Saturday, December 30, 2006

How Breast-feeding Is Related To Diabetes?

Exclusive breast-feeding is associated with reduced mortality and improved growth in developing countries.

It also confers some advantages in developed countries: besides reducing childhood infections, breast-feeding may also protect against later diseases such as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease, and lymphoma.

More recently, breast milk consumption by preterm infants has been shown to be associated with lower blood pressure in early teens.

Diabetes And Breast-feeding

Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem but also an outright disease, which is associated with a number of health problems, heart disease is just one of them.

A study published in the British Medical Journal reported that children who were fed exclusively with breast milk for the first 3 to 5 months of their life were less likely to develop obesity by the time they reached school age.

Researchers concluded that there might be substances in breast milk that may protect children from obesity.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Metabolic Syndrome In Children

Metabolic syndrome is also known as syndrome X, has become more common as the number of overweight and obese people rises. If a person has more than 3 or more symptoms such as a large waistline, high blood pressure, raised insulin levels, excess body weight and abnormal cholesterol levels are said to possess the syndrome.

Research shows that youngsters in Europe are catching up with their counterparts in the United States, with some 2 million children are affected by syndrome X.

In the European Union, there are 900,000 children have high cholesterol, 520,000 suffer from high blood pressure, and 90,000 have impaired glucose intolerance, a pre-diabetic condition.

Metabolic syndrome can result from unhealthy diet, inactivity, genetic factors, and being overweight or obese. Each component of the syndrome can raise the risk of developing one or more diseases. In general, the more component people have, the higher the risk to their health.

People with syndrome X are 3 times more likely to have a heart attack and stroke and 5 times greater risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, as compared to healthy people.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Blood Pressure Drugs Seems Have No Control On White Coat Effect!

Some hypertensive patients who are taking medication do have "white coat effect".

What is "what coat effect"? This is a phenomenon occurs when hypertensive patients tend to have higher blood pressure readings at the doctor's office as compared to readings taken at home.

This was the findings based on a study of 138 treated hypertensive patients (on hypertension medication) and 138 untreated patients (not on medication). Both groups had their blood pressures measured in the doctor's office and at home using a device that automatically recorded blood pressure readings throughout the day (ambulatory monitoring).

The untreated group of patients tended to have a greater white coat effect than the treated group. Moreover, white coat effect was significant in 27 percent of subjects who were not taking anti-hypertensive drugs compared with 20 percent of subjects on medication to control blood pressure. White coat effect was detected in many of the patients based on home blood pressure monitoring, this method was not as accurate as ambulatory testing.

The results suggested that the white coat effect tends to be reduced in treated hypertensive patients but not eliminated.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hypertension And Caffeine

While it is still not clear how caffeine can contribute to hypertension, a 4-week study had suggested that people who are at risk of developing hypertension may want to reconsider before taking another cup of coffee.

During the study, healthy adult volunteers, who had their blood pressures measured to monitor their responses to caffeine intake, had minor change in blood pressure as a result of their morning coffee. However, a greater effect on blood pressure was found for people who had a family history of hypertension or with borderline blood pressure.

The research, therefore, concluded that people with or at risk of developing hypertension should not consume more than 4 cups of coffee a day.

Hypertension And Depression

The connection between depression and hypertension may be strongest in families with a history of hypertension.

Nearly 20 percent of heart patients without prior history of heart attack and up to 65 percent of patients who had previously suffered a heart attack were diagnosed to have clinical depression.

There is no clear evidence on the influence of depression on heart health. Nonetheless, some researchers suggest that depression interferes with the body's ability to adjust to common changes in blood pressure during the day.

Another school of thought is based on the finding that clinically depressed people tend to have higher levels of stress hormones (that is, adrenaline) than people without clinical depression. This may explain why the hearts of clinically depressed people beat faster, even during sleep. This is also in line with studies showing reduced heart rate variability (that is, the heart's ability to handle stress) for people with both heart disease and clinical depression.

Furthermore, depressed people may be more likely to smoke, drink alcohol in excess or use drugs, all of which can lead to high blood pressure.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Heart Rate Can Be Lower By Eating Fish!

Increased heart rate is a risk factor for sudden death. Sudden death also known as cardiac arrest, and it occurs when the heart stops abruptly.

According to a study on 9,758 men, aged 50 to 59 from Lille, France and Belfast, Ireland, healthy men who ate fish regularly had lower average heart rates as compared to those who did not.

