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  1. Popular heartburn drug ranitidine recalled: What you need to know and do If you or a family member take ranitidine (Zantac) to relieve heartburn, you may have heard that the FDA has found a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) in it. The story is unfolding quickly and many details remain murky. Here is what we know so far and what you should do. What do we know so far? On September 13, 2019, the FDA announced that preliminary tests found low levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine, a heartburn medication used by millions of Americans. This week, the drug companies Novartis (through its generic division, Sandoz) and Apotex announced that they were recalling all of their generic ranitidine products sold in the US. These announcements came after a Connecticut-based online pharmacy informed the FDA that it had detected NDMA in multiple ranitidine products under certain test conditions. What is ranitidine and which products are affected? Ranitidine (also known by its brand name, Zantac, which is sold by the drug company Sanofi) is available both over the counter (OTC) and by prescription. It belongs to the class of drugs known as H2 (or histamine-2) blockers. OTC ranitidine is commonly used to relieve and prevent heartburn. Prescription strengths are also used to treat and prevent more serious ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Multiple companies sell generic versions of both the OTC and prescription products. So far, only Novartis/Sandoz and Apotex have recalled products. Ranitidine distributed by other companies remains on store shelves. Health Canada, a federal department within the Canadian government, has asked all companies to stop distributing ranitidine drugs there, indicating that “current evidence suggests that NDMA may be present in ranitidine, regardless of the manufacturer.” France has taken the step of recalling all ranitidine products. What is NDMA and what harm can it cause? NDMA is an environmental contaminant that is found in water and foods, including dairy products, vegetables, and grilled meats. ts classification as a probable carcinogen is based on studies in animals; studies in humans are very limited. It is important to know that the NDMA in ranitidine products does not pose any immediate health risks. Neither the FDA nor Novartis/Sandoz or Apotex have received any reports of adverse events related to NDMA found in ranitidine. Although classified as a probable carcinogen, NDMA may cause cancer only after exposure to high doses over a long period of time. NDMA is one of the same impurities that was found in certain heart medications beginning last year and that resulted in the recall of many products. What should you do if you take ranitidine? As the FDA and other agencies around the world continue to investigate ranitidine, more details will become available. In the meantime, the FDA is not calling for individuals to stop taking the medication. However, for many conditions, ranitidine is only recommended for short-term use. If you have been using ranitidine for a while, now would be a good time to discuss with your physician whether you still need it, and whether you might benefit from alternative treatment options, including other drug classes or a different H2 blocker. Based on what is known so far, there is no evidence that other H2 blockers or other heartburn medications are affected by NDMA impurities. Some people might find antacids useful for relieving heartburn. Lifestyle changes, including avoiding certain foods and beverages, such as spicy foods, large or fatty meals, and alcohol, can also help prevent episodes of heartburn. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog kalip
  2. Lower Cholesterol to Reduce Heart Disease Risk How to Lower Your Cholesterol Your body needs cholesterol to build new cells, insulate nerves, and produce hormones. Having too much, though, is a major risk for heart disease. Here’s what happens. Ordinarily, your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you also get cholesterol from other sources. For example, you can get it from eating simple sugars as well as certain kinds of fats -- namely trans and saturated fats. You'll find these in many processed foods like donuts, frozen pizza, cookies, and crackers. You can also get it from eating certain foods, such as milk, eggs, meat, and other animal products. Over time, without your even being aware, this extra cholesterol accumulates inside your body and begins to do damage. How Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease? When you have too much cholesterol, it builds up in the walls of your arteries, This build-up causes the arteries to harden -- a process called atherosclerosis. It also narrows the arteries, which slows and even blocks the flow of blood. That’s where the problem starts. Your blood is supposed to carry oxygen to all parts of your body, including your heart muscle. Without enough oxygen, your body’s parts won’t function the way they’re supposed to. For instance, if your heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen, you'll have chest pain. And if the blood supply to a portion of your heart is completely cut off, you’ll have a heart attack. There are two major forms of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein or LDL, also known as "bad" cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein or HDL, also called "good" cholesterol. LDL is the main source of artery-clogging plaque. HDL, on the other hand, works to clear cholesterol from your blood. In addition to LDL and HDL, there is another kind of fat in your blood called triglycerides. Research shows that high levels of triglycerides, just like high levels of LDL, are linked to heart disease. What Are the Symptoms of High Cholesterol? High cholesterol does not have any symptoms. So you can be completely unaware that your cholesterol levels are getting too high. That’s why it’s important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are. If the level is too high, lowering it will lessen your risk for developing heart disease. And if you already have heart disease, lowering cholesterol can reduce your chance of a heart attack or of dying from heart disease. How Do I Find Out What My Cholesterol Numbers Are and What They Mean? If you’re older than 20, your doctor should measure your cholesterol levels at least once every five years. All that’s needed for this is a simple blood test called a lipid profile. The test will show you your: Total cholesterol level LDL level HDL level Triglycerides level Your numbers will help you and your doctor determine not only your risk for heart disease but also the best options for lowering it. For instance, an LDL level of 190 or above is considered very high, and your doctor will likely talk to you about taking medicine to lower it. And if your HDL level is 60 or above, excellent, your risk of heart disease is lowered. The goal is a lower LDL and a higher HDL to prevent and manage heart disease. But remember, the cholesterol numbers are only