Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Would Taking Statin Lead To Weight Gain?

Having high cholesterol, especially the bad cholesterol, might put a person at risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure. Bad cholesterol, in short LDL or also known as low-density lipoprotein, contributes to plaque that can clog arteries and make them less flexible. If clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke could happen.

Patients can lower bad cholesterol by managing their diet with adequate exercises. But if these measures fail, patients might be prescribed with cholesterol medication like statin.

While having side effects including muscle pain, diarrhea, constipation, increased diabetes, liver damage and muscle problem, statin remains the most popular cholesterol medications that doctors will usually prescribe to their patients since it is still considered safe for most people.

A study conducted by researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles revealed that long-term use of statin might lead to weight gain, which is not a side effect of the medication. The increase in weight seems to come from added fat and calories consumed over a decade among statin users, when compared to non-statin groups. The findings were published April 24, 2014 in JAMA ‘Internal Medicine’. 

The researchers examined the data taken from statin users and non-users from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database, involving nearly 28,000 adults aged 20 and older, over a 10-year period. 

Each year, different people were surveyed, underwent physical examinations and blood tests, and reported their food intake. Group of people who used statins steadily increased, from 8 percent in the first year to 17 percent in the final year. 

At the start of the study (1999-2000), the statin users consumed 2000 calories and 72 grams of fat per day but 10 years later (2009-2010), they consumed 2179 calories and 82 grams of fat per day. That is an increase of 9.6 percent in calories and 14.4 percent in fat intake. On the other hand, non-statin users showed no significant differences in the number of calories or fat consumed over the 10-year period.

Meanwhile, the body mass index (BMI) and weight increased more in the statin users. Average BMI among statin users increased from 29 to 31. Number of diabetes also increased from 22 percent to 29 percent, which more or less confirms the link between statin use and diabetes.

Based on the results of the study, it appears that there might be some misconception and false sense of security among some statin users. They thought a statin could actually replace the need for healthy diet, physical activity and weight control. In reality, it is certainly not. Hence, people who are on statin should be particularly careful about what and how much they eat.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Is Diet Soda Not Healthy?

Overweight people are possible targets for chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Type-2 diabetes. Scientists and researchers are trying for years to find out why and how artificial sweeteners can possibly make people gain weight. And finally, researchers unveiled a possible answer: artificial sweeteners might disrupt the bacteria in some people’s bodies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How Much Trans Fat Are You Eating?

Trans fat is made from a manufacturing process in which hydrogen is added to oil to make it solid. Being easy to use, inexpensive to produce and able to last a long time, trans fat also give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fat to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fat can repeatedly be used in commercial fryers.
Research has shown that even relatively small doses of few grams of trans fat a day could raise the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and lower good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein). Hence, consuming high amount of trans fat can increase the risk of getting many chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
While consumption of trans fat has fallen in the United States since a decade ago, a new study by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene revealed that trans fat is still remarkably pervasive in the United States food supply. Their findings were published August 28, 2014 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) journal ‘Preventing Chronic Disease’.
Among 4,340 top-selling packaged foods, 9 percent contain partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) that is the source of trans fat. Of these, 84 percent even proclaimed themselves free of trans fat, with 0 gram printed on the labels, as long as the amount is limited to between 0 and 0.5 grams trans fat per serving. Such labeling has caused confusion to consumers who are probably not aware that they are consuming trans-fat though they bought products with ‘0 grams’ trans fat.
Some of the foods with most trans fat were baked goods, snacks, frozen foods and products with seasoning in them. 35 percent of products in the cookies category contain PHO.
According to the Institute of Medicine, there is no safe level of artificial trans fat. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that they are considering revoking the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status of trans fat. If that is the case, the trans fat will be recognized to be unsafe, and food manufacturers would be required to remove them from all products.
Though restricting the use of PHO in packaged food would certainly benefit consumers preparing foods at home, an FDA ruling would also help ensure that restaurant customers are protected from unknowingly consuming industrial trans fat.
Some local jurisdictions, like California, New York City, Baltimore and Montgomery County, have restricted the use of PHO in food service establishments, but most Americans live in areas where no such regulation exists.
In fact, many countries including Denmark, Switzerland, Canada have reduced or restricted the use of trans fat in food service establishments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Does Number Of Obese Kids Decline?

Childhood obesity has always been a headache for most nations. When a child is overweight or obese, it is very likely that he or she will be an overweight or obese adult who might become a victim of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke.

Because of the prevailing lifestyle, childhood obesity has become an epidemic. Health organizations and government authorities have put in a lot of efforts in curbing the rising trend.

