Archive for October, 2007

Tips To Change Unhealthy Habits: Self Control vs WillPower

October 31, 2007

Go to fullsize imageHere’s one article I read from the Mayo Clinic Health Letter I want to share to everyone.  This is timely and concise at these times that everything that surrounds us is tempting us to do other than what our body requires us to do.  It’s The Will Power to do good things being overcome by destructive tempations leading to unhealthy lifestyle.

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But counting on willpower alone to make a change is inviting failure. A Special Report in the February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter discusses the essential steps to a healthier life, including how planning and self-control skills — not willpower alone — help make healthy behavior changes.

How Self Cotrol wins Over Will Power 

Dessert splurge

Willpower: I’ll make a cheesecake for others in the house, but I won’t eat it.

Self-control: I won’t make a cheesecake, but I can have a slice when I dine out.

Accessible alcohol

Willpower: I’ll keep a liquor cabinet for guests, but I won’t drink.

Self-control: For a time, and perhaps forever, I will not have alcohol in the house.

Smoking cessation

Willpower: I’ll stop cold turkey.

Self-control: Before I stop, I’ll talk to my doctor about ways to ease withdrawal.

Dining out

Willpower: We’ll go to the buffet, but I’ll just have salad.

Self-control: We’ll go to a restaurant that offers small portions and low-fat or vegetarian items.

Exercise

Willpower: Although I’m tired in the evening, I’m going to get out and walk for 30 minutes every day after dinner.

Self-control: I’m going to try to walk 15 to 30 minutes in the morning and at lunch. I’ll ask a friend to join me for encouragement.

Self-control is one step. But many factors impact why we do what we do — or don’t do. In fact, discarding an unhealthy behavior, or adopting a healthy one, is a tough challenge and often takes from three to 30 attempts.

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Simple easy steps to a healthy lifestyle.  Its a matter of combining self control and the will to do things in a manner that will satisfy your body, your self and your health!  It may take time to do things right but as long as one has the will and the foresight to do them with a purpose …then you will be successful! 

Remember…. Not trying is the worst thing you can do to yourself and your health!

Take Self Control and The Will To Be Healthy!

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The Danger of Sleepless Nights!!!!

October 29, 2007

Go to fullsize imageFeeling Grumpy after waking up? Maybe lack of sound sleep? Or deprived of sleep? Or sleep debt?

No matter what you do, this lack of sleep has been shown to increase one’s emotional outburst.  Needless to say, one is not too keen in listening to problems in office or even offering solutions without having to raise ones voice.  It is therefore difficult or problematic to handle delicate situations in times of sleep debt.  The day to day interaction with friends or co workers and employees can result in negative outcome and productivity.

In the October 23 issue of Cell Biology comes a new study that looked at the reason why this happens as the lead author has said: “Sleep deprivation fractures the brain mechanisms that regulate key aspects of our mental health.”

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Sleep deprivation is known to impair a range of functions, including immune regulation and metabolic control, as well as neurocognitive processes, such as learning and memory. But evidence for the role of sleep in regulating our emotional brain-state is surprisingly scarce, and while the dysregulation of affective stability following sleep loss has received subjective documentation , any neural examination remains absent.

Clinical evidence suggests that sleep and emotion interact; nearly all psychiatric and neurological disorders expressing sleep disruption display corresponding symptoms of affective imbalance. Independent of sleep, knowledge of the basic neural and cognitive mechanisms regulating emotion is remarkably advanced.

The amygdala has a well-documented role in the processing of emotionally salient information, particularly aversive stimuli . The extent of amygdala engagement can also be influenced by a variety of connected systems, particularly the medial-prefrontal cortex (MPFC); the MPFC is proposed to exert an inhibitory, top-down control of amygdala function, resulting in contextually appropriate emotional responses.

We have focused on this network and using functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI) have obtained evidence, reported here, that a lack of sleep inappropriately modulates the human emotional brain response to negative aversive stimuli.

