Healthy Food Choices Cuts Colon Cancer Risk

New work finds that making health food choices by following a diet rich in fruits, veggies, low fat dairy products and fish is linked to a lowered colon cancer risk. If you’ve been following this issue, you know that earlier studies have brought conflicting findings about the effectiveness of eating this way.

Yet the latest work, just published in the Journal of Nutrition, found a clear benefit to eating healthy and reduced risk. Almost 147,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were identified last year in the United States, and this disease is the third leading cause of cancer in men, the fourth in women.

Paige Miller, PhD, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University, found that eating a healthy, plant based diet cut the risk of colon cancer by 65% in women and 62% in men. By any standards, this type of reduction is pretty impressive. Fish was part of the protective effect for men, while low fat dairy seems especially helpful for women, though the reason for this remains unclear.

The researchers looked at the diets of 431 men and women who had colorectal cancer alongside the eating habits of 716 healthy control subjects.

They categorized subjects into two eating styles; fruits and veggies diet pattern and a meat and potatoes, refined grains pattern. In men there was a third pattern, a diet that included lots of alcohol and sweetened drinks.

The diet pattern associated with higher cancer risk had more red and processed meats, poultry, fried and white potatoes, high fat dairy, refined grains, butter, gravy and mayonnaise, as well as the things we clearly expect to be bad, sweets and salty snacks.

Besides the reduction in colorectal cancer risk for those eating the fruits and veggie heavy diets, Miller found that more closely the subjects stuck to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid recommendations, the lower the cancer risk – as much as 44% for men and 56% for women.

Nutritionists and experts like Miller will tell you not to focus on a single food, nutrient or something else in the diet. Instead, try to eat an overall plant-based diet that has lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds and vegetable oil. Experts think that these foods move waste through the colon more rapidly, which means any troublesome substance has less time to stick around.

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Revealed: Healthy Diet Cuts Colorectal Cancer Risk… Continued…

The take home message for anyone, concerned about colorectal cancer or not, is to adopt a diet that’s good for you, balanced and a way of eating you adopt for life.

Diet is only one part of the colon cancer picture…

A history of ulcerative colitis also increases your risk, as does a family history of the disease. Colon polyps are the sites where most colorectal cancers develop; so removing these polyps can prevent cancer from getting started.

There are other risks that you can affect. Stop smoking, take control of your weight and don’t drink to excess as these have all been linked to a higher colon cancer risk. It’s also important to get annual exams and screenings, as colon cancer can have no symptoms. Healthy food choices, early detection and treatment can, and does, save lives.

Eating Organic Food Diet Can Lead to Weight Gain

It’s only since the beginning of the 20th century that a large number of new synthetic chemicals have become a part of our food supply. Increasingly people are searching for foods that are closer to nature. Unfortunately, new work out the University of Michigan finds that eating organic food diet actually serves to skew a person’s perceptions about food, and not in a good way.

We assume these items are lower in calories, so it’s fine to indulge. Exercise is also seen as less necessary after eating a so-called “organic” desert. The disturbing study appears in the journal Judgment and Decision Making.

These findings follow through on earlier work that shows food labels do spur misperceptions.

Calling a food “low fat” on the label makes buyers think it has fewer calories. Those items labeled as “low cholesterol” are often judged as having less fat. American’s as a whole have a strong tendency to associate “organic” with healthiness according to experts.

Researchers Jonathon P. Schuldt and professor Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan conducted two experiments to see if “organic” labels translated into “fewer calories” in the mind of the consumer.

The first, involving 114 college students who were asked to read nutrition labels on cookies – they were described as either “Oreo cookies” or “Oreo cookies made with organic flour and sugar.” Both had 160 calories but participants were asked to rate whether they thought the cookies had fewer calories or more calories than other brands on a scale of 1 (fewest calories) and 7 (most calories).

Not surprisingly, the cookies described as “organic” were rated as having fewer calories than conventional cookies. The “organic” cookies got a rating of 3.9; the traditional ones got an average rating of 5.17. Participants also thought the “organic” cookies could be eaten more than the non organic ones. The impact on calorie judgments was largest for those who held pro environment views, or those who valued organic methods in the first place.