one part of a larger equation. In addition to the numbers, the doctor will factor in your age, blood pressure, smoking history, and use of blood pressure medicines. All of these things plus whether you already have heart disease will give a picture of your chance of a major heart problem over the next 10 years. With that picture you and your doctor will develop a strategy to lower the risk. That strategy may involve lowering your cholesterol level with diet and possibly medicine. What Affects Cholesterol Levels? Lots of things can affect your cholesterol levels. They include: Diet. Reducing the amount of saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol in your diet can help lower your blood cholesterol. Eating too much sugar and too many simple carbohydrates will also increase your cholesterol levels. Weight. Being overweight is in itself a risk factor for heart disease. It also can increase your cholesterol. Losing weight will help lower your LDL, total cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. At the same time, it can help you raise your HDL. Exercise. Regular exercise can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days. Age and Gender. As you get older, your cholesterol rises. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol than men. After menopause, though, women's LDL levels tend to rise. Heredity. Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families. Medical conditions. Sometimes a medical condition may cause higher cholesterol levels. Examples include hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), liver disease, and kidney disease. Medications. Some drugs, such as steroids and progestins, can increase the "bad" cholesterol and decrease the "good" cholesterol. What Drugs Are Used to Treat High Cholesterol? Cholesterol-lowering drugs include: Statins Niacin Bile-acid resins Fibrates Cholesterol-lowering drugs are most effective when combined with a low-cholesterol diet and exercise program. Statins Statins block the production of cholesterol in the liver. They lower LDL and triglycerides and can slightly raise HDL. These drugs are the first line of treatment for most people with high cholesterol. They are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and for people with heart disease, statins reduce the risk of future heart attacks. Side effects can include intestinal problems, liver damage, and, in a few people, muscle tenderness or weakness. If your doctor prescribes statins, you should discuss the percentage by which you should lower your cholesterol. Generally, it will be between 30% and 50%. Examples of statins include: Atorvastatin (Lipitor) Fluvastatin (Lescol, Lescol XL) Lovastatin (Altocor, Altoprev, Mevacor) Pitavastatin (Livalo) Pravastatin (Pravachol) Rosuvastatin (Crestor) Simvastatin (Zocor) Niacin Niacin is a B-complex vitamin. It's found in food, but it is also available at high doses by prescription. It lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol. The main side effects are flushing, itching, tingling, and headache. Aspirin can reduce many of these symptoms. Speak with your doctor first, though, before taking aspirin. Research studies suggest that even though niacin may improve your cholesterol numbers, it does not appear to lower your risk of heart disease, especially if you are already taking a statin. Bile Acid Sequestrants These drugs work inside the intestine, where they bind to bile and prevent it from being reabsorbed into the circulatory system. Bile is made largely from cholesterol, so these drugs work by reducing the body's supply of cholesterol. That then lowers both total and LDL cholesterol. The most common side effects are constipation, gas, and upset stomach. Examples of bile acid resins include: Cholestyramine resin (Prevalite, Questran and Questran Light) Colesevelam (WelChol) Colestipol (Colestid) Fibrates Fibrates lower triglyceride levels and can increase HDL and lower LDL. It's thought that fibrates enhance the breakdown of triglyceride-rich particles and decrease the secretion of certain blood fats. Examples of fibrates include: Fenofibrate (Lofibra, Tricor) Gemfibrozil (Lopid) Cholesterol absorption inhibitors Ezetimibe (Zetia) works to lower LDL by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. Vytorin is a drug that combines ezetimibe and a statin. It can decrease total and LDL cholesterol and raise HDL levels. Although ezetimibe may reduce your LDL cholesterol, research studies have not found that it reduces your risk of heart disease. Combination drugs Some people with high cholesterol achieve the best results with combination drugs. These are pills that contain more than one medication to treat cholesterol problems, triglyceride abnormalities, or even high blood pressure. Some examples include: Advicor: Lovastatin and niacin ( nicotinic acid ) Caduet: Atorvastatin and amlodipine , a calcium channel blocker Liptruzet: Atorvastatin and ezetimibe Simcor: Simvastatin and niacin (nicotinic acid) Vytorin: Simvastatin and ezetimibe , a cholesterol absorption inhibitor What Are the Side Effects of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs? The side effect you need to be most concerned about is muscle aches. They could be a sign of a life-threatening condition. If you have muscle aches, call your doctor immediately. Other side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs include: Abnormal liver function Allergic reaction (skin rashes) Heartburn Dizziness Abdominal pain Constipation Decreased sexual desire Memory loss Are There Foods or Other Drugs I Should Avoid While Taking Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs? Ask your doctor about the other drugs you are taking, including herbals and vitamins, and their impact on cholesterol-lowering medications. You should not drink grapefruit juice while taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. It can interfere with the liver's ability to metabolise these medications. https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management kalip
  3. Low Vitamin D Levels, Shorter Life? Young and middle-aged adults with low vitamin D levels may live shorter lives, a large study suggests. The findings come from a 20-year follow-up of more than 78,000 Austrian adults. Researchers found that those with low vitamin D levels in their blood were nearly three times more likely to die during the study period than those with adequate levels. When it came to the cause of death, vitamin D levels were most clearly linked to deaths from diabetes complications. The findings were to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Barcelona -- and are considered preliminary. Experts said they do not prove that low vitamin D levels, per se, cut people's lives short. But the results add to a large body of evidence tying inadequate vitamin D to various health effects -- beyond the long-recognised consequence of thinner, weaker bones. Studies have also pointed to higher risks of conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, certain cancers, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. "The role of vitamin