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My practice to to advocate a balance of stress and de-stress! Balance the time of work and play… this may not be easy for some but health dictates us to be vigilant and be more aggressive in finding ways our body can rest!!! The system works best if noxious stimuli can be avoided or be rid off!  Sleep is one way the body regenerates the energy it requires to handle the stresses of the next day!

Sleep Debt as we know of can lead to all the dangers of health stress: it has been shown to be a major risk factor for developing metabolic illnesses like Diabetes and High blood pressure.  With this new study comes data linking neuronal changes to sleep debt that can result in emotional unrest!  Remember…any emotional stress increases the production of stress hormones in the body that can have harmful effects on the heart!

Work is important but so is Sleep and Rest!  Just make sure…a balance is made between what you do and want to accomplish and what your health dictates you to do!

Health is Wealth My Friends!

Read My Other Related Posts:

Too Little Sleep Because Of Work?

Sleep And The Risk of Obesity and Diabetes
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Avandia and Heart Disease: Anything New?

October 27, 2007

Go to fullsize imageAvandia continues to be in the limelight.  As more physicians are aware of its benefits, controversy surrounding its use and possible side effects continue to be the main issue among patients.  Further analysis have been done by the European Medicine Agency, the counterpart of the US FDA, on whether the benefits outweigh the risk in the use of Avandia among our diabetic patients:

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Finalising a review of the benefits and risks of the thiazolidinediones rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos), the European Medicines Agency has concluded that the benefits of these antidiabetic medicines continue to outweigh their risks in the approved indications. However, the Agency recommended changing the product information for rosiglitazone and agreed further initiatives to increase scientific knowledge on the safety of both medicines.The Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) carried out this review as part of its continuous monitoring of the safety of medicines, because of new information on these medicines’ side effects. This included information on the risk of bone fractures in women, and, in patients taking rosiglitazone, a possible risk of ischaemic heart disease (reduced blood supply to the heart muscle). This raised concerns over the benefit-risk balance of both rosiglitazone and pioglitazone.

Having assessed all available data, the CHMP concluded that the benefits of both rosiglitazone and pioglitazone in the treatment of type 2 diabetes continue to outweigh their risks.

However, the prescribing information should be updated to include a warning that, in patients with ischaemic heart disease, rosiglitazone should only be used after careful evaluation of each patient’s individual risk. In addition, the combination of rosiglitazone and insulin should only be used in exceptional cases and under close supervision.These changes will be introduced in forthcoming regulatory procedures for rosiglitazone-containing medicines. No changes to the prescribing information for medicines containing pioglitazone were considered necessary.

The Committee will review the results of currently ongoing studies. It also recommended that further studies be performed in order to increase the level of scientific knowledge on the two medicines.

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Whether the US FDA will follow the same guidelines remain to be seen.  What is important to this date is that further studies need to be done.  The risk of heart attack is always inherent in any diabetic…whether the use of Avanida increases the heart attack risk was found to be negative in the interim analysis of a well designed prospective study called RECORD…a study specifically designed to address this issue. 

The controversy on Avandia started after a metaanalysis of the previous small studies on Avandia was done and showed an increase risk in heart attack.. Unfortunately the medical community does not accept studies of this caliber to suggest a relationship because of the many loopholes associated with analyzing data in a Metaanalysis. 

Do check out my blogroll on AVANDIA update for previous posts.

To this date… the agency has said it well:

The Benefits Continue to Outweigh The Risks!

That Health Rules Milestone…. Thanks To All…..

October 26, 2007

Go to fullsize imageThis website started as my way of enjoying the passion to educate and inform.  Glad to know from my Brother in Law, Wlison Ng, whose blog site, The Bizdrivenlife… is widely read among enterpreneurs…that such a thing as a blog exist in the online community!  I am glad that he showed me the way and am happy that I did heed his advise.

Now, I have been getting 400 hits per day …thanks to links from prestigoius online journals like the Wall Street Journal, CNN Health Online, Community Chat Forum like Optionz from Australia, other related blog sites like Sugar Stats.

My exposure to national media was made possible because of this website.  My article on Coffee was published in National Dailies like Manila Bullettin and Philippine Star including the Freeman in the local daily.  Opportunities like this come in handy and free.

