Protecting Your Vision At ANY Age… Can Have A Tremendous Impact On The Quality Of Your Life… Damn It!

It’s a fact of life that vision changes occur as you get older. The loss of vision can drastically affect your independence and quality of life. But these changes don’t have to compromise your lifestyle if you know the signs, know what to expect and when to seek professional care! Protecting your vision should be paramount.

If you are over 40 years of age, you’ve probably noticed changes in your vision. Difficulty focusing clearly especially with close distances (presbyopia) is among the most common problems adults experience especially reading, and which affects your lifestyle, work and plain enjoyment of life. The older you get, the more you need to be attentive to the warning signs and the health problems that may cause vision loss. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may be painless with an insidious onsets until it is quite progressed. Wise lifestyle choices and regular eye exams can significantly improve your odds of maintaining good eye health while you age.

2 Signs your vision is FAILING @ Any Age:

  1. You start to hold reading materials farther away to see them clearly. Newspaper or restaurant menu seem blurred, more noticeably under poor lighting.
  2. If you already wear corrective eyewear these changes force you to upgrade to bifocal or multifocal lenses.

With this onset, there is also an increase in the incidence of eye health problems that may occur during these years (50-60). Everyone should have an eye exam at least every 2 years to ward off unnecessary vision problem and after 60 yrs of age- yearly. Do not be fooled by the limited driver’s license vision test or other vision screenings to determine if you have an eye or vision problem~

You are at risk for the development of eye and vision problems IF you have:

  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.
  • A highly visually demanding job or work in an eye-hazardous occupation.
  • Health conditions which require medications, such as, high cholesterol, thyroid conditions, anxiety or depression, and arthritis. Many medications, even antihistamines, have ocular side-effects.

5 Common Age-Related LifeStyle Vision Changes

1. Need for More Light- more light but brighter lights to help make reading easier.

2. Difficulty Reading and Doing Close Work- focusing on printed material blurs. The ciliary muscle, the muscle of accommodation is not as flexible, known as presbyopia. Solutions include:

i. Eyeglasses, inc. single vision reading glasses and multifocal lenses                                ii. Contact lenses, inc. mono-vision and bifocal lenses                                                         iii. Laser surgery and other refractive surgery procedures

Side note: Interestingly, between 50 and 60 there seems to be a need for more frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. At 60, these changes usually stop along with prescription changes. Eye exercises, if done consistently can be beneficial.

3. Problems with Glare- Headlights at night or the suns reflection make simples tasks like driving, dangerous. The lens of the eye scatters light rather than focuses directly on the retina, thus- glare.

4. Color Perception Change- certain shades of color may start to be difficult to ascertain thus harder to see.

5. Insufficient Tear Production- tear glands tend to dry up with age, thus fewer tears. (postmenopausal women are especially prone) resulting in dry, irritated eyes. Tears are essential to keeping your eyes healthy and affording sight.

4 Warning Signs of Eye Health Problems

Any of the following symptoms may indicate early warning signs of serious eye health problem which is why regular eye examinations along with early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases may just be the ticket to preserve good vision throughout life.

1. Fluctuating Vision Frequent changes in seeing clearly may indicate diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). These chronic conditions may damage the blood vessels in the retina, the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye, resulting in vision loss.

2. Seeing Floaters and Flashes Seeing spots or floaters in your eyes are actually shadowy images of particles floating in the fluid inside of the eye ball. Although bothersome, floaters are usually considered harmless and are considered a natural part of the eye’s aging process. A few are ok but if they are accompanied by bright, flashing lights, beware of impending retinal detachment—a tear of the retina which requires immediate medical treatment to prevent serious loss of vision.

3. Loss of Side Vision Loss of peripheral or side vision may indicate the disease, glaucoma. It occurs when the optic nerve is damaged and no longer transmits the visual images to the brain. There are no symptoms until damage to the vision is apparent.

4. Seeing distorted images If straight lines appear distorted or wavy or there appears to be a blind spot or empty area in the center of your vision, you may have the signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for vision where the eye’s acuity is sharpest. AMD causes a blind spot(s) in the middle of your field of vision.

 

6 Eye Problems That Effects Vision From Loss & Blindness

1. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

2. Diabetic retinopathy

3. Retinal detachment

4. Cataracts

5. Glaucoma

6. Dry eye

No one takes into consideration or perhaps the consequences of lifestyle and how it influences or robs you of the life you dreamed of… until it is too late.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” B. Franklin.

~Ask Dr Pat

 

The SCOOP ON- POOP

Poop… also known as BMs, caca, doo-doo, turds, stools and of course, poo. For most people, poo isn’t in our daily conversations. In fact, the only people I know who say the P-word are mothers and dog owners….with no second thought or offense. If we actually stop and take a look in the toilet bowl… our poop can be a very real indication of our overall health. The quality of your poop is a direct indication of how well you are digesting your food.

POOP-> ABC’s
The quality of your poop is a direct indication of how well you are digesting food. It is what remains after all nutrients are absorbed and that portion, the waste, is eliminated at your body. Paying attention to the frequency, color, shapes, and size and what your normal is, is important. This where symptoms first happen when something is lurking inside, please do pay attention.

Frequency:
It is said that there are no norms for ‘frequency’, only averages. A known average is 1-2 times a day. Some people go more, some less. If you know your norm, then you do not have to give much thought to your poops unless there is a change.