D in the body appears to be more than simply assisting calcium absorption and bone health," said Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian who was not involved in the study. However, the research is "still evolving," noted Diekman, who has served as president of the non-profit Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That means it's still unclear whether boosting your vitamin D intake -- through food or pills -- will prevent various diseases or lengthen your life. In fact, a recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, yielded disappointing results: Researchers found that vitamin D supplements did not help prevent type 2 diabetes in people at high risk of the disease. But that may be in part because supplements later in life might not be enough to prevent a disease, according to Dr. Rodrig Marculescu, the lead researcher on the current study. Many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, get their start earlier in life, said Marculescu, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria. On the other hand, he said, vitamin D supplements might have more of an impact on the odds of dying from a disease. His team found a clear relationship between blood vitamin D levels and the risk of early death -- especially among people who were younger than 60: Those with levels of 10 nmol/L (nanomoles per litre) or less had almost a three-times higher risk of dying during the study, versus those with adequate levels (50 nmol/L). In contrast, middle-aged and younger people with vitamin D levels at or above 90 nmol/L had a lower death risk than those at the 50 mark. In general, vitamin D concentrations of 50 nmol/L or higher are considered to be high enough for overall health, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. When the researchers zeroed in on causes of death, it turned out that vitamin D levels showed only weak connections to heart disease and cancer. Instead, people with low levels (below 50) had a more than fourfold higher risk of dying from diabetes complications, versus those with adequate levels. It's not clear why. But, Marculescu said, there are plausible reasons that vitamin D levels would be particularly linked to diabetes: The vitamin, which acts as a hormone in the body, helps regulate the immune system. That's relevant to type 1 diabetes, Marculescu noted, because it is an autoimmune disease. Vitamin D is also important to the cells that produce the hormone insulin -- which regulates blood sugar -- and to the body's sensitivity to insulin. That's relevant to type 2 diabetes, Marculescu pointed out. For now, he said, the findings "further strengthen the already very strong rationale for intensifying vitamin D supplementation, especially during childhood and at younger ages." Specifically, he pointed to recommendations from the Endocrine Society. They suggest that adults get 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, while children and teenagers get 600 to 1,000 IU. The body naturally synthesises vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin, but cold climates -- and concerns about sun exposure -- can limit that source. Diekman suggested that people have their blood vitamin D level checked. If it's low, she said, talk to your doctor about how to boost it -- whether through supplements or foods such as vitamin D-fortified dairy products, juice or cereal. More information The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on vitamin D. https://consumer.healthday.com kalip
  4. Low Vitamin D Levels, Shorter Life? Young and middle-aged adults with low vitamin D levels may live shorter lives, a large study suggests. The findings come from a 20-year follow-up of more than 78,000 Austrian adults. Researchers found that those with low vitamin D levels in their blood were nearly three times more likely to die during the study period than those with adequate levels. When it came to the cause of death, vitamin D levels were most clearly linked to deaths from diabetes complications. The findings were to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Barcelona -- and are considered preliminary. Experts said they do not prove that low vitamin D levels, per se, cut people's lives short. But the results add to a large body of evidence tying inadequate vitamin D to various health effects -- beyond the long-recognized consequence of thinner, weaker bones. Studies have also pointed to higher risks of conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, certain cancers, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. "The role of vitamin D in the body appears to be more than simply assisting calcium absorption and bone health," said Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian who was not involved in the study. However, the research is "still evolving," noted Diekman, who has served as president of the non-profit Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That means it's still unclear whether boosting your vitamin D intake -- through food or pills -- will prevent various diseases or lengthen your life. In fact, a recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, yielded disappointing results: Researchers found that vitamin D supplements did not help prevent type 2 diabetes in people at high risk of the disease. But that may be in part because supplements later in life might not be enough to prevent a disease, according to Dr. Rodrig Marculescu, the lead researcher on the current study. Many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, get their start earlier in life, said Marculescu, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria. On the other hand, he said, vitamin D supplements might have more of an impact on the odds of dying from a disease. His team found a clear relationship between blood vitamin D levels and the risk of early death -- especially among people who were younger than 60: Those with levels of 10 nmol/L (nanomoles per litre) or less had almost a three-times higher risk of dying during the study, versus those with adequate levels (50 nmol/L). In contrast, middle-aged and younger people with vitamin D levels at or above 90 nmol/L had a lower death risk than those at the 50 mark. In general, vitamin D concentrations of 50 nmol/L or higher are considered to be high enough for overall health, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. When the researchers zeroed in on causes of death, it turned out that vitamin D levels showed only weak connections to heart disease and cancer. Instead, people with low levels (below 50) had a more than fourfold higher risk of dying from diabetes complications, versus those with adequate levels. It's not clear why. But, Marculescu said, there are plausible reasons that vitamin D levels would be particularly linked to diabetes: The vitamin, which acts as a hormone in the body, helps regulate the immune system. That's relevant to type 1 diabetes, Marculescu noted, because it is an autoimmune disease. Vitamin D is also important to the cells that produce the hormone insulin -- which regulates blood sugar -- and to the body's sensitivity to insulin. That's relevant to type 2 diabetes, Marculescu pointed out. For now, he said, the findings "further strengthen the already very strong rationale for intensifying vitamin D supplementation, especially during childhood and at younger ages." Specifically, he pointed to recommendations from the Endocrine Society. They suggest that adults get 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, while children and teenagers get 600 to 1,000 IU. The body naturally synthesizes vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin, but cold climates -- and concerns about sun exposure -- can limit that source. Diekman suggested that people have their blood vitamin D level checked. If it's low, she said, talk to your doctor about how to boost it -- whether through supplements or foods such as vitamin D-fortified dairy products, juice or cereal. More information The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on vitamin D. https://consumer.healthday.com/ kalip