The second of the two studies involved 215 college students who read a story about a character who wanted to lose weight but wanted to skip her after dinner run.

Participants read that she’d eaten either an organic or regular, non organic desert, then they responded whether it was okay for her to skip the run. Readers were more lenient to the character if she’d eaten the organic desert instead of the regular one.

Both studies suggest that “organic” claims might not just foster lower calorie estimates, and have us eating more than we should of this food, but they may also have us thinking that we’ve already made progress toward losing weight, when in truth nothing has changed.

It’s important to keep in mind that the word “organic” on a food label refers to how the food is processed, not to how much fat or calories it has.

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“Organic” Labels Can Lead to Weight Gain… Continued…

A food that calls itself organic must be free of food additives, processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions (chemical ripening, food irradiation, genetically modified ingredients). Pesticides are allowed as long as they’re not synthetic.

Yet experts have found that if people think a food is better… has fewer calories and fat, you’re likely to eat all that much more of it. Often people have the feeling that by eating healthy they don’t have to do other things… like exercise.

Organic food sales in the United Sates have grown rapidly over the past twenty years, from $1 billion in 1990 to a staggering $25 billion just last year. Eating organic food diet items generally cost from 10-40% more than their conventionally produced counterparts. If you do decide to (or continue to) buy “organic” know that it isn’t a free pass to eat all you want.

Ten Factors That Account For 90% Of Stroke Risk

These numbers are hard to ignore. A large international study published in The Lancet has found that there are ten risk factors that account for a staggering 90% of stroke risk. In the U.S., strokes are the third largest cause of death (behind heart disease and cancer), and bring a heartbreaking, life altering loss of independence to an estimated 30% of those who survive the stroke itself.

High blood pressure is the most important of the risk factors identified in the research, but there are nine others that also bear some of the blame when it comes to stroke.

The one bright spot is that of the list, the top five are related to lifestyle – high blood pressure, smoking, abdominal obesity, diet and being physically active – accounting for 80% of all stroke risk.

In fact, blood pressure plays a part in both types of stroke. Ischemic caused by blockage of a blood vessel in the brain, and are the more common. Hemorrhagic (or bleeding stroke) happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the surrounding tissue. Both types are very dangerous and require immediate medical attention.

The findings of this work come out of the INTERSTROKE study, a standardized, case control bit of research that involved 3,000 subjects from 22 different countries who had strokes and an equal number of healthy controls with no stroke history.

A second phase of the study is underway now, with experts looking at the importance of the risk factors in different regions, ethnic groups and types of stroke. They plan to enroll more than 20,000 participants and also look at the link between genetics and stroke risk.

The list of ten risk factors that were also presented at the World Congress on Cardiology (WCC) held in Beijing are…

1. High blood pressure, across the board the most important factor – accounting for one third of all stroke risk.

2. Smoking

3. Being active on a regular basis

4. Waist-to-hip ratio (also known as abdominal obesity)

5. Diet – a high intake of fish and fruits was found helpful in reducing risk

6. Blood lipid levels, more important in the risk of ischemic stroke

7. Diabetes

8. Alcohol intake

9. Stress

10. Depression

And while many of these risk factors are ones we’ve heard about before, this is the first research to include both low and middle-income participants from developing countries in the mix. Other vital information comes from the brain scan conducted on the stroke survivors who participated in the study.

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Ten Factors That Account For 90% Of Stroke Risk… Continued…

In an editorial accompanying the research, Dr. Jack V. Tu of the University of Toronto pointed out that high blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke in all countries, developed or emerging nation.

The stroke risk factors are pretty similar no matter where you live. This highlights the need for medicine and public health officials to do whatever can be done to encourage people to reduce high blood pressure, which experts believe would have a major impact on the incidence of stroke. The best news is that many of the risk factors, blood pressure included, are under your control. What you eat, if you smoke or drink too much alcohol, even your stress levels can be changed. Starting today.