The men in the study were divided into 4 groups according to their fish intake: less than once per week (27.3 percent), once per week (46.9 percent), twice per week (20.1 percent), and more than twice per week (5.7 percent).

The adjusted heart rate ranged from 67.5 beats per minute (bpm) in men who ate fish less than once a week to 65.6 bpm for those consuming fish more than twice per week.

Omega-3 fatty acid may prevent sudden death and fatal cardiovascular events by regulating heartbeat and preventing irregular cardiac rhythms associated with sudden death. Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blood Pressure Drops With Reduction of Weight!

Previously, weight loss had been shown to reduce the need for medication in obese hypertensive patients.

But now, a new study reported in the American Journal of Hypertension had found that people with high blood pressure not treated with drugs will have their blood pressure reduced with long-term weight loss. This good news came from the findings of a study conducted by the University of Perugia in Italy. The researchers studied the effects of weight changes on blood pressure in 181 overweight hypertensive patients. These patients had not treated with any medications and remained untreated during the 4-year study.

The researchers suggested that losing weight might be considered as the first and sometimes the only treatment for low-risk overweight hypertensive patients.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Childhood Obesity Can Be Caused By Carbonated Drinks!

It is unarguable that the ultimate reason for excessive weight gain in children is energy imbalance.

A study conducted in United Kingdom revealed that more than 70 percent of adolescents consume carbonated drinks regularly.

With an aim to preventing obesity, a project took place in 6 schools with children aged between 7 to 11 years between August 2001 and October 2003. Anthropometric measurements (that is height, weight and waist circumference) were taken at intervals of 6 months. Doing so was to discourage the consumption of fizzy drinks. After 12 months, consumption of carbonated drinks had decreased in the intervention group.

The above finding concluded that a school-based program to discourage children from drinking carbonated drinks can in fact help reduce the number of overweight and obese children in school.

Interestingly, just small changes in energy intake can have a major impact on obesity risk. For example, daily consumption of 1 can of sweetened carbonated drink over a 10-year period can actually cause a person to gain up to 50 kg of weight. Conversely, reducing one's daily intake of such sweetened drinks may help prevent weight gain. As we all know, maintaining healthy weight may cut down the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and other unhealthy issues.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fat Tummy Is Worse Than Obesity For Older Women!

Body fat tends to accumulate around the abdomen with age. According to past studies, excess belly fat, as compared to fat elsewhere in the body, can increase the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes as well as the chances of a stroke occurring in middle age.

Women of age over 60 with extra abdominal fat appears to have higher risk of artery-clogging than those with either overall obesity or pockets of excess fat located elsewhere in the body.

This is the findings from a study that compared excess abdominal fat to extra peripheral fat, such as fat in the arms, hips and buttocks, as risk factors for atherosclerosis, the build-up of fats on the inner lining of arteries that can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The study also found that women who had already experienced a heart attack tended to have a higher percentage of abdominal fat than those with no history of heart disease, regardless of whether they had extra body fat in other regions.

Abdominal Obesity Can Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Men!

Abdominal obesity is excess fat around the waist. It has been found to be an even more important risk factor of coronary heart disease (CHD) than overall obesity or what is known as generally overweight. This was the finding of a Finnish study aimed to find out the associations of abdominal obesity and overall obesity with acute coronary events.

Body mass index indicating overall obesity while waist-to-hip ratio (calculated as the ratio of the circumference of the waist to the hip) and waist circumference indicating abdominal obesity. These were measured for 1346 middle-age male participants, and 123 acute coronary events were noted during an average follow-up of 10.6 years.

The study found that increased waist-to-hip ratio, waist circumference and body mass index were all associated with an increased risk of acute coronary events such as heart attack. Although blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol could partly explain the relationships, the link between waist-to-hip ratio and CHD remained significant.

It was concluded that since men who were physical inactive and smoked tended to have a high waist-to-hip ratio, lifestyle changes should be encouraged because it has a overall beneficial effect.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Changes in Lifestyle Can Improve Blood Vessels in Obese Children

The blood vessels of obese children show changes that can lead to heart disease later in life. However, research showed that these changes can be reversed through changing their diet and doing regular exercise.

The study was conducted on 82 overweight children. The children were put on a low-fat diet either alone or in combination with a structured exercise program for 6 weeks. After this period, all 41 children from the diet-only group and 22 of the 41 children from diet and exercise group continued their respective regiments for 1 year.

