Upcoming presentations

Wednesday, July 17, Body fat: all that jiggles is not the same. OASIS Grossmont Center, La Mesa 1:00 p.m. Sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.oasisnet.org 

Saturday, July 20 11:00 a.m. Ten ways to prevent cancer, Penasquitos Library

In the news

Spend some time with nature

A study published last month in the journal Scientific Reports confirmed what health authorities have been telling us for decades: spending time outdoors is good for your health.  We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, humans have lived close to nature for all but the last couple hundred years or so of their existence, first as hunter-gatherers for a few million years and then as farmers for a few thousand. Now that we have central heating, air conditioning and electric lights – and just recently computers and TV – it’s just so comfortable to stay indoors. We have evolved to spend most of our time outdoors and we pay a price for not doing so.

The first thing that comes to mind is vitamin D. It’s important not only to maintain a strong skeleton but we need it for a healthy immune system.  The researchers note that health benefits come from only about two hours a week outdoors – and that will give us plenty of time to make the vitamin D we need – as long as it’s during the day and with no sunscreen, with our head and arms exposed.

Indoor air is not healthy air, for reasons that we don’t have space to delve into in this blog, and breathing outdoor air refreshes our lungs, reducing the risk of asthma, allergies and heart disease. Of course, getting some exercise while you’re outside helps in the matter of heart disease.

Finally, a casual stroll at the beach, at a park or just around the neighborhood reduces stress, decreases blood pressure and improves our sense of well-being.

But you need to leave your cell phone at home!


Floaters and dry eyes

By the time we reach seventy most of us have dry eye syndrome, sometimes to the degree that we need medical help. Some of it is due to aging and our tear production slows down. However, there are some non-natural causes that we can do something about.

Are you getting enough vitamin A? Sweet potatoes, carrots, collard greens, spinach and cantaloupe are good sources but do you get several servings a week? Beef and chicken liver are great sources but they have just about disappeared from the American diet. True vitamin A deficiency is rare in the U.S. but inadequacy may not be.

Some prescriptions medicines such as antihistamines, blood pressure drugs and antidepressants contribute to dry eye syndrome. Hours of computer use and exposure to tobacco smoke also are factors.

Maybe it’s not a single cause. Each of the factors above might add up. In any case, if it’s enough to make you uncomfortable it’s time to see an ophthalmologist.

And about those floaters. They are usually benign and look like dots or webs, sometimes other shapes. As we age – there I go again – fragments of cells or particles of protein drift around inside the eyeball.

Sometimes floaters indicate serious eye problems and should not be ignored. If lots of them appear suddenly, especially if accompanied by flashes of light or changes in your peripheral vision, they may be a sign of retinal detachment, a condition that requires immediate treatment.







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