm

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What is tachycardia, and when a high heart rate is dangerous – Insider – INSIDER

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Tachycardia is a type of arrhythmia when your heart rate is faster than normal. A healthy resting heart rate for most adults is between 60 and 90 beats per minute (bpm), but adults with tachycardia usually have a resting heart rate greater than 100 bpm.

Here's what you need to know about what causes the different types of tachycardia and when the condition is considered dangerous.

There are multiple types of tachycardia, which are categorized by where they originate in the heart. Some are not considered a danger to your health while others should be monitored closely. These include:

Many types of tachycardia can lead to emergency medical events, like sudden cardiac arrest, a heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. But according to Solomon Sager, MD, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at the Chicago Cardiology Institute, you might not even know you have it.

While those with tachycardia won't always notice, there are a few common symptoms. The first indicator is a heartbeat that feels too fast, which you can check by taking your pulse. Other symptoms may include heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness.

You're more likely to develop some form of tachycardia as you age. That's because structural changes in the heart may cause these abnormal heart rhythms over time, Sager says.

Patients who have a family history of tachycardia or congenital conditions at birth are at a higher risk. Certain health conditions are also associated with an increased risk, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, and anxiety disorders.

With the help of wearable health trackers like the Apple Watch, more people are discovering they have tachycardia, even when they don't experience symptoms. Sager says you should take this kind of data seriously and follow up with your physician if anything is out of the ordinary.

Physicians treat tachycardia in a variety of ways, often involving critical lifestyle changes. Sager says people diagnosed with AFib are encouraged to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and treat underlying health issues, such as sleep apnea or diabetes. They should also cut down on alcohol and quit tobacco.

People with ventricular tachycardia more often require medication, surgery, or ablation. Doctors may prescribe antiarrhythmic medications to prevent arrhythmias from coming on, beta blockers to slow heart rate, and blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Patients who still have tachycardia despite medication may undergo catheter ablations. During this two- to four-hour procedure, a cardiologist guides a flexible wire into the heart that burns affected heart tissue using radiofrequency energy. This stops abnormal electrical signals with a 90% success rate in some types of tachycardia.

If you experience a prolonged or recurring high resting heart rate, along with other symptoms of tachycardia, you should go to the emergency room or call 911.

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January 30th, 2020 at 9:45 pm

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Ryan Grover Took Up CrossFit and Lost 98 Pounds in 2019 – BarBend

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When Ryan Grover sat down with Coach Philip Tabor at CrossFit Coordinate in Cary, North Carolina in April 2019, he had no idea he was about to embark on a journey that would help him lose nearly 100 lb. in just nine months.

The 29-year-old weighed 348 lb. at the time. Today, hes down to 250 lb.

The first thing Tabor got Grover to do was to come up a selfish reason he wanted to lose weight. After some soul searching, Grover had a breakthrough.

I never had a dad I could throw a ball with, or just go outside and play and be active with. And I realized that when its my turn to have kids, I dont want to be this way. Through conversation with (Tabor), we talked about what my dad was like, and it helped me realize what I wanted, Grover said.

Thus, what he really wantedhis real reason whywas to lose weight and become healthier and fitter so he could be a more capable father than his father was to him.

Identifying this purpose is a big part of what helped him stick to his commitment to exercise and clean eating in the months that followed, he explained.

The reason Tabor asks his clients to find their selfish reason is simple: Nobody loses weight for others. They might say it, but at the core we only make changes when they are selfish in nature, Tabor said.

Some people say (they want to be able to have) better sex. Others say (to live a) long life. One client did it because his dad just died and he was headed there next. But whatever the reason, its their reason and I keep that in front of them. It drives them, he added.

When people are able to find their deeper reason for wanting to lose weight and get healthy, theyre then able to change their identity and their perception of themselves, Tabor explained.

In Grovers case, it allowed him to shed the idea that he was an obese man, and start doing the things healthy, strong, fit people do, Tabor said.

Thats why the weight came off so fast, he added.

Clearly the approach works, as Grover is one of four clients at CrossFit Coordinate who have lost 100 lb. in the last year, while five others lost at least 60 lb.

A second key to Grovers success is having a coach to keep him on track, Grover explained.

The accountability part was the big piece for me, so I could do simple things like send (Tabor) pictures of my food. He would give me advice like, Next time. shrink the portion of potatoes. Having that constant nudge from someone has been really helpful to keep me on track, Grover said, adding that the nutrition coaching he received from Tabors wife Holly Tabor, also played an integral role.

