Archive for September, 2008

Socioeconomic Class And the Risk for Cancer….

September 29, 2008

We all know that disease affecting an elderly can differ from the young.  A new study highlights the impact of one socioeconomic status and the risk of common ailments that we dread of having: CANCER.

Here’s an interesting study opublished recently in the BMC-Cancer looking at how ones socioeconomic status can have an impact on ones risk to develop cancer:

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Background

Cancer incidence varies by socioeconomic group and these variations have been linked with environmental and lifestyle factors, differences in access to health care and health seeking behaviour. Socioeconomic variations in cancer incidence by region and age are less clearly understood but they are crucial for targeting prevention measures and health care commissioning.

Results

  • Incidence was highest for the most deprived patients for lung cancer and cervical cancer
  • the opposite was observed for malignant melanoma and breast cancer.
  • The difference in incidence between the most and the least deprived groups was higher for lung cancer patients aged under 65 at diagnosis than those over 65 at diagnosis, which may indicate a cohort effect. 
  •  If the incidence of lung and cervical cancer were decreased to that of the least deprived group it would prevent 36% of lung cancer cases in men, 38% of lung cancer cases in women and 28% of cervical cancer cases.
  • Incidence of breast cancer and melanoma was highest in the least deprived group

Conclusions

National comparison of socioeconomic variations in cancer incidence by region and age can provide an unbiased basis for public health prevention and health commissioning. Decreasing inequalities in incidence requires the integration of information on risk factors, incidence and projected incidence but targeted public health interventions could help to reduce regional inequalities in incidence and reduce the future cancer burden.

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The way we live and the way we practice how we live definitely can have an impact on what diseases will affect our bodies. Breast cancer is noted to be predominant among the wealthy obviously because for me, these people tend to more vigilant in doing yearly exams but more so because they tend to behave not very well in terms of lifetstyle.  I have heard news from relatives to friends who developed breast cancer.

 Look around you and you will see obese women with their obese siblings.  Culture tells us that being a little fat is better and “culturally” better than thin because the “fatness conotes a happy marriage! WHEW! I absolutely DIASGREE! 🙂  and am sure a lot of you are!  I am happily married with three kids BUT I keep it a point to be careful with what I eat including my wife and kids MAKING sure we will not be one of th tagged “obese family” that will increase our chances of getting obesity related diseases like cancer.

Being obese will increase your chances of having a higher circulating estrogen which can increase ones chances to develop breast cancer.  So by keeping oneself fit and avoiding red meat can one improve to lower that risk.

What You Can Afford Does Not Mean It is Healthy!

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Recommended Foods If You ARe AT Risk Of Diabetes?

September 24, 2008

Go to fullsize imageI am one of those at risk to develop Diabetes.  I am the youngest of 9 siblings and am sure my mom was already a diabetic by the time I was born.  In short I have the genetic makeup to have one and it now depends on the environment …how I can modify the risk factors… that will determine if indeed I will develop this disease or not.

So when my latest Fasting blood sugar reached 96 mg/dl… I was laready alarmed.  Remember from my previous posts that individuals with a normal fasting blood sugar between 89 to 99 mg/dl have the highest risk to become diabetic in the next few years.  So the first thing I did was to change the way I eat…modify my lifestyle in terms of preference of food and settled in to more fruits and vegetables PLUS brisk walking almost everyday. I have already lost at least 14 pounds and I have reached a normal BMI of 22 …YAHOOO:)

Now comes a new study publsihed this September 2008 in Diabetes Care:

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Subjetcs: White, black, Hispanic, and Chinese adults, aged 45–84 years and free of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, completed food frequency questionnaires at baseline (2000–2002). Incident type 2 diabetes was defined at three follow-up exams (2002–2003, 2004–2005, and 2005–2007) as fasting glucose >126 mg/dl, self-reported type 2 diabetes, or use of diabetes medication.
Two types of dietary patterns were studied: four empirically derived (principal components analysis) and one author-defined (low-risk food pattern) as the weighted sum of whole grains, vegetables, nuts/seeds, low-fat dairy, coffee (positively weighted), red meat, processed meat, high-fat dairy, and soda (negatively weighted).
RESULTS

  • High intake of tomatoes, beans, refined grains, high-fat dairy, and red meat was associated with an 18% greater risk :95% CI 1.06–1.32]
  •  High intake of whole grains, fruit, nuts/seeds, green leafy vegetables, and low-fat dairy was associated with a 15% lower diabetes risk (0.85 [0.76–0.95]; P = 0.005).
  • The low-risk food pattern was also inversely associated with diabetes risk (0.87 [0.81–0.99]
  • Individual component food groups were not independently associated with diabetes risk.
  • Associations were not modified by sex or race/ethnicity.