  5. How to Breathe Properly When Running Proper breathing can make a difference in terms of your overall comfort and performance when running. While your body will probably do the right thing naturally, you may have some breathing habits that affect your ability to run efficiently. It can be helpful to learn about different theories about the way breathing affects running and recommendations about the best way to breath during your running workouts. Nose vs. Mouth Breathing Some runners have heard they should breathe in through the nose alone and out only through the mouth. This breathing pattern is promoted in yoga and some martial arts. However, it is not always the most efficient method for a vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running. Many runners find it most effective to breathe through both your mouth and nose when running.  Your muscles need oxygen to keep moving and your nose alone simply can't deliver enough. In fact, you may notice changes as your pace increases. The way that you breathe—through your mouth or through your nose—is often determined by factors including activity type and activity intensity. Sustained-Pace Breathing When you run at an easily sustainable pace, you are likely to get enough oxygen primarily through your nose alone. This allows you to carry on a steady conversation without stopping to gasp for air through your mouth. However, as your pace and intensity increases, your body needs more oxygen. You need mouth breathing to meet your body's need. While your nose can warm and filter incoming air, breathing through your nose alone won't cut it. This is when mouth breathing kicks in to help out. For your faster, sustained runs (such as tempo runs or races), you should try to inhale more through your nose and exhale more through your mouth. Try to focus on exhaling fully, which will remove more carbon dioxide and also help you inhale more deeply. As your pace and intensity level increases during runs, you'll notice that nose breathing often shifts to combined nose/mouth breathing to accommodate your body's increased oxygen demands. Breathing During Sprints During speed work, you might notice that you naturally shift to mouth breathing. It feels like you breathe in and breathe out fully through your mouth. This might lead you to wonder if mouth breathing is wrong for these high-intensity bursts of work. Researchers have studied the effects of mouth breathing vs. nasal breathing during anaerobic work performed at high intensity. In a small study, researchers examined performance outcomes and heart rate when test subjects had to perform nose-only or mouth-only breathing.  They found that RER (respiratory exchange ratio) was higher when mouth breathing was used. RER is a measurement of your body's oxidative capacity to get energy. It can be used as an indicator of fitness level. They also found that heart rate was higher during nasal breathing. However, because the researchers found that breathing mode does not affect power output or performance measures, they concluded that athletes should choose their desired breathing preference during high-intensity intervals. Deep Belly Breathing Diaphragmatic breathing—sometimes called belly breathing—can help to strengthen your breathing muscles and encourage full oxygen exchange.  This, in turn, makes the breathing process more effective and allows your body to use oxygen more efficiently. Also, deep belly breathing allows you to take in more air, which may also help prevent side stitches. You can practice belly breathing when your body is at rest. Pay attention to your upper body form. Your posture should be straight, with relaxed shoulders that aren't hunched up or slouched forward. Your head should be in line with your body, not jutted forward. You won't be able to breathe deeply if you are hunched over. Breathe in through your nose. Push your stomach out and, at the same time, push down and out with your diaphragm. Rather than your upper chest expanding, you should feel your belly expanding. This allows you to draw in more air with each breath.  Breathe out slowly and evenly through your mouth.  When you are first learning belly breathing, try to practice a few times each day for about five minutes per session. Once you are more comfortable with diaphragmatic breathing, it will be easier to incorporate efficient breathing practices during your runs. Breathing and Footstrikes Researchers have long known that most animals and humans practice some form of rhythmic breathing patterns when running. That is, they sync their breathing to locomotor movement—more specifically to footstrikes. Scientists refer to the patterns as locomotor-respiratory coupling or LRC. Locomotor-respiratory coupling, also called LRC, is the practice of pairing your breath with your footstrikes. All mammals—including humans— practice some form of LRC, although humans exhibit the greatest degree of flexibility with the range of possible patterns. Preferred Breathing Rhythm While four-legged animals often breath at a 1:1 LRC ratio (one breath per footstrike), humans may use a variety of breathing patterns and even have the flexibility to use no LRC at all. However, studies suggest that a 2:1 coupling ratio is favoured. That means for every two strides, you take one breath. As a runner, this might mean that you fall into a pattern where you breathe in for two to three footstrikes and breathe out for the same number of footstrikes. Alternating Rhythm A research paper published in 2013 noted that runners naturally couple their breathing with their footstrikes in an even-foot pattern, which results in always exhaling on the same foot. Some theories advanced in this paper led running experts such as Budd Coates, author of "Running on Air," to propose breath patterns that would alternate which foot was striking during inhalation and exhalation. For example, taking three footstrikes for every inhale and two footstrikes for every exhale. While you can try this alternate breathing pattern, it may or may not have any benefits. Reportedly, one of the study authors thinks it is improbable that