Wellness Wednesdays – 7/17/19

WELLNESS TIP OF THE WEEK

Get Your Eyes Ready For The Summer Sun

by Rick Young of Boston Laser

Ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun is linked to several diseases of the eye including cataracts, growths on the ocular surface and cancer. It is important to protect your eyes and skin when outside.

Cataracts develop very slowly over a lifetime of UV exposure and wearing sunglasses regularly may help slow this. On the other hand, ocular surface abnormalities such as pinguecula and pterygium develop more quickly when exposed to excess sin and are common in your 20s, 30s and 40s. We commonly see this in surfers, skiers, fishermen and farmers. 

Just like elsewhere on your body, UV light can cause carious skin cancers such as melanoma on the eyelid. Each time we’re out in the sub without protection we could be adding damage that adds to our risk for these serious disorders. Babies and kids need to wear hats and sunglasses for this very reason. People of all ages should take precautions wherever they are outdoors.

That said, research shows that children who spend more time outside exposed to daylight may reduce their risk of developing nearsightedness, also known as myopia. 

WELLNESS AROUND THE WEB

An Unexpected Solution to Craving Relief

Too often, we find ourselves cooped up indoors throughout the majority of our day. Whether it’s work, school or simply relaxing at home, many Americans rarely give themselves the opportunity to appreciate the green outdoors. Spending more time in nature has been linked to the development of a more positive mindset, but did you know that it can also help reduce harmful cravings for substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and junk food? According to an article released by StudyFinds.org, the University of Plymouth found that being able to see greenery and nature from your home will lead to less frequent, and intense cravings.

Try spending your work break outside or go for a walk in your free time. More likely than not, you’ll find that the experience leaves you much more relaxed. Whether you’re battling the demons of cravings or not, anyone can benefit from a little more time outside.

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Urban Vegetation: The Ultimate Crime Fighter?

It won’t come as a surprise to most that urban trees help save energy, lead to better air and water quality, reduce stormwater runoff, store carbon and increase property values. But beyond that, some researchers and city managers believe that a larger presence of trees and vegetation in urban environments could reduce crime.

According to an article published by MotherJones.com, environmental researchers at the University of Illinois compared aerial photos and police crime reports. The researchers calculated that buildings still surrounded by lots of foliage saw 48% fewer property crimes, on average, and 56% fewer violent crimes than buildings with low levels of vegetation. The analysis doesn’t prove trees play an active role in reducing crime, however, the study has sparked a growing body of research on the subject.

A handful of theories have been circulating  regarding this phenomenon. Some say trees might signal that the area is well cared for, similar to the “broken windows” theory, which suggests that disorder invites crime (though there is no scientific consensus on this relationship). Some say green spaces make an area inviting and can lead to more informal surveillance, or “eyes on the street.” Other theories point to the welldocumented calming effect of vegetation, or the idea that greenery promotes trust within a community.

WELLNESS AROUND THE VALLEY

It’s a New DEAL (Diabetes Education and Access for Life) at Lowell Community Health Center

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation, Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) will soon have the tools to improve diabetes self-management for a group of high-risk Medicaid patients. In particular, the Parker Foundation grant will support the first phase in development of the Health Center’s Nutrition Resource Center (NRC) to educate and engagement patients in chronic disease self-management, with a focus on uncontrolled diabetes.

Mirroring a national trend, Type II (sometimes called non-insulin-dependent) Diabetes is a growing issue in the community and affects almost 13% of Health Center patients. People with diabetes are at risk for hypertension, heart disease, and other potentially debilitating chronic conditions. The burden on patients and on the health care system is tremendous. As part of the new Wellforce Care Plan, an Accountable Care Organization, Lowell CHC is committed to significantly improving outcomes for its diabetic patients, in particular lowering A1C levels – which measure average blood sugar levels over a three-month period – to reduce complications from this chronic condition.

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LOCAL HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS & UPCOMING EVENTS

July 20

Home Sweet Home Bike Run for 50 Legs

A-Brews Tap & Grill | Dracut, Mass. | ABrews.com

July 21

Nashoba Learning Group’s 18th Annual Bikeathon

Nashoba Learning Group | Bedford, Mass. | NashobaLearningGroup.org

July 23

Merrimack Valley YMCA Golf Outing 

Merrimack Valley YMCA | Lawrence, Mass. | MVYMCA.org

July 30

2nd Annual Red Heat Tavern and Burtons Grill & Bar MDA Golf Classic

Butter Brook Golf Club | Westford, Mass. | (978) 549-8681

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