CONCLUSIONS—Multiple food groups collectively influence type 2 diabetes risk beyond that of the individual food groups themselves.

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Beans and tomatoes are nutrient-rich foods so I thought they should be part of a healthy meal?  But the most likely reason why intake of tomatoes and beans are linked to a higher risk of diabetes is the fact that in the study group, their intake was associated with intake of less healthy meals from pizza parlors or burger junctions as well as cheese and tacos

The study specifically also points out that in terms of health benefits and effects of foods, one should focus more on the importance of the whole diet rather than on certain foods or food groups that might be beneficial to us.

So…I guess am doing well with my lifestyle change because I am eating foods now proven to help me lower my risk and am enjoying eating them.

Again By Eating Right … We Should Live Well!

 

Massage and Mood…

September 22, 2008

Go to fullsize imageIve long believe in massage and touch therapy to help alleviate pts of anxiety, hyperactivity and mood.  I go to massage 2 x every week to relax and be pampered after a long day’s hard work.  It de- stresses me as well as improve my mood for work the next day.

Now comes a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that fully supports my belief in massage.  Although the study is not conclusive that massage is superior to light touch… the feeling of relaxation and pampering oneself is more than worth the time to do it.

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Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of massage for decreasing pain and symptom distress and improving quality of life among persons with advanced cancer.

Patients: 380 adults with advanced cancer who were experiencing moderate-to-severe pain; 90% were enrolled in hospice.

Intervention: Six 30-minute massage or simple-touch sessions over 2 weeks.

Measurements: Primary outcomes were immediate (Memorial Pain Assessment Card, 0- to 10-point scale) and sustained (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI], 0- to 10-point scale) change in pain. Secondary outcomes were immediate change in mood (Memorial Pain Assessment Card) and sustained change in quality of life (McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire, 0- to 10-point scale), symptom distress (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, 0- to 4-point scale),

Results: 298 persons were included in the immediate outcome analysis and 348 in the sustained outcome analysis. A total of 82 persons did not receive any allocated study treatments (37 massage patients, 45 control participants).

  • Both groups demonstrated immediate improvement in pain (massage, –1.87 points [95% CI, –2.07 to –1.67 points]; control, –0.97 point [CI, –1.18 to –0.76 points]) and mood (massage, 1.58 points [CI, 1.40 to 1.76 points]; control, 0.97 point [CI, 0.78 to 1.16 points]).
  • Massage was superior for both immediate pain and mood (mean difference, 0.90 and 0.61 points, respectively; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Massage may have immediately beneficial effects on pain and mood among patients with advanced cancer. Given the lack of sustained effects and the observed improvements in both study groups, the potential benefits of attention and simple touch should also be considered in this patient population.

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This simple study is worth looking into.  Although the study only involved cancer patients but the implication of the study results can be applied to every patient that we see or be advised to those with chronic illness beyond their usual therapies.

Simple touch to patients can definitely offer hope, relief and comfort.  This is what I learned at the Mayo Clinic.  Bedside skills involving interaction with patients through touch were as important as the skill of a surgeon or the bright minds of the internists.  How much more with a soothing massage… whew!  I cant wait to get one while composing this post 🙂

In Bad Mood? or Feeling sick and getting Depressed? or Maybe from too much pressure from work?

Massage To The Rescue!

Heart Rate Predicts Heart Disease…..

September 20, 2008

I came accross this health tidbit which I want to share.  A simple test we can do anytime anywhere:

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DID YOU KNOW:?
Heart Rate of More Than 70 Beats Per Minute Increases Risk of Heart Failure: The finding that heart rate, specifically a heart rate more than 70 beats per minute, increased the risk of cardiac events in heart failure patients was the top take-home message for the Dutch cardiologist who chaired the European Society of Cardiology program committee.

