Helping Your Eyes Last A Lifetime Can you imagine your world not being able to read, or appreciate the scenery, or see what your family members look like? Many people with good eyesight take this blessed gift for granted. Starting in their late ’30s most folks experience a natural decline in visual acuity. Especially in this age of computer technology, where 65% of all professionally employed adults have a least some exposure to working at a computer screen, we need to protect our eyesight. There are three basic areas which will be discussed here. First is PREVENTION of failing eyesight; second is NUTRITION for the eyes; third is EXERCISE to maintain eye health. Just like for any other part of the body or mind, the best approach to health is prevention of disease. Prevention and repair both can often be accomplished with proper nutrition and adequate daily exercise.

Adult-Onset Diabetes Mellitus (Type II) The name of this set of symptoms comes from the Greek; diabetes means “passing through” and mellitus means “honey.” In other words, “honey passing through,” or high levels of sugar in the urine, was what the ancient doctors first observed. The disease is characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood, which “spills over” into the urine, and is almost universally related to chronically high intake of simple carbohydrates in the diet. With 4% of the population medically diagnosed with Diabetes mellitus, it has become the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the incidence is rising. The good news is that 90% of non-insulin dependent diabetics will be cured by achieving their optimal weight and eating a balanced diet. This means no donuts!

Old age is a consequence of civilization; it is seen seldom in primitive societies and very rarely seen in wild animals. Although in this century the average lifespan of women and men has increased by 30% since the onset of industrialization and by over 300% since Neolithic times, we don’t exactly know how or why aging occurs. We do know that aging is a function of cells ceasing to divide. Some scientists speculate that any given differentiated cell can only divide a fixed number of times (as opposed to a cancer cell, which is undifferentiated, and theoretically immortal in that it continues, unchecked, to divide). The human body has more than 10 million, million (that’s 13 zeroes) cells, all of which are differentiated into nerve, muscle, adipose, etc., and are thus mortal. Given that we all die at some point, the objective now is to maximize the QUALITY of our lives and avoid controllable causes for pre-mature death.

The Spectre of Balding Women – Caroline, a new mother in her mid-twenties, came for help in a state of deep depression. The first words out of her mouth were “I’m turning into my mother…” When I asked her what that meant, she said that both of them were moody, irritable with their loved ones and, the symptom that was upsetting them most of all, going bald. While many women (and men) will exaggerate the extent of their hair loss, there was no doubt that Caroline’s once-lush mane was noticeably thin and dry; her scalp was scaly and visible at the forehead and temples. I asked her if there was a history of thyroid problems in her family. She confirmed that there was not, and that both she and her mother had recently evaluated their thyroid status by blood test, because either over- or under-active thyroid function can cause hair thinning. However, I kept with my hunch that there was a hormonal component to this puzzle.

Q: Tis the season to be sneezing. Is there ANYTHING I can do about my pollen allergies?

Curbing Carbohydrate Cravings There are many approaches to weight loss; it is a multi-million dollar industry in our land of plenty. The bottom line is to eat fewer calories than you expend daily, but not drastically fewer, until you’re happy with how you fit into your clothes, then resume a diet and exercise program that will maintain the desired weight. Regular, preferably daily, exercise is a must; and a brisk walk is a terrific choice. Exercise not only burns calories, but gets you away from the fridge, stimulates the cardiovascular system thereby improving bloodflow, tissue oxygenation and the overall sense of well-being, and promotes lymphatic drainage which will help rid the body of toxins.

Q: I’ve been accused of being a couch potato. I suppose it’s true but I’m just not the natural Joe Athlete type. I have no fundamental interest in playing tennis or jogging. But I still want to look good and feel good when I reach (shudder) middle age. Any recommendations?

Joel stood leaning against the bedroom doorway, thinly disguising his disappointment. Jane had a yeast infection. Again. Their relationship was beginning to feel the toll of this microscopic invader: Candida albicans. Struggling not to weep, because of the deep, raw, itching pain inside that felt like her womanhood was on fire, Jane whispered, “Let’s get some help.” Candida albicans is a fungus which naturally inhabits, in a controlled quantity, the human intestinal tract. In infants, an overgrowth produces “diaper rash.” In the throat, an infestation is called “thrush,” seen only in immuno-compromised individuals. Candida albicans does not belong in the vagina. It most certainly does not belong in the blood stream. A predominant cause of Candida albicans overgrowth, sometimes refered to as Candidiasis, but most often simply called a yeast infection, is antibiotic abuse.

Strokes are brief episodes involving a lack of oxygenated blood flowing to the brain (90% are ischemic infarctions), or a sudden bleed within the brain tissue (10% are hemorrhagic) which causes permanent damage to the effected area of the central nervous system. In a classic stroke, the neurologic defects continue to expand for 24-48 hours after the infarction occurs (“stroke in evolution”). The most frequently seen stroke is called a “completed stroke,” whose symptoms develop rapidly and maximally within a few minutes to an hour. The term “completed stroke” also refers to the fully established neurologic deficits after the stroke, whether from the acute or gradual kind. Neurologic symptoms solely relate to the area of cerebral infarction.