During the first 6 weeks, both groups of children did experience a drop in blood cholesterol levels and an improvement in blood vessel function. However, researchers noted that the beneficial effects on blood vessel function were more pronounced among children from the diet and exercise group, as compared with children from the diet-only group. At a later stage of the study, further improvements were noticed in blood vessel function of those children who continued their exercise programs. Fewer benefits were observed in children who were on the diet-only program.

This study provides conclusive evidence that blood vessel dysfunction in overweight children can be corrected by lifestyle modification including dietary changes and physical exercise.

Friday, December 15, 2006

High Blood Pressure In Kids

The average blood pressure for American children aged between 8 to 17 has increased over the past 10 years. This implies that these children are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.

According to a survey conducted between 1988 and 1994, the average systolic blood pressure (the top number) in children has increased by 1 point, while the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) has jumped more than 3 points in children.

Every increase of 1 to 2 units in systolic blood pressure raises a child's risk of having high blood pressure when he reaches early adulthood by 10 percent. The number of high blood pressure patients may hence rise significantly over the next 20 years as these children grow older.

It was also noted that excess body weight, unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity should be responsible for this increase in blood pressure in children and teens. Therefore, multiple levels of interventions are necessary to restrict the trend of rising blood pressure among young Americans.

Children and teens who already have high blood pressure should discuss with their doctors about sustainable lifestyle changes that would enable them to lose weight and exercise more.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Heart Attack Can Be Different For Men And Women!

While male gender is an established risk factor for a first heart attack, study showed that fewer women survived from heart attack.

The study actually surveyed 4,900 persons aged 25 to 64 year-old with probable or definite first heart attack who were alive 28 days after the onset of symptoms.

It was found that at first heart attack, women were older and more likely to be hypertensive or diabetic than men. After making adjustment for age and geographic region, men had 1.74 times the risk of fatal coronary heart disease as compared to women over a 6-year follow-up period. The data suggested that men are far more likely than women to suffer from a fatal recurrent event.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Kids Means Higher Risk Of Heart Disease?

Do you know that the more children you have, the more likely that you are to be obese, regardless of whether you are a mother or a father?

The researchers had found that the relationship between the number of children in a family and the risk of heart disease in both mothers and fathers forms a "J" shaped curve. The risks of heart disease appears lowest in parents with 2 children, then rises as the number of children increases or decreases.

Furthermore, for families with 2 children, the addition of every new child increases the risk of heart disease among mothers by 30 percent, and among fathers by 12 percent. The increased risk of heart disease among women could be a result of numerous pregnancies. Interestingly, once obesity and other factors for heart disease are removed from this relationship, the risk of heart disease remained only slightly higher among mothers with many children, and disappeared completely in fathers.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What Is Miscarriage Related With Heart Disease?

Women who have lost one or more pregnancies are 50 percent more likely than women who have never miscarried to be hospitalized for heart disease or suffer a heart attack, according to a British research.

The study further reported that women who had lost more than 3 pregnancies were twice as likely to develop heart disease than women who had experienced no miscarriages.

The researchers explained that pregnancy represents a major challenge of adaptation for the mother's heart and blood vessels. The complications during pregnancy may be the first signs of an underlying tendency towards cardiovascular disease, which may ultimately manifest in symptomatic heart disease.

Nevertheless, the researchers could not be sure that their finding was not simply a chance association because of the small number of women in the study who fit the research criteria.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The First Stroke in Women Is More Severe Than Men!

Women have severe first strokes than men and remain more disabled afterwards, as found by a Spanish research. Female patients will be more likely than male patients to suffer from speech disorders, vision disturbances, and difficult in swallowing.

The reason for such differences is not well understood. Nevertheless, it is believed that factors such as older age, greater stroke severity, and higher rate of in-hospital medical complications in women might possibly be responsible.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Is Coffee A Healthy Drink?

Most people will regard coffee as a bad beverage because of the caffeine it contains. As a matter of fact, British Dietetic Association has advised people not to drink too much coffee because this can make us feel jittery or unable to fall asleep. Pregnant women should take no more than 2 cups per day.