The website has so far registered 85,400 visits in 1 year of existence.  I cant imagine writing health issues in that span of time.  I did not even realize it till now that the website celebrated its one year anniversary last August of 2007!!!  Happy Birthday to Me!!!!  I guess if one enjoys the things that one does…time really flies!

Again…thanks to all for visiting my website.  To my friends, my colleagues, my visitors and my patients….This website is for all of you!

Let’s All Enjoy Reading and Learning!

What Happens To The Heart Of An Obese Child?

October 25, 2007

2069806394.jpgChildhood obesity is now becoming a major health problem not only in the US but also in the developing world. We know the consequences of our child becoming obese and how it will impact on out kids future in terms of their chances to become obese FOR LIFE.

What we dont know are the cardiac or heart consequences associated with increasing obesity in childhood.  This recent 2007 study published in the Journal of Cardiometabolic Syndrome looked at changes seen as markers that can lead to early heart problems among our obese children.

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Childhood obesity is a major health care issue in the United States. This epidemic has important cardiovascular implications. Newer imaging modalities in obese adults have demonstrated abnormal systolic and diastolic cardiac function. The authors proposed to determine whether these abnormalities are present in obese children.

A total of 168 children were identified from our echocardiographic database. Body mass index for age was calculated.

Echocardiographic clips were analyzed using imaging technology to determine myocardial motion, strain, and strain rate. Patients at risk for obesity and those meeting criteria for obesity had increased late diastolic myocardial motion compared with normal-weight children. Obese patients had decreased systolic strain compared with normal-weight children.

As with adults, obese children have significant differences in diastolic function and strain. These abnormalities may be subtle markers for the emergence of future cardiac disease. (JCMS. 2007;2:30–34)

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Children therefore are not immune to the structural and heart abnormalities associated with excess adipose tissue.  It is therefore not acceptable for parents to accept the old concept that since they are kids…lets allow them to gain weight because they are still in their growing years.  Now we know better…we are doing MORE harm than good to these children. 

It is likewise very important to educate our grandparents who tend to spoil our kids with the ancient concept of overfeeding and that overweight kids are healthier babies!

Times Have Changed..Begin the Year with Healthier kids!

Cough Medicines and Stroke…. How To Avoid A Stroke!!!

October 23, 2007

1619007209.jpgThe risk of stroke with OTC cough medicines had been with us since 2003 after the publication of the study in STROKE  linking OTC cough and colds meds to stroke.  Apparently these decongestants contribute to around 200 to 400 cases of stroke annually. The study eventually led to FDA giving advisory against the use of Phenylpropanolamine ( PPA ) in any medications for sale as cold remedies. 

Now comes a new FDA advisory targetting the cold remedies we use for children.  Apparently the cold remedies have not been proven to be safe but instead cause harm including death.  This really comes timely considering the increase numbers of upper respiratory tract infections in this rainy season. 

But what is really important is for us to understand that there are reasons why one gets a Stroke. Here’s a list of risk factors compiled by WebMD which I want to share:

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Certain diseases or conditions increase your risk of stroke. These include:

Certain behaviors can increase your risk of stroke. These include:

  • Smoking, including secondhand smoke.
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Being overweight.
  • Diet with few fruits and vegetables. Research suggests that people who eat more fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains (for example, brown rice) may have a lower risk of stroke than people who eat lots of red meat, processed foods such as lunch meat, and refined grains (for example, white flour).
  • Diet with too much salt. A healthy diet includes less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day (about one teaspoon).
  • Use of some medicines, such as birth control pills-especially by women who smoke or have a history of blood-clotting problems-and anticoagulants or steroids. In postmenopausal women, hormone replacement therapy has been shown to slightly increase the risk of stroke.
  • Heavy use of alcohol. People who drink alcohol excessively, especially people who binge drink, are more likely to have a stroke. Binge drinking is defined as drinking more than 5 drinks in a short period of time.

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So if you have any of those risk factors…the more one should avoid decongestants based on what we now know in terms of the potential for PPA to cause a stroke.

