Weighty Matters

I am dense. In more ways than one, but the way I am talking about is good. I have a fair amount of lean tissue (read muscle) that weighs more than fat. That means that I don’t flip out when a body mass index calculator says I am overweight.

Truthfully, I am just over the line at a BMI of 25.1. A healthy weight is reflected in a BMI below 25.

But who cares? The fact of the matter is, if you are reading these pages you or someone you care about has age-related macular degeneration. And another fact of the matter is higher BMIs are associated with progression of AMD.

Obesity is associated with a higher risk than ‘just’ being overweight. However, being overweight increases your risk pretty significantly. Reading the data from 2003 and generated by research by Seddon, Cote, Davis and Rosner, I discovered the risk ratios for both group as compared to skinny people are over 2 to 1. That means chubby people progress to advanced AMD twice as often as their skinny cousins.

And, of course, there is more. ‘Apples’ not only have more problems with diabetes and heart disease, they also have twice as great a chance of developing advanced AMD. Belly fat appears to be nasty business in all sorts of ways.

Gives me a new perspective on Santa Claus. With that “bowl full of jelly” around his middle, do you think he has heart problems, type 2 diabetes and AMD? Somebody should talk to him (and Mrs. Claus!) before Rudolph has to become a seeing-eye reindeer!

So, you know the drill. If you are carrying a little extra weight, you have heard it all before. Now there is one more reason to shed those pounds. You may not care about those potential bogeymen they threaten you with (those would be heart attacks or diabetes for example) but what about your sight? I suspect you are losing that NOW as in, as we speak now. What would you do to slow that process down?

Seddon et al (same article as above) found a 25% reduction in rate of disease progression when patients engaged in vigorous activity three times per week. Sort of sounds like exercise might help.

Those of you who are paying attention may be trying to add up some facts about me here. I have been an exercise nut since I was 25. However, I have a rapidly progressing case of AMD at 63. Obviously working out did not help me….or did it?

I have no clue. Maybe it was my crappy genes were totally resistant to any positive intervention. Maybe I would have developed this stuff at 58 or 59 if I had not exercised. No way of knowing.

What I do know is I am zealous about the benefits of exercise. Want to improve your physical and mental health? Want to meet great people and have fun? Exercise. Oh, and it just might help to postpone your advanced AMD. Never know.

Next: Stop Smoking Now!

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