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Macular Degeneration And A Healthy Lifestyle

We now have another condition that may be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and abstaining from smoking: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Macular degeneration causes a loss of central vision and makes it difficult to recognize faces and read small print. The macula degenerates with age and severe macular degeneration causes blindness. Treatment is costly and doesn’t work very well.

A new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology looked at 1,313 women aged 55 to 74 years. They reviewed their diet and exercise habits. Eating a “healthy diet” meant 3.5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2.3 servings of dairy, 2.7 ounces of meet and 3.5 servings of grain a day. Exercise habits and smoking history were also monitored.

They found a significant association between early AMD and diet, exercise, and overall healthy habits. Non-smokers who ate the healthiest diets and were the most active (only 5 precent of participants) reduced their odds for AMD by 71 percent compared to those with high-risk scores.

The authors noted a couple of caveats. They studied only white females so we don’t know if these results hold true for men or other ethnicities. They also did not evaluate interrelated habits and they did not look at people with high-risk genotypes for AMD. The authors did note, however, that having a family history of AMD did not alter the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

So here it is — yet another reason to seize the moment and start doing the things that are proven to create better health as we age. So far I haven’t found even one study that did not extol the benefits of diet and exercise and not smoking in creating good health.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*


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