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Increasing Knee Surgery Numbers Raises Deeper Health Concerns For Americans

OCTOBER 26, 2012 BY 

Most people agree that healthcare options in the United States have increased, as has the cost required to obtain them. The lifespan of Americans has increased along with the desire to live a longer life, as long as we remain in good health. Longer lives may be one reason why elderly people are getting joint replacements in much higher numbers than in previous years.

A study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association about more than three million patients with Medicare who received knee replacements. The patients were at least 65 years old and had knee surgery between 1991 to 2010. One aspect the study focused on was the impact that other health-related conditions, such as obesity, had on the surgeries. During the period of the study, the number of joint replacement procedures more than doubled and continued to increase by 162 percent by the end of the study. Besides the initial replacement surgery, follow-up procedures increased due to other health-related issues or to repair previous knee replacements. The number of people eligible for the knee replacement surgery increased during the study. The number of older Americans increased during that time and the majority cited the desire to be more active in their later years as a reason for the surgery. Nearly 60 percent of the knee surgeries performed were covered by Medicare, which pays a very small portion of the overall cost of the material and procedures.

The knee replacement surgery does very well at getting an individual mobile once again. There are several conditions that increase the wear and tear on joints, ultimately requiring replacement to maintain an active lifestyle. Osteoporosis is a wearing down of bone without being naturally replenished by the body. Diabetes causes a lack of blood flow to bones and joints reducing bone growth. Obesity puts an extra burden on joints and causes them to deform and wear out because of the extra stress of supporting too much weight. In the study, nearly 12 percent of the patients getting their first knee replacement were obese, an increase from four percent in previous years. Obesity can be a factor in arthritis, which is the primary reason for knee replacements. Those who might require mobility assistance while awaiting or recovering from surgery are well taken care of.

In a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published early this year, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the American population will be obese by 2030. The current obesity rate is around 35 percent. The implication is that obesity-related medical procedures will continue to rise, as will the cost of our overall health care system. The additional burden on the healthcare system could range from $45 billion to $65 billion.

Obesity is one area of a person’s health that most people can control. Few people have conditions that cause obesity without some assistance. As our population gets older and we have the chance to live longer, we’re faced with a huge problem that can be solved. It will be the individual’s attention to their own health and weight that will bring these numbers down. These studies highlight the impact that our weight and attitude about health have on the cost of our healthcare.

Watching our weight, reducing the number of obesity-related illnesses and resulting surgeries, as well as spending fewer days in the hospital, will pay off for us all in the future.

http://www.hivehealthmedia.com/increasing-knee-surgery-numbers-raises-deeper-health-concerns-for-americans/

The Real Bears “Sugar” by Jason Mraz

Bet you think of this little video the next time you see the other polar bear commercial.  Laura

Video satire skewers Coke’s polar bears

Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

8:36PM EST October 9. 2012 – This is the video that Coca-Cola doesn’t want you to see.

Its famous Polar Bears are skewered — as is the whole soft-drink industry — in an anti-sugary-drink video to be released Wednesday. Behind it: Alex Bogusky, the culturally influential ad legend whose former agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, has created ads for such hot-button clients as Burger King, Domino’s and, yes, Coca-Cola.

Bogusky left the agency world in disgust two years ago. Now, he’s back in a new role: taking on the cola industry along with advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. The move comes at a time big makers of sugary drinks are being challenged by legislators and consumers from New York to California. It’s all about winning the viral PR war.

The video’s goal: to show the ill effects of drinking too many sugary beverages. The papa bear in the animated video, The Real Bears, not only suffers from erectile dysfunction, but also contracts type 2 diabetes, which forces him to have a “grizzly” leg amputation. The video ends with the polar bear family pouring their cola into the ocean.

“You know the American diet has gone the wrong way when it’s considered normal to drink massive amounts of liquid candy,” Bogusky says. “This is a cultural wake-up call.”

But executives at Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association say the video is bunk and its statistics wrong.

“This is irresponsible and grandstanding and will not help anyone understand energy balance,” says Coca-Cola spokeswoman Susan Stribling. “It also distorts the facts while we and our industry partners are working with government and civil society on real solutions.”

Pepsi declined to comment. But ABA spokeswoman Karen Hanretty says, “CSPI is better at producing videos than they are doing math. People are drinking fewer calories from soda — and have been for a decade — so how can soda be to blame for rising obesity?”

