Thursday, March 09, 2006

AMD Reducing Risk 36

Chapter Four
Lifestyle, Diet, and Micronutrients to Reduce Your Risk of Severe AMD


Smoking

You can’t do much about the two main risk factors for AMD, which are your genes and your age. But you can reduce your risk of vision loss through lifestyle changes and diet. The third most important risk factor by far is smoking, and there is something you can do about that. If you smoke, you have to stop. If you don’t give up smoking, it probably won’t matter much if you do anything else suggested in this chapter. There are many new medications and patches which can help you stop smoking. Try using nicotine patches or gum for as short a time as possible though, since nicotine alone can cause worsening of AMD. Ask your doctor what you can do to quit smoking today.

Hypertension

Hypertension is associated with AMD so if you have high blood pressure, make sure it is very well treated. In the past, most doctors felt that high blood pressure was controlled if the systolic reading (the higher one) was less than 150 and the diastolic one (the lower one) was less than 90. The latest evidence supports even stricter guidelines for blood pressure control. We would recommend that you shoot for a systolic reading closer to 140 and a diastolic reading around 80. Blood pressure readings should be taken when you’re relaxed and in a seated position. Generally, it’s best to take two readings at least a few minutes apart, unless the first reading clearly shows that your blood pressure is in good control (140/80 or less).

Patients and doctors often explain elevated readings by ascribing them to “white coat hypertension,” meaning that the anxiety about

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