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This is where exercise and being in “conditioned” is a plus factor.  It helps lower ones heart rate and being fit and active as protective against chronic heart ailments.

Lower Your Heart Rate By Being FIT!

We All Deserve A BREAK!!!!

September 18, 2008

I just came back from a very relaxing Mediterranean Cruise with my wife. It was a well deserved break for both of us and boy do I recommend everyone who has a chance to get a cruise for vacation.

Taking a break gives you a better outlook in life… a better understanding of the need to enjoy while we are still alive! We all deserve to relax and enjoy and have a break in between the hard work.  I hate those trips where you need to take a break after your vacation because you were so exhausted with the vacation you had!!!  Cant see the logic there.

The cruise took us to Barcelona then to Malta then to Naples where we had a chance to visit Pompei, Capri and Sorrento.  Then we proceeded to Rome then to Florence then finally to Nice where we had a visit to Monacco.  What made the trip so fun is the fact that one does not need to pack and unpack everytime you visit a place.  You can relax and enjoy the facilities especially the gym of the ship at your own convenient time.

The downside however for me is the FOOD!  It was just everywhere and anytime plus it was always a Buffet from breakfast to lunch to dinner!  It was not a happpy site for me to see people gorging for food even if they dont need to.  A sad fact of life!

We need a Break BUT be sure you do it to maintain your health both “emotional” and physical Health!  If you neglect the right way to proper nutrition then you are doing harm even for the duration of the trip and for me it is no excuse!

This is our third cruise together and I will continue to endorse a Cruise as the right way to enjoy a vacation where you can have both fun and relsxation at their peak! But enjoy it the right way!

Take a Break for Health But Dont Break It By Indulging the Unhealthy Way!

How To Reduce Your Risk To Develop DIABETES….

September 1, 2008

If you have a family history of diabetes, if you are overweight and sedentary  and wants to reduce your risk to develop diabetes, then this article is for you!

This new study was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and as far as I know is the first one that conclusively looked at how fruits and vegtables can alter the risk of a patient to develop this chronic disease called diabetes.

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Methods  We administered a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire to men and women from a population-based prospective cohort (European Prospective Investigation of Cancer–Norfolk) study who were aged 40 to 75 years at baseline (1993-1997) when plasma vitamin C level was determined and habitual intake of fruit and vegetables was assessed. During 12 years of follow-up between February 1993 and the end of December 2005, 735 clinically incident cases of diabetes were identified among 21 831 healthy individuals. We report the odds ratios of diabetes associated with sex-specific quintiles of fruit and vegetable intake and of plasma vitamin C levels.

Results 

  • A strong inverse association was found between plasma vitamin C level and diabetes risk.
  • The odds ratio of diabetes in the top quintile of plasma vitamin C was 0.38 (95% confidence interval, 0.28-0.52) in a model adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, and anthropometric variables.
  • In a similarly adjusted model, the odds ratio of diabetes in the top quintile of fruit and vegetable consumption was 0.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.60-1.00).

Conclusions  Higher plasma vitamin C level and, to a lesser degree, fruit and vegetable intake were associated with a substantially decreased risk of diabetes. Our findings highlight a potentially important public health message on the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables for the prevention of diabetes.

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A word of caution from this study is that the plasma Vitamin C level correlated with the intake of fruits and vegetables and NOT Vitamin C Supplements.  Therefore do not grab all the Vitamin C supplements in the shelves to boost up your levels.  It is believed that beyond Vitamin C, there are properties in fruits and vegetables that help patients reduce their risk to develop diabetes.

As fas a I know, this is the first conclusive evidence that looked objectively at the effect of fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of diabetes.  And a reduction of diabetes risk by 62% is a great bonus to those who love fruits and vegetables on top of the other benefits associated with their intake.

So Eat Vegetables everyday and every meal… take fruits after each meal and you can even enjoy an apple or pear for snacks. Chances are… the more you eat the better the risk reduction.  Again…go for the low glycemic index fruits like apple and pear instead of a mango, banana or pineapple!

Love Yourself By Eating Right!