November last year SDN Management Committee Member started a blog on living with Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD) now Ian shares more with us on his personal journey.
What causes AMD ?
The causes are basically a combination of genetic reasons, environment and age.
Particular risk factors are- getting older
– family history of AMD
– poor diet
– high blood pressure
– being overweight
Looking at these risk factors in my own case, the situation is like this –
I am actually quite young to get AMD (if anybody says they find it hard to believe I am too young for anything, there will be trouble:-) Broadly speaking, AMD generally occurs in people over the age of 65, although it can develop in people who are in their 40s and 50s- as it did with me.
More women have AMD than men, but that may be because women tend to live longer than men.
Family history of AMD
As far as I know, there isn’t any in my case. Some genes have been identified that may link to the development of AMD in some people. This has been discovered by looking at families with more than one member who has AMD, but it is thought that not all AMD is inherited.
I haven’t smoked for many, many years and when I did smoke, it was only ever a few cigarettes a day. Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing AMD.
Studies show that stopping smoking can reduce the risk of developing AMD.
Some studies suggest that exposure to high levels of sunlight (particularly the UV light contained in sunlight) throughout your life may increase the risk of developing AMD. As yet, there is no proof of this. Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV light in sunlight is a good idea for everyone throughout their life.
Depends on what you class as a poor diet, but that could be a whole new topic for a blog! My own opinion on the five a day situation is that nobody ever proved that five portions of fruit and vegetables a day was the optimum number.
I understand that current opinion is that five isn’t enough anyway- seven is it now?
Having said that, I don’t eat a balanced diet and that is something I should indeed address I must admit- not enough fresh fruit and vegetables (whatever the number of portions!), too much red meat etc.
A number of studies have looked at diet as a risk factor for someone developing AMD., but presently there is no agreement on how much of a risk factor diet is.
There is some evidence that vitamins A, C E and zinc may help to slow the progress of AMD in people who already have the condition.
High blood pressure
Yes- that’s me!
Am on a variety of tablets for this. On occasions, my blood pressure has been sky high and (whatever the first figure is for) it once topped 200!)It is more or less within normal limits now, although it has always been a bit on the high side of normal for me.
Ok I will cough to this one- even I must admit that I am not exactly Twiggy size!