even-foot breathing patterns are detrimental. Natural Rhythm If the idea of trying to coordinate your breathing with your footstrike seems overwhelming, don't worry. Research has also suggested that thinking too much about running and breath can lead to a decreased efficiency in running mechanics. A small study published in a 2019 edition of Journal of Sports Sciences evaluated running economy in 12 subjects as they focused on internal factors (such as breathing mechanics) or external factors (watching a video). Researchers concluded that consciously focusing on breathing and movement can lead to a decrease in running efficiency and running economy. Breathing During Races While it can be relatively easy to fall into a breathing pattern during training runs, it can be harder to maintain steady breathing during a race. Race day nerves can increase your breathing rate before the race and can also make it harder to get into a rhythm during the race. But establishing a breathing pattern might help you focus and get into a race-pace rhythm. For this reason, it can be helpful during your race to turn your focus inward and find your breath. If you have established a preferred regular breathing pattern during training runs, finding this rhythm during your race may help to steady your nerves and induce confidence. As you sprint past another runner or run up a hill, your breathing pattern may change with the intensity. But returning to your stable breathing pattern can help get you back into a steady pace. As you finish the race, it is likely that your breathing rate will increase. Trying to sprint to the finish line with tired muscles can cause you to increase your breathing rate and deepen each breath. However, research has shown that trained athletes can maintain their LRC or effective rhythmic breathing pattern. Post-Race Breathing And what happens after the race is complete? Expect your breathing to return to normal within about 10-20 minutes after you finish running. Your breath rate will gradually slow and mouth/nose breathing will return to nose-only breathing. As your breathing returns to normal, heart rate returns to normal as well. With an increased fitness level, you'll notice that this process takes less time. A Word from Verywell As a beginner, try to run at a pace at which you can breathe easily. Use the "talk test" to figure out if your pace is appropriate. You should be able to speak in full sentences, without gasping for air. This is also known as a conversational pace. As you add faster-paced tempo runs and speed intervals to your running repertoire, experiment with different breathing styles and breathing rhythms. Practice diaphragmatic breathing as well. It is likely that your body will find a rhythm that feels natural. However, try not to force a breathing pattern that feels uncomfortable. Be mindful of your preferred breathing style and use it as one more tool in your toolbox to steady your nerves and run more effectively at races. https://www.verywellfit.com/ kalip
  6. Vegan Red Curry Lentil Soup with Kale Recipe Ingredients 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 2 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, and chopped 1 ½ tablespoons red curry paste 1 14-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes 1 cup lentils, any colour or mixture 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 4 cups chopped kale 1 cup reduced fat coconut milk Preparation Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, garlic, and carrots. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in red curry paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in diced tomatoes, lentils, broth, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then add kale. Cover soup, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender. Remove lid and stir in coconut milk. Heat through for 2 to 3 minutes then serve hot. https://www.verywellfit.com kalip
  7. Soot pollution particles 'cross the placenta' Particles of black carbon - or soot - can cross the placenta, a study has found. The Nature Communications research is the first direct evidence the particles can get into the part of the placenta that feeds the developing foetus. It could be the first step to explaining why high pollution is linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weights. Experts said women could take measures such as avoiding busy roads. But they warned tackling air pollution could be achieved at a "policy level" only. How the placenta works The placenta is made up of:  the foetal placenta, made from the same tissue that forms the foetus  the maternal placenta, made from tissue from the mother's uterus Oxygen and nutrients cross from the maternal placenta to the foetal placenta and are then carried to the foetus via the umbilical cord. Waste products from the foetus, such as carbon dioxide, pass back the other way. In-between is a semi-permeable membrane, made up of placental tissues Substances such as alcohol, nicotine and other drugs are known to be able to cross the placenta, which is why women are advised to avoid them during pregnancy. The scientists in this study looked at placentas from five pre-term and 23 full-term births. Using high-resolution imaging, they found black carbon particles on the foetal side in each of the placentas studied. The 10 mothers who lived closest to busy roads, and who had been exposed to highest levels of pollution during pregnancy had the highest levels of particles in the placenta, compared with the 10 who had been exposed to the lowest and lived at least 500m (1,600ft) away from a busy road. The researchers suggest the particles travel from the mother's lungs to the placenta. 'Plausible mechanism' Writing in the journal, the scientists, from Hasselt University, in Belgium, led by Prof Tim Narwot, said: "Our results demonstrate that the human placental barrier is not impenetrable for particles. "Further research will have to show whether the particles cross the placenta and reach the foetus" and if that "represents a potential mechanism explaining the detrimental health effects of pollution, from early life onwards", they added. Prof Jonathan Grigg, a leading expert in the effects of air pollution on children, from Queen Mary University of London, said: "There's very strong epidemiological evidence that maternal exposure to air-pollution particles is associated with adverse outcomes such as miscarriage. "This is the beginning of showing that this is a 'plausible mechanism' that could be causing these effects." Andrew Shennan, professor of obstetrics at King's College London, said: "Small particles, such as through smoking, can cause considerable disease related to the placenta and these findings of particles in the placenta are a concern. "Their possible effects on the baby and mother warrant further investigation." What can pregnant women do? Both experts accept pregnant women cannot change the environment where they live. Prof Grigg said: "Women shouldn't be too paranoid about walking down the street but they could be thinking about how they could reduce their exposure." Prof Narwot said there were small measures that could help. "For an individual it's very difficult to escape from it - people have to breathe," he said. "Don't ventilate houses at the front where the traffic is. It's better at the back. And if possible if you cycle or walk, choose a road with less traffic. "But in general this needs to be addressed at policy levels." https://www.bbc.com/news/health kalip
