Saturday, December 30, 2017

Would Dog Owner Have Lower Heart Disease Risk?

Many studies have linked pet ownership to better physical and mental health for the past decades. Though these findings certainly encouraged pet owners, none of them could furnished conclusive proof.

A scientific statement published by the American Heart Association (AHA)  on June 10, 2013 in journal ‘Circulation’ reported that having a pet, a dog in particular, may lower the risk of heart disease. After reviewing all the available evidence, the panel of experts from AHA indicated that dog owners are more likely to exercise, have a better cholesterol profile, have lower blood pressure, be less vulnerable to the physical effects of stress, and be more likely to survive a heart attack.

The panel of experts, however, emphasized that while pet adoption may be associated with some future reduction in cardiovascular disease (CVD), the primary purpose of doing that should not be to achieve a reduction in CVD risk. They also stressed that by merely adopting a pet without a plan of regular aerobic activity (such as walking a dog) and implementation of other primary and secondary cardiovascular preventive measures is not a sound or advisable strategy for reduction in CVD risk. Further research of pet ownership and CVD risk is required, and should include studies of risk factor modification, primary prevention, and pet acquisition as part of a strategy of secondary risk reduction.

New findings have emerged since then. According to a recent study that was published online November 17, 2017 in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’, dog owners who lived alone were 11 percent less likely to die of heart disease and a third less likely to die from any cause, compared with those who lived alone and did not have a dog. The researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden tracked for 12 years 3,432,153 Swedes, who were middle-aged and older, and were free of heart disease at the onset of the study.

But the researchers admitted that their observational study cannot provide evidence for a causal effect of dog ownership on CVD or mortality, though there might be direct effects of dog ownership on health outcomes. For instance, psychosocial stress factors, such as social isolation, depression and loneliness were all reportedly lower in dog owners. These factors have been linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality. Moreover, it has consistently been shown that dog owners achieve more physical activity and spend more time engaged in outdoor activities.

Owning a dog seems to help people already have heart disease. A 1995 study followed 369 people with CVD and found that a year later, those who owned a dog were 4 times more likely to be alive than those who did not own a dog. Cats, on the other hand, did not improve their owners’ odds of survival.

Dog may help heart disease patients in other ways, too. Please read more on an article titled ‘The Role of Medical Alert and Medical Response Dogs in Monitoring Heart Disease’.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Can High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?

For some peoples, too much cholesterol in the body can be unhealthy. High blood cholesterol, which does not have any signs or symptoms, can raise the risk of coronary heart disease, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. Find out more at:

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Would Low GI Diet Benefit Diabetics?

Glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Foods with low GI value, including whole grain bread, milk, beans, leafy vegetables and berries, tends to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods with high GI value, on the other hand, release glucose rapidly. High GI foods include white bread, sweetened drinks, biscuits, potatoes and oranges.

People who are diabetic or pre-diabetic would benefit by consuming low GI foods. Diabetes is a disease in which the blood glucose levels are too high because either the body does not make insulin (Type-1 diabetes) or does not make sufficient or use insulin well (Type-2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into the cells to give them energy. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in the blood.

Having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious complications. It can lead to blindness, kidney failure, or raise the risk of heart disease and stroke. The slow and steady release of glucose in low GI foods is helpful in keeping blood glucose under control.

A study published online April 26, 2016 in the ‘Journal of Clinical & Translational Endocrinology’ reported that participants who take a low GI breakfast and afternoon snack had significantly less sugar in their blood for the rest of the day. The study was conducted by researchers from the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC).

Researchers from the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) noticed that while participants in the study were offered a standard buffet lunch and were free to eat what they wanted for dinner, the breakfast they had made a vast difference to their glycemic response (GR). The difference was even larger on the second day of the study. GR is the amount of sugar in the blood over time resulting from food.

Eating low GI foods is most helpful when used along with another eating plan for diabetes, like carbohydrate counting or the plate format. Counting carbs helps one know how much carbohydrate he or she is eating. The amount of carbohydrate eaten is more important than the GI of foods in helping control the blood sugar. The plate format helps control portions and choose from a variety of foods.

One should look at the overall nutrition in food, not just their GI when planning meals. Some low GI foods, such as ice cream, are high in saturated fat and should not be eaten frequently. Some high GI foods, like potatoes, have nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

In general, unprocessed food should be chosen as often as possible. Whole, unprocessed food usually, though not always, has a lower GI than the same food when it is processed. High-fiber foods are good, too as foods rich in fiber takes longer to digest and raises blood sugar slowly. Meanwhile, eating low GI foods along with high GI foods can help keep blood sugar from rising quickly. One can use whole-grain bread for toast in the morning and eat whole grains at lunch. Whole grains include barley, brown rice and 100 percent whole-grain bread. Non-starchy vegetables are preferred as most of them are low on GI.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Garlic Prevent Hypertension?

Numerous studies have unveiled the amazing health potential of garlic, ranging from removing heavy metals to the prevention of numerous ailments, such as the common cold, hardening of the arteries, and even in slowing the aging process. Garlic is often employed for conditions associated with heart and blood system, including high blood pressure… Find out more at: