Thursday, April 30, 2015

Which Diet Program Should You Choose?

When one gets fatter, he or she might start worrying. This is because people are aware that overweight might just raise their risk of developing many chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and even cancer.

Usual recommendation from health experts, including exercise regularly and adopt healthy diets, will not really help people lose weight since most people do not have the self-discipline to follow through. So many people will try to find a suitable program for them. This can, however, never be an easy task since the weight loss industry is forever growing. Consumers have to sort through the options in order to choose an appropriate plan.

A recent study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that out of 11 commercial weight lost programs, only 2 showed significant weight loss over 12 months. Their paper was published April 7, 2015 in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’. 

In the study, researchers analyzed 39 randomized-controlled research trials for 11 commercially available including Weight Watchers; Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Health Management Resources, Medifast, OPTIFAST; Atkins; The Biggest Loser Club; eDiets; Lose It!; and SlimFast. Diets such as the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet were not tracked as these encourage healthful eating rather than weight loss. 

It was found that Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers showed weight loss that lasted 12 months or longer, and people on these programs lost more weight than people who were in a control group, which included education and counseling.

During the duration of 1 year, people using Weight Watchers lost at least 2.6 percent more weight than those who were in a control group, and those using Jenny Craig experienced at least 4.9 percent greater weight loss. But the report did not indicate exactly how many pounds were lost on average.

Weight Watchers, which costs $43 a month, helps people track their food and exercise through a points system. Jenny Craig, on the other hand, provides low-calorie, premade meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) and support from a coach, for $570 a month.

The study, which provided data about commercial products, showed that losing weight using a structural program is certainly better than using none. Nevertheless, it is clearly that weight loss from these programs can hardly be maintained beyond a year. According to some health experts, people learn how to eat on a specific plan but just cannot resist eating junk food after the program.

Hopefully, the results of this study could actually inspire more people to talk to their doctors about losing weight. While some people could just lose weight by following advices from doctors, other might just need a commercial program to help them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How Does Stress Affect Heart Attack Recovery?

Though a previous study had actually suggested a link between higher levels of perceived stress and poorer health outcomes and death rates in older heart attack patients, there is little information available regarding this connection in younger people. In the new study, women were found to experience greater mental stress than men, and because of this, women generally recover worse than men after heart attack. For more details, click the following link:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Is Exposure To Secondhand Smoke Reduced?

Of more than 20 million smoking-related deaths in the United States since 1964, 2.5 million were non-smokers who died from exposure to secondhand smoke. And 100,000 babies have died because of parental smoking, including smoking during pregnancy. 

Also known as passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke, secondhand smoke is actually a mixture of 2 forms of smoke coming from burning tobacco. One is sidestream smoke that comes from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar, and the other one is the mainstream smoke that is exhaled by a smoker.

While the collective exposure to secondhand smoke among Americans actually decreased by half between 1999 and 2012, 1 in 4 American are (some 58 million) still exposed to secondhand smoke, according to a report released by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) on February 3, 2015. It was estimated that 40 percent of children (about 15 million) aged between 3 and 11, including 7 in 10 African-American children, are still regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke disproportionately affects African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. Exposure to secondhand smoke among African-Americans stood at 47 percent in 2012, compared to 74 percent 10 years earlier. But it was still more than twice the number of white American nonsmokers being exposed to secondhand smoke. Among children, the difference was even wider.

Decline in exposure, as indicated in the report, was attributed to statewide laws that were implemented by 26 states across the United States banning smoking in public places. Nevertheless, a third of the American population still lives in areas that allow smoking in bars and some restaurants.

Being a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory infections, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children, secondhand smoke can also cause heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers. Previous studies have even linked secondhand smoke to mental and emotional changes. A UK study reported that women exposed to secondhand during pregnancy were at greater risk for symptoms of depression during the pregnancy. In the United States, the costs of extra medical care, illness, and death caused by secondhand are over $10 billion per year.

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke that contains over 7,000 chemicals, including about 70 that can cause cancer. Each year, secondhand smoke causes more than 41,000 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease among non-smoking adults and 400 deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, as well as about $5.6 billion annually in lost productivity.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Why And How Smoking Should Be Curbed?

Smoking is responsible for many other cancers and health problems that include lung disease, heart disease, blood vessel disease, stroke, and COPD. Quit smoking seems to be the only way to prevent from getting all those diseases mentioned. The earlier one quits, the greater the health benefits. While some benefits of quitting smoking occur quickly, others happen over time. To find out more, you may want to view the following article.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Drinking Habit Might Raise Stroke Risk!

Drinking a little red wine a day might help one prevent heart disease. As suggested by the American Heart Association (AHA), men should limit their alcohol consumption to 2 drinks (8 ounces) a day and women to only 1 drink (4 ounces). 

