The Eyes are the Window to the Heart

By: Dr. Julia Simon Dunnavant

January 31, 2018

February is American Heart Month

Did you know that 1 out of 4 deaths in America per year are associated with heart disease? Did you also know that nearly 80% of heart attacks and strokes are preventable? Conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity can lead to cardiovascular disease such congestive heart failure and stroke.

But why is your heart so important for your eyes?

The eyes have the highest oxygen consumption of any organ in the body and that oxygen comes from the heart. Poor circulation due to heart disease can harm the function of the eyes and lead to vision loss or even blindness.

We encourage you to make 2018 your healthiest year yet.

  • Identify your risk – family history, older age, male gender and BMI are strong factors that can lead to heart disease.

  • Make small changes – avoid sweet treats, flavor your meals with spices in place of salts, add vegetables, whole wheat, and grains to your diet.

  • Put down the cigarettes – the toxins in cigarette smoke significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Get active – don’t be afraid to move but start slow, the American Heart Association recommends 90-150 minutes of physical activity per week.

  • Start the conversation – be the one who inspires others to make healthy changes.

  • Get your annual Dilated Eye Exam – optometric physicians can detect early signs of cardiovascular disease just by examining the retina and the blood vessels inside the eyes, sometimes these signs can be missed by your primary care provider. Early detection of eye disease related to high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes can not only save your eyesight, but also your life.

February 2nd is National Wear Red Day Show support for the women in your life living with heart disease by wearing red.


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