  8. Could grabbing a nap once or twice a week help you live longer? A new study reports the occasional nap appears to cut in half people's risk of heart attack, strokes and heart disease, compared with folks who never nap. But more frequent napping provided no benefit, researchers found. "In fact, we found that frequent nappers had initially a higher risk for incident cardiovascular disease," said lead author Nadine Hausler, a postdoctoral researcher at University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland. "However, when we took sociodemographic, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors into account, this increased risk disappeared." The findings left experts scratching their heads. "I don't think it's anything definitive, in terms of whether napping is actually helpful or not helpful," said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, director of the sleep program at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre in New York City. She noted that the health benefits of napping are a source of intense debate among researchers, with many arguing that naps are a sign of lousy night-time sleep and, therefore, not a good thing. "This throws a little bit of a curveball, because they found one to two naps per week might be beneficial," St-Onge said. For this study, researchers looked at napping patterns of nearly 3,500 randomly selected people in Switzerland, and then tracked their heart health for more than five years. About three in five said they don't nap. One in five said they nap once or twice a week -- the same number who reported napping three or more days a week. Frequent nappers tended to be older men with excess weight and a tobacco habit. Though they reported sleeping longer at night than those who don't nap, they also reported more daytime sleepiness and were more likely to have sleep apnoea, a condition that wakes a person repeatedly in the night when their breathing stops. During the five-year follow-up, participants had 155 fatal and non-fatal heart events, the findings showed. These could include heart attacks, strokes and heart disease caused by clogged arteries that required surgical reopening. Napping once or twice a week cut a person's risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure by 48%, compared with people who don't nap at all, the researchers found. Frequent naps initially appeared to increase a person's heart risk by 67%, but that disappeared after accounting for other risk factors, the study authors noted. Dr. Martha Gulati, a cardiologist who is editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org, the American College of Cardiology's patient website, said it makes sense that frequent napping could be a red flag for health problems. "I worry that somebody that naps every day isn't getting good sleep," she said. "Somebody who takes six or seven naps a week, I ask, are you not sleeping well at night? Is that how you're catching up with your sleep?" Gulati added, "But I am still going to enjoy my Sunday naps, and now say I am working on lowering my risk for heart disease when my husband asks." Researcher Hausler couldn't say exactly why a couple of naps each week might do a body good. "The mechanisms are not straightforward," she said. "We assume that occasional napping might be a result of a physiological compensation allowing to decrease the stress due to insufficient nocturnal sleep and, thus, could have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease events." Though she said the results should first be confirmed by other studies, Hausler added: "We can say that an occasional nap can potentially decrease cardiovascular disease risk for healthy adults." The study was published online Sept. 9 in the journal Heart. https://consumer.healthday.com/ kalip
  9. FDA finds probable carcinogen in Zantac and other heartburn drugs A probable carcinogen that prompted the recall of several versions of blood pressure-lowering pills has been detected in the heartburn drug Zantac and its generic versions, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday. The FDA has not called for Sanofi, which makes Zantac, or other generic manufacturers to recall any products from the market. Preliminary tests detected low levels of NDMA that equal or slightly exceed the amounts found in foods such as cured and grilled meats, said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research. The FDA does not recommend people stop taking the drug. However, the agency said people who want to discontinue prescriptions should talk to their doctor or pharmacist. Consumers who buy non-prescription versions can switch to other over-the-counter drugs; there are multiple drugs available for the same or similar uses, the FDA said. The FDA announcement came after Connecticut-based Valisure, an online pharmacy and laboratory, tested both Zantac and generic versions, and all versions contained NDMA levels significantly higher than the FDA's recommended daily limits. Valisure shared its results with the FDA, which obtained and tested samples of the drug. "We got different results, much lower, but we found it did indeed contain NDMA," Woodcock said. Woodcock said the FDA needs to evaluate larger samples of the drug and conduct more tests to ensure the agency produces statistically valid results. Sanofi representatives issued a statement that said the company takes patient safety seriously and is committed to working with the FDA. "Zantac OTC (over the counter) has been around for over a decade and meets all the specified safety requirements for use in the OTC market, " Sanofi said in the statement. Recalls of the blood pressure drugs valsartan, losartan and irbesartan began last July when regulators discovered some drugs had small amounts of NDMA, a carcinogen that FDA scientists concluded would generate one more cancer case above average rates for every 8,000 people on the highest dose of valsartan for four years. Two other probable carcinogens were also detected in several batches of the blood pressure drugs. The global recall prompted queries from the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce to the FDA about the blood pressure drugs' regulation and the agency's oversight of the global drug supply chain. Private-sector labs such as Valisure, which tests every batch of every drug that it sells, have stepped up their testing of prescription drugs. The private lab tested ranitidine, in part, because a co-founder's infant daughter was prescribed the medication, said CEO David Light "Our initial results were just so alarming that we immediately took it off our own formulary," Light said. In addition to sharing testing results with the FDA, Valisure submitted a citizen petition to the FDA requesting the agency initiate a recall and suspend the sale of both branded and generic versions of the drug. "We think a immediate recall is absolutely in order here, especially considering this drug is given to infants and is over the counter," Light said. For now, FDA officials say consumers should not be alarmed. "It's really important to have people not panic over this," Woodcock told USA TODAY. "People who have taken ramitidine or Zantac on and off. This is not really a high-risk situation. But contaminants should not be in these drugs. We’re going to make sure they get out." https://www.usatoday.com kalip