Storke can be avoided and should be avoided because it is  disabling disease.  I always counsel my diabetic hypertensives that the main reason why I try to make sure they get an excellent control in terms of their sugar and blood pressure including cholesterol is mainly: TO REDUCE THEIR RISK in getting a Stroke and Heart disease.

Genes and Lifestyle Complement Each Other….

Byetta and Pancreatitis…

October 20, 2007

2520983995.jpgThis is just an information sheet to those who are on Byetta as part of the treatment regimen for Diabetes.  Any new drug in the market has post marketing survey done to determine any untoward events once a drug is marketed and used worldwide.  After its approval in 2005, it has just been available in the Philippines this year.

Byetta is known to cause nausea due to its effect in delaying gastric emptying.  This symptom usually goes away after weeks to months of use.  However if abdominal pain occurs and becomes persitsent… it is now advised to discontinue the drug and seek medical advise to rule out pancreatitis.

Acute Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and ussually is due to either alcohol intake or gallstone.  Once diagnosed and treated it is not life threatening.  Majority of the cases in the survey did well after trteatment of the disease.

The FDA has issued an alert to physicains to be aware of this effect:

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Posted 10/16/2007] FDA has reviewed 30 postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis in patients taking Byetta (exenatide), a drug used to treat adults with type 2 diabetes.

An association between Byetta and acute pancreatitis is suspected in some of these cases. Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has agreed to include information about acute pancreatitis in the PRECAUTIONS section of the product label.

Healthcare professionals should be alert to the signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis and instruct patients taking Byetta to seek prompt medical care if they experience unexplained, persistent, severe abdominal pain which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting. If pancreatitis is suspected, Byetta should be discontinued. If pancreatitis is confirmed, Byetta should not be restarted unless an alternative etiology is identified.
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Byetta is one new drug that will be very beneficial to our newly diagnosed diabetes especially those who are obese because of its capacity ot improve insulin sensitivty and increase beta cell mass.  Preventing the rapid decline of beta cell mass and function therefore theoritically should prevent progression of this disease and in turn prevent the onset of complications. 

The PLUS factor of thes agent: It can lead to significant weight loss and is the only agent so far that can really make a diabetic well controlled without necesarily increasing weight but rather lose weight!

For now with this new alert, I would have to make sure patients with history of pancreatitis, alcohol abuse or gallstone to refrain from using Byetta.   The data showed that those who developed Pancreatitis had at least 1 of the above risk factors.  Vigilance of these factors should lessen one’s risk to develop pancreatitis.

Just Like Any Drug… If It Has An Effect… It Should Have A Side Effect..Precaution Is The KEY!

Going NUTS on NUTS….

October 18, 2007

imagesertyuyui.jpgIf you think of peanuts… you dont associate them with health food but rather… a kind of junk food? or an unhealthy snack alternative? and pretty salty!!!!

But the FDA has considered nuts as a healthy snack alternative based on the data that nuts have lots of protein and fiber and contain a lot of the good fat called monounsaturated fats as well as certain  antioxidants. 

BUT not all nuts are created equal:  the health claim recognized by the FDA only includes peanuts and certain tree nuts like:

  • walnuts because of its omega 3 fatty acids
  • almonds,
  • hazelnuts,
  • pecans,
  • some pine nuts,
  • pistachios, and
  • walnuts.  

These nuts carry with them several studies lowering LDL or bad cholesterol while improving HDL or good cholesterol and as aresult may actually have beneficial effects in protecting heart ailments.

Other nuts that did not get the qualty health claim from the FDA because they contain high saturated fat include: Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, and some varieties of pine nuts.

So for your next meal or snacks…dont feel guilty grabbing some nuts from the can and enjoy them.  Nuts are rich in protein and fiber and therefore can be very filling.  But again in moderation because even if they have health claim…they still contain calories and too much of which can also be harmful!

Let’s Go NUTS!

Life Is A Cycle….

October 17, 2007

2098012768.jpgI just saw a special patient this morning.  Routine checkup? or an emergency I asked after receiving a call from the secretary yesterday. 

