Some practical information and a surprise treat in this blog post
Let’s look at 3 topics that will inform, instruct, and inspire you as we explore the HEART of HEALTH.
INFORMATION – about mosquitoes and the diseases they carry and spread to humans
World-wide, malaria affects more people than any other mosquito transmitted disease. Most cases that occur in the United States are due to infections caught when people travel to or from areas of the world where malaria is common- sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, the Amazon area of South America.
West Nile Virus, also spread by mosquitoes, occurs in tropical areas but since 1999 has spread to North America where it threatens people here. Now we are told that the Zika virus is spreading northward from South America, posing a new disease risk to Americans. When pregnant women become infected with this virus, the infant may be born with a small brain and head, called microcephaly.
The American Mosquito Control Association, AMCA ,researches and reports on all aspects of mosquitoes and the many diseases they transmit. If you want to learn about the subject, you will likely find it here. It’s worth taking a look.
INSTRUCTION- how to prevent blisters
You probably don’t worry much about blisters- until you get one. Then the pain can inhibit doing sports, walking, even just wearing a shoe.
At worse, blisters can become chronic wounds, get infected, and threaten limbs in susceptible persons like those with diabetes or poor blood flow.
Ways to prevent blisters include-
Proper fitting shoes, not too tight or too loose
Breaking shoes in before activity likely to cause a blister, like running, dancing, long walks, sports
Wearing absorbent cushioned socks, perhaps 2 pair together
An eye doctor, either an optometrist or ophthalmologist, can detect early signs of eye disease, even before you notice a problem.
When you think about preventing illness, do you focus on the worst diseases, those that threaten life- cancer, heart attacks, stroke, violence. But non-fatal conditions can also “threaten life”, putting the quality of our lives in danger.
Vision impairment may contribute to severe and significant loss of function and well being.
If you include people whose vision problems can be corrected with glasses or contacts, it may be the most common disability in the world. But even excluding those people, vision loss still affects millions of people in the world.
Glasses or contact lenses for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism need to be made with a prescription based on the results of an eye exam by a professional.
Glasses for presbyopia, commonly called reading glasses, can be purchased online or in many retail stores and get be fitted by trying on different strengths until you find one that works the best. Most people use them for close work like reading, sewing, crafts, drawing, and games.
I use contacts to correct my vision impairments-myopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. One eye is corrected for distance and the other corrected for near . I can read, drive, watch television, dance, take care of my home and work without difficulty.
My husband fights to protect his vision. He had severe myopia which was partially corrected with surgery. He subsequently developed early onset macular degeneration, a condition which destroys the retina of the eye causing loss of central vision.
Progression of the degeneration is slowed with regular injections of a drug originally developed to treat cancers. (If a shot into the eye sounds painful, it is.) He has had removal of cataracts. So far he is able to function visually, but he appreciates his sight and does whatever he can to preserve it.
Globally, the causes of blindness are
cataract (47.9%) the leading cause of visual impairment in all areas of the world, except for developed countries.
age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (8.7%),
corneal opacities (5.1%),
diabetic retinopathy (4.8%),
childhood blindness (3.9%),
In many developing areas of the world, public health measures aim to eliminate the source of the infections that cause trachoma and onchocerciasis, and save the sight of millions of people.
You can protect and save your sight with these steps-
(The following sections contain several affiliate links; using these links costs you nothing extra and helps support this blog. thank you. )
An eye doctor, either an optometrist or ophthalmologist, can detect early signs of eye disease, even before you notice a problem. Go here for an explanation of what each of these professionals do .
Smoking constricts the blood vessels supplying the eye with oxygen rich blood, thereby suffocating the tissue. This contributes to cataracts and macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration has been associated with low intake of vitamins A, C, and E, omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zinc. The best source for this is food. For people who already have macular degeneration or who are at high risk, eye doctors may recommend a vitamin supplement which provides these nutrients.
Diabetes contributes to blindness by damaging the retina. Good control of blood sugar helps to prevent or slow this, as well as regular monitoring and laser treatment when needed.
Vision loss is one of the most common complications from diabetes and one that can be prevented or minimized. If you have diabetes, take it seriously and work with your doctor to manage it well.
You may have diabetes and not know it. Certain symptoms may indicate diabetes; read about them here.
If you have not been tested for diabetes, ask your doctor if you should. It’s a simple blood test called Hemoglobin A1c
Other chronic conditions associated with vision loss are heart disease and stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, sickle cell disease, and multiple sclerosis.
In addition to wearing sunglasses when outdoors, appropriate protective lenses should be worn during sports. People who work at jobs involving power tools or chemicals need protective goggles in case of splashes or flying bits of material. Children, adolescents and young adults are most likely to lose vision from traumatic injuries.
I know how tempting it can be to cut corners when cleaning, storing, discarding and wearing contacts. But when used incorrectly, contacts can cause more problems than they solve. Contact lens wear can cause trauma, infections and dryness that can damage the cornea. Don’t risk turning correctable vision problems into long term harm. Get the details on caring for contacts here and use only products recommended by your eye professional.
lost her sight but gained a mission
The Story of My Life is an autobiography of Helen Keller, a woman who was both blind and deaf since infancy. Her remarkable story was told in a movie, the
The Miracle Worker was a movie about Keller for which Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke as Helen won Oscars for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress
Keller is remembered for her advocacy for persons with blindness and other physical disabilities. But her social and political advocacy may not be so well known, it wasn’t to me. In politics, she could be considered an early progressive, having joined the Socialist Party of America. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union.
What did you learn from this post? If you haven’t had an eye exam in the past 1-2 years, consider making an appointment soon. No matter how young or old you are it’s not too early or too late to start protecting your sight.
Please use the highlighted links to get more information about any of the topics I mentioned.
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