Discussion in 'Black Health and Wellness' started by dustyelbow, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Oct 25, 2005
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    Some activities put too much pressure on the eyeball, ophthalmologists say
    Focus on glaucoma

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006
    By Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Can lifting weights make you go blind? Medical researchers in Brazil say "maybe." Local experts in ophthalmology agree, but suggest the risk is roughly comparable to that of being struck by lightning.

    Holding your breath while weight lifting causes temporary increases in eye pressure that could raise the risk of developing one form of glaucoma, say researchers at the Catholic University of Brasilia. Their findings have been published in the September issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

    Glaucoma is the second leading cause of adult blindness in the United States. About 2.2 million Americans age 40 and over have glaucoma, and another 5 million to 10 million are at increased risk for the disorder, says the Web site of the Eye and Vision Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

    Because glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages, half of those who have the disease don't know it. The prevalence of glaucoma rises substantially with age, and is about twice as great among blacks as it is among whites.

    The principal cause of glaucoma is fluid pressure in the eye that is too high for the optic nerve to tolerate.

    Each day the eye produces about a teaspoonful of aqueous humor, a clear fluid that provides nutrients to and removes waste products from the lens and cornea.

    Ordinarily, the production and drainage of aqueous humor are in balance. But when more is produced than removed, intraocular pressure (IOP) increases. Fibers in the optic nerve are compressed, and eventually die, leading to a gradual loss of vision.

    The researchers in Brazil measured the intraocular pressure of 30 men ages 18 to 40 as they were doing bench presses. They found that intraocular pressure increased significantly while they were lifting weights, especially if they held their breath while performing the exercise.

    "Prolonged weight lifting could be a potential risk factor for the development or progression of glaucoma," the researchers concluded. "Intermittent intraocular pressure increases during weightlifting should be suspected in patients with normal-tension glaucoma who perform such exercises."

    "I think it's probably a small risk," said Dr. Karen Lauer, a glaucoma specialist for Allegheny General Hospital. "It's a subset of patients who have optic nerves that are susceptible to glaucoma."

    "The risk is probably a little higher than being hit by a meteor, but not a whole lot higher," said Dr. Joel Schuman, chairman of ophthalmology at UPMC and director of UPMC's eye center.

    It's a lot more dangerous for patients who are susceptible to glaucoma to do headstands in yoga, Dr. Lauer said. She cited a study conducted by Indian medical researchers that showed temporary increases in intraocular pressure from doing headstands that were roughly three times greater than the elevated levels found by the Brazil researchers in their study of weight lifters.

    Dr. Schuman was the principal researcher in a study of musicians who play "high resistance" wind instruments (trumpet and oboe) that also found substantially higher temporary increases in intraocular pressure than the Brazil researchers found in their weight lifting study.

    Dr. Lauer and Dr. Schuman emphasized that none of these activities -- weight lifting, horn blowing, or headstands in yoga -- pose more than a very slight risk to people who are not predisposed to develop glaucoma, and that the danger they pose to people who are at risk for developing glaucoma is not great.

    A little prudence can reduce the risks still further, the doctors said.

    "If you're doing weight lifting on a regular basis, it's worth having periodic exams by an ophthalmologist," Dr. Schuman said.

    And "it's important for patients who have glaucoma to let their doctors know if they participate in these activities," Dr. Lauer said.

  2. cursed heart

    cursed heart Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jan 12, 2006
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    I know it does affect your bp(blood pressure)
    Once I was on a treadmill with small weights.
    I blew a blood vessel in my eye and I didn't even know it until I looked in the mirror.
    Not attractive at all!
    Be careful