Sugar in Food Causes Fat Cells To Multiply Faster

As we all know, obesity is a growing issue for children. New research points an accusing finger at fructose, a sugar in food that is a major component of widely used high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks, processed foods and candy, and suggests it may cause fat cells in children to multiply faster, playing a key role in obesity. Shockingly, an estimated 17% of children in the U.S. aged 2 to 19 years are now considered obese.

Obese kids and teens face a host of struggles… beyond being at higher risk of asthma, hepatic steatosis and sleep apnea, they’re also at increased risk for other dangerous health conditions usually only seen in adults.

More likely to be obese when they reach adulthood, these kids are also the targets of an early, systematic and relentless social discrimination, leading to an understandable lack of self-esteem that is likely to be with them the rest of their lives.

Presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, this new research is just the latest argument in the raging sugar vs. high fructose corn syrup debate.

On one side critics claim it contributes to obesity and tricks the body into wanting to eat more. And then there are the health conscious who balk at putting any kind of toxic, man-made concoction into the body. The industry, predictably, says high fructose corn syrup is just fine… perfectly safe… the same as sugar.

You’ve probably seen the TV commercials the Corn Refiners Association has been running, despite questions on the objectivity of the quoted research raised by reports of funding for the studies being supplied by companies with a financial stake in the outcome.

The research on fructose and childhood obesity involved a team extracting preadipocytes, cells that will eventually turn into fat cells, from 32 normal weight children who had yet to go through puberty. The cells were of both types, subcutaneous or just below the skin, and visceral, deeper in the abdominal cavity. The cells were soaked in normal level glucose, high level glucose or high fructose solutions and allowed to grow.

Upon examination the visceral fat cells, the cells that were in fructose divided and multiplied more than those soaked in glucose. Both the subcutaneous and visceral cells exposed to glucose showed increased insulin resistance, known to be a risk factor for diabetes.

High fructose corn syrup is used more often in American foods than sucrose. It’s made from milling corn, processing that starch into syrup and adding enzymes to change it into fructose. Glucose syrup is added to create a mixture that’s 45% glucose; 55% fructose. The industry says that high fructose corn syrup helps prolong the shelf life of products, keeps moisture in and, probably most important, is cheaper than sugar.

The worrisome thing for medicine is that doctors are seeing more type 2 diabetes today than ever before, and claim this is due to kids being overweight.

Our children may be unknowingly increasing their risks for other adults-only conditions, like cardiovascular disease. Experts have seen a rise in cholesterol numbers and blood pressure readings in overweight children… just as they would in the grown up population.

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Fructose Causes Fat Cells To Multiply Faster… Continued…

Dr. James Rippe, cardiologist and consultant to the Corn Refiners Association points out that high fructose corn syrup is not the same as fructose. High fructose corn syrup is half fructose and half glucose. A minor point considering we’re still talking about sugar and how it is often an unavoidable part of the foods and drinks around us.

When it comes to high fructose corn syrup, one expert, Margot G. Wootan, director of Nutritional Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest suggests that the thinking be “it’s just as bad as sugar”. While trace amounts of high fructose corn syrup are probably not going to hurt you, too much of any kind of sugar in the diet will.

Another important point. The study, while using actual human cells, was conducted in the lab, so you should look on the results with some measure of caution. Experiments in human subjects would be needed to confirm the findings of the effect of sugar in food. This is an important point according to the spokeswoman of the American Dietetic Association, Keri Gans. Still Gans echoes the fear of a growing number in the medical community – that this will be the first generation of children who may not outlive their parents.

How Much Water To Drink a Day?

As the summer sends temperatures soaring, more and more of us are paying attention to how much we’re drinking… our throats scratchy and dry, aching for some relief from that parched feeling. The thing is, if you feel thirsty you’re probably already dehydrated according to Dr. Sylvia Morris, a professor at the Emory University School of Medicine. But the question most people want to know is, ‘how much water to drink a day?’.

Next to air, water is essential to our survival and good health, making up about 60% of our total body weight. While we can exist without food, the body can go without water for only a few days. Every system in the body needs it, to flush toxins, carry nutrients to cells and offer a moist environment for the tissues of the ear, nose and throat.

