Tag Archives: Dr. C “Comments”

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS/CONDITIONS#10: MACULAR DEGENERATION

Macular Degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in the western world.as you get older, it becomes increasingly common, and almost 20% of people older than 85 years have this disease.

It comes in 2 types, dry and wet. Mostly it starts as the milder dry type, which develops slowly and has no definite treatment. The dry type can develop into the more rapidly progressive wet variety, however, and is important to notice and report to your ophthalmologist.

The MACULA is the center of the visual field, and has by far the most photoreceptors. It yields the sharpest vision, and is essential for reading, and even recognizing faces.

LOSS OF VISION is the commonest symptom, but is hard to notice in a slowly developing condition. A neurologist friend of mine alerted me to the AMSLER GRID, which helps in picking up the subtle distortions of this sneaky problem.

Checking your vision every few days-it takes only a few seconds- is a good idea as you age. You might be healthy in every other way, but if you are blind, the quality of life in your final years will suffer. The mechanics of the wavy lines generated by macular degeneration are deposits beneath the macula, raising it up.

The deposits are fatty in the case of the dry, and fluid in the case of the wet macular degeneration; and fluid from the abnormal blood vessels in the wet MD can collect very rapidly indeed.

Even though the cause of MD is unknown, prevention is by the same old healthy habits tiresomely mentioned in all my other postings: DIET and EXERCISE. I’m sure that good sleep doesn’t hurt either, No cigarette smoking of course, and there are some vitamins and minerals mentioned, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper.

The wet MD does have a treatment to slow down the disease. Since blood vessel growth is important in causation, antibodies to VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor, are injected into the macular area. I’m sure that more help is on the way. Some treatments to support the protective pigmented layer of the retina are currently in progress.

–DR. C

HEALTH: HOW SLEEP HAS CHANGED DURING COVID-19

From the Wall Street Journal (June 1, 2020):

The biggest problem has been staying asleep,” says Philip Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “People aren’t exercising, their days have no structure at all.”

Preliminary results from a survey taken by around 1,600 people from 60 countries show that 46% reported poor sleep during the pandemic, while only 25% said they had slept poorly before it, according to Melinda Jackson, a senior lecturer at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University in Melbourne, who studies how stressful events affect people’s sleep. Forty percent also reported increased alcohol consumption.

The key is to prevent the sleep problem from becoming chronic, she says. It is important to avoid associating your bed or bedroom with a place where you are awake. Experts recommend that if you can’t fall asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to go back to sleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing.

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HEALTH: ARE FACE SHIELDS THE BETTER PROTECTOR?

From a New York Times article (May 24, 2020):

Dr. Perencevich believes that face shields should be the preferred personal protective equipment of everyone for the same reason health care workers use them. They protect the entire face, including the eyes, and prevent people from touching their faces or inadvertently exposing themselves to the coronavirus.

The debate over whether Americans should wear face masks to control coronavirus transmission has been settled. Governments and businesses now require or at least recommend them in many public settings. But as parts of the country reopen, some doctors want you to consider another layer of personal protective equipment in your daily life: clear plastic face shields.

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COMMENTARY

When I take my walk, which currently is my only outing, I wear a face SHIELD for my personal protection against contracting Covid 19 from others.

I gave up on the face MASK because it is uncomfortable, especially when I am breathing heavily while walking rapidly up hills.

There isn’t much research supporting the self-protective use of face shields, but the video accompanying this article was enough for me; notice the aerosol-free area behind the face shield.

While walking, I breathe In deeply through my nose, and exhale through my mouth, using “pursed lips”, which aids in oxygen extraction by holding the alveolae open.

Exhaling through the mouth also clears the air behind the mask for subsequent nasal inhalation.

With nasal inspiration, any SARS CoV-2 aerosol particles would be deposited in the nasal passages, Which are that much farther away from your vulnerable lung.

It isn’t perfect. For one thing, it wouldn’t protect you much if someone coughed at you from the side or behind. I often hold my breath reflexes when I hear someone cough, or when I pass closely (even 6ft.) to someone.

The face shield holds promise for protecting you from viral infection, including the “flu”.

—Dr. C.