On the other hand, recent studies have suggested otherwise: a moderate consumption of coffee may in fact good for us. A Harvard School of Public Health study had found that men who drank more than 6 cups of coffee a day could reduce their risk for Type 2 diabetes by 50 percent and women by nearly 30 percent. As we all know, diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease. If its risk can be reduced, then the possibility of developing heart disease might be much lower too.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Can Fat Be Burnt By Muscle Stimulating Devices?

Many people use electronic slimming devices and creams that are recommended by manufacturers to trim their bodies.

However, according to doctors, the only way to lose the excess fat in the body is to 'burn' it. Fat loss cannot be stimulated by local applications with creams, saunas, belts or electronic devices. Massage also does not help.

Remember this, exercise must be active!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Is Natural Products Harmful In Helping Weight Loss?

Many natural products contain bioactive substances that suppress appetite, stimulate metabolism, or induce water loss from the body.

One should note that though they are 'natural', it does not mean that they are not harmful.

The danger of using these products lies in fact that they are used without any medical supervision. Abuse cases on using natural products to help weight loss have been mentioned in newspapers at regular intervals.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Can Drugs Help To Lose Weight?

There are certain drugs that could induce weight loss.

But, one should be cautious in the use of these drugs. It should be strictly under medical supervision and only for short periods. The main reason is such drugs may possibly have adverse side effects.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What About Slimming?

It is known that obesity can lead to heart diseaes. As a preventive measure, we should maintain a healthy weight. People are, therefore, crazy about slimming but at the same time, they are confused too.

What is the role of special diets in slimming?

As we know, special diets are expensive yet do not help change the eating behavior that leads to overweight or obesity. They may help lose weight relatively fast over a short period of time. It is, nonetheless, advisable to do it under medical supervision.

But, any diet that forbids certain foods, for example Atkins diet, or is extremely low in calories (so called Very Low Carlorie Diets like Cambridge diet), or focuses on special foods such as bread diet, grapefruit diet should be avoided. These methods of losing weight do not always result in any change in the eating behavior. If they are used over a longer time, they are unhealthy and/or do not result in any change in baharior.

In the long term, they are doomed to fail.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Obesity And Breast-feeding

Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem but also an outright disease, which is associated with a number of health problems, heart disease is just one of them.

A study published in the British Medical Journal reported that children who were fed exclusively with breast milk for the first 3 to 5 months of their life were less likely to develop obesity by the time they reached school age.

Researchers concluded that there might be substances in breast milk that may protect children from obesity.

Diabetes And Youth

Are you aware that diabetes is developing at earlier ages throughout the industralized world?

According to research from United States, type 2 diabetes now accounts for 30 percent of all new cases of diabetes diagnosed in American teenagers, median age at diagnosis is about 60, but the entire age distribution curve is shifting to the left. The most extreme scenario is in the United States, where the first cases of type 2 diabetes in white children aged under 10 were being reported.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Diabetes And Healthy Lifestyle

A study showed that people who make intensive lifestyle changes will reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, as compared with 31 percent for people who take anti-diabetic drugs.

Diabetes And Alcohol

Do you know that non-diabetic postmenopausal women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol can reduce insulin concentration and improve insulin sensitivity, according to Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Is Aspirin That Important?

Surveys in the US and UK have shown that less than half of patients with high-risk conditions are prescribed aspirin. The researchers estimate that world wide 40,000 extra lives could be saved every year with 3,000 lives saved along in the UK, if every one with high-risk condition for whom aspirin was appropriate actually received it.

When used for secondary prevention, the benefit from aspirin readily outweighs possible harm from major haemorrhage (bleeding). In addition, the new study found that lower daily doses of aspirin (75-150mg) are as effective as higher doses for longer time.

In conclusion, aspirin is protective in most type of patients at increased risk of cardiovascular events, including those with myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, unstable/stable angina, previous myocardial infarction, stroke, cerebral ischemia, peripheral artery disease or atrial fibrillation.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Anger Management May Save Your Heart!

While you are angry, the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to your heart are also narrowing, and your blood is "sticker" (more viscous) and more likely to form dangerous blood clots.

Blood clots could lead to a heart attack or stroke. A heart attack could also be triggered if hormones released during anger (for example, adrenaline) cause an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

Furthermore, anger has been linked to risk factors such as higher homocysteine levels and higher cholesterol levels. Therefore, learning anger management techniques could help reduce the stress on your cardiovascular system and ultimately save your life.

Next time, if you want to get angry with someone or anything, do think twice!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Music May Be Beneficial In Heart Disease!