We lose water every day though breathing, sweating, urine and moving the bowels. It’s important to understand that your need for water will depend on many factors – how healthy you are, how active you are, and where you live.

Any doctor or nurse will tell you that the human body works far more efficiently when hydrated properly. Morris, and many others believe that we’re not getting nearly as much water as we should, and many of us may be chronically dehydrated.

Lack of water leaves the body without the water it needs to carry out normal functions, and this can leave you feeling overheated, exhausted and lightheaded. You’re also at increased risk of an electrolyte imbalance, muscle cramps and are at a higher risk of heatstroke until you replace the water your body needs.

It’s important to understand that dehydration is a risk for anyone, even those we think of as “in shape”. Remember when General David Petraeus fainted at a Senate Armed Services committee meeting recently? Dehydration was the cause. Workers cleaning up the BP oil spill are also battling dehydration as they work in brutally hot temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

But is the old recommendation of 8 glasses a day still correct?

Many experts, including Morris say no, that we need a good deal more than this.

Men should have over 13 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Women need 9 glasses a day, though if pregnant or nursing she should be drinking even more.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to keeping your body hydrated – if you rarely feel thirst and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, you’re taking in enough fluid to meet your body’s needs.

It’s important however not to confuse liquid with water. Soda, juices and other drinks don’t count toward the recommended amounts. Nor do water filled foods like watermelon, tomatoes, eggs and celery count, though they are delicious. Other good choices of fluids, if water isn’t available, include milk, herbal teas, low salt broth or 100% fruit or vegetable juices.

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How Much Water Do You Really Need Each Day..? Continued…

Getting the recommended amount of water not only gives the body the fluid it needs, but it also helps quash your appetite, a huge bonus for anyone trying to lose (or maintain) weight. Drinking two glasses of water between meals, as well as another while you’re eating is Morris’ suggestion to be sure ensure you get enough liquid throughout the day.

Naturally if you’re planning to do heavy outdoor work, or an intense workout, you need to drink a lot of water, especially as the temperatures go up. Drink two glasses before you exercise, the first one to two hours beforehand, the second a half hour before your workout. Have an additional two glasses 10-15 minutes before your session.

During the workout drink a half a glass of water every 15 minutes. After the workout is over drink two more glasses of water if you’re thirsty, as this is accounting for all you lost through sweating. If you’ll be out for a while, and are intent on performance, consider adding a sports drink to the mix. Avoid sugary drinks as this can cause stomach discomfort for some people, leaving them bloated, gassy and even nauseated… not the best way to feel for an effective workout. So when it comes to how much water to drink a day, while there are guidelines, it will vary from person to person depending on their hydration requirements.

Is Working Bad for Health?

Studies suggest that sitting for hours at a time; in your car, at your desk, in front of the TV or computer can be trouble, no matter how many calories you take in or how active you might be at other times. So, is working bad for health? Researchers have linked too much sitting with back pain, repetitive stress injuries, obesity as well as an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Those who have sedentary jobs tend to have larger waistlines and higher blood pressure and blood sugar than those who don’t sit as part of their job.

Sitting for long periods appears to encourage the body to do things that are bad for you. It can flatten out the curve of the lower back, as well as adding strain to the upper body, shoulders and arms. It can also cause your blood to move more slowly and may pool in the larger veins of your legs, where clots can form.

Experts also believe that immobile muscles slowly lose the ability of metabolize fats and sugars. This encourages high cholesterol and ups your diabetes risk. Sedentary jobs up the chances of developing cardiovascular disease and have also been linked to a greater risk of metabolic syndrome.

Today ergonomic disorders like carpal tunnel are the fastest growing category of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recorded injuries and illnesses. These are the well-known hazards of desk jobs, like carpal tunnel syndrome (the most common type of nerve damage) that come from repetitive actions.

Lower back pain comes from the slouching most of us do as we sit, which compresses the stomach muscles and hunches the back, hardly a natural body position… hence the pain. Eyestrain is also a well-known problem for those who spend hours squinting at the screen, causing conditions like nearsightedness.

