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  • Kellie Blake RDN, LD, IFNCP

Can Your Eyes Indicate Disease Risk?

Did you know the eyes generally give us the first warning signs of impending disease in the body? An eye exam is a simple task, but often times we put our eye health on the back burner. And, we especially ignore our eye health if we have normal vision. But, people who don’t require glasses or contacts need to visit their eye care professional regularly too.

Routine eye exams can help detect the early stages of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer. Now, a new study tells us that the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease may be found in the eyes as well! Researchers at the Duke Eye Center wanted to know if the microvasculature of the eye differed between healthy controls, those with cognitive impairment and those with Alzheimer’s disease. They studied 39 Alzheimer’s patients, 37 patients with mild cognitive impairment, and 127 healthy controls. What did they find? “Alzheimer’s participants had significantly reduced macular vessel density, perfusion density, and ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer thickness compared with mild cognitive impairment and controls.” These findings suggest “the changes in the retinal microvasculature may mirror small vessel cerebrovascular changes in Alzheimer’s disease.” Exciting news as we search how to detect and reverse this disease early on in the process.

We now know Alzheimer’s disease is largely a disease of our lifestyle and toxins we’re exposed to over time (Check out Dr. David Perlmutter's work for more information on this). It’s also a disease for which there is no cure or treatment. Prevention is the key and you can start today by making some healthy lifestyle changes:

1. Avoid processed grains and sugar (limit your intake of all grains in general)

2. Load up on leafy green vegetables (and all vegetables for that matter)

3. Consume healthy fats daily (olive oil, coconut, avocado)

4. Learn to manage your stress

5. Get an adequate amount of high quality sleep

6. Move your body in mindful ways (cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercises)

7. Create healthy social connections

8. Get your eyes examined routinely by a qualified professional

For more information on how to modify your lifestyle to prevent or control chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, contact us for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

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