  10. Preventing Heart Failure After Heart Attack If you have had a myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack), you’ve sustained a certain amount of damage to your heart muscle. If enough damage has been done, you may be at risk of developing heart failure. So, taking measures to prevent heart failure is an important aspect of therapy after an MI. For people who have had a very large MI, the risk of heart failure can be quite high. In these patients the onset of heart failure can be acute, often within the first few hours or days. But even when an MI causes only a moderate amount of muscle damage, eventual heart failure is a possibility. Appropriate drug therapy and lifestyle changes can be critical in delaying or preventing the onset of heart failure. What Is Remodelling? Whether or not heart failure occurs after an MI depends to a large extent on how the undamaged heart muscle responds. After an MI, the healthy heart muscle "stretches" in an attempt to take over the workload of the damaged muscle. This stretching leads to the enlargement of the heart, a process called cardiac "remodelling." Stretching helps the undamaged heart muscle contract more forcefully, and allows it to do more work. The heart muscle behaves something like a rubber band; the more you stretch it, the more "snap" it has. However, if you overstretch a rubber band, or keep stretching it over and over for a long period of time, it eventually loses its "snap," and becomes flaccid. Unfortunately, the heart muscle does the same thing. Chronic stretching of the heart muscle causes it to weaken, and heart failure may result. So, while remodelling may help the heart work better in the short term, in the long-term remodelling is a bad thing. If remodelling can be prevented or limited, the risk of developing heart failure diminishes. How Is Remodelling Measured? An important part of assessing your health after an MI is to estimate how much cardiac remodelling is taking place. This information can be obtained by doing a MUGA scan or an echocardiogram, two methods of noninvasively visualising the left ventricle. A good way to estimate the amount of heart muscle damage caused by an MI, and the amount of remodelling that is occurring, is to measure the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). The LVEF is the percentage of blood ejected by the left ventricle with each heartbeat. With heart enlargement (that is, with remodelling), the ejection fraction falls. If the LVEF is less than 40 percent (normal being 55 percent or higher), then significant muscle damage has occurred. The lower the LVEF, the greater the damage, the more remodelling—and the greater the risk of developing heart failure. Preventing Cardiac Remodelling Several clinical studies have shown that two classes of drugs can significantly reduce remodelling after an MI, and improve the survival of patients who have signs of impending heart failure. These drugs are the beta blockers and the ACE inhibitors. Beta blockers work by blocking the effect of adrenaline on the heart, and they have significant beneficial effects in several types of heart disease. Beta blockers reduce the risk of angina in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD); improve the survival of patients with heart failure; reduce the risk of sudden death in patients after heart attacks; and delay, prevent and even partially reverse cardiac remodelling after an MI. So, unless there are strong reasons not to use them (some patients with severe asthma or other lung disease simply cannot take these drugs), virtually every heart attack survivor should be placed on a beta blocker. The most commonly prescribed beta blockers after an MI are Tenormin (atenolol) and Lopressor (metoprolol). ACE inhibitors significantly improve long-term survival after an acute MI, and in addition, reduce the risk of developing heart failure (apparently by preventing or delaying remodelling). They also reduce the risk of recurrent MIs, stroke, and sudden death. ACE inhibitors, like the beta blockers, are considered a must if you have had a heart attack. Vasotec (enalapril) and Capoten (captopril) are the drugs most commonly used after an MI. Maintaining Cardiac Health In addition to therapy aimed specifically at preventing heart failure after a heart attack, you will need other important therapies to maintain your optimal cardiac health. Here is a post-heart attack checklist you should review with your doctor. And while you can’t do anything about the fact that you already have CAD, there are very likely several things you can do to slow or stop the worsening of your CAD, and thus to prevent further heart damage. These include measures to improve your diet, cholesterol levels, e xercise capacity, and to optimise your weight and your blood pressure. ​ https://www.verywellhealth.com kalip
  11. Turning back time! Ageing is REVERSED in men using a cocktail of growth hormones and diabetes drugs in study that saw test group shed 2.5 biological years Researchers at UCLA used a trio of common drugs to restore the thymus The gland specialises immune cells that fight cancer and infection and degrades with age Growth hormone combined with two diabetes drugs made the thymus regenerate After a year on the drug cocktail the nine white men involved were an average of 2.5 years biologically younger than they had been at the study's start A cocktail of three common drugs appeared to not only slow ageing but to reverse it in a small new study published in Nature on Thursday. Nine people were given a growth hormone and two diabetes drugs for a year as part of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), trial. By the end of their cycles on the medications, the study participants had, biologically aged 2.5 years - in reverse. At first blush it looks like a revelation for human health and life expectancy - but the small group of participants were all white men and there was no control group to compare the findings to, drawing some skepticism from experts. To many, immortality is the holy grail of futurism and medicine. And even if you don't idealise the notion of living forever, with ageing comes disease and the body's degradation, so evading the damage that time does to us could mean living a healthier life as well as a longer one. Much more critical to the length and quality of our lives than our numerical age or the lines on our faces is how our body's are changing at the cellular