Aside from political work that Bogusky has done for former vice president Al Gore, this is his first ad since leaving the agency business. It is bound to raise social-media eyebrows and is expected to go viral after it is posted at TheRealBears.org.

If anyone knows how to go viral, it’s Bogusky. In 2004, his agency created for client Burger King one of the first megaviral commercial videos about a so-called Subservient Chicken that would instantly perform one of 300 typed-in commands. Before that, Bogusky was widely known for the anti-tobacco Truth campaign that he helped create.

Now he’s teaming with an advocacy group to try to put the societal brakes on sugary-drink consumption.

“There’s a war going on between soft-drink companies and health advocates,” says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “This is our attempt to reposition soft drinks from a source of happiness to a major cause of disease.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2012/10/09/coke-polar-bears-alex-bogusky-michael-jacobson-cspi/1621361/

How to protect your children in today’s health landscape — a plea to parents

by Robyn O’Brien, founder, Allergy Kids Foundation.

The landscape of children’s health has changed. If you have any doubt whatsoever, ask your grandmother. Did she have friends juggling breast cancer and play dates? What about autism and allergies? ADHD and diabetes?

And while there were other things that they worried about, as parents today, we sit beside each other on the sidelines of soccer fields, in concert recitals or in the pews at church, and with few words spoken, we understand that things have changed.

Today, 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer every day. It is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of fifteen. Diabetes, obesity, asthma and food allergies are a tsunami of conditions raining down on the health of our children. And autism now impacts 1 in 88 American children.

Our grandmothers weren’t navigating these statistics. We know that it hasn’t always been this way. And we see firsthand how hard it can be, as we share the heartache of a friend, witness the grief of a sister or help a neighbor struggling with the cost of care. We say our prayers at night, grateful for the blessings we have received and mindful of how quickly things can change.

Our children have earned the title of Generation Rx because of how pervasive these conditions have become. The number of US kids with autism is up 78% reports the CDC, impacting 1 in 54 little boys, while 1 in 3 is overweight or obese, triple the rate of 1963, reports the American Heart Association, and 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer and 1,500 Americans – moms, dad, sisters, brothers, children – die from cancer every single day.

It didn’t used to be this way. And as this landscape of health has changed so quickly in such a short time, it begs the question: Why? Why have our families become so allergic? Autistic? Diabetic? Cancer stricken?

Since when did the landscape of childhood feel like a landmine of disease?

A lot of theories are out there, enough to cause doubt and confusion, but mounting scientific evidence, from the President’s Cancer Panel to the American Academy of Pediatrics, urges us to protect the health of our children by reducing our exposure to environmental toxins, especially those now found in and on our food.

With the President’s Cancer Panel and Stanford University urging pregnant moms and those with children to reduce their exposure to artificial ingredients now found in our food supply (things like artificial growth hormones in dairy, weed and pest killers used so frequently on our fresh produce as well as other artificial ingredients), we find ourselves reading labels in grocery store aisles – no longer just for fat and sugar content, but also for the list of allergens, artificial colors or genetically modified ingredients or any indication of the manufactured chemicals that they may contain.

And while the task can be overwhelming, we do it anyway for the love of our families. We find the strength, tenacity and courage to continue to move forward, asking questions, researching and reading, trying to do everything we can to reverse this tidal wave of disease.

And we are not alone. Thankfully, more corporations in the traditional food sector and those in the organic industry are doing what they can to help us. Some have been doing it for a long time, others are just beginning to make change. But the important thing is this: we are all doing what we can, where we are, with what we have, recognizing that the health of our country depends on the health of our children. Because while our children may only represent 30% of the population, they are 100% of our future.

So we have a choice: to let their health conditions bring us to our knees or bring us to our feet.

And when we decide to stand, we do so out of love, knowing that we do not stand alone. Millions of citizens in countries around the world stood for their right to know what is in their food, and now, millions of Americans who share this deep concern are doing the same.

A corporation will always have the right to make a profit, but Americans should also have the right to know what we are eating, so that together, leveraging this collective information and insight, we can protect the health of our country.

See Robyn O’Brien’s excellent talk at TEDx in 2011:

About the Author

Robyn O’BrienFounder, Executive Director, Allergy Kids Foundation.

As a former food industry analyst, Fulbright grant recipient, author and mother of four, Robyn O’Brien brings compassion, insight and detailed analysis to her role as the founder of the organization and her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of children.

Click here to view the Allergy Kids website.

