Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Eat Less Fructose To Prevent Hypertension!

Dessert is usually a sweet course of dish served at the end of a meal. It includes cake, cookie, gelatin, pastry, ice cream, pie, and candy. Dessert is not only liked by children but also favored by many adults especially females.

Besides dessert, many of our daily diet can also be laden with excessive sugar. For instance, sugary or soda drinks are popular among teenagers and many young adults. Most of these sweetened drinks contained the popular high-fructose corn syrup (sometimes called corn sugar). Fructose can be found naturally in fruit and table sugar and that is why it is also called fruit sugar.

Well, lovers of sugary drinks and sugar-laden foods should pay attention to results of a study conducted by scientists from the United States, who reported that consuming a lot of foods and drinks sweetened with fructose might significantly increase the risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure).

The study was published on July 1, 2010 in the ‘Journal of the American Society of Nephrology’ by researchers from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. They found increased rates of borderline high blood pressure for people who consumed at least 74 grams of fructose a day (about 4 bottles of soda).

American Heart Association (AHA) also warned that having too much sugar of any kind can cause people gain weight and this could in turn lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

While scientists have yet to find out the exact reason why fructose would raise blood pressure, some experts suspected that fructose has the potential to reduce production of nitric oxide within the blood vessels.

Nitric oxide, which is known to relax the vessel, is supposed to lower blood pressure. But fructose reduces the production of nitric oxide and makes it difficult for the vessels to relax and dilate.

Meanwhile, fructose also raises uric acid in the blood that could raise blood pressure. Fructose can signal the kidneys to 'hold onto' more salt, and that can contribute to high blood pressure.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Avoid Processed Meat To Prevent Heart Disease!

Bacon, sausage, hot dog and some other processed meat have already become an integrated part of many meat lovers’ diets. But many are probably not aware that eating too much of these would raise their chances of developing diabetes and heart disease.

In a paper published on May 17, 2010 in the journal ‘Circulation’, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health reported that eating unprocessed beef, pork or lamb did not seem to raise risks of heart attack and diabetes. Therefore, salt and chemical preservatives are the real culprits responsible for these 2 health disorders.

Many past studies examining the relationship between eating meat and cardiovascular disease and diabetes had found mixed results, and few had looked at the differences in risk between processed and unprocessed red meat.

To get evidence of a link between eating processed and unprocessed red meat and the risk of diabetes and heart disease, a systemic review of nearly 1,600 studies from around the world were carried out.

Processed meat was defined in the study as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives. Good examples of processed meat included bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats. On the other hand, unprocessed red meat included beef, lamb or pork but not poultry.

The findings showed that on average, every 50 grams serving of processed meat a day (equivalent to 1 or 2 slices of deli meats or 1 hot dog) was associated with a 19 percent higher risk of developing diabetes and 42 percent higher risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, they found no higher risk of diabetes or heart disease in people eating only unprocessed red meats.

Hence, they urged people to eat less (1 serving or less per week) processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed deli meats in order to lower the risk of diabetes and heart attack.

As expected, the American Meat Institute objected to the findings quoting that it was only one study that was different from other studies and the United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Hence, there is no reason for dietary changes unless further studies could justify so.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What Would Heart Disease Cost United States 20 Years Later?

Most people are aware that heart disease is a chronic disease and the cost of treating it can never be cheap. When the condition of a heart disease patient is serious enough that it cannot no longer be treated by medication alone, he or she might need to undergo heart by-pass surgery or even heart transplant. Though advancement of technology has reduced the medical cost substantially, the amount of money that patients need to pay is still considered huge for most people.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in most developed countries including United States, where one in 3 people has some form of heart disease. Every year, 17 percent of the cost of medical care, which is about US$273 billion, is meant for heart disease.

A study published on January 24, 2011 in ‘Circulation’, a journal of the American Heart Association (AHA) estimated that the cost of treating heart disease in United States are expected to triple to US$818 billion per year by 2030.

Based on the current disease rates, an expert panel of AHA expanded the cost according to projections from United States census data about approaching shifts in the population. The researchers also assumed that there would be no new discoveries made between now and 2030 to stop the tide of heart disease.

As revealed by the panel, 36.9 percent of Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure or stroke presently. The number of people affected would increase to 116 million or 40.5 percent. Patients with stroke and heart failure are expected to increase the most by about 25 percent.

Most heart disease, according to AHA, is preventable if people can stick to healthy diet and adequate exercises. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to follow such advice. Meanwhile many heart disease patients do not take their medications as directed or drugs are not optimally prescribed to them. All these can further raise the cost of treatment.