Archive for February, 2009

Take Action on Your Weight!!! The Risks Associated with Being Overweight…

February 28, 2009

Go to fullsize imageBeing overweight needs immediate action!  Thats why when I registered a BMI of 25.6 with a fasting blood sugar of 96, I decided to take action and become healthier with my diet and physical activity.  Being overweight carries with it chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol problem.  Not mentioning stroke and heart attack as endpoints!

For year 2009: Its NOW a Global Call to action as more and more children and adolescence are gaining weight.  There’s no time to sit back and relax on this matter as inaction means DISASTER in the long run for these children!

A recent study published in www.bmj.com showed that obese adolescents have the same risk of premature death in adulthood as people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day!!!!   This is indeed a scary thought.

Those who are overweight have the same risk as less heavy smokers.

BMI is a measure of your weight according to your height.  For Caucasians, a BMI of >25 if already overweight but for Asians, a lower BMI of 23 is considered abnormal already.

What if one is underweight?

Being underweight carries with it a better prognosis  as it carries with it no increased risk, irrespective of smoking status.  However, if you are also too thin with a a body mass index of less than 17; then it carried with it the same risk of premature death as being overweight.

The study suggests therefore that being OBESE and Overweight at the age of  18 carries the same risk of premature death as being too thin!  Both conditions stem from poor nutrition either too much or too little.

Its not late to start and do something for yourself or for our kids…. NOW!

Life is short..Take time to Take Care of your HEALTH!

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High Blood Sugar Predicts Death in Heart Attack Patients

February 26, 2009

Just a note for all of the readers with family members who are diabetics.  This is just to make you aware that control of sugar is of paramount importance even at the time of hospitalization especially due to heart attack.

This new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, Feb 2009 shows that the relationship between fasting blood sugar on admission and its ability to predict outcome of death within 6 months of the acute attack.

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Background  Elevated blood glucose level at admission is associated with worse outcome after a myocardial infarction. The impact of elevated glucose level, particularly fasting glucose, is less certain in non–ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes. We studied the relationship between elevated fasting blood glucose levels and outcome across the spectrum of ST-segment elevation and non–ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes in a large multicenter population broadly representative of clinical practice.

Methods  Fasting glucose levels were available for 13 526 patients in the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was used for assessing the association between admission or fasting glucose level and in-hospital or 6-month outcome, adjusted for the variables from the registry risk scores.

Results 

  • Higher fasting glucose levels were associated with a graded increase in the risk of in-hospital death (odds ratios [95% confidence intervals] vs <100 mg/dL: 1.51 [1.12-2.04] for 100-125 mg/dL, 2.20 [1.64-2.60] for 126-199 mg/dL, 5.11 [3.52-7.43] for 200-299 mg/dL, and 8.00 [4.76-13.5] for 300 mg/dL).
  • When taken as a continuous variable, higher fasting glucose level was related to a higher probability of in-hospital death, without detectable threshold and irrespective of whether patients had a history of diabetes mellitus.
  • Higher fasting glucose levels were found to be associated with a higher risk of postdischarge death up to 6 months.
  • The risk of postdischarge death at 6 months was significantly higher with fasting glucose levels between 126 and 199 mg/dL (1.71 [1.25-2.34]) and 300 mg/dL or greater (2.93 [1.33-6.43]), but not within the 200- to 299-mg/dL range (1.08 [0.60-1.95]).

Conclusions  Short-term and 6-month mortality was increased significantly with higher fasting glucose levels in patients across the spectrum of acute coronary syndromes, thus extending this relation to patients with non–ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. The relation between fasting glucose level and risk of adverse short-term outcomes is graded across different glucose levels with no detectable threshold for diabetic or nondiabetic patients.

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Better still…. across the spectrum of diabetes management that good control should always be practiced.  

No ifs or buts…its the RULE!

Reduction in short term complications, the sense of well being…plus reduction of long term complications like stroke and heart attack…are more than enough for any diabetic in the family to make sure that good control should always be practiced.  

Ths study tells us that up to the time of the acute event, high sugar continues to present itself as a menace.  And that high sugar should not be relegated as a mere stress effect but for me should be aggressively treateed as metabolic effects can have lasting impact on ones health and are irreversible!

Be aggressive as high sugar may not manifest any symptoms until its late!

Can Daily Intake of Eggs Be Healthy?

