Archive for July, 2008
July 31st, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Excessive drinking increases the risk of the metabolic syndrome, according to researchers from the CDC.
Consuming more than two drinks a day for men and more than one for women appears to increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 60%.
The metabolic syndrome is defined as three or more of the following:
- Impaired fasting glucose, diagnosis of diabetes, and/or taking insulin or diabetic medication
- Raised plasma triglycerides
- Low serum HDL cholesterol
- Abdominal obesity
- Elevated blood pressure or taking antihypertensive medication
About 20% of men and 19% of women have metabolic syndrome and 72% of men and 68% of women have at least one metabolic abnormality.
via Fan AZ, et al “Patterns of alcohol consumption and the metabolic syndrome” J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2007-2788. /MedPage Today, July 30, 2008
July 31st, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Studies have found an association between moderate alcohol consumption and a reduced risk of developing heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and ischemic strokes. However, many people are not aware than even moderate alcohol consumption has a huge downside such as increasing the risk of cancer of the breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and liver; not to mention harmful effects on the brain and liver. As few as three drinks at one time may have toxic effects on the liver when combined with certain over–the–counter medications, such as those containing acetaminophen.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined for men (no more than 2 drinks per day), for women (no more than 1 drink per day), and for people over 65 (no more than 1 drink per day).
News reports on the benefits of alcohol abound, yet the whole story is often missing. Yes, alcohol may be helpful in preventing heart disease, but it’s certainly not a healthy drink if it causes mental decline or cancer.
More on alcohol from Bay Area Medical Information
July 30th, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Being married to a smoker increased stroke risk by 42% in nonsmokers and by 72% in former smokers according to a recent study from Harvard and Columbia.
via American Journal of Preventive Medicine, July 2008
Learn more about:
-Smoking and how to stop
July 29th, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
American Heart Association recommendations for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week won’t be enough to sustain weight loss, say Mayo Clinic Researchers. To maintain a 10% body weight loss over two years, women needed the equivalent of 55 minutes of activity five days a week, in a recent study. This level of activity was in addition to cutting calories.
Regular exercise truly is the fountain of youth. If you’re not exercising regularly, you’re definitely missing the boat. There are at least 18 essential reasons to exercise regularly:
- Strengthen muscles
- Burn fat and lose weight
- Increase endurance
- Increase energy
- Improve quality of sleep
- Improve blood cholesterol & triglyceride levels
- Strengthen the heart
- Improve hypertension
- Lower blood sugar
- Improve immune function
- Lower the risk of breast cancer
- Ward off viruses & other common illnesses
- Decrease pain from arthritis
- Improve balance and help prevent falls in the elderly
- Help relieve symptoms of depression
- Promote a sense of well-being
- Improve self image and self-esteem.
- Diminish facial wrinkles
If you’re not exercising, it’s never too late to start, but getting started in an exercise program is the hardest part. Here are some important tips
via MedPage Today, July 2008
July 29th, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Update: July 29, 2008: To date, 1307 persons have been infected with Salmonella Saintpaul. Jalapeño peppers are likely to be the major cause of this outbreak, but fresh serrano peppers and fresh tomatoes remain under investigation. An FDA laboratory detected Salmonella Saintpaul with the outbreak strain fingerprint pattern in a sample of jalapeño pepper obtained from a distribution center in McAllen, Texas. The peppers were grown in Mexico, but it is not yet clear exactly where they were contaminated. The distributor is working with the FDA to recall the contaminated product in the United States.
July 21, 2008: The FDA has found Salmonella saintpaul on a single jalapeno pepper in a small produce distribution plant, Agricola Zaragosa, in McCallum, Texas. The pepper was contaminated with the same strain of the organism that caused the outbreak that infected more than 1,200 people since May. The plant has issued a recall on its peppers, which were shipped to Georgia and Texas.
Although this is a potential breakthrough in the investigation, FDA officials caution that this still does not tell the whole story or rule out tomatoes as the possible source of the outbreak. The FDA will continue its investigation as new cases continue to be reported. There have been 14 new cases of Salmonella saintpaul since Friday, bringing the total number of infections to 1,251.
via MedPage Today, July 21, 2008
Continue reading ‘Update: Salmonella on vegetables’
July 28th, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Blood pressure drugs, called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), appear to be helpful in the incidence and progression of dementia, according to researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine. In a recent study, patients taking ARBs were 35 percent to 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia than people who didn’t take the drugs.
Also, for those who already have dementia, use of ARBs might delay further deterioration of brain function and help keep patients out of nursing homes. In the study, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who took ARBs were up to 45 percent less likely to develop delirium, to be admitted to nursing homes, or to die.
