Age Related Vision Loss
By; Dr. Kenneth J. McLeod, PhD
In this blog, we often discuss the critical role cardiac output plays in ensuring adequate blood flow up to our heads, in particular, our brains, where high levels of blood flow are required to prevent cognitive aging. We have also discussed how blood flow to the head is important in preventing age related hearing loss. One closely related topic we haven’t discussed is vision, and in particular, age related vision loss.
The most common form of vision loss in older individuals is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Over 11 million Americans are currently affected with AMD. To put this number in perspective, this is twice the number of Americans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and it is more than total number of people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with an invasive cancer. This is a very common health condition, and unfortunately, there is no know treatment.
There is, though, much that we do know about AMD. Most importantly, we know that AMD is associated with reduced blood flow and blood volume in the choroid of the eye. The choroid is the highly vascularized tissue layer just behind the retina which provides oxygen and nutrients to the retina. In the absence of sufficient blood flow, the retina begins to pull away from the choroid and the gap is filled in with a fatty substance. This substance buildup makes it even more difficult for oxygen and nutrients to get to the retina, and so the condition progresses over time.
The area of the eye where this process most commonly occurs is the macula, or central region of the eye. The macula is the region of the eye which provides us with the ability to see fine detail, that is, the region of the eye which allows us to read, drive an automobile, and recognize faces. While people do not go totally blind with AMD, loss of this central vision area of eye has profound impact on quality of life.
Clearly, maintaining adequate blood flow to the head, and in particular, the eyes, is an essential first step in preventing, or limiting the impact of AMD. As we have discussed many times in this blog, cardiac output commonly declines as we age. This is not usually the result of some type of heart problem, but rather due to second heart insufficiency. If you do not maintain your soleus muscles (second hearts), blood flow back to the heart will be inadequate, leading to reduced cardiac output.
The soleus muscles can easily be trained up through passive exercise approaches such as provided by the HeartPartner. Using the HeartPartner for several hours during the day while you are sitting at work or home serves to activate the soleus muscles in a rhythmic manner, and over a period of months, will lead to changes in the soleus muscles so that they work more effectively even when you are not using the HeartPartner.
If a friend, family member, or patient you know is developing AMD, consider suggesting that they try out the HeartPartner. It is risk free as there is a one-month money back guarantee. It is essential that those with AMD do whatever they can to maintain their cardiac output as they age.
For further information, please visit our website: www.sonostics.com. We always enjoy hearing about your experiences with the HeartPartner, so consider sharing your story with us. Please also feel free to share this heath-tip on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media accounts and help us get this information out to the community.