February 23, 2009

Go to fullsize imageControversies continue to surround whether eggs can cause harm if taken daily or not. Debate among the experts continue with assumptions that cholesterol in the diet actually has little effect on blood cholesterol.  No doubt that intake of saturated fat can increase the level of blood cholesterol and risk a patient to develop heart attack and stroke.  The relationship of Egg intake to disease continues to be debatable.

Now comes a new study publsished in the Diabetes Care , this February 2009  that for sure will add fuel to the ongoing controversy:

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OBJECTIVE—Whereas limited and inconsistent findings have been reported on the relation between dietary cholesterol or egg consumption and fasting glucose, no previous study has examined the association between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes. This project sought to examine the relation between egg intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in two large prospective cohorts.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—In this prospective study, we used data from two completed randomized trials: 20,703 men from the Physicians’ Health Study I (1982–2007) and 36,295 women from the Women’s Health Study (1992–2007). Egg consumption was ascertained using questionnaires, and we used the Cox proportional hazard model to estimate relative risks of type 2 diabetes.

RESULTS—During mean follow-up of 20.0 years in men and 11.7 years in women, 1,921 men and 2,112 women developed type 2 diabetes. Compared with no egg consumption, multivariable adjusted hazard ratios for type 2 diabetes were 1.09 (95% CI 0.87–1.37), 1.09 (0.88–1.34), 1.18 (0.95–1.45), 1.46 (1.14–1.86), and 1.58 (1.25–2.01) for consumption of <1, 1, 2–4, 5–6, and 7 eggs/week, respectively, in men (P for trend <0.0001). Corresponding multivariable hazard ratios for women were 1.06 (0.92–1.22), 0.97 (0.83–1.12), 1.19 (1.03–1.38), 1.18 (0.88–1.58), and 1.77 (1.28–2.43), respectively (P for trend <0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS—These data suggest that high levels of egg consumption (daily) are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. Confirmation of these findings in other populations is warranted.

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The question arises: whether it is the intake of egg that increased the risk to develop diabetes.  Or is it the relationship of the high fat diet associated with the egg intake that increased the risk.  It is known that high cholesterol and saturated fat intake can increase a patients risk to develop diabetes.

So when the study participants’ daily cholesterol intake was assessed, it showed a relationship related to diabetes risk!!!  When the researchers factored this relationship in, the association between egg intake and diabetes weakened suggesting that a cholesterol-rich diet might promote diabetes.  This also suggest that a person who may like eggs may also eat other fatty foods that will result in increasing the risk to deveolp the disease.

So a not so good news for egg lovers who have family history of diabetes.  This is one food that one may have to limit for now until more studies will show the relationship to be otherwise.

But for the others who have no risk of developing diabetes…I suggest that eggs should remain to be enjoyed as long as one should not exceed 3-5 eggs per week.  This recommnedation will stay for now. 

But do … Watch out in this site if new developments come in about eggs because for sure I will be the first to know and you will be the first to be informed !!!!

Is There Any Benefit in Taking A Multivitamin?

February 12, 2009

Go to fullsize imageI used to take one multivitamin pill per day.  I know of others who take tons of vitamins because they make them feel “better”. Or just a habit difficult to change. Or better still, relatives in the US send us with big bottles of these Vitamins as presents.  But are they USEFUL? 

Ever since, I already doubted the usefullness of these vitamins UNLESS one is not eating properly or is very choosy with food that predisposes one to deficiency of certain vitamins that we usually get from food.  But for people that have problems of the Opposite, that is… controlling the intake, I suggest you might as well spend your money on something else that’s healthy and has important benefit on ones health.

The latest issue of the Archives onf Internal Medicine published this recent study looking at the effectiveness of taking multivitamins.

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Background  Millions of postmenopausal women use multivitamins, often believing that supplements prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Therefore, we decided to examine associations between multivitamin use and risk of cancer, CVD, and mortality in postmenopausal women.

Methods  The study included 161 808 participants from the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trials (N = 68 132 in 3 overlapping trials of hormone therapy, dietary modification, and calcium and vitamin D supplements) or an observational study (N = 93 676). Detailed data were collected on multivitamin use at baseline and follow-up time points. Study enrollment occurred between 1993 and 1998; the women were followed up for a median of 8.0 years in the clinical trials and 7.9 years in the observational study. Disease end points were collected through 2005.

We documented cancers of the breast (invasive), colon/rectum, endometrium, kidney, bladder, stomach, ovary, and lung; CVD (myocardial infarction, stroke, and venous thromboembolism); and total mortality.