Doctors…let it be known are the worst patients! We doctors also have this longstanding fear that someday, we will be hit by an illness that we specialize in.  As For me… I am extra careful because my mother is a diabetic and I am specializing in endocrinology dealing with diabetes and therefore I am concerend that I will have to deal with treating my diabetes in the future! Whew…scary…..

So going back to my patient this morning… it happened to be my mentor…our boss and our teacher when I was a first year student in Medical school.  Scary thought? …definitely.  Will I satisfy his questions?  If he can grade me again…will he pass me?

What made me write about him today is the thought that… In life… you just cant predict what will happen to you in the future.  We are blind as to what future holds for us in terms of fate or health!  We do what we can now to reduce the chances of getting ill or getting poor! 

But what I know is this simple fact: If you deal with people with kindness now… that favor will go back to you when you need it most.  If I can recall bad memories in my student years… these were not with this guy!  It is just a weird feeling and ironic that he who is in front of me seeking my medical advise … was the one in the past who helped mold me into what I am now!

Life is Short…Very unpredictable and really can come into a full cycle.  Let us treat everyone with kindness because one day you will not know who and where to seek for help in times of need!

Kindness Bears Fruits of Happy Memories!

Can I Eat Eggs Everyday? … Part 2

October 15, 2007

3557864019.jpgOne of the top posts of this website is about eggs.  It has really been a puzzle to the medical community as to how this seemingly affordable and easy available food can be so intriguing in terms of its good and bad effect on health.  Its really an option for anyone to take which sides you are depending on what study you read.

A recent publication from the Harvard Health Publications regarding the myths and facts on eggs is worth mentioning here for my readers to know my answer when they ask…Can I eat eggs everyday doc?

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BOSTON, MA – Common misconceptions keep many people, especially those worried about heart disease, from eating eggs. The July issue of the Harvard Heart Letter unscrambles the dietary facts and myths about the egg.

Fact: Eggs are a good source of nutrients. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and some healthful unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against vision loss.

Fact: Eggs have a lot of cholesterol. The average large egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol. As foods go, that’s quite a bit, rivaled only by single servings of liver, shrimp, and duck meat.

Myth: All that cholesterol goes straight to your bloodstream and then into your arteries. Not so. For most people, only a small amount of the cholesterol in food passes into the blood. Saturated and trans fats have much bigger effects on blood cholesterol levels.

Myth: Eating eggs is bad for your heart. The only large study to look at the impact of egg consumption on heart disease—not on cholesterol levels or other intermediaries—found no connection between the two. In people with diabetes, though, egg-a-day eaters were a bit more likely to have developed heart disease than those who rarely ate eggs.

  • If you like eggs, eating one a day should be okay, especially if you cut back on saturated and trans fats.
  • Other ways to enjoy eggs without worrying about cholesterol include not eating the yolk, which contains all the cholesterol, or using pourable egg whites or yolk-free egg substitutes.

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One major reason why we advocate a low cholesterol diet is that any diet that is high in cholesterol may downregulate LDL-receptor (Bad cholesterol) synthesis which are the receptors that degrade or breakdown the bad cholesterol in our body. This bad effect apparently becomes more pronounced if the diet is also high in saturated fat because it can interfere with receptor binding and removal of the bad cholesterol and therefore accumulates in our system!

Likewise… if you eat a high cholesterol food…it is almost always associated with a high saturated fat meal! If you love egg yolk then it means the meal may also have steak or fried pork and other oily foods in it! This spells DISASTER!

Almost always… it’s already a cliche: eat everything in moderation.  I will continue to advocate 2 x or less eggs per week for my patients until more solid evidence tells me otherwise. 

It’s a matter of choosing the right food for a healthy body.

Tips To Improve Your Memory!!!!

October 12, 2007

438348334.jpgForgot about something? Missed an appointment? Where are my KEYS????

Persistence to take something to boost ones memory has always been in  the back of the minds of patients hoping to improve their memory.  They be 40 or 80 years old … does not make a difference.  Blame it on anesthesia or old age…memory enhancers as supplements are a big hit because people are so afraid to lose their memory!!!