How about having more than 2 drinks a day? According to a study published online January 29, 2015 in journal ‘Stroke’, people in their 50s and 60s who had more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily have a 34 percent higher risk of stroke, comparing to lighter drinkers. Meanwhile, they are more likely to suffer a stroke 5 years earlier in life regardless of their genetics or their other health habits.

Past research has already shown that alcohol might cause stroke risk. This study, however, was the first to pinpoint differences with age.

11,644 Swedish twins, who aged below 60, as part of the Swedish Twin Registry, were included in the study. They answered questionnaires for several years and were followed through for a period of 43 years until 2010. The participants were categorized as light, moderate, heavy or non-drinkers based on the questionnaires. The risk from alcohol was compared with health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. Almost 30 percent of the participants suffered a stroke.

Among identical twins, siblings who had a stroke drank more than their siblings who had not had a stroke. This would suggest that mid-life drinking raises stroke risks regardless of genetics and early lifestyle. The stroke risk caused by alcoholic drinks was more than even traditional health dangers like high blood pressure and diabetes, which became more important only around the age of 75.

The stroke risk has been raised among younger patients who have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. The new findings might just give the doctors another potential risk factor to monitor.

Many Americans with a European heritage usually have their dinner with some wine every night. It is not unusual for them to consume more than 2 drinks. While a glass of red wine is good, it does not mean that more is even better. Such misconception should be highlighted and people should be made aware of the upper limit of alcohol.

In the United Kingdom, the safe guidelines for alcohol drinking: no more than 3 to 4 units of alcohol a day for men, and not more than 2 to 3 units for women. Each drink or unit is normally defined as containing 8 grams of alcohol, equivalent to about one small (125ml) glass of wine, just over half a pint of beer, and less than 1 shot of spirits such as whisky or vodka. A medium (175ml) glass of wine contains around 2 units and a large (250ml) glass contains 3 units. Red wines generally have higher alcohol content.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How Can Roselle Help Prevent Heart Disease?

Roselle is a species of hibiscus native to West Africa. Originally from Angola, it is now cultivated in countries like Sudan, Egypt, Thailand, Mexico and China. It is commonly used to make jelly, jam and preserves, beverage, wine, syrup, gelatin, pudding, cake, ice cream and flavoring. In United States and Europe, it is widely used as food colorings. Check out more details at:

Friday, April 10, 2015

How To Manage Cholesterol Level?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. While human body requires some cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin-D and substances that help digest foods, high cholesterol levels can increase the chance of getting heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

Fasting lipid blood test is one way to find out information on one’s total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or bad cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or good cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Of all the readings, LDL is the most important figure one should pay attention to. For a person without diabetes or a history of heart disease or stroke, an LDL level of above 4.0mmol/L or 160mg/dL is considered high. But if one has diabetes, heart disease, or has previously suffered a stroke, the threshold is lower, at 2.6mmol/L or 100mg/dL. LDL causes fat deposits to accumulate on blood vessel walls. This will eventually create a blockage that might lead to heart attack and stroke.

The human body can make all the cholesterol it needs but cholesterol can be added to the body in some of the foods consumed. Cholesterol is found in foods that come from animal sources, for example, egg yolks, meat, and cheese. Some foods have saturated fats and Trans fats that can also raise the cholesterol level.

Besides diet, level of physical activity, body weight, heredity (genes) and age can determine the cholesterol levels, too. People who do not have adequate physical activity tend to gain weight. Overweight would raise the LDL levels and lower the HDL levels. LDL levels appear to rise with increasing age, and sometimes, high cholesterol can run in families and this is of course uncontrollable. 

Patients with high cholesterol levels are usually advised to perform moderate aerobic exercise to improve their cholesterol levels. Regular exercise could help one lose weight, increase HDL levels and lower LDL levels.

Meanwhile, they should adopt a diet low in saturated fats and high in vegetables and fruits. Vegetables like cabbage, carrot, onion and tomato, and fruits such as blueberries, avocado, grapefruit, grape, and soybeans are rich in cholesterol-lowering antioxidants. In addition, one should try to have a diet contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower one’s triglyceride levels.

However, if one’s cholesterol levels do not reduce after 3 to 6 months, he or she should see the doctor who might prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications like statins.

People are mostly not aware of the high blood cholesterol levels in their body because there is no signs or symptoms. It is advised that adults aged 20 and above should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Would DVT Lead To Heart Attack?

Traditionally, blood clot in vein like DVT does not cause heart attack or stroke. But a Danish study suggested that when one had DVT, the clot might follow years later in arteries, causing heart attacks and strokes, especially in the first year after having the conditions. The findings were published November 24, 2007 in journal ‘The Lancet’. Find out more @

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Is Fat But Fit Theory Valid?

While people want to have some sort of confirmation on the fact that being obese is not that bad at all time and there might actually be a very small number of obese people who can maintain good health, the majority would not be able to achieve over the long term. Find out why @Heart Disease Prevention - Is Fat But Fit Theory Valid?