AGE-RELATED MACULAR degeneration
(AMD) is the leading cause of severe
vision loss in adults over age 60, and it
affects more than 9 million people in the
U.S. over age 40.
The retina is light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye, and its small
central portion—the macula—normally
provides sharp, detailed central vision
needed for seeing objects clearly. In those
with AMD, the macula gradually deteriorates, causing loss of central vision.
AMD does not usually cause total
(side) vision is typically
not affected. But the
loss of central, detailed
vision does severely
limit the ability to
recognize faces, drive
a car, read, write or do any close work.
There is no cure for AMD, but early
detection facilitates treatments that
might delay or reduce the severity of
Who is at high risk for AMD?
; Smokers (research shows double
the risk for smokers)
; Caucasians more than other races
; Those with a family history of AMD
According to studies, smoking
cessation and eating a healthy diet that
includes leafy green vegetables and fish
are lifestyle changes that can reduce risk;
benefits from other lifestyle changes have
not been reported, but a generally
healthy lifestyle could have an impact.
Early symptoms of AMD
A routine eye exam might catch one
of the earliest signs of AMD: tiny yellow
deposits under the retina called drusen.
Often symptoms go unrecognized
until the condition advances or affects
both eyes. See an ophthalmologist for an
exam immediately if you experience
; Blur. The first sign is usually a dim,
blurry spot in the center of one’s
; Color. Changes in color perception
are also an early symptom.
To learn about the different types of
AMD, visit the National Eye Institute
www.nei.nih.gov and search
“macular degeneration.”—David Wight
health for your
Show a little
love for your
By Joseph Hanna BEING HEART Health Month, February is a good time to show your ticker a bit of tender loving care. A healthy heart beats more than 60 times per min- ute, which is more than 2. 5 billion beats in a lifetime of 80 years. Here are answers to some ques- tions you may have about this priceless organ.
How can I get more
help taking care of my
Costco pharmacies are hosting
Heart Health Awareness Clinics. Your
Costco pharmacist can perform a basic
assessment of your blood pressure and cholesterol, determine your risk of developing
problems, answer any questions you may have
and give valuable advice about any necessary
next steps with the doctor. Check your local
Costco pharmacy for clinic times and dates or
visit the Costco pharmacy on Costco.com
under “Health & Beauty” for the full schedule
of clinics near you.
What should I do to keep my
It starts with a healthy lifestyle. The main
factors that contribute to heart disease are
physical inactivity, obesity, smoking, diabetes,
high blood pressure, high cholesterol and
excessive alcohol intake. If you have one or
more of these factors, it might be time to
make changes in your life.
How much is too much?
Vigorous activity is good for the
heart and muscles, but it can be
dangerous to push yourself too
hard. Your maximum heart rate
based on age is roughly calculated by subtracting your age
from 220. For a high-intensity
workout, most healthy people should aim to keep their
heart rate between 70 and
85 percent of the maximum
heart rate; for a moderate
workout, the target range is
between 50 and 70 percent. For
example, if you are 50 years old,
your target heart rate during exercise should
not exceed approximately 145 beats per minute: (220 – 50) x 85 percent = 145.
Pushing your heart past this limit can
cause strain and damage to the muscle of the
heart from overexertion. This is why it is
important to consult your doctor before starting an exercise program and to work your
way up gradually to good heart health. C
Joseph Hanna, B.Sc. Phm., CDE, CGP, is a
Costco pharmacy professional services manager.
Just for fun: health trivia feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the ;ush. (
6. Check your in box. The average of;ce desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet. (
7. Dust in the wind. In the average
lifetime a person will breathe in about 44
pounds of dust. (
8. Sweet news. Contrary to popular
beliefs, chocolate does not cause acne.
9. Brush to prevent stroke. People
who suffer from gum disease are twice
as likely to have a stroke or heart attack.
www.webmd.com)—T. Foster Jones
1. The mighty ticker. Your heart will
pump about 56 million gallons in its lifetime.
2. Honey, I shrunk my brain! After age
30, the brain shrinks a quarter of a percent
in mass each year. (
3. Laugh it off. The levels of two stress
hormones—cortisol and epinephrine, which
suppress the body’s immune system—drop
after a healthy dose of laughter. ( www.
4. Hair today ... A human being loses
an average of 40 to 100 strands of hair a day.
5. Brush it off. Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6