Music introduces changes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Such changes is related to the rhythm. The tempo of the music is more important than the style of music or an individual's music preference.

In a study, 24 healthy participants whose breathing rate, blood pressure, and other heart and respiratory parameters were monitored, before and while listening to different kinds of music and during 2-minute intermissions. Half of the participants were trained musicians while the other half had no musical training.

The participants, especially the trained ones, experienced increased blood pressure, accelerated breathing and heart rate when the music played was of faster rhythm. But during pauses and music of slower rhythms was played, relaxation was induced and their breathing and heart rate were slow. The relaxation effect was even more evident during pauses.

The study thus suggested that suitable selection of music, alternating slow and fast rhythms interspersed with pauses, can be used to induce relaxation that may be beneficial in modulating stress in heart disease and stroke.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sudden Cardiac Death?

For the past few weeks, there were 4 young male victims who had no known health problems or family history of sudden deaths died during sleep. Although actual reasons have not been known, most deaths of this kind were believed to be caused by cardiovascular conditions.

According to cardiologists, the chances of sudden cardiac death are small for healthy persons with no family history of sudden death, congenital heart disease and multiple risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension. It is estimated to be one in 1,000.

Men are more at risk as they are generally more prone to coronary artery disease. There is no well-documented data on sudden death during sleep. But, a French study conducted in 1994 found that one-third of all sudden deaths occur during sleep. Often, victims were not aware that they had congenital or underlying heart conditions such as a blockage in a blood vessel or the heart.

The abnormalities in the heart or brain, if detected early, can be treated with medication, surgery, or devices such as pacemaker. Nevertheless, the best approach is to minimize the chances of developing a heart condition through a balanced diet, regular exercise and strict control of existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Can Walnuts Protect Body From Heart Disease?

Walnut consumption can cause a threefold increase in the level of melatonin in the blood. Melatonin, which helps regulate sleep patterns, is a chemical produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Research also revealed that a combination of melatonin and omega-3 fatty acids works as a strong antioxidant to prevent the build-up of free radicals. The amount of free radicals in the body does increase with age and is associated with heart disease and cancer.

Very few food items such as corn, tomatoes, and potatoes contain small amounts of melatonin as compared to that found in walnuts. Adding walnuts to diet can boost melatonin levels that may reduce incidence of disease like Parkinsonism and Alzheimer's disease, in addition to heart disease and cancer.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Is There Any Way To Drive Away Stress?

If we wish to keep ourselves healthy in today’s stressful environment, perhaps we must seek ways to help manage the stress we have.

My previous article, "10 tips to drive away stress!", highlighted some means to reduce stress. If you are interested to read about it, please click the following link:

Monday, November 20, 2006

Stress Do More Harm To Men Than To Women?

Interestingly, link between stress and cardiovascular ills was found to be strong among men, but weak for women.

It is thought that constant stress may affect the conditions of arteries in a number of direct or indirect ways, from causing chronically high levels of stress hormones to pushing people to maintain unhealthy habits such as smoking.

Throughout a study between 1974 and 1980, middle-age men and women were questioned about their stress levels over the previous 1 to 5 years. They were then followed through 1999 to see who developed cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that participants who reported chronic stress at the study’s start were 14 percent more likely to develop heart-related problems or suffer a stroke, regardless of other factors like family history, body weight, smoking and high blood pressure.

Though the reason remained unknown, it was men’s risk of fatal stroke that showed the clearest relationship to stress: stress-out men were twice as likely as their peers to die of a stroke. Weaker findings among women were likely due to the fairly low number of heart disease and stroke cases among women.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stress Can Lead To Heart Disease!

Do take note that a stressful life does seem to raise the odds of heart disease and stroke, according to a large study from Sweden. Among more than 13,600 men and women followed since middle age, those who reported chronic stress at the study’s outset faced a somewhat higher risk of fatal or non-fatal heart disease or stroke over the years.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Why Can't We Stay Away From Stress?

Due to globalization, economic structure has changed and is very different from years ago. Royalty towards organizations are rare and likewise, security of jobs provided by organizations no longer exists.

More and more people choose to become entrepreneurs or self-employed. This require these people to work extremely harder than they do under employment. They are required to be multitasking, for example, they need to find ways to market their products or services, arrange for financial resources for their business, and many other things.