Since giving up your job is hardly a practical choice, what can you do to reduce the impact of hours in your chair (or your car)?

- Take regular breaks during the day to stretch and walk around. Just five to ten minutes per hour is enough.

- Practice good posture, keeping your head up, breathing from your belly and having your keyboard and mouse within easy reach. Stop cradling the phone and be sure your feet are placed firmly on the ground as you sit.

- Work also on your flexibility while sitting – cross a leg, do a spinal twist, stretch your calves or stand up – all are simple actions you can do during the day, while still working and being productive.

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Is Your Job Causing Long-term Health Problems..? Continued…

- Consider nontraditional work set ups – things like sit-stand stools or balance balls you can use at your desk. A Walkstation (low speed treadmill with a desk attached) may be an option for you.

- Talk to your employer about ergonomic programs they may already have in place to make your workspace more comfortable. Look at both your chair and computer monitor as ripe for adjustments if you’re having trouble.

So, if your job requires you to be seated more than you think is good for you, give some of these suggestions a try. And while workouts didn’t have an effect on the risks of sitting all day bring, staying active does help. It increases flexibility and is better than simply going home to sit some more.

You may also find that more and more employers are willing to embrace the idea of a healthy workplace, as opposed to making working bad for health, seeing the investment pay off in increased productivity, improved staff retention, less absenteeism and reductions in the overall costs of insurance and other benefits. A rare moment when everyone wins.

Drinking Red Wine Good For Heart and Weight

We’ve all heard that drinking red wine is good for your heart, now two studies have given experts important clues on just how these richly colored wines deliver their heart healthy benefits along with the great taste. The two studies along with an accompanying editorial appear in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In the first study, researchers out of the University of Ulm in Germany examined the biological behavior of resveratrol in human fat cells. This is the substance, found in the skin of red grapes, that’s been shown to be a potential protection against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. The hypothesis of the researchers was that this substance might cut obesity by preventing young fat cells from maturing while also activating sirtuin 1, a protein that protects our heart from inflammation.

In the lab, resveratrol was found to influence fat cells’ form and function. It was not only able to stop the young cells from maturing; this kept them from differentiating and in turn affected their ability to function. While earlier work has used animals to look at the effects of resveratrol, this is the first research to be done on actual human fat cells.

The team also noticed that resveratrol did other things – stimulating glucose uptake into the fat cells and blocking molecules from changing into fat. It also helped the Sirt 1 protein and the secretion of adipokines, the fat cells that actually do the cell-to-cell talking. It may be that resveratrol prevents obesity to some extent, maybe by acting on that all-important cell signaling, while also supporting other metabolic effects that lead to a healthy heart.

Obesity, a major, well known risk factor for heart disease, could be treated with this substance according to researchers who point out that the World Health Organization estimates there are 1.6 billion people over the age of 15 who are overweight (BMI of 25.0-29.9), and at least 400 million people who are obese (BMI over 30.0). These numbers are expected to grow in the years to come.

The second of the two studies comes from the Israel Institute of Technology and finds that red wine enhanced the health of blood vessel cells.

The work involved 15 healthy adults (mean age 29) who consumed 250 mL (8.5 ounces) of red wine each day for three weeks in a row. The subjects gave blood samples at the beginning and end of the study period.

The team found that drinking red wine significantly enhanced vascular endothelial function – in other words, it improved the health of blood vessels, which in turn improves blood flow and the health of the heart itself.

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How Red Wine Might Help Your Weight and Heart… Continued…

Drinking the red wine each day also seemed to reduce apoptosis, or cell death.

In populations where red wine is a mainstay, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is low according to the researchers.

Drinking moderate amounts does provide some protection to your heart. It may be that red wine increases nitric oxide availability and triggers a cellular communication process that’s needed for blood vessels to work properly. The endothelial cells in blood vessels rely on nitric oxide to tell the vessel tissue to relax, and this helps blood flow. The red wine appears to facilitate the communication that gets this process going.

In an editorial published along with the two studies, experts from the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland call for clinical trials to measure the effect of drinking red wine and assess the compounds ability to reverse existing cardiovascular disease. The new insights are welcome, though questions linger regarding red wine’s biological properties and mechanism of action.

