My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘heart disease’

This is the BEST Father’s Day Gift You Could Ever Give

Our sons live across the country now, but my gift to my husband, Bill, was us re-watching the movie, Forks Over Knives.

It was about 3 years ago, when we watched it for the first time.  After it was done, my husband turned to me and firmly said, “I’m going vegan.  You don’t have to, but I am.”  I was filled with trepidation.  What would we eat?  But I shakily said with a gulp, “If you’re going to, I will to.”  Bill now says, that inside, he was so scared that he was silently screaming, “No! No!  I didn’t mean it!  I was only kidding!”  But he never shared that.  He said OK.  And from that moment on, we never looked back and changed our lives.

 

 

We got our copy of Forks Over Knives from the library, but you can watch it for a nominal fee on Netflix and YouTube.  Get more info at http://www.forkoverknives.com  There you can sign up for free newsletters with recipes, etc.

Show Dad how much you care.  Watch the movie with him (and Mom)!

Happy Father’s Day.

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New Study: Multivitamins for Men Lowered Cancer Risk But Failed to Prevent Heart Problems

A new study yields that multivitamins for men lowered their cancer risk, but failed to prevent heart problems. It’s important to remember no vitamin can make up for not exercising and not eating well!!

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum

It’s Not Just Candy Causing Childhood Obesity this Halloween

Halloween is just two weeks away, and most parents are worried about the frightening amount of sugar children consume. That’s understandable. But Halloween is just one day. What really scares me are the meat and dairy products lurking in children’s diets every day and everywhere—from fast food to school lunches. Unfortunately, some parents don’t share this fear. Some parents may not yet realize how healthful a plant-based diet can be for their children.

Meat and dairy products are loaded with fat and cholesterol that lead to childhood obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. A new study in the British Medical Journal found that obese children as young as 5 years old were already showing signs of heart disease that could seriously increase their risk of heart attacks and stroke as they get older. Now that gives me nightmares.

But time and again, evidence-based science shows that plant-based diets can help prevent these unnerving consequences. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals—says that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

In this video, I’ll share some more morbid statistics about the health of America’s children—and why a plant-based diet is the treat we should provide children on Halloween and every day of the year:

http://www.pcrm.org/media/blog/oct2012/not-just-candy-causing-childhood-obesity-halloween

Beta Blockers May Not Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/beta-blockers-effective-previously-thought-17378539

By SYDNEY LUPKIN
Oct. 2, 2012

New research suggests that beta-blocker pills don’t prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiac deaths in patients with heart disease, but doctors are torn over whether there’s enough in the study to make them want to stop prescribing the drugs. Beta blockers have been a standard heart medication for decades.

The study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, looked at nearly 45,000 patients with prior heart attacks, coronary artery disease or risk factors for coronary artery disease, and found that those on beta blockers didn’t show significantly lower rates of heart attack, stroke or cardiac death than those not on the medication.

“This is a very compelling study that has the potential to shake up the conventional wisdom that exists regarding the role of beta blockers in the management of patients with cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Randal Thomas, a cardiovascular specialist at the Mayo Clinic. “At a minimum, it will lead to new studies that address this issue once again.”

Beta blockers work by blocking adrenalin receptors in the brain that become activated when the body is stressed. Beta blockers are used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety and other conditions.

Some doctors say they are glad beta blockers are being questioned because their use had been “written in stone” for so many years, but others say using a non-randomized data sample is not as reliable as a randomized drug trial.

While the authors attempted to account for differences between the patient groups that might have had an impact on their health, they did not have access to information on why some patients were prescribed these drugs and some were not, said Dr. Richard Besser, the chief heath and medical editor at ABC News.

Dr. Melvin Rubenfire, who directs cardiovascular medicine at the University of Michigan, said he’d been hoping for a study like this, but it won’t change his prescribing habits because he uses beta blockers only in specific cases. Rubenfire also weans patients off the pills 18 months after they have a heart attack if they experience adverse side effects, such as fatigue and erectile dysfunction.

Rubenfire said the existing data wasn’t enough to determine which patients would benefit from beta blockers, and what kinds of beta blockers are better than others. Beta blockers include at least six brand names, including Sectral, Tenormin and Zebeta.

Even study coauthor Christopher Cannon, a professor at Harvard Medical School, said he will continue to prescribe beta blockers to his patients, adding “I would not make too much of this” because the study is only observational.

“All it can do is raise up an idea for us researchers to consider for further study,” he said.