Under such circumstances, people are constantly under stress irrespective of which categories they are in.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Stroke Linked To Migraines With Aura

A study of 39,754 women by researchers at Brigham and Women Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston showed that women who have a migraine with aura have a higher risk of stroke. Women below 55 years old were at greatest risk, with more than double the risk of ischemic stroke. There was no increased stroke risk for women who experienced migraine without auras, or for women with non-migraine headaches.

The results were presented in April 2004 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Francisco.

Auras refer to temporary neurological symptoms that may include blind spots, flashing spots, streams of light, tingling and weakness in the face and limbs on one side, giddiness or difficulty speaking – similar to the symptoms of a stroke.

The increase risk was for ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blocked blood flow to the brain, and not for hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain.

Though the findings are statistically significant, the total number of strokes is still very small. So many women with migraine with aura do not really get strokes and they should not be alarmed by these findings.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Who Should Avoid Taking Part In Marathon?

Exercise may cause sudden death in patients with undiagnosed coronary artery disease. Persons with age of above 40 should be careful.

Smokers, patients with hypertension, diabetics, those with high cholesterol levels and those with a family history of coronary artery disease are especially at risk of such symptoms.

Do not attempt a Marathon if you have:

  • An existing cardiovascular or joint condition, unless you get prior clearance from your doctor.
  • An established coronary artery disease, weak heart or high blood pressure which is not well controlled with medication.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Before Taking Part In Marathon, Read This!

A study revealed that running less than 64 km per week prior to running marathon may lead to temporary heart muscle weakness and increased pressure in the lung arteries and such cardiac abnormalities may last even long after runners finish a marathon.

For more information on the study, you may click the following link:

Over the past decade, the number of people participating in endurance sports has increased. The finding could serve as a warning for people who have never take part in such a long run to pay attention before they make decision to participate.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Will You Benefit From Acupuncture?

Is this method of weight loss suitable for all people? The answer is probably no. Why? As one reputable TCM practitioner pointed out, this method is only appropriate for people with no prior medical ailment, and those who eat right and exercise regularly but cannot achieve ideal weights. For people who have no self control, eating whatever they like but seek physician only to lose weight through acupuncture, this is certainly not going to work for them in the long run.

Ask yourself this question before you go even if you satisfy the above criteria: can I bear the pain caused by piercing of so many needles into my body? If your answer is no, then you better turn to other forms of weight management program.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

How Acupuncture Can Help Reduce Weight?

To facilitate weight loss, acupuncture needles are inserted into various parts of body to make a person feel full, as if he or she has just eaten.

According to TCM practitioners, acupuncture does stimulate one's metabolic rate enabling the body to utilize food efficiently instead of storing it as fat.

Acupuncture also helps to combat weight by stimulating the production of endorphins which could lower body fat, insulin levels and lipid levels in the blood. Endorphins are natural chemical released by the body to decrease the sensation of pain and help control a person's breathing and digestion.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, an ancient method of Chinese traditional treatment, uses needles to pierce specific sites of the body called "pathways" or "meridians", in an attempt to relieve pain associated with some chronic disorders. It can effectively relieve nausea, stress, arthritis pain in the knee, and many more.

A recent research done by Dr Hans-Christoph Diener, a neurologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, confirmed that traditional Chinese acupuncture is as effective as drug treatment for migraine.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What Can Traditional Theraphy Do To Reduce Weight?

Recently, a new way of weight loss solution has become popular using needles. What is this? Some of you may ask: "Another sales gimmick? "

Not really! This is a technique used by TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners known as "Acupuncture". The needles used are not ordinary ones: they are very thin needles specially made of various sizes just for the purpose of acupuncture. These needles are termed as acupuncture needles.

Reports showed that there are people, who have tried every possible means to trim themselves down but in vain, can finally stay away from the circle of obesity with the help of this kind of treatment.

Can Red Yeast Rice Prevent Heart Disease?

Red yeast rice is made by fermenting rice with a specific strain of yeast called monascus purpureus. In 1979, Japanese scientists discovered that it produced active substances called monacolins, which inhibit cholesterol. As a result of this finding, there was a surge in demand at that time. Red yeast rice is now used to formulate a Chinese proprietary medicine called xuezhikang to treat high cholesterol.