Results  A total of 41.5% of the participants used multivitamins. After a median of 8.0 years of follow-up in the clinical trial cohort and 7.9 years in the observational study cohort, 9619 cases of breast, colorectal, endometrial, renal, bladder, stomach, lung, or ovarian cancer; 8751 CVD events; and 9865 deaths were reported. Multivariate-adjusted analyses revealed no association of multivitamin use with risk of cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 0.98, and 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.91-1.05 for breast cancer; HR, 0.99, and 95% CI, 0.88-1.11 for colorectal cancer; HR, 1.05, and 95% CI, 0.90-1.21 for endometrial cancer; HR, 1.0, and 95% CI, 0.88-1.13 for lung cancer; and HR, 1.07, and 95% CI, 0.88-1.29 for ovarian cancer); CVD (HR, 0.96, and 95% CI, 0.89-1.03 for myocardial infarction; HR, 0.99, and 95% CI, 0.91-1.07 for stroke; and HR, 1.05, and 95% CI, 0.85-1.29 for venous thromboembolism); or mortality (HR, 1.02, and 95% CI, 0.97-1.07).

Conclusion  After a median follow-up of 8.0 and 7.9 years in the clinical trial and observational study cohorts, respectively, the Women’s Health Initiative study provided convincing evidence that multivitamin use has little or no influence on the risk of common cancers, CVD, or total mortality in postmenopausal women.

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In short … wanna live long?  Live a healthy lifestyle.  There are other ways to better living not simple taking of pills as a shortcut or better still … lets take a walk and think again.

Pills or exercise?  I know your answers…keep it to yourselves.  You choose … it’s your life!

The New Way To Exercise and Get Results….

February 9, 2009

Go to fullsize imageGood news to those who just dont have the time to exercise.

A new study published online by the BMC, 2009 showed a new way to exercise that will have the same or better impact on our body’s metabolism than previously thought.

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Background

Classic, long duration aerobic exercise reduces cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk but this involves a substantial time commitment. Extremely low volume high-intensity interval training (HIT) has recently been shown to cause similar improvements to aerobic performance, but it has not been established whether HIT has the capacity to improve glycemic control.

Methods

Sixteen young men  performed 2 weeks of supervised HIT comprising of a total of 15 min of exercise (6 sessions; 4-6 x 30-s cycle sprints per session). Aerobic performance (250-kJ self-paced cycling time trial), and glucose, insulin and NEFA responses to a 75-g oral glucose load (oral glucose tolerance test; OGTT) were determined before and after training.

Results

Following 2 weeks of HIT, the area under the plasma glucose, insulin and NEFA concentration-time curves were all reduced (12%, 37%, 26% respectively, all P<0.001). Fasting plasma insulin and glucose concentrations remained unchanged, but there was a trend towards reduced fasting plasma NEFA concentrations post-training (pre: 350 +/- 36 v post: 290 +/- 39 mumol * l-1, P=0.058). Insulin sensitivity as measured by the Cederholm index was improved by 22.5% (P<0.01). Aerobic cycling performance was improved by ~6% (P<0.01).

Conclusions

The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable. We feel this novel time-efficient training paradigm can be used as a strategy to reduce metabolic risk factors in young and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere to a classic high volume, time consuming exercise regimens

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In this study short burst of intense exercise activity lasting for like 30 seconds resulted in improvement of parameters that can have an impact in preventing chronic illnesses. 

The subjects used exercise bikes which we can easily buy in sports stores… performed a quick sprint insturcted to do it at their highest possible intensity for around 30 seconds.  The results showing significant improvements in exercise parameters biochemically suggest that any highly vigorous activity carried out in few minutes in a few days per week should achieve the same protective metabolic improvements. 

This is definitely good news to those who just cant find the right time and place to do their exercise workout.  This is one of the first studies to document that short bouts of exercise can be as effective in improving metabolic parameters as the usual recommendations of moderate exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week. 

Now my friends… no more excuses!!!

Are You Fit?

February 6, 2009

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 cardi who chaired the European Society of Cardiology program committee.

Check your heart rate… feel your pulse and count how many beats in one minute. 

What better way to help keep your heart fit is increasing physical activity.  Athletes for example can have a heart rate of less than 50/min.  Suggesting that their hearts dont need to work and pump more to give enough blood to the body… that’s what we call as FITNESS!

To be fit does not necessarily mean your slim and vice versa.  Fitness is a totally different ballgame in the field of health.  Fitness is a way of life… it requires the discipline to achieve it and the determination to make it part of daily living.  In the end… losing the FATNESS will follow.

Fitness Minus Fatness Equals Cardiovascular Health!