Instead of trying your luck on these supplements which…forget it…DONT Work ( dont be fooled by their marketing strategies)… I have come accross a wonderfully written article giving us helpful tips to improve our memory : The Harvard Medical School Healthbeat issue:

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 Normal age-related changes in the brain can slow some cognitive processes, making it a bit harder to learn new things quickly or to ward off distractions. The good news is that, thanks to decades of research, most of us can sharpen our minds with proven, do-it-yourself strategies. Here are some ways to boost your ability to remember as you age.

1. Believe in yourself.
Myths about aging can contribute to a failing memory. Middle-aged and older learners do worse on memory tasks when exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory, and better if exposed to messages about memory preservation into old age.

2. Economize your brain use.
Take advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, keys, and other items you use frequently.

3. Organize your thoughts.
New information that’s broken into smaller chunks, such as the hyphenated sections of a phone number or social security number, is easier to remember than a single long list, such as financial account numbers or the name of everyone in a classroom.

4. Use all your senses.
The more senses you use when you learn something, the more of your brain will be involved in retaining the memory. For example, odors are famous for conjuring memories from the distant past, especially those with strong emotional content, such as the scent of your grandmother’s freshly baked cookies.

5. Expand your brain.
Widen the brain regions involved in learning by reading aloud, drawing a picture, or writing down the information you want to learn (even if you never look back at your notes). Just forming a visual image of something makes it easier to remember and understand; it forces you to make the information more precise.

6. Repeat after me.
When you want to remember something you have just heard or thought about, repeat it out loud. For example, if you’ve just been told someone’s name, use it when you speak with him or her: “So, John, where did you meet Camille?”

7. Space it out.
Instead of repeating something many times in a short period, as if you were cramming for an exam, re-study the essentials after increasingly longer periods of time — once an hour, then every few hours, then every day. Spacing out periods of study is particularly valuable when you are trying to master complicated information.

8. Make a mnemonic.
Mnemonic devices are creative ways to remember lists. They can take the form of acronyms — such as the classic “Every good boy does fine,” to remember the musical notes E, G, B, D, and F on the lines of the treble clef. For older learners, a particularly helpful system is a story mnemonic — that is, a brief narrative in which each item cues you to remember the next one.

9. Challenge yourself.
Engaging in activities that require you to concentrate and tax your memory will help you maintain skills as you age. Discuss books, do crossword puzzles, try new recipes, travel, and undertake projects or hobbies that require skills you aren’t familiar or comfortable with. 10. Take a course. Memory-improvement courses are becoming more popular. If you decide to try one, choose a program run by health professionals or experts in psychology or cognitive rehabilitation. Stay away from courses that center on computer or concentration games, which generally won’t help you with real-life memory problems. Select a course that focuses on practical ways to manage everyday challenges
.

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I do recommend that we all try these exercises: they’re free, safe and effective!

Lets Keep Our Brains Healthy!

Palpitations…When To Know It’s Serious?

October 11, 2007

imagesgl.jpgWe do get palpitations once in while…its the sensation of your heart that is racing and then you feel like having a skipped heart beat!  Almost always this is Benign meaning…nothing to worry about BUT palpitations may signal the onset of certain diseases.

When you get palpitations…the first thing you have to make sure….is if you are taking medications like decongestants that may cause it.  Likewise check if you have been drinking too much caffeinated drinks lately… the frappucino, the Kafe latte…. or simply munching on your favorite chocolates!

If you have ruled out any medications of drinks responsible for the palpitations then have yourself examined for the following possibilities:

  1. Toxic Goiter.  This is very common in our setting where patients will have symptoms assoiciated with hyperthyroid state or overactive thyroid gland.  You will have associated sympotms of shortness of breath, weight loss and tremors.
  2. Mitral Valve Prolapse.  Also very common especially among young women and very easy to diagnose through 2dEchocardiogram.  A very benign condition also.
  3. Menopausal State can manifest with palpitation so be sure to check with your primary care physician if you are already 45 years old with irregular menses.
  4. You may just have Anxiety!!!  Being anxious on something can make your heart run fast. 

