Friday, January 29, 2010

What Would You Be If You Eat Fast and Eat Until Full?

The pace of eating and the amount of food consumed vary among people. Some people eat slowly and modestly while some eat fast and eat until they are full.

Japanese researchers from Osaka University pointed out in their study, published online on October 22, 2008 in The British Medical Journal (BMJ), that the latter are 3 times more likely to grow fat compared with the former.

As we all know, once a person gets fatter, many unwanted medical ailments like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, etc. might just be developed.

1,122 men and 2,165 women aged between 30 and 69 were recruited for the study. These participants were asked to closely track their own eating habits and BMI (body mass index), which has been used as a benchmark of obesity.

The results showed that about half of the men and just over half of the women were reported that they ate until they were full, while just under half of the men and a little more than a third were found to eat quickly.

Participants who ate until they felt full were twice as likely to be overweight comparing to those who did not eat until full. For those who ate both quickly and to satiety were 3 times likelier to be overweight.

In the study, distinction was made between people who ate until full and those who reported binge eating. One interesting finding of the study was that those who ate until full had a higher calorie intake than those who gorged.

The act of eating quickly is a survival mechanism, according to health experts. Human beings are such creatures that tend to over consume energy when it is available. Such characteristic would frequently cause humans to consume more calories than they require, especially when the food is cheap and instantly available, and they also eat swiftly.

Nowadays, family members seldom have meals together either because of the long working hours or other reasons. When eating alone, people are more likely to enter into fast-eating mode. In the meantime, more and more people like to eat while watching television or doing other things. When people are distracted, there is a tendency to eat faster. Last but not least, people on the go mostly turn to fast food when it comes to mealtime. The increased availability of relatively cheap food that is served in larger portions also promotes eating beyond satiety.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How Many of The Americans Are At Risk of Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and many other countries. A recent study showed that 90 percent of American adults have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

According to the researchers from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost all the Americans who have hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol or high blood sugar are overweight, smoking or exercising too little. Their report was presented on September 14, 2009 in the journal Circulation.

4 national studies that covered tens of thousands of Americans aged between 25 and 74 were examined, and it was found that only 10 percent of them had low risk scores in all 5 categories.

The 5 categories used refer to tobacco use, cholesterol level, blood pressure, BMI and diabetes. BMI is the short form for body mass index, which is a measure of overweight and obesity.

While tobacco use and cholesterol are still headed in the right direction, blood pressure, BMI and diabetes are all moving in the wrong direction, as indicated in the report.

Despite the effort being made during the 1970s and 1980s, situation deteriorated as a result of the increases in excess weight, diabetes and hypertension since the early 1990s.

Looking at the lifestyle adopted by people for the past decades, it will be very difficult for the situation to turn around unless people are willing to change their lifestyle and engage with regular exercise. This can never be an easy task, as it requires a great deal of effort from the people themselves as well as the authorities concerned.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is There An Alternative to Heart Transplant?

About a million heart disease patients died of heart failure worldwide every year while there were only about 3,000 cases of heart transplant being carried out. Heart transplant requires traumatic surgery and patients have to take large amounts of medications to avoid rejection. Many of the victims of heart failure could have survived if suitable organs (hearts) could be found in time for heart transplant.

New Zealand researchers from University of Auckland have developed the technology for a wireless heart pump that they believed could not only save thousands of lives but also offer an alternative to heart transplant.

According to the announcement made by the researchers on September 16, 2009, the technology uses magnetic fields to transfer power to heart pumps through a person’s skin instead of using wire cables that would often cause serious infections.

A coil, which can be put in a pocket, is placed outside the patient’s body, while another coil is placed inside the body near the collarbone to pick up the magnetic field for producing the power for the pump. A battery installed inside the body can also store enough power to operate the pump for about an hour.

Traditional wired heart pumps have been used to keep patients alive while they await heart surgery. However, the wire cable that is required to go through the patients’ stomachs and chests can just cause serious, and sometimes fatal, infections for about 40 percent of patients. Meanwhile, the wires can also break and restrict a patient's movement.

This is certainly not a new concept, but previous attempts in making wireless heart pumps produced too much heat. The new technology is able to eliminate the heating problem by delivering exactly the right amount of power.

The trials on patient are expected to begin within 2 years. If everything goes fine, these wireless heart pumps could be implanted in about 50,000 patients each year around the world within 10 years, according to the researchers.

It is hoped that the wireless heart pump could eventually replace heart transplants and become a viable alternative for heart failure patients.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

How Much Do You Know About Stroke?

Strokes are also known as "brain attacks" because it is an emergency condition involving the brain. It can be caused by a lack of blood to the brain or arteries that are blocked or have burst.

Loss of function of certain limbs and severe weakness in the body are the common disabilities resulting from a stroke. In some patients, speech difficulties might be resulted. Some stroke patients may also forget things easily or become impulsive. Meanwhile, some patients may experience pain while others may not.

Other symptoms of stroke include weakness on one side of the body, loss of vision and balance, numbness, loss of sensation and become confused in thought.

Stroke can be caused by stress, overexertion or an unhealthy diet. The risk of suffering a stroke increases with age, stressful and sedentary lifestyle. Stroke risk doubles after the age of 65. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the young ones can be spared from getting stroke. In fact, patients in their late teens and early twenties are common. It is known that men are more prone to getting a stroke than women.

Other risk factors of stroke include family history of stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, inactivity, obesity and smoking.

It is important to go for a regular health screenings to make sure one's blood pressure is within the safety range, regardless of age. To reduce one's risk of getting stroke, one should deal with underlying risk factors such as controlling hypertension or stopping smoking.