In a paper published in 2014 in the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Pediatrics’, researchers from New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported that the most obese children in the New York City have taken off the most weight. 

For the study, the researchers looked at the annual weight and height data taken on nearly 950,000 school children aged between 5 and 14 in public schools for the 2006-2007 school year and compared the 2010-2011 school year. Their analysis showed that comparing to 2006-2007 school year, severe obesity among NYC public school students in grades K-8 decreased 9.5 percent and obesity decreased 5.5 percent.

Though the numbers are rather small, they did reverse a 40-year trend. Since the 1970s, the rate of obesity had more than tripled, and nearly 6 percent of the American kids are severely obese nationally.

On the other hand, data from very large national surveys show that all kinds of obesity are rising in American children. Some other studies, however, have shown that there are declines in extreme obesity among the very youngest kids who might be the easiest to influence. 

Measurement of obesity in kids is different from that in adults. Children are considered overweight if they are in the 85th to 95th percentile of the BMI (body mass index), for all children their age. Anything over the 95th percentile is obese; severe obesity (Class 2) is at 120 percent and morbid obesity (Class 3) is defined as 140 percent. 

According to researchers, a lot of things have been done in schools. The Department of Education has a program called ‘Move to Improve’ that trains public school teachers on means to incorporate fitness into classrooms. For instance, the youngest kids might be encouraged to stand up at their desks and walk in place as they imagine taking a nature walk, while older kids might dance. 

Meanwhile, schools have also been forced to improve the food they are serving. In fact, most New York public school kids get free meals at school, and this sets norms for what they eat outside school. But kids are exposed to other influences one they step out the school.

Clearly, many more need to be done. The city wants to work next to encourage supermarket chains to open more stores in neighborhoods. The city has also started a program called ‘Health Bucks’, which distributes $2 vouchers for people to use at farmer’s markets, to encourage people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Heart Disease Prevention - Why And How You Should Care For Your Heart?

World Health Organization (WHO) ranks cardiovascular disease as the top cause of death globally. Cardiovascular diseases refer to all diseases of the heart and circulation, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, congenital heart disease and stroke. They were responsible for about 17.3 million deaths in 2008…

Heart Disease Prevention - Why And How You Should Care For Your Heart?

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Diabetes Is Rising In America!

Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, is a long-term medical condition in which a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar). The condition can be due to inadequate insulin production or the body does not respond properly to insulin, or both. People with high blood glucose will experience frequent urination. They will probably become increasingly thirsty and hungry, too.

Basically, there are 3 types of diabetes, namely Type-1, Type-2, and gestational diabetes. Type-1 diabetes results from the body's failure to produce enough insulin, and it is usually diagnosed in childhood. Type-2 diabetes begins with insulin resistance (cells fail to respond to insulin properly) and progresses to a lack of insulin. It accounts for nearly 90 percent of all diabetes. The primary cause of Type-2 diabetes is excessive body weight and inadequate exercise. Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level.

Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting other complications including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney failure, blindness, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and premature death. According to American Diabetes Association, diabetes is responsible for more than 71,000 deaths a year.

Over 382 million people throughout the world were estimated to have diabetes in 2013. It also seems that there is a growing number of Americans have diabetes.

Data from the 2014’s National Diabetes Statistics Report, which was jointly produced by CDC and other organizations and released on June 10, 2014, revealed that more than 29 million Americans adults have diabetes in 2012 and about 25 percent of them do not even realize it. The figure, compared to 26 million in 2010, represents more than 9 percent of the American population. In the meantime, another 86 million, about a third of the adult population are at risk of getting diabetes. Their blood sugar levels are high enough to be marked as pre-diabetic and the cells in their body are becoming resistant to insulin.

The estimates were based on a national sample of Americans, who were asked whether they had been diagnosed with diabetes and who also gave blood samples. They were not asked specifically about what type of diabetes they had, but the vast majority had Type-2 diabetes.

There is no doubt that diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms. The total cost of diabetes in 2012 was 245 billion: $176 billion for direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. Hence there is urgency for the government and health organizations to take swift action to effectively treat and prevent diabetes.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Heart Disease Prevention - Will Passive Smoking Cause Heart Disease?

In 1992, a paper published in the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association’ estimated that second-hand smoke exposure was responsible for 35,000 to 40,000 deaths per year in the United States in the early 1980s. The absolute and attributable risk increase of heart disease due to second-hand smoke was 2.2 and 23 percent respectively. Click the following link to find out more!