Researchers in China conducted clinical trials of xuezhikang on 4700 patients from 65 hospitals throughout the country. The patients, between 18 and 75 years old, all had some form of coronary heart disease. The study had found that xuezhikang had positive effects such as lowering of bad cholesterol and the raising of the good ones in the prevention and treatment of heart diseases. It is also believed that in the long term, it is safer to use because it does not have the same side effects as the statins drugs such as nausea and constipation, hence making it a better choice in the treatment of high cholesterol.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Green Tea Can Help Reduce Risk of Heart Disease!

Green tea is rich in catechin polyphenols that can block the action of free radicals that are famous in damaging cells. Green tea extract contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that has been found to be effective in lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels; and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots, the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

A current study in Guangxi, China, is evaluating the effects of green tea polyphenols on aflatoxins (airborne moulds that grow in oily mediums and can cause liver damage) and oxidative stress biomarkers. Oxidative stress and inflammation have been found to be possible causes of many heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders. A fall in the levels of these biomarkers has been observed in smokers who drink green tea.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Traditional Chinese Medicines

Traditional Chinese medicines, existed for at least 5000 years, is one of these alternatives that enjoys a resurgence. The interest is also fuelled by scientific studies of the efficacy of certain herbs and treatments. Some of these studies (promising cures) were presented at the first International Congress of Complementary and Alternative Medicines held in Singapore in 2005. Green tea and red yeast rice are two of the good examples that have proven scientifically effective in tackling or preventing heart disease.

Traditional Therapies vs Western Treatment

In the ancient era, people used herbs or plants to cure those who were sick, although they could not possibly identify the sickness they encountered at that time. With the advancement of technology, doctors can nowadays accurately differentiate one sickness from the other and people take drugs to cure these diseases. Nevertheless, it seems that these so called medicines (mainly from the West) could not either treat the diseases effectively or have side effects. As such, more and more people seek other forms of therapies or treatments to complement or as alternatives to Western medicine.

Monday, November 06, 2006

KFC Drops Trans Fat!

According to Los Angeles Times, US fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has announced that it would use a new soyabean oil to deep-fry most of its menu items without trans fat. The change is a watershed for the push to get partially hydrogenated oil - which contains trans fat - out of food.

New York Times also reported that If the Board of Health votes in favour of the ban next month, New York restaurants will have 18 months to stop using artificial trans fats. Such fats were once recommended as a substitute for animal fats, but researchers now believe they are a leading cause of heart disease.

Prof Dariush Mozaffarian, from the Harvard School of Public Health, described artificial trans fats as 'the most dangerous ingredient in our diet', contributing to abdominal weight gain, increasing levels of 'bad' cholesterol and worsening insulin resistance. He also claimed that consumption of artificial trans fats might account for anywhere between 6 and 22 per cent of heart attacks in the US.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What Harms Can Trans Fat Do To Us?

Two of the most possible ones are:

  • It clogs the arteries of the heart, making them more rigid.
  • It increases insulin resistance, increasing your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Spending over US$100 million on three clinical studies, Harvard University has reported that people who eat significant amounts of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil are more prone to the risk of heart disease.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has enacted legislation on July 9, 2003 requiring manufacturers of food and some dietary supplements to list trans fat on a separate line, and is effective from January next year.

FDA estimates that three years after the effective date, trans fat labeling would annually prevent some 600 to 1200 heart attacks and could save 250 to 500 lives.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What Are Trans Fats?

Trans fatty acid (TFA) are formed when liquid vegetable oils goes through "hydrogenation", a chemical process to make an oil more solid so that it has a longer shelf life in baked products, longer fry life for cooking oils, and can provide a certain kind of texture to processed foods.

These fats can easily be found in hundreds of processed products of which the ingredients contain "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "hydrogenated vegetable oil". Producers of trans fats are:

  • Most margarines
  • deep-fried chips
  • many fast foods and
  • most commercial baked goods.

They raise not only LDL (bad) and but also lower HDL (good). In reality, they are the most harmful materials that we are taking without any notice.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What Are Saturated Fats?

The familiar saturated fat is embedded in most of our favorite foods such us

  • whole milk, butter, cheese and ice cream
  • red meat
  • chocolate
  • coconuts, coconut milk and coconut oil.

We are aware that these foods are unhealthy but yet cannot bear to stay away from. These fats raises both LDL (bad) and HDL (good).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What Are Unsaturated Fats?

This can be sub-divided into two classes, namely mono-unsaturated fat and poly-unsaturated fat. These fats are good because they lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol).