Today, Grover no longer eats at fast food joints, and he doesnt overeat regularly like he used to. Instead, he mostly eats lean protein, a lot of vegetables and some starch.

And because Grover feels like he has made habit changesas opposed to embarking on a strict, short-term diethe said he knows these changes are here to stay.

It took a while to get used to the new routine, but now I dont have a lot of cravings. I do want a pizza every now and again, but I dont miss fast food. It actually hurts when I eat it because my body is working on a much cleaner diet, he said.

He added: Its definitely a lifestyle change. I dont want to go back.

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Ryan Grover Took Up CrossFit and Lost 98 Pounds in 2019 - BarBend

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Local TOPS Club offers five reasons to forgo fad diets – Hornell Evening Tribune

Posted: January 27, 2020 at 5:44 am


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ARKPORT This time of year, were all looking for a fast and easy way to lose weight and theres no shortage of suspicious claims out there.

Fad diets create a buzz because they often promise just that. But anyone who is serious about losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle shouldnt be fooled. Katie Ferraro, MPH, RDN, CDE, nutrition expert for TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, provides five sound reasons to avoid the fad diets and eat sensibly instead.

Water Weight Is Not Fat Loss: The initial weight loss with most fad diets is water weight. It is easily gained back and then some when normal eating resumes.

Carbs Are Still King: Glucose is the preferred energy source for your body and brain. Healthy sources of carbohydrates, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are optimal to fuel your body. Keep in mind: Nobody ever gained weight from eating raw veggies.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Research indicates that 1 to 2 pounds per week is the ideal rate for sustainable weight loss. Your friends may be losing over 5 pounds per week, but they will likely regain that and more.

Your Diet Shouldnt Deprive You: To truly follow some of the craziest fad diets out there, you would never be able to eat at a restaurant or enjoy food at a social event. The way you choose to craft a healthy diet should fit into your real life rather than being a barrier to living a full life.

The Scale Isnt All That Matters: When you eat healthy foods and exercise more, not only does your weight drop, but other metabolic measurements, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar, will improve. A fad diet might help you shed pounds quickly, but if its raising your cholesterol and stressing you out, the weight loss isnt worth it.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 70 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a Real People. Real Weight Loss. philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise and wellness information. TOPS has members male and female, age 7 and older in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is $32 per year in the U.S. plus nominal chapter fees.

Local chapters meet in Arkport, Hornell, Canisteo, Dansville, Wellsville and Bath.

To find a local chapter, visit http://www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.

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Local TOPS Club offers five reasons to forgo fad diets - Hornell Evening Tribune

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January 27th, 2020 at 5:44 am

Why you need to include these heart healthy foods in your diet – Green Bay Press Gazette

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Eric Gorder, For USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Published 9:18 a.m. CT Jan. 24, 2020

Heart healthy foods include berries, avocado, whole grains and leafy greens.(Photo: Alicia Devine/Democrat)

As we burn through January at warp speed, we will soon embark on February, American Heart Month a month of focus on heart disease prevention.

While most everyone is still focused on their New Years resolutions, this is a great time to start thinking about and changing the foods you are putting into your bodies. Many articles will come out in February pertaining to what the top five, 10 or 15 foods are to strengthen and protect your heart. I thought it would be interesting and fun to take it a step further with those popular heart healthy foods and tell you why they are important for you.

Leafy greens are high in minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin K, which helps protect arteries.

Whole grains are high in fiber, which is strongly linked to reducing bad cholesterol (LDL), and helps reduce inflammation.

Berries are super high in antioxidants, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation which contribute to heart disease.

Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats, which also help lower bad LDL cholesterol. They are also super high in potassium aiding in cholesterol management.

Walnuts are another super food in that the high amount of monounsaturated fats help lower your bad LDL cholesterol.

Careful with this one! Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, which help boost heart health, but only in small amounts and it needs to be 70% or higher in cocoa.

Tomatoes are another superfood in that they contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that promotes HDL, good, cholesterol.

Seeds are surprisingly high in fiber. They also have omega-3 fatty acids which help control blood pressure and cholesterol.

Like dark chocolate, edamame are high in flavonoids which help to control overall cholesterol levels.

Known for its ability to increase fat burning and improve insulin sensitivity, green tea is also very high in polyphenols and catechins, helping to prevent cell damage and reduce inflammation.