PHOTO: SEAN DREILINGER

http://gmoawareness.org/2012/09/29/protect-your-children/

If You Think We’re Fat Now, Wait Till 2030

By Maggie Fox, NBC News

Image Source / Getty Images file

In the 13 heaviest states, 60 percent of residents will be obese in less than two decades if current trends continue, finds a new report.

 

Think Americans are fat now? After all, a third of us are overweight and another 35 percent are obese. But a report out Tuesday projects 44 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030.

In the 13 worst states, 60 percent of the residents will be obese in less than two decades if current trends continue, the report from the Trust for America’s Health projects. That’s not chubby or a little plump – that’s clinically obese, bringing a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, several forms of cancer and arthritis.

“The initial reaction is to say, ‘Oh it couldn’t be that bad’,” says Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health. “But we have maps from 1991 and you see almost all the states below 10 percent.” By 2011 every single state was above 20 percent obesity, as measured by body mass index (BMI), the accepted medical way to calculate obesity. Those with a BMI or 30 or above are considered obese.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 12 states have an adult obesity rate over 30 percent. Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity at 34.9 percent. On the low end, 20.7 percent of Colorado residents are obese. CDC projections for obesity resemble those in Tuesday’s report – it projects 42 percent of adults will be obese by 2030.

The problem isn’t just cosmetic. “The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020 — and then double again by 2030,” the report projects.  “Obesity-related health care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.”

That’s bad news when states are already strapped to pay for public health programs such as Medicaid and the federal government is struggling to fund Medicare.

 

Over the next 20 years, more than 6 million patients will be able to blame obesity for their diabetes, 5 million will be diagnosed with heart disease and 400,000 will get cancer caused by obesity.

And some of them are frighteningly young.

“Now I am seeing 25-year-olds weighing 350 pounds who present with chest pain or shortness of breath,” says Dr. Sheldon Litwin, a cardiologist at Georgia Health Sciences University. “Everything from the heart disease process to its diagnosis and treatment are affected by obesity. We see it every day. This really is the number-one issue facing us,” added Litwin, who worked on one of a series of obesity studies published in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trend is not inevitable, according to the report, entitled “F as in Fat.” Some programs are beginning to make a dent in the rising rates.  “We certainly see, in some communities, the beginning of some changes,” says Levi. “We know what some of the answers are.”

Convicted killer: I’m too obese to be executed

For instance, making it easier for people to exercise day in and day out, and making it easier to get healthy food. “A large-scale study of New York City adults found that increasing the density of healthy food outlets, such as supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets, and natural food stores is associated with lower BMIs and lower prevalence of obesity,” the report reads.

What about initiatives like New York’s controversial ban on the largest sodas? “Every community is going to experiment with different approaches. It is going to be very interesting to see what happens in New York and whether this makes a difference,” Levi said.

New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, defends the move in the medical journal’s obesity issue. “How should government address the health problems caused by this successful marketing of food? To do nothing is to invite even higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and related mortality,” he wrote.

Trust for America’s Health

Many studies have also shown that people who live in big, walkable cities such as New York and Washington D.C. are thinner than their rural and suburban counterparts, and it’s almost certainly because they walk more and use public transportation instead of sitting in cars.

If everyone lost just a little weight, the savings would be enormous, the study predicts.

“If we could lower obesity trends by reducing body mass indices (BMIs) by only 5 percent in each state, we could spare millions of Americans from serious health problems and save billions of dollars in health spending —between 6.5 percent and 7.8 percent in costs in almost every state,” the report says.

Education can’t hurt, either. The more educated people are, the less likely they are to be obese. Higher-earners are also thinner. “More than 33 percent of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year were obese, compared with 24.6 percent of those who earned at least $50,000 per year,” the report notes. And several studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables are thinner, as well as healthier. “Seven of the 10 states with the highest rates of obesity were also in the bottom 10 for fruit and vegetable consumption,” the report says.

Levi believes it’s worthwhile targeting kids the hardest. New nutritional guidelines for schools will help, he said, as will initiatives to restore recess and physical education classes. Beverage makers have agreed to replace sugary sodas in vending machines with water and other low-calorie drinks. “It is as simple as an hour a day less of screen time and one less sugar beverage,” Levi says.  “Just 120 calories can make a big difference as to whether a kid crosses over from being normal weight into overweight and obesity.”

Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that kids who exercised 20 minutes a day lowered an important measure of diabetes risk by 18 percent. Exercising 40 minutes a day cut the risk by 22 percent. The researchers also noted it’s important to make exercise fun for kids

“Regulation sports tend to have kids standing around a lot waiting for the ball. We had enough balls so everyone was moving all the time,” said Dr. Catherine Davis of Georgia Health Sciences University. “It had to be fun or they would not keep coming.”

For some people, drastic measures remain an option. One study in the Journal shows that gastric bypass surgery is a viable option. And two doctors present opposing views over whether the Food and Drug Administration holds obesity drugs to an unreasonably high standard. On Tuesday, one of the newest obesity drugs hits the market – Qsymia, made by Vivus.

Are you obese? The National Institutes of Health has a BMI calculator here.http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

If you’re 5 feet 6 inches tall, you become overweight at 160 pounds (a BMI of 25.1) and obese at 192 pounds, when your BMI grows to 30.1.

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/18/13922737-if-you-think-were-fat-now-wait-till-2030

What Are My Chances of Getting Heart Disease?

What Are My Chances of Getting Heart Disease Infographic

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/What-Are-My-Chances-of-Getting-Heart-Disease-Infographic_UCM_443749_SubHomePage.jsp

Wondering About a Vegan Diet? Infographic

How Food Affects High Triglycerides Joy Bauer Food Cures

For those diagnosed with high triglycerides, it’s important to take action to lower your levels and improve your heart health.

High Triglycerides, Food Cures

Triglyceride is just a fancy word for fat — the fat in our bodies is stored in the form of triglycerides. Triglycerides are found in foods and manufactured in our bodies. Normal triglyceride levels are defined as less than 150 mg/dL; 150 to 199 is considered borderline high; 200 to 499 is high; and 500 or higher is officially called very high. To me, anything over 150 is a red flag indicating my client needs to take immediate steps to get the situation under control.

High triglyceride levels make blood thicker and stickier, which means that it is more likely to form clots. Studies have shown that triglyceride levels are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke — in both men and women — alone or in combination with other risk factors (high triglycerides combined with high LDL cholesterol can be a particularly deadly combination). For example, in one ground–breaking study, high triglycerides alone increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14 percent in men, and by 37 percent in women. But when the test subjects also had low HDL cholesterol (that’s the good cholesterol) and other risk factors, high triglycerides increased the risk of disease by 32 percent in men and 76 percent in women.

Fortunately, triglycerides can often be easily controlled with several diet and lifestyle changes — many of the same changes that I outlined in my High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol sections.

What Factors Can Increase Triglycerides?

As with cholesterol, eating too much of the wrong kinds of fats will raise your blood triglycerides. Therefore, it’s important to restrict the amounts of saturated fats and trans fats you allow into your diet. Triglyceride levels can also shoot up after eating foods that are high in carbohydrates or after drinking alcohol. That’s why triglyceride blood tests require an overnight fast. If you have elevated triglycerides, it’s especially important to avoid sugary and refined carbohydrates, including sugar, honey, and other sweeteners, soda and other sugary drinks, candy, baked goods, and anything made with white (refined or enriched) flour, including white bread, rolls, cereals, buns, pastries, regular pasta, and white rice. You’ll also want to limit dried fruit and fruit juice since they’re dense in simple sugar. All of these low–quality carbs cause a sudden rise in insulin, which may lead to a spike in triglycerides.

Triglycerides can also become elevated as a reaction to having diabetes, hypothyroidism, or kidney disease. As with most other heart–related factors, being overweight and inactive also contribute to abnormal triglycerides. And unfortunately, some people have a genetic predisposition that causes them to manufacture way too much triglycerides on their own, no matter how carefully they eat.

How Can You Lower Your Triglyceride Levels?

If you are diagnosed with high triglycerides, it’s important to take action. There are several things you can do to help lower your triglyceride levels and improve your heart health:

