Saturday July 20, 2019

Think Twice Before Smoking, It is Slowly Turning You Blind

"It can be advised to consult an expert and take up a cessation programme to quit smoking. Other than this, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and including a range of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, that have antioxidants can help maintain retinal health," Narayanan said.

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smoking
"Smoking increases the chemical compounds in the bloodstream thereby reducing blood and oxygen flow to the retina. This makes smokers two times more susceptible to Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD)," Narayanan added. Pixabay

Do you smoke cigarettes? Think twice before taking another drag as it may not only damage your heart or lungs but can also make you blind, experts say.

Smoking harms the retina — the light-sensing tissue in the back of the eyes, responsible for transmitting images to the brain.

“It’s like a film of a camera which converts light rays into impulses which help us see,” Raja Narayanan, Head of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), Hyderabad told IANS.

“Smoking increases the chemical compounds in the bloodstream thereby reducing blood and oxygen flow to the retina. This makes smokers two times more susceptible to Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD),” Narayanan added.

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According to experts, owing to an unhealthy lifestyle, dietary habits and constant stress and exposure to digital screens, the incidence of retinal diseases and other eye disorders is rising amongst the working population. Pixabay

A recent study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision, which suggested that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss.

Smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of various diseases and premature deaths worldwide.

India was among the top 10 countries together accounting for almost two-thirds of the world’s smokers (63.6 per cent) in 2015, according to a Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet in 2017.

Smoking can further affect a bunch of eye diseases like cataract, glaucoma etc. While diseases related to the front of the eye are easily recognised, retinal diseases like AMD and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) might develop silently and lead to progressive vision loss if not treated on time.

“The vision loss caused by retinal diseases cannot be reversed. However, if the condition is diagnosed on time the disease can be managed effectively to prevent further loss of vision. Recognition of symptom is a key aspect for timely diagnosis,” Ajay Dudani, Ophthalmologist/Eye and Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Mumbai Retina Centre, told IANS.

smoking
A recent study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision, which suggested that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss. Pixabay

“The symptoms of these retinal diseases are often confused with those of old age or other eye disorders which leads to delayed diagnosis,” he added.

People with diabetes need to be extra cautious of any vision changes and need to follow a healthy lifestyle as they are more susceptible to diabetic retinopathy.

“Today, there are treatment options available that can slow or halt disease progression. Some of the treatment options available in India include laser photocoagulation, anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) injections and combination therapy which includes laser and anti-VEGF treatment,” Dudani asserted.

smoking
Smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of various diseases and premature deaths worldwide. Pixabay

According to experts, owing to an unhealthy lifestyle, dietary habits and constant stress and exposure to digital screens, the incidence of retinal diseases and other eye disorders is rising amongst the working population.

They say that a cessation programme can help an individual quit smoking.

Also Read: Adding Chokeberries-‘The Healthiest Fruit in The World’ in Your Diet Can Help To Boost Your Health

“It can be advised to consult an expert and take up a cessation programme to quit smoking. Other than this, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and including a range of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, that have antioxidants can help maintain retinal health,” Narayanan said.

“Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, lettuce etc. have lutein and zeaxanthin – both important nutrients for eye health. Certain vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin A also help in overall eye health and help prevent the progression of AMD and DME,” he noted. (IANS)

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Study: Intake of Dietary Supplements May do More Harm than Benefit

The doctor suggested that people should include more green vegetables in their diet

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dietary supplements
According to the study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, supplements combining calcium and vitamin D may be linked to a slightly increased stroke risk. Pixabay

Researchers have found that intake of some vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements may not benefit the heart and, in some cases, may even prove to be injurious.

According to the study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, supplements combining calcium and vitamin D may be linked to a slightly increased stroke risk. However, there was no evidence that calcium or vitamin D taken alone had any health risks or benefits.

“Our analysis carries a simple message that although there may be some evidence that a few interventions have an impact on death and cardiovascular health, the vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and different types of diets had no measurable effect on survival or cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” said study lead author Safi U. Khan, Assistant Professor at the West Virginia University.

For the study, the researchers used data from 277 randomised clinical trials that evaluated 16 vitamins or other supplements and eight diets for their association with mortality or heart conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart attack.

dietary supplements
“People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements,” Michos said. Wikimedia Commons

They included data gathered on 992,129 research participants worldwide. The analysis showed possible health benefits only from a low-salt diet, omega-3 fatty acid supplements and possibly folic acid supplements for some people.

“The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements isn’t there,” said senior author of the study Erin Michos from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US.

“People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements,” Michos said.

According to Abhishek Singh, Consultant Cardiologist at Columbia Asia Hospital in Ghaziabad, dietary supplements do not have a measurably positive impact on cardiac health.

dietary supplements
The doctor suggested that people should include more green vegetables in their diet. Pixabay

“It’s more important to follow a healthy dietary regimen and avoid foods that are bad for the heart. Trans fatty acids are harmful and have to be curtailed. Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates are to be kept at a minimum,” Singh told IANS.

The doctor suggested that people should include more green vegetables in their diet. They are rich in vitamin K and dietary nitrates, which help protect the arteries and reduce blood pressure, he said.

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“Studies like this raise concerns about harm from calcium and Vitamin D supplement use. As far as Vitamin D supplements (without calcium) are concerned, there has been no evidence on whether it has any impact on cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” Anupama Singh, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Vimhans Nayati Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi, told IANS.

“The quality of the evidence base of these various nutritional supplements and dietary interventions still needs to be evaluated to ascertain the effectiveness of the study,” she added. (IANS)