Or just simply being excited may all you have causing you to palpitate. Too much excitement can make you produce stress hormones including cathecholamines that can cause palpitation.

Just remember… any symptom that is new should be checked for possibility of finding something treatable and therefore life saving! A simple palpitation should therefore not be taken for granted!

Better Early Than Sorry!

Why People Dont Exercise….

October 10, 2007

2533140067.jpgAs physicians, we always encourage people to be active. Patients know they need to exercise to feel better, to reduce their chances of developing diseases and of course to help “cure” and treat their ailments like arthritis or obesity.

It is therefore not surprising that in one survey done in UK that even the threat of premature death to NON exercising adults did not bother them to change their lifestyle.  In short… health may not be a primary reason for people to exercise! 

In that new survey by The British Heart Foundation,

  •  When the participants were asked if they would do more exercise if their lives depended on it… only 38% of the subject said YES!
  •  TAKE NOTE: Less than one-twentieth of UK adults say they find exercise enjoyable.

One important information we gathered from that survey is this alarming notion that HEALTH is not the Main reason for them to exercise:

  • The greatest motivation to exercise seems to be the desire to change one’s body shape especially among younger adults and women.  And this maybe true worldwide!
  • About one-in-three young adults said that if they saw an unflattering photo of themselves they would do more exercise. And again this is common sense reason but not sufficient enough to be the prime motivator!
  • Only 7% of women and 13% of men has their main motivation for doing exercise is to maintain a healthy heart.  Whew… just SAD!!!!!

According to the British Heart Foundation, the rate of death in UK is one every fifteen minutes because people did not do enough exercise.  But in spite of all these information, doing exercise is not a priority!

This survey is so important to all of us because indeed THIS IS REALITY!  Look around you or even ask yourself…what are you doing NOW to help keep yourself healthy?  Are you exercising enough or following your doctor’s recommendation to exercise?  OR still the same…reasons after reasons for NOT exercising!

Please do visit my other posts on exercise and physical activity tips because doing the right exercise does not mean going to a gym but just staying home!

Do Your Body Some Help…Exercise For Health!

The Good and The Bad Cholesterol…

October 9, 2007

2840505959.jpgWe know the bad effects of cholesterol in our body.  Marketing strategies have incorporated cholesterol as part of the game plan: low fat,  low cholesterol, no cholestrol in their products.  As physicians, we also take note of patients lipid profile which gives us the whole picture on patients cholesterol profile.  It is therefore not sufficient to jut check a total cholesterol because ones total cholesterol may be high because of a high Good cholesterol or HDL.  Targeting the BAD cholesterol or LDL has been the mainstay in our practice especially among our patients with high blood pressure and diabetes.  Our goal is to reduce a patient’s risk to suffer from a stroke or heart attack! 

But is lowering LDL or the bad cholesterol enough to decrease a patients risk?  And how important is the Good cholesterol in the equation?

Recently a study published in the NEJM September issue  looked at this specific question and showed that Both should be addressed.  

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Background High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels are a strong inverse predictor of cardiovascular events. However, it is not clear whether this association is maintained at very low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Methods : A post hoc analysis of the recently completed Treating to New Targets (TNT) study assessed the predictive value of HDL cholesterol levels in 9770 patients.

Results : The HDL cholesterol level in patients receiving statins was predictive of major cardiovascular events across the TNT study cohort, both when HDL cholesterol was considered as a continuous variable and when subjects were stratified according to quintiles of HDL cholesterol level.

Even among study subjects with LDL cholesterol levels below 70 mg per deciliter, those in the highest quintile of HDL cholesterol level were at less risk for major cardiovascular events than those in the lowest quintile (P=0.03).

Conclusions: 

  •  In this post hoc analysis, HDL cholesterol levels were predictive of major cardiovascular events in patients treated with statins.
  • This relationship was also observed among patients with LDL cholesterol levels below 70 mg per deciliter.

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Lowering the LDL or bad cholesterol will remain the primary goal of therapy while not neglecting to make sure that the HDL should be made higher than 45 mg/dl.  Dietery intervention can only do so much in lowering LDL but we have ways to increase the HDL by dietary and behavioral means including exercise.Do check my post on How to Increase Your HDL for further tips in what to eat and do to improve your HDL!