Mono-unsaturated fat can be found in

  • olives
  • olive oil
  • canola oil
  • peanut oil
  • cashews, almonds, peanuts and most other nuts
  • avocados

Poly-unsaturated fat is available in

  • corn
  • soybean
  • safflower and cottonseed oils
  • fish

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Simple Way To Understand Fats

"Don't take too much fats!" This is a piece of advice we used to get from people around us. Are all fats bad for us? Of course no! Nevertheless, before we can decide which fats we should take and which fats we should not take, it is better to understand the nature of fats and where they can be found in the foods we consumed.

For simplicity, we can classify these fats into three broad categories, namely unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats.

Each of these fats will be discussed here in the next few days.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Congenital Heart Condition

A 12-year-old boy died in school because of his congenital heart condition. As reported in newspaper, he was suffering from cardiomyopathy, which inflames the heart muscles, prohibiting normal functioning. His mother died two years ago with the same disease.

His condition is uncontrollable. According to his father, he could die at any time since he was born. There are 35,000 babies are born each year in United States with some kind of congenital heart disease. Some will heal over time while others will require treatment.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What is Prevention?

Prevention is better than cure! This is what we are always being advised. But how many of us really treat prevention seriously?

We cannot prevent from contracting from any particular disease by just taking supplements or vitamins. We need to aware and understand not only the cause of that disease but also its consequences

Many of the risk factors of heart disease can easily be preventable. Good examples are smoking, alcohol drinking, physical inactivity. Other risk factors such as blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and obesity can also be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyle from young, unless they are due to family genetic factors that are uncontrollable.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Salt Is a Poison That Can Lead To Heart Disease!

Sodium is essential for cell function as it maintains the electrolyte balance in the body, which regulates the flow of fluids such as water and blood. So, why salt is called a poison?

To read more on this, you may want to click on the above title..

Friday, October 20, 2006


Besides diet, moderate amount of exercise can also help you to have a healthy body. Physical activity improves your heart by reducing blood pressure and enables you to control your body weight. It helps prevent and control heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fiber, Freshness & Plant-based Protein

Fiber can lower blood cholesterol. At least 20 to 35g of fiber should be taken per day. Fiber can be classified into soluble and insoluble: soluble fiber can be found in oaks, barley, dry beans, apple, orange, pear and carrot while vegetables and whole grains are good examples of insoluble fiber.

Fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables are non-processed and do not contain salt. This will limit your intake of salt.

Plant-based Protein
You should replace meat with beans and bean products a few times a week. Plants do not contain cholesterol though some (such as coconut) may contain fats.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Salt, Sugar and Alcohol

Only 2.5g of sodium is required for our body in a day. Being the major component of salt, sodium maintains fluid balance in our body and helps our muscles, including heart muscle to relax. However, excessive sodium intake will cause fluid retention in our body and contribute to high blood pressure.

Taking too much sugar means a high calorie intake which Can lead to weight gain. So avoid or cut down soft drinks, dessert such as cream cakes, pastries, and foods with high carbohydrate.

High blood pressure can also be caused by excessive intake of alcohol. You may, however, take a unit of two each day but do keep to a safe level with some alcohol-free days.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fat and Cholesterol

Fat and cholesterol are not the same. However, both cholesterol and saturated fats in diet may raise blood cholesterol level which may eventually cause heart disease. Therefore, it is recommended that you should take only 15 to 32g of saturated fat and less than 300mg of cholesterol per day. You should avoid fried and oily food and replace saturated fats with poly-unsaturated fats (such as some vegetable and fish oils) and mono-unsaturated fats (such as olive and canola oils).

Monday, October 16, 2006

2 Simple Principles To Prevent Heart Disease

Using easily-remembered numbers 3-5-7, the following two simple principles can help you prevent heart disease:

3-5-7 Healthy Heart Diet Principles
3 Highs (high in fiber, freshness, plant-based protein);
5 Lows (low in fat, cholesterol, salt, sugar and alcohol); and
70% Full for your diet.

3-5-7 Healthy Heart Exercise Principles
3 kilometers walk (or 5000 steps) per day;
5 times a week; and
Exercise heart rate at less than (170 minus Age) beats per minute. For example, if your age is 40, then your exercise heart rate should not exceed 130 beats per minute.

Stress and smoking can cause heart disease too, so do manage your stress level and stay away from smoking.