  1. Lose weight if you are overweight. There is a clear correlation between obesity and high triglycerides — the heavier people are, the higher their triglyceride levels are likely to be. The good news is that losing weight can significantly lower triglycerides. In a large study of individuals with type 2 diabetes, those assigned to the “lifestyle intervention group” — which involved counseling, a low–calorie meal plan, and customized exercise program — lost 8.6% of their body weight and lowered their triglyceride levels by more than 16%. If you’re overweight, find a weight loss plan that works for you and commit to shedding the pounds and getting healthier.
  2. Reduce the amount of saturated fat and trans fat in your diet. Start by avoiding or dramatically limiting butter, cream cheese, lard, sour cream, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, candy bars, regular ice cream, fried foods, pizza, cheese sauce, cream–based sauces and salad dressings, high–fat meats (including fatty hamburgers, bologna, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, salami, pastrami, spareribs, and hot dogs), high–fat cuts of beef and pork, and whole-milk dairy products. Other ways to cut back:
    • Choose lean meats only (including skinless chicken and turkey, lean beef, lean pork), fish, and reduced–fat or fat–free dairy products. Experiment with adding whole soy foods to your diet. Although soy itself may not reduce risk of heart disease, it replaces hazardous animal fats with healthier proteins. Choose high–quality soy foods, such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and edamame (whole soybeans).
    • Always remove skin from poultry.
    • Prepare foods by baking, roasting, broiling, boiling, poaching, steaming, grilling, or stir–frying in vegetable oil.
    • Most stick margarines contain trans fats, and trans fats are also found in some packaged baked goods, potato chips, snack foods, fried foods, and fast food that use or create hydrogenated oils. (All food labels must now list the amount of trans fats, right after the amount of saturated fats — good news for consumers. As a result, many food companies have now reformulated their products to be trans fat free…many, but not all! So it’s still just as important to read labels and make sure the packaged foods you buy don’t contain trans fats.) If you use margarine, purchase soft-tub margarine spreads that contain 0 grams trans fats and don’t list any partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list. By substituting olive oil or vegetable oil for trans fats in just 2 percent of your daily calories, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 53 percent. There is no safe amount of trans fats, so try to keep them as far from your plate as possible.
  3. Avoid foods that are concentrated in sugar (even dried fruit and fruit juice). Sugary foods can elevate triglyceride levels in the blood, so keep them to a bare minimum.
  4. Swap out refined carbohydrates for whole grains. Refined carbohydrates — like white rice, regular pasta, and anything made with white or “enriched” flour (including white bread, rolls, cereals, buns, and crackers) — raise blood sugar and insulin levels more than fiber-rich whole grains. Higher insulin levels, in turn, can lead to a higher rise in triglycerides after a meal. So, make the switch to whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, brown or wild rice, and whole grain versions of cereals, crackers, and other bread products. However, it’s important to know that individuals with high triglycerides should moderate even their intake of high–quality starches (since all starches raise blood sugar) — I recommend 1 to 2 servings per meal.
  5. Cut way back on alcohol. If you have high triglycerides, alcohol should be considered a rare treat — if you indulge at all, since even small amounts of alcohol can dramatically increase triglyceride levels.
  6. Incorporate omega-3 fats. Heart–healthy fish oils are especially rich in omega–3 fatty acids. In multiple studies over the past two decades, people who ate diets high in omega–3s had 30 to 40 percent reductions in heart disease. Although we don’t yet know why fish oil works so well, there are several possibilities. Omega–3s seem to reduce inflammation, reduce high blood pressure, decrease triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, and make blood thinner and less sticky so it is less likely to clot. It’s as close to a food prescription for heart health as it gets. If you have high triglycerides, I recommend eating at least three servings of one of the omega–3–rich fish every week (fatty fish is the most concentrated food form of omega three fats). If you cannot manage to eat that much fish, speak with your physician about taking fish oil capsules, which offer similar benefits.The best foods for omega–3 fatty acids include wild salmon (fresh, canned), herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, and Pacific oysters. Non-fish sources of omega–3 fats include omega–3–fortified eggs, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, butternuts (white walnuts), seaweed, walnut oil, canola oil, and soybeans.
  7. Quit smoking. Smoking causes inflammation, not just in your lungs, but throughout your body. Inflammation can contribute to atherosclerosis, blood clots, and risk of heart attack. Smoking makes all heart health indicators worse. If you have high cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood pressure, smoking magnifies the danger.
  8. Become more physically active. Even moderate exercise can help improve cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Aerobic exercise seems to be able to stop the sharp rise of triglycerides after eating, perhaps because of a decrease in the amount of triglyceride released by the liver, or because active muscle clears triglycerides out of the blood stream more quickly than inactive muscle. If you haven’t exercised regularly (or at all) for years, I recommend starting slowly, by walking at an easy pace for 15 minutes a day. Then, as you feel more comfortable, increase the amount. Your ultimate goal should be at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, at least five days a week.

Learn more about Food Cures for high triglycerides.

http://www.joybauer.com/high-triglycerides/about-high-triglycerides.aspx

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