In Health: Its The Balance Between the Good and The Bad!

Eating Together As A Family… Is Healthy!

October 5, 2007

2746116766.jpgSpending quality time with your kids have a lasting impact not only in the way children will remember us as caring parents but have been shown to have lasting impact in the way these kids eat as adults.  The way kids eat help the way they shape their health because lifestyle habits have been shown to have the most impact if started early in life!

A new study that looked at the impact of eating together as a family involved more than 1,500 students surveyed once during high school and again when they were 20 years old specifically ” to determine the long-term effects of family meals on diet quality, social eating, meal structure and meal frequency.” This study published in  September Journal of the American Dietetic Association gives us a glimpse that the truth of all the problems we have now in terms of poor eating habits among our children may stem from the fact that we may not be spending enough time with our kids….

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The Objective: To describe meal patterns of young adults and determine if family meal frequency during adolescence is associated with diet quality, meal frequency, social eating, and meal structure during young adulthood.

Surveys and food frequency questionnaires were completed by 946 female students and 764 male students in high school classrooms at Time 1 (1998-1999; mean age 15.9 years) and by mail at Time 2 (2003-2004; mean age 20.4 years).

Results:

  • Family meal frequency during adolescence predicted higher intakes of fruit, vegetables , dark-green and orange vegetables, and key nutrients and

  • Family meal frequency was associated with lower intakes of soft drinks during young adulthood.

  • Frequency of family meals also predicted more breakfast meals in females and for both sexes predicted more frequent dinner meals.

  • Family Frequency also was associated with higher priority for meal structure , and higher priority for social eating.

Conclusions : Family meals during adolescence may have a lasting positive influence on dietary quality and meal patterns in young adulthood.

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There you go my friends.  Children need our help, our support and our guidance.  They should be taught well the younger they are the better! They need our company not only for fun but to know whats right and proper…including choices of the right healthy food!  Meaning as parents we should also set the right example of what to eat and what NOT to eat!

Make sure we take time to earn a living but not to forget that we have other obligations to our children and family!  Its should be a good balance in life that one should aim for… that can make one a better person both as a family man and as a good individual in the society.

Ensure the health of our children… one way is to….

Spend More Time With Your KIDS!

On Why America Is Becoming Overweight!

October 4, 2007

231112061.jpgAmerica as a nation is really becoming “overweight”.  Inspite of what we know about obesity and its dreaded complications, the urge to eat or the habit to enjoy food continues to be a challenge especially among Americans.

During this recent trip to San Antonio, Texas… everything seems to be status quo.  Nobody seems to care about the kind of food that is being ordered or served in the restaurants to the amount or serving sizes that everyone is given as choices.  Or are there choices?  It seems that if one orders the regular portions of food, you just cant seem to finish them all… but I guess to them… these portions are but the routine servings that they know of since they were kids! I guess this comes to what they been exposed to since childhood…they see what their parents eat and therefore its the norm!

Steaks abound in every resto we go to.  With the food comes mashed potastoes…and you are given the choices of butter, mayonnaise or garlic.  Not a simple boiled potato but a potato laced with other stuff! Next comes the salad…but its laced with fat because of its dressing! Whew…. you really can gain weight in America!  So am just happy to be back home and settle with the usual small servings that we get and the way we cook our food.

Likewise… am not sure but I think BUFFET was discovered in America.  This has made matters worst!  The problem is… we are also starting to be enjoying buffets and you can see it being offered by our local restaurants as well.  No wonder, our country is one place that is expected to have a dramatic rise in obesity in the Asia Pacific region.

Am not sure how the US will be able to combat her battle of Obesity. Its the attitude that should change… and should start from the young!

Otherwise…San Antonio as a city was pretty quiet, rich in history and remarkably safe as we only rented a car and drove the place on our own to explore!  Of course, my friends and I did this only after we have studied and learned the newest things in Endocrinology during this past year.

It’s What We Eat That Counts!