Cannon said this research shows that it’s unclear whether beta blockers add more benefit than the other therapies developed in the decades since beta blockers became a standard of practice for treating patients with heart disease. Since patients are often taking several drugs, it’s hard to pinpoint how much one agent helps compared with another.

Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, said the medicine might not be ideal for all of the patients it’s prescribed to, but a new randomized, controlled trial will be necessary to change guidelines for prescribing beta blockers.

“Abandonment of this type of therapy for post-MI [post-heart attack] patients based upon an observational study is not warranted,” he said.

For the time being, the study raises questions, said Dr. Harlan Kumhulz, a professor of medicine, epidemiology and public health at Yale University.

“The question it raises is about how long after having a heart attack should patients remain on beta blockers?” Kumhulz said, noting that beta-blocker patients didn’t have better outcomes than the other patients did after the first year. “The study cannot definitively answer that question — but raises doubts about the need to continue to take them for the rest of a patient’s life.”

Dr. Lauren Hughes of the ABC News Medical Unit contributed to this report.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/beta-blockers-prevent-heart-attack-stroke-study-jama/story?id=17378403#.UG32y5jA-Sp

New Report: Thousands of Pancreatic Cancers in the U.S. Can Be Prevented

www.aicr.org » Cancer Research Update

AICR logo

“There is still clear and convincing evidence that diets high in a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans lower risk for several cancers, including those of the colorectum, esophagus, stomach and more,” said AICR’s Alice Bender, MS, RD.

Pancreas In Situ Xray Image

 

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. Usually diagnosed in advanced stages, it claims the lives of nine out of ten patients within five years’ time. Now a report released today from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) finds clear and convincing evidence that many cases of pancreatic cancer can be prevented.

“The latest report from the AICR/WCRF Continuous Update Project, one of the largest cancer prevention research projects in the world, shows that being overweight and obese increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer,” said Continuous Update Project (CUP) Panel Member Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

AICR/WCRF estimates that being lean can prevent 19 percent of pancreatic cancer cases that occur in the United States every year – or roughly one out of every five. That’s equivalent to 23 cases a day, and approximately 8,300 cases every year, that never have to happen, in the U.S. alone. (See the Cancer Preventability Chart)

In comparison, tobacco use, the number one risk factor for pancreatic cancer, is responsible for 1 out of every 4 cases of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

For the latest report on pancreatic cancer, the CUP evaluated an additional 79 recent papers relating to pancreatic cancer, diet and lifestyle. This was added to the 129 research papers already included for the AICR/WCRF 2007 second expert report.

“With the recent news that pancreatic cancer rates are on the rise, this report should be seen as a wake-up call,” Bandera said. “It’s still another example of the severe toll the obesity epidemic is taking on our health.”

Fat and Pancreatic Cancer: What’s the Link?

In addition to pancreatic cancer, carrying excess body fat has been shown to increase risk for cancers of the breast (postmenopausal), colon, esophagus, kidney, endometrium and gall bladder, along with other chronic diseases such as 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach that produces digestive juices as well as insulin and other hormones. Research continues to document several reasons why carrying excess fat increases risk for pancreatic cancer.

Fat tissue produces cytokines (proteins) that cause inflammation, which link to changes that promote cancer in healthy cells. Being overweight and obese also increases blood levels of insulin and related hormones that can encourage the growth of cancer.

The Latest: Folate Link Downgraded

Research on cancer prevention is always evolving, which is why AICR/WCRF created the CUP, a living database of the global cancer research that is investigating links between lifestyle and cancer risk. As research is added to the database, the CUP panel periodically re-evaluates the strength of various links to ensure that AICR’s advice always reflects the state-of-the-science.
The AICR/WCRF CUP Pancreatic Cancer 2012 report also finds that it is no longer clear that foods containing folate protect against pancreatic cancer. This represents a downgrading of the judgment from the AICR/WCRF second expert report, which concluded in 2007 that there was evidence for a probable link between foods containing folate and lower risk for pancreatic cancer.

Foods containing folate include dark leafy greens, beans and peanuts.

But experts at AICR point out that this downgrade does not change the organization’s take-home message that plant-based diets are cancer-protective. “There is still clear and convincing evidence that diets high in a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans lower risk for several cancers, including those of the colorectum, esophagus, stomach and more,” said AICR’s Alice Bender, MS, RD.

The new report also confirms the findings that coffee does not link to pancreatic cancer risk.

The Bottom Line

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to prevent this deadly disease. Avoiding tobacco use is another. If you smoke, stop now. If you don’t, never start.

Pancreas Matrix 2012

http://www.aicr.org/cancer-research-update/2012_10_04/cru-report-thousands.html

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

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