Notice, all of these foods are whole, unprocessed and available year-round. There is also a common theme of high fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of phytochemicals that help balance your LDL and HDL for a healthier total cholesterol. Most are very impactful in small amounts and combined with moderate exercise and a complete diet low in sugar will help protect your heart, control your weight and have you bragging all the way home from your most recent health checkup.

Do yourself a favor and incorporate these foods into your daily meal plans. Youll set a great example for your family and bulletproof yourself from the leading cause of death in the United States heart disease.

Eric Gorder is the senior healthy living director for Greater Green Bay YMCA and a certified corrective exercise specialist. Reach him at 920-436-9667 or eric.gorder@greenbayymca.org.

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Training on a low-carb diet boosts protein needs for endurance athletes: U of T researchers – News@UofT

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Endurance training while consuming a diet low in carbohydrates has garnered much interest lately. But is this the right approach for everyone and how does it impact protein requirements and performance?

Assistant Professor Jenna Gillen and Associate Professor Daniel Mooreof the University of Torontos Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) recently wrote anarticle for the Sports Medicine Bulletin of the American College of Sports Medicine in which they discussed the findings of their recentresearch study, published in the November 2019 issue of the journalMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,that investigated the relationship between training on alow-carb dietand the dietary protein requirements of endurance athletes.

KPE writer Jelena Damjanovic recently sat down with Gillen and Moore to find out more about their research and what it means for training regimens.

Jenna Gillen(left) and Daniel Moore(right) are both researchers in U of Ts Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (photos courtesy of KPE)

How would you define a low-carb/high-fat diet vs. a high-carb/low-fat diet?

Gillen: A high-carb/low-fat diet typically involves consuming 50 to 65 per cent or more of daily calorie intake as carbohydrates and 20 to 35 per cent as fat. Alternatively, a low-carb/high-fat diet consists of less than 25 per cent of your daily calorie needs from carbohydrates and greater than 60 per cent coming from fat. Protein intake isnt specifically increased or decreased with either approach, and is generally similar with both dietary strategies.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of following a low-carb/high-fat diet for endurance athletes? How does it influence performance?

Gillen: The rationale for athletes following a low-carb/high-fat diet is that it can increase our muscles ability to use fat as an energy source during exercise, which is a fuel source that we have an abundant supply of compared to our more limited reserves of carbohydrate. However, this adaptation comes at a cost as there is also a decrease in muscles ability to use carbohydrates during exercise. From a performance standpoint, this isnt optimal because carbohydrates are a more efficient energy source than fat they produce more energy per litre of oxygen consumed and we rely almost exclusively on carbohydrate to support high-intensity exercise. As a result, eating a low-carb/high-fat diet can actually compromise an athletes overall performance and ability to perform high-intensity exercise during a race or sporting event.

Are there other ways that carbohydrate availability can be manipulated to improve endurance performance?

Gillen: Instead of following a low-carb/high-fat diet, athletes may choose to perform some of their endurance training sessions under conditions of low-carbohydrate availability. With this approach, athletes still consume high amounts of carbohydrate daily, for example 50 to 65 per cent of energy needs, or six to 10 grams ofcarbohydrate per kilogram body weight, but perform select training sessions at times when liver and muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen) are lower. Examples would be performing exercise following an overnight fast and/or in close proximity to an earlier high-intensity exercise session. This type of carbohydrate periodization throughout training has been shown to increase energy-producing mitochondria in muscle and improve endurance performance.

What are the current recommendations for daily carbs, fat and protein intake among endurance athletes?

Moore: Recommended carbohydrates vary depending on the volume of training an athlete is doing. However, if they want to make sure their training is high quality, which would be fueled by carbohydrates because they are a faster, more efficient energy source, then theyd likely be in the range of sixto 10 g/kg/d. We speculate that protein requirements scale with training volume, but if theyre running more than 50 kilometres per week, that requirement would be around 1.6 to 1.8 g/kg/d and perhaps more with higher volumes. However, provided they are meeting their energy requirements, most endurance athletes consume sufficient protein. Fat generally just makes up the balance of the energy unless athletes are specifically eating low-carbohydrate diets. This is not suggested if their goal is to train or compete as fast as they can, as fat cant provide energy as quickly as carbohydrates.

Does following a low-carb diet increase dietary protein requirements of endurance athletes? How much more?