The researchers speculated that ARBs may be beneficial because they may actually help prevent nerve cell injury from blood vessel damage or help promote nerve recovery after blood vessel damage.
ARBs are available only by prescription and include Atacand, Avapro, Benicar, Cozaar, Diovan, Micardis, and Teveten. ARBs are also included in combination drugs with a diuretic, such as Atacand HCT, Avalide, Benicar HCT, Diovan HCT, Hyzaar, Micardis HCT, and Teveten HCT.
via Boston University School of Medicine, news release, July 27, 2008
July 24th, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
This week the director of a prominent cancer research institute issued a new warning regarding the potential cancer risks of cell phone use. Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, released an advisory that teenagers and young children should limit their use of cell phones, using them only in an emergency, to avoid potential health risks. He notes that fetuses and children are of particular concern because their “developing organs are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.”
In an article listing “Practical Advice to Limit Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted from Cell Phones”, Dr. Herberman notes that cordless home phones are also a potential concern because they use similar electromagnetic emitting technology as cell phones. A land line, corded phone is a safer phone to use for longer phone conversations. He also recommends using the speaker-phone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset while using a cell phone. The Bluetooth headset has less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone.
According to the vast majority of experts on this topic, to date there is no evidence linking cell phones to brain tumors. There is, however, no data on exposure beyond 10 years, and the effects of cell phones on children and adolescents have not been studied. Until more is known about this relatively new technology, erring on the side of reasonable caution would seem prudent for parents of children and adolescents. Convenient and low-price Bluetooth wireless headsets are being perfected and are commonplace on the internet and on electronic store shelves. Not only do they greatly reduce any potential electromagnetic exposure, but they also free up both hands.
via “Cancer Center Director Warns on Cell Phone Use“, MedPage Today, July 2008
via “Important Precautionary Advice Regarding Cell Phone Use“, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, July 2008
July 21st, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
According to the government’s latest obesity data from 2005 to 2007, the proportion of adults who were obese increased by 7% to a nationwide average of 25.6%. The three worst states were Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee where almost a third of adults were obese. The leanest state was Colorado with an 18.7% rate of obesity.
To fight this battle of the bulge, Americans need to find a fun way to exercise regularly and wean themselves away from the high-calorie foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.
via MedPage Today, July 18, 2008
July 16th, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Vitamin D is gaining increasing attention for its role in maintaining good health and preventing disease. But despite its benefits, many adults and children still do not receive adequate vitamin D.
New research has shed increasing light on the many benefits of Vitamin D and also revealed widespread deficiencies in both adults and children across the country. This has prompted a surge in the number of general practitioners and pediatricians who are now routinely screening for adequate blood levels of Vitamin D and recommending Vitamin D supplementation.
Vitamin D has many important roles in promoting good health in that it helps calcium build strong bones, helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system, and also plays a major role in the life cycle of human cells. Many recent studies have found that low Vitamin D levels are linked with many serious, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, gum disease, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, osteoporosis, and possibly cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
The new National Osteoporosis Foundation guidelines for adults 50 years and older is 800–1,000 IU of vitamin D3/day (along with 1,200 mg of calcium/day). Currently, the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D in adults ages 51-70 is only 400 IUs (with 200 IUs or less for younger ages)*, which, according to the researchers, leaves circulating blood levels of the the vitamin too low to have a positive effect on certain disease prevention. *The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set the Upper Limits (UL) for vitamin D at 1,000 IU for infants up to 12 months of age and 2,000 IU for children, adults, pregnant, and lactating women.
Talk to your health care provider about about checking a blood test for Vitamin D levels.
via Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, June 2008
via Vitamin D Deficiency Common in Infants and Toddlers from MedPage Today,
Vitamin D, from Bay Area Medical Information, www.bami.us
July 9th, 2008 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
A recent study from Imperial College London has found that treating high blood pressure in people over 80 may help reduce the risk of developing dementia. This is one of several trials that found a link between poor blood pressure control and dementia, but this study also underlines the well-known fact that controlling high blood pressure is essential for good health.
High blood pressure can silently damage any organ in your body for years before symptoms develop. Over time, high blood pressure eventually leads to life-threatening or disabling conditions such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, cognitive decline, aneurysm development, erectile dysfunction, nerve damage and vision problems.
One in three adult Americans has high blood pressure, and nearly one-third of them don’t know they have it. The only way to know if you have hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked. People whose blood pressure is above 120/80 should consult their doctor about methods for lowering it.
via Hypertension, from Bay Area Medical Information (www.bami.us)
via Lancet Neurology, July 2008
via American Heart Association