Coffee Health Benefits Include Reduced Oral Cancer Symptoms

Coffee lovers will enjoy hearing this bit of news. Some recent research has found that the coffee health benefits from drinking 5 cups a day appears to lower your risk of developing oral cancer symptoms.

The intriguing report appears in the July 2010 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, and is the work of a team out of the University of Milan who analyzed nine earlier case control studies that compared 5,139 subjects with head and neck cancer to 9,028 subjects who were cancer free.

The team, lead by researcher Carlotta Galeone, was exploring the relationship between the intake of coffee or tea and head and neck cancers.

They were surprised to find that those who drank more than 4 cups of coffee each day had a 39% lower risk of getting mouth cancer. The protection was found for oral and pharyngeal cancer, but not for cancer of the larynx. Experts believe this could be important in terms of explaining why the drink might be helpful.

For those who drank fewer than 5 cups of coffee each day, coffee had a smaller, yet still statistically significant, effect. It worked out to about a 4% lower risk of developing throat or mouth cancer for each cup of coffee you drink.

The protective effect of the coffee wasn’t diminished for those who drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes, two well known (and avoidable) risks for head and neck cancers.

Even more interesting, the protection didn’t get better if the subjects drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day and also ate lots of fruits and veggies which have been found to safeguard the body against head and neck cancers. Drinking caffeinated teas, even massive quantities, also wasn’t found to be protective.

Light to moderate coffee drinking didn’t appear to do anything to the risk of head or neck cancers.

This isn’t the first research to find benefits to drinking coffee. Nor is it the first to find that coffee may have an anti-cancer effect.

Recent studies have linked coffee drinking with smaller brain tumors and less likelihood of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer. It’s also been tied to improved mental function and reduced stroke risk.

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Popular Beverage Reduces Oral Cancer Risk… Continued…

Before you go grab another cup of your favorite brewed beverage, bear in mind that this delicious drink also contains more than a thousand chemicals, so no one can say for sure if the caffeine or another as yet unidentified substance is responsible for the protective effect it seems to have on cancers. There are some coffee chemicals, cafestrol and kahweol for example, that are known to have anti-cancer properties.

Considering how low survival rates are for head and neck cancer, and the already widespread use of coffee as a beverage, this may be a first step toward helping people reduce their risk of these cancers.

While more work is being done, you should do whatever else you can to reduce your risk of head and neck cancers. Continue to eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies, don’t drink excessive volumes of alcohol and if you smoke try to quit.

Everyone wants more research to be done to try and understand the role of coffee health benefits in reducing oral cancer symptoms in head and neck cancers. So stay tuned, and stick with the things you already know will help keep your body cancer free.

Weight Gain Later In Life Ups Diabetes Risk

If you’ve gained weight (especially about the middle) after the age of 50 you have a significantly increased type 2 diabetes risk according to new research appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A weight gain of as little as 20 pounds tripled the risk of diabetes in study subjects. This echoes the warning of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) – being overweight at any age is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.

Estimates from the ADA suggest almost 24 million American adults and children are living with some form of diabetes. That’s 7.8% of the population of the United States. Each year 1.6 million more people are diagnosed. Most cases of diabetes are type 2.

What hasn’t gotten a lot of attention according to study author Mary L. Biggs, a research scientist out of the University of Washington, is how the composition of the body, and changing weight over time, might affect the risk of diabetes in the older adult.

The researchers used data that came from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a project that lasted from 1989-2007, and included information on 4,200 subjects over the age of 65.

At the start of the research not one of the participants had been diagnosed with diabetes. The data, collected over an average of a dozen years, included body mass index, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, as well as other measures.

The team saw that those with the highest baseline numbers for weight had a 4.3 times higher risk of diabetes than those who had the lowest measurements.

There were some measures that stood out as being very predictive. Men over 65 with a BMI over 38.7 (overweight) had a 5.6 times higher risk of diabetes than the male with a BMI under 23.3. The risk of diabetes was 3.7 times higher for women with similar BMI numbers..

