The FDA recently issued warnings to consumers to beware of illegally sold diabetes treatments. To access this valuable information, click the links below.
If there is one thing that we as Americans are really good at, itâ€™s killing over from heart attacks or other forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In fact, CVD is currently the leading cause of death in the United States. It claims one life every 38 seconds, resulting in about 2,300 American deaths per day. CVD is an umbrella term for a group of disorders involving the heart and blood vessels. Strokes and heart attacks are the two most common events that we notice when blood is blocked from flowing to the heart or brain. The majority of blockage and damage to the heart or its vessels is a result of fatty deposit buildups. Because CVD is largely do to our way of life, there are several things that we can do to protect ourselves from it. Bellow are six major risk factors and several contributing risk factors that can be changed.
Did you know that one in five deaths from CVD is a smoker and that smokers have twice as great a risk of having a stroke? There are several reasons why you should quit using tobacco if you currently do or not start if you havenâ€™t yet. Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for CVD because it damages the lining of your arteries, it increases your heart rate and blood pressure, it increases your blood thickness, and it leads to fatty deposit development, among other things. To reduce your risk of CVD, donâ€™t use tobacco.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is directly correlated with increased rates of CVD because it puts too much pressure against the blood vessel walls, which damages them. Approximately one-third of Americans currently have high blood pressure, which is pressure above 140/90 mm Hg. Eating a healthy diet abundant in fruits and vegetables, exercising, and having your blood pressure checked at least once every two years can reduce your risk of CVD.
Cholesterol is a fatty, waxlike substance that circulates throughout your bloodstream. It can be beneficial in small amounts, but in excess it clogs the arteries. Protect your heart by keeping your total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dl through exercising frequently and maintaining a healthy diet.
Exercise may just be the closest thing we have to a â€œmagic bulletâ€ against heart disease because it helps to reduce the risk of all of the other leading CVD risk factors. It controls your resting heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels; it helps you maintain your weight; it helps to control or prevent diabetes; and it even improves the strength and elasticity of your blood vessels.
Those who are obese are two to three times more likely to die from CVD than the general population. Excess body weight and fat put an increased strain on the heart. By controlling some of the other leading CVD risk factors such as physical inactivity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, your body fat percentage is likely to decrease, which will lead to a decreased risk of CVD.
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot utilize glucose (your bodyâ€™s sugar) effectively. When your bodyâ€™s blood glucose and insulin levels are elevated, they can damage the lining of your arteries. Diabetics are more vulnerable to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. There is also a correlation between diabetes and obesity, high blood pressure, and unhealthy blood lipid levels. Diabetes doubles the risk of CVD in men and triples the risk of CVD in women. Reduce your risk by doing what you can to control your diabetes if you have it or doing what you can to prevent it if you arenâ€™t currently affected.
Contributing Risk Factors
There are also some contributing risk factors for CVD that you can work to keep under control. Some studies indicate that alcohol and other drugs play a contributing role in the development of CVD. Other studies suggest that individuals with high levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and chronic hostility or anger have a higher risk of CVD. You can protect your heart from stress by doing what you can do reduce the occurrence of the above behaviors.
Protect yourself from CVD, Americaâ€™s number one killer, by doing what you can to protect yourself from the above major and contributing risk factors. Although you may never be able to completely eliminate your risk of developing CVD because of heredity, aging, gender, or ethnicity, you can greatly reduce your risk by following some simple guidelines. Do your part to protect your heart.
Diabetes Drug May Protect the Brain: MedlinePlus
MONDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) — The diabetes drug metformin may do more than help control blood sugar levels: New research suggests it may also reduce the risk of dementia.
Compared to people taking another class of diabetes medications called sulfonylureas, those taking metformin had a 20 percent reduced risk of developing dementia over the five-year study period.
“Metformin could have a possible neuroprotective effect in the brain,” said study author Dr. Rachel Whitmer, an epidemiologist in the division of research at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.
Whitmer, however, added a caveat: “This was an observational, retrospective, population-based study. We found an association, but didn’t prove cause and effect.”
Whitmer is scheduled to present the findings Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
People with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of developing dementia compared to someone without diabetes, according to background information in the study. But, even though diabetes is such a significant risk factor for dementia, the researchers found that there was little research on the effect of diabetes medications on dementia risk.
To see if any therapies might offer some protection against dementia, Whitmer and her colleagues reviewed data on nearly 15,000 people with type 2 diabetes who were just starting single-drug therapy for their disease.
All of those included in the study were aged 55 or older, and all had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Whitmer said none of them were newly diagnosed; some had even been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as long as 10 years earlier. But none had been taking medications for their disease when the study began.
“They initiated one of four single-agent therapies: metformin, sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones (TZDs) or insulin,” Whitmer said.
All of these treatments lower blood sugar levels, but they work in slightly different ways.
Metformin makes muscle tissue more receptive to insulin, a hormone necessary for sugar (glucose) to get into the body’s cells and tissues to provide fuel. It also decreases the amount of glucose made in the liver. Sulfonylureas stimulate the production of insulin. TZDs make muscle and fat tissue more receptive to insulin, and they decrease the amount of glucose made in the liver. Insulin injections are used to help cover the increased need for more insulin because people with type 2 diabetes aren’t able to use insulin produced by the body as efficiently.
During the study, nearly 10 percent of the patients were diagnosed with dementia. (The study was not able to differentiate between Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, Whitmer said.)
Compared to people taking sulfonylureas, those on metformin had a 20 percent decreased risk of developing dementia, according to the study. There was no difference in dementia risk for those on TZDs or insulin compared to those on sulfonylureas.
The researchers controlled the data for a number of factors, including age, duration of diabetes, blood sugar control, race and education, Whitmer said.
So what is it about metformin that might help protect the brain? Whitmer said one theory stemming from animal research is that metformin may play a role in the development of new brain cells (neurogenesis). It has also been linked to reduced inflammation, she added.
One expert was excited by the findings.
“Insulin promotes the survival of certain nerve cells. A drug like metformin, [which is] an insulin sensitizer in the body, may also be an insulin sensitizer in the brain,” said Dr. Richard Lipton, director of the division of cognitive aging and dementia at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “We know that people with Alzheimer’s lose brain volume, which may be a poor replacement of nerve cells. The notion that metformin might promote neurogenesis and brain cell replacement is a very attractive hypothesis.”
“The idea that how we treat diabetes could affect all-cause dementia is very exciting,” Lipton said.
Whitmer hopes to do more research to determine whether the long-term use of metformin would have an even greater effect, whether larger doses make a difference and whether there would be a difference in risk reduction based on the type of dementia.
For now, she said, it’s important to remember this: “The brain isn’t isolated. When you think about your brain health you should be thinking about whole body health, and think about it over your life course. Dementia shows up late in life, but those changes start a decade or more before they show up. What’s good for the health of the heart is also what’s good for the brain.”
SOURCES: Rachel Whitmer, Ph.D., epidemiologist, division of research, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.; Richard Lipton, M.D., director, division of cognitive aging and dementia, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; July 15, 2013, presentation, Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, Boston
Health News Copyright (c) 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
The Journal of the American Medical Association released “The State of US Health, 1991-2110: Burdens of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors”. This study confirms that Americans are living longer, but not necessarily healthier.
To read further, click here……
To get a head start on health and wellness, check out all of the great fitness and exercise equipment at: http://www.betterhealthinnovations.com/Fitness_Equipment_and_Exercise_Equipment_s/128.htm
New research reports that Statins, a group of cholesterol, lowering drugs, appear to have few side effects. Researchers reviewed data from 135 previous drug studies. To learn more about their findings including the two safest drugs. click here……