Moore: Our research would suggest requirements may indeed be elevated, at least during the initial adaptation to a low-carb diet. This is because amino acids provide a greater percentage of energy when exercise is performed with low-carbohydrate availability, such as before a meal and with low muscle and liver glycogen (the bodys carbohydrate stores). However, as mentioned, this is not recommended if theirgoal is to train or compete at a high intensity or perform a personal best. As for how much more protein is required, research has not addressed this question yet. Our study did suggest that just periodizing carbohydrate intake so that exercise is performed with low liver or muscle glycogen may increase protein requirements by about 10 per cent with only a short 10-kilometre run.

Why is it important to make that adjustment in protein intake (if on a low carb diet) and how best to do it?

Moore: It is important to increase your protein intake if you are training with low-carbohydrate availability as the extra amino acids that are used as energy must be replaced through the diet. This can be accomplished by modestly increasing the protein content of your post-workout meal or including an extra protein-containing snack throughout the day.

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Jessica Simpson Took Diet Pills for 20 Years After Being Told to Lose Weight As a Teen – Prevention.com

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Jessica Simpson is not holding back in her new memoir, Open Book. The 39-year-old singer just revealed that she took diet pills for 20 years after she was told to lose weight as a teenager, per People.

She says it all started after she auditioned for Tommy Mottola at Columbia Records on her 17th birthday. After belting Amazing Grace, the music executive offered her a contract, but under one condition: You gotta lose 15 pounds. Thats what it will take to be Jessica Simpson, he said.

Simpson, who weighed 118 pounds at the time, immediately went on an extremely strict diet and started taking diet pills, which she would take for the next 20 years. I started to hear voices when I was alone at night, waiting for the sleeping pill to kick in Do more sit-ups, fat ass.

The pressure only continued to grow as she became more successful in her career. We all see our flaws, and mine were just there for the world to rip apart. They werent even flaws! They were made into flaws that I didnt even know I had, Simpson told People. Its insane what can make a headline.

The mother of three also revealed in her memoir that she suffered from sexual abuse as a child, which she kept to herself for years. Simpson developed anxiety from the trauma and began to self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants. I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills, she wrote.

In 2017, she had a wake-up call and immediately became sober. The star hasnt had a sip of alcohol since. When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life, she told People. I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear.

Jessica Simpson Opens About Battle With Addiction

Today, she uses exercise as a way to cope with stress. When I work out, a lot of it is to release anxietythats one of my tools for sobriety, she told the outlet. Just going walking and talking with my husband.

I just thank God that times are changing and people are standing up for themselves and not making it about body image, she added. I hope I can be part of that change and that my daughters will grow up in a world where they can accept themselves at any size.

Like what you just read? Youll love our magazine! Go here to subscribe. Dont miss a thing by downloading Apple News here and following Prevention. Oh, and were on Instagram too.

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Fit and fine: How to get that muscular body – Hindustan Times

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This is a question that I get asked on a daily basis how do I make my muscles grow? Over the years, a number of hypotheses have been put forward. Most of them have not been proven to be true. But now we seem to know with a fair bit of certainty what works and what does not. Before I get to the muscle growth question, let me state some basics if you are not ingesting enough food, real food and not supplements, getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night and drinking enough water, then you have bigger issues to worry about than what to do in the gym. This bears repeating that we cannot out train a bad diet and applies equally to fat loss as well as muscle gain. Its a clich now, but muscle growth is a three legged stool exercise, diet and rest. All three have to be spot on otherwise you are going to spin your wheels in the gym!

The top three factors for muscle growth

1. Mechanical tension: This is what is called progressive overload increasing the load so that body has to adapt to the increased weight. But the increase in weight should not be done mindlessly you need to connect to the muscle you are working. Focus on contracting and squeezing the muscle as hard as possible. Load the muscle through its entire range of motion. Too many trainees seem to think that just loading the bar and then using body language to move the weight will effectively work the targeted muscle.

Focus on contracting and squeezing the muscle as hard as possible ( Shutterstock )

2. Muscle damage : Focus on creating micro-trauma by lowering the weight under control. Eccentric exercise or the lowering of the weight under control causes the most amount of muscle damage. Next day, the trainee would be sore as the body repairs the damage done in the gym. This results in muscular size increase over the long term.

3. Metabolic stress : Body-builders call it chasing the Pump. Researchers call this cell swelling which is a result of pooling of blood in muscles. It was assumed that the pump was just a temporary cosmetic condition. But now we know that the pump creates protein synthesis and shuts down protein breakdown.

Applying the three factors for increasing muscle size

Mechanical tension is pretty simple. Add weight to the bar every week or every other week. Move the weight in a controlled fashion through the muscles entire range of motion. You should have the weight under your control. Most of the time, trainees are in a hurry to increase the weight while their form goes out of the window. Rinse, repeat.