Color:
For stools are usually brown in color due to of bile, a product of the liver and an essential component in digestion . Transient time from the moment food enters your mouth to when it is eliminated is approximately 3 days. The poop may be greenish in color also if the transient time is shorter. A red flag is when the color changes. Here is a reason to know your poops… do not ignore this sign as it may be a early warning sign for something lurking inside. For instance a black stool can indicate bleeding which may indicate an ulcer or cancer. It is usually also tarry (sticky) and smells bad. The only time a black stool could be considered normal.. is when you are taking vitamins that contain iron, medications that contain bismuth subsalicylate (pepto-bismo), which is intended for short term use only. Light stool the color of grey clay- can indicate a possible blockage of bile flow and/or liver disease.

Size and shape:
Size and shape is only relevant when looking at health. If there is a change from what is normal for you- this could be life saving in the long run. Start sizing up your recent BM’s (see below diagram by University of Bristol published a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, gifting us with the Bristol Stool Chart), between 1-3 is: constipated, and 6-7 diarrhea. A “normal” poop is “like a sausage or a snake, smooth and soft. If your poops aren’t looking like a 4… you do not have normal poops.

Odor:
Bowel movements usually smell but may not. What you smell is the result of bacteria breaking down substrate (bits and pieces of waste) along the whole length of the gut. There are trillions of bacteria that aid the digestive process and ultimately result in maintaining your good health. Although it’s no bed of roses, it is normal for your bowel movements to stink to some degree. If the smell is really smelly, then that is a sign that should not be ignored if it all the time.

Poop Problems
What happens when poops gets out of whack? It may present as a pain, gas, bloating, burning or discomfort around the midsection of the body. It is a first sign, that something is not quite right and irregular. Usually irregularity is first experienced as constipation and/or diarrhea which can lead to an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions like neurological disease, autoimmune disease and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Constipation is going from having a bowel movement once or twice a day to suddenly changing to a longer period… 3 days or more. It can be accompanied by any of the above symptoms along with a lot of pushing and straining, what comes out is nothing compared to the effort. Causes may be from a change in diet, dehydration, lack of physical activity, medications (narcotic meds and iron supplements). When the metabolism is slowed, so will your poops.

Diarrhea is the opposite problem and could indicate a major digestive disaster and caused by a toxic meal, an abundance of bad bacteria (h.pylori, c. difficle) or even a virus. Diarrhea is categorized by loose to watery stools. Diarrhea is a big problem if left untreated for more than 2-3 days; it leads to dehydration which can affect function all major organs.

There is little concern if either only last a few days, but- If it becomes reoccurring, then it is essential to see a qualified Functional Medicine physician.

Blood in the Stool
Bleeding from anywhere is a significant warning sign, but seeing blood in the stool can indicate something as scary as cancer to hemorrhoids that burst. As a rule of thumb, if at 50 you have not had a colonoscopy, just do it. It becomes even more important if there is a family of history of colon diseases including cancer. You will only realize your DNA if you follow your family poor LifeStyle eating habits.

Good GI Health- Diet
Diet is the first step to having a healthy GI tract. Eating diets high in fiber and water are basics, as well as regular exercise. 20-25 grams of dietary fiber/day is thought to be the magic number. If after increasing this fiber through diet, supplement or both doesn’t work, consult a physician skilled in GI or a LifeStyle Strategist.
Here are some guidelines for diet beside the obvious and non-gmo’s:
Eat Real Food– People that claim to eat healthy while they consume things like grains, soy, and table sugar. By eating real food, it is one of the biggest game changes you can make if you have gut problems.
Eat Good Bacteria– Consume good bugs every single day. Start with foods like sauerkraut, kombucha or water kefir and see how well you tolerate them. A high quality probiotics is one supplement that can also boost the immune system in the gut and improve digestive health.
Eat More Fat- Fat has a direct impact on moving the food along the digestive tract… Fat is a good add on when you are constipated. Use fats like coconut oil, animal fat, olive oil, and fermented cod liver oil. For some people, coffee helps.

Exercise is essential for bowel movement because it improves GI “motility” and health in general.

Bottom line and the truth… if you are not pooping normally, then something could be terribly wrong inside your body. Recent research suggests that your brain and the your gut communicate directly which influences your mood, immune system, and whether you have inflammation or not… for instance insulin sensitivity happens here. A book to recommend is: The Second Brain by Michael Gershon MD was ground breaking for understanding the gut. The gut is the most resilient organ in the body… I always say “FIX YOUR GUT, CHANGE YOUR LIFE.”

Have a question- ask.

MENOPAUSE

MENOPAUSE- hot flashes, decreased libido, wt gain usually starting about late 40’s – 60’s for most women. Many just deal with the symptoms above. Traditional Western MD would probably prescribe ‘Estrace’ for example, but- you really need to be concerned with side-effects.

In Functional Medicine (FM)/LifeStyle Medicine (LSM) would perform an extensive history, review all medical records and order a ‘Woman’s Hormonal Panel’. The possibilities are numerous- a common one is estrogen/progesterone imbalance which maybe the result of being estrogen dominant and not enough progesterone- this makes one have extremes symptoms mentioned above accompanying, emotional variations.

Treatment in cases like this is to administer proper balance of hormones which you get a prescription given by your FM doctor and then get it filled at a compound pharmacist (getting more popular these days). Secondly, is to loose weight that supports this life change and get more active which in and of itself keeps emotions in better check. Lastly, see your Chiropractor to maintain spinal health, and remember structure is function!

If you have a questions- ASK! If you know someone who could benefit form this information… SHARE!