Having fat about the middle, the so-called visceral fat, is more closely rated to insulin resistance, and this could be a factor in the increased risk in men.

Continues below…


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Weight Gain Later In Life Ups Risk Of Diabetes… Continued…

In the males, those whose waists measured above 104.6 centimeters had 5.1 times the risk of diabetes, when compared to subjects with a waist circumference under 89.1 centimeters. In women, the risk was 3.6 times higher with a waist circumference of 101.1 centimeters, compared to those with measurements of 78.6 centimeters.

Adding weight later in life was also shown to have a big impact on the risk of diabetes. Those who were normal weight at 50 and then added 13-20 pounds increased diabetes risk at age 65 (or older) by 1.3 times. If the weight gained was over the twenty pound mark, the risk increased by 3.2 times.

The impact was even more pronounced if you were overweight or obese at 50 and gained even more weight. The more weight, the more risk.

Study lead Biggs sees the findings as an important public health wake up call, especially considering the risk of type 2 diabetes, and the rates of mortality because of heart disease (that can be related to diabetes) in those of increasing years.

Finding a link between diabetes risk and weight makes it even more important to get the message out that keeping your weight in the healthy range all through life – especially as you age – is a key component to staying healthy, active and mentally sharp.

Anxiety Ups Heart Disease Risk

If you’re one of the three in ten Americans who deal with anxiety, you may sometimes fear you’re having a heart attack. Now two recent European studies along with a supporting editorial in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology appear to confirm the role that anxiety disorders play in increasing heart disease risk or suffering a fatal cardiac event. Heart disease is recognized as the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United Sates.

The first study out of Tilburg University in the Netherlands involves data from 20 studies on almost 250,000 subjects and found that anxiety was tied to a 26% increased risk of heart disease, and a 48% higher risk of heart related death over the follow up period, even after adjusting for other heart disease risk factors.

The second study out of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden examined data on 50,000 Swedish men and also found anxiety problems as predictors, more than doubling the risk of future heart disease, even after controlling for known risks like high blood pressure and smoking.

While worry and stress, fear and the occasional case of nerves are a natural part of life, if these feelings are persistent, seem to be out of control and overwhelm your waking hours then you may have something more serious, an anxiety disorder. The term is used by experts to describe a group of conditions that include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder as well as specific phobias like heights or closed in spaces.

Experts now believe that there may be a genetic component to anxiety, and today’s estimates have almost 40 million Americans coping with anxiety disorders.

When it comes to treatment, there are some natural, highly effective ways to deal with anxiety:

- Aerobic exercise is a huge help, not just because it helps burn off stress but it also has beneficial effects on circulation and strengthening the heart. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, important for a healthy heart.

- Don’t smoke as this improves your odds of avoiding heart disease.

- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a well-established, very effective treatment that focuses on identifying, understanding and changing thinking and thus behavior patterns. Help comes in 12 to 16 weeks, and the techniques you learn last a lifetime.

- Acupuncture, the Chinese practice of inserting hair-thin needles into the body at special points to change the flow of energy has been increasingly shown to be effective against anxiety disorders.

- Yoga, combining physical postures, breathing, meditation and a very distinct philosophy is very effective against anxiety.

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Anxiety Ups Risk Of Heart Disease… Continued…

An accompanying editorial written by a psychiatry professor at the University of California-San Diego, Joel Dimsdale, MD, points out that the findings of both studies underscore the need for doctors to assess the emotional health of patients, just as they do physical symptoms.

The studies don’t address treatment or ways to reduce anxiety by using medications, therapy, stress reduction or changes in your lifestyle, but it’s clear that treating your anxiety can bring long-term benefits to body as well as mind.

According to Dimsdale, doctors aren’t comfortable asking patients about feelings and their everyday lives. But doing so might help in identify those at risk for serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease.

So if you deal with anxiety, and you’re concerned about your heart disease risk, you need to start a conversation with your doctor – remember you can’t get help until you let your medical team know about your problem, and there are many treatments available. The thing to know is that anxiety does not have to be a part of your life forever. Things can be better. Starting now.