To increase muscle, add weight to the bar every week or every other week ( Shutterstock )

Muscle damage happens when the weight is lowered slowly. Take two to four seconds on the eccentric portion of the lift. You would be sore the next day but rest assured if you recover from the workout, you will gain size and strength.

For Metabolic stress, extend the set by increasing repetitions using short pauses. Do it this way if you can get eight repetitions with a weight, pause for 10-15 seconds after the 8th rep, do two more, pause 20 seconds, do two more. Or you can do strip sets hit failure at the 8th rep, quickly reduce the weight and do 2-3 reps more, then reduce it some more and get two reps more.

If you incorporate the above in your gym workouts and eat enough food, your muscle size should go up. In the next column, I shall reveal how to calculate how many calories are needed for gaining weight and also for fat loss.

Author bio: Kamal Singh is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who has been coaching for 15 years

From HT Brunch, January 26, 2020

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Start young to prevent age-related vision loss – The Daily Freeman

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KINGSTON, N.Y. If you ever thought cool shades were a mere fashion statement, think again. Wearing good sunglasses may help to prevent blindness as you age, an eye doctor told a group of seniors at a recent event in Kingston.

Aging is hard enough, but age-related blindness is enough to challenge anybody. On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Health Alliance presentation to the Seniors Health and Wellness Breakfast Club at the Marys Avenue hospital campus focused on glaucoma and macular degeneration, two common eye diseases that afflict people as they age.

Dr. Sankara Mahesh, an ophthalmologist based at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y., spoke to the group of seniors, using slides and pictures to explain how these diseases develop and how to (possibly) prevent them.

Glaucoma, said Mahesh, is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States. There are 3 million people in the U.S. who suffer from it, he added.

Mahesh explained that glaucoma happens when the pressure inside the eye is inappropriate. That means its either too high, or (less frequently) too low. Eye pressure usually does not relate to a persons blood pressure, although a low diastolic blood pressure may indicate low eye pressure.

Eye pressure is so important because the eye is nourished by fluid that is constantly introduced to and drained from the eye. When for some reason the drain is blocked, eye pressure goes up. If theres not enough fluid, eye pressure goes down. Without the appropriate amount of nourishing fluid, silent, irreversible damage to the optic nerve begins.

Fifty percent of people who have [glaucoma] dont know it, said Mahesh. There are no early symptoms. It slowly affects peripheral vision. Damage is slow and subtle, and takes place over a number of years.

The bad news: The damage is irreversible. And glaucoma, noted Mahesh, does not go away. The good news: Early detection can prevent vision loss.

At age 40, people should get a comprehensive eye exam, said Mahesh, and then continue to have eye exams yearly. Anyone can get glaucoma, but risk factors include age, family history, eye trauma, and African, Asian or Hispanic heritage.

Using eye drops to lower eye pressure is the usual treatment, but there are surgical interventions, as well. Mahesh noted that there are a number of recent advances in minimally invasive surgery, and some new devices for treating glaucoma are coming soon.

Prevention includes regular exercise and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Smoking and stress increase risk (meditation is recommended), as does diabetes and being overweight. Being underweight is also a risk factor.

Sunglasses are a preventive measure for macular degeneration, but the glasses must block UVA and UUB rays. Darker color doesnt mean it protects better, said Mahesh. And polarized sunglasses may help reduce glare, but they do nothing to protect from macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is caused by damage to the macula, the part of the retina that is at the back of the inner eyeball.

Again, heredity is a risk factor for macular degeneration, a blindness that begins in the center of the visual field, but heredity is not a foregone conclusion. Having a sibling or parent with the condition doesnt mean you will develop it.

Smokers have two times the risk as non-smokers, and Caucasians are more likely to develop macular degeneration than other groups.

The cause is not exactly known, said Mahesh. It may be wear and tear or sunlight exposure. Drusen, the small, yellow lipids (fatty proteins) that grow under the retina, are suspected culprits.

There is no good way to treat the disease, other than by taking a combination of vitamins that may slow its progress. Ten percent of people with macular degeneration have the wet kind, which means that there is bleeding and swelling inside the eye. This type can be helped with eye injections.

Again, prevention and regular eye exams are key to maintaining good eye health, including a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking.

The Seniors Health and Wellness Breakfast Club, open to individuals age 65 and older, meets monthly at the Nuvance Health Alliance hospital on Marys Avenue from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. to eat, socialize and learn more about a variety of health issues.

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