and molecular levels. Scientists gauge biological ageing by something called the 'epigenetic clock.' One method of doing so was developed by co-author of the new study, UCLA's Dr Steve Horvath. This age assessment looks at changes to how DNA is expressed. As we age, chemical tags called methyls start to hang on to molecules of DNA. Theses pesky changes don't alter the sequence of the DNA, but they can disrupt the way a section of the genetic code gets turned on and off or issues instructions to biological structures. More methyls are added to DNA over time, so it becomes more predisposed to disruption, and we become more predisposed to ageing itself as well as cancer. Many factors influence this process, called methylation, and can make our biological clocks race ahead of or trail behind our age in years. The process effects every organ and tissue in the body - including a vital gland called the thymus. The thymus functions like finishing school for the white blood cells that drive much of the immune system. White blood cells are made within the bone marrow, but it's in the thymus where they enter their final forms, becoming T cells that keep infections and cancer at bay. The thymus starts to degrade with age and as levels of human growth hormone fall. Previous research in animals suggested that giving people supplemental growth hormone might protect and restore the thymus. So Dr Horvath's collaborator, immunologist and co-founder of Intervene Immune, Dr Gregory Fahy, recruited nine white men between the ages of 51 and 65 to take the growth hormone DHEA. Dr Fahy had actually experimented with the possibility of using DHEA to rejuvenate the thymus - on himself, in the 1990s. Since unusually high levels of DHEA may trigger diabetes, the men in the trial were also given the two diabetes drugs. Over the course of the year they were involved in the study, their thymus tissue was regularly tested. By the end of the trial, seven of the participants thymuses had shed disruptive fat from the gland, and healthy thymus tissue had regrown in its place. Dr Horvath happened to ask if he could analyse the men’s' epigenetic markers of age. Remarkably, all 10 participants had fewer methyl tags at the end of the study than they had in the beginning. Biologically speaking, they appeared to have gotten 2.5 years younger. 'I'd expected to see slowing down of the clock, but not a reversal' Dr Horvath told Nature. 'That felt kind of futuristic.' But, of course, there was no control group whose thymuses and epigenetic markers of age were being compared, and the sample was all white men, so it's far from proof that ageing can be reversed. It is, however a promising finding for follow-up research. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health kalip
  12. “What’s your secret to staying so trim?” (WEBMD BLOGS HEART HEALTH) The question came from a patient I had been seeing regularly for over 15 years. The painful truth? Not long before then, I had been more than 20 pounds overweight. Although that’s difficult to admit as preventive cardiologist, it was being overweight that set me on the path to my current diet. And my healthier weight. Like many of us, becoming overweight snuck up on me. I grew up thin, but around the time I finished residency, things changed. Seemingly overnight, my pants became too tight and the scale was showing numbers I had never seen before. Although I was surprised by this, I shouldn’t have been. I was older, and I didn’t have the “eat anything and get away with it” metabolism anymore. I knew that to improve my weight – and my health - I had to change what I was eating. The thing was, like most physicians, I didn’t learn a lot about nutrition in my training (this is surprising, I know – you’d think medical school would cover healthy eating, but not at all). It was clear to me that I needed to become a nutrition expert for myself, but for my patients as well. I began my quest to find the “best” diet in the same way I would answer any clinical question. I reviewed the highest quality research, read the most relevant books, listened to lectures, and talked to the leading experts. However, this didn’t work as well as I had hoped. In fact, the more I read, the more confused I was. Experts with very different beliefs convincingly shared their stories with evangelical zeal on why their diet was best. Very different diets, ones that appeared to be polar opposites, like vegan and Paleo, had seemingly convincing research “proving” their diet was best. I struggled to reconcile all of this conflicting data – until I realised two truths. The first truth was that all of the evidence-based diets are “best” for some people. But none of them are the best diet for everyone. The second truth was that all of these healthy diets had one thing in common: They eliminate highly processed food. Whether you believe the best diet is paleo, vegan, Mediterranean, whole food plant based, or any of the other evidence supported diets, the one thing that they all have in common is that they recommend eliminating highly processed foods. Although this may seem overly simple to some, the reality is that almost 60% of the average American diet is highly processed foods. And while our current epidemics of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other lifestyle related diseases have many potential causes, the wide availability of highly processed foods starting in the 1970s is likely a major contributor. Fifteen years ago, I decided that the foundation of my diet would be to avoid or minimise highly processed foods, which I define as food high in added sugars or refined grains. Typically, highly processed foods are manufactured with lots of ingredients, chemicals, and preservatives that don’t qualify as food. My diet is mostly real food and that includes several things that some would not consider “heart healthy,” such as whole fat dairy and eggs. I also eat red meat once or twice a week, although I choose higher quality and naturally raised options when possible. I still like my carbs, but have made the switch to brown rice and whole grain pasta and I have also upgraded my snacks. Instead of packaged foods, my snacks are most often home-made popcorn, nuts, dates and nutrition bars with only whole food ingredients. And I don’t completely avoid high sugar foods. I’m just more selective. For me, my mom’s homemade chocolate cake is worth the splurge. A candy bar or store-bought pastry doesn’t even come close – so I turn those down. I don’t deprive myself, but a strategy that works for me is to ask, “What’s the least I can eat and still feel satisfied?” Often, it’s just a bite or two. The last aspect of my diet I want to mention is the amount of food I eat. Eating too much good quality food is still too much. I struggled with how to eat the right amount of food, until I adapted a mindful eating strategy. Paying attention to the food I’m eating, taking my time, and not always cleaning my plate were effective strategies for me to eat enough without over eating. This is my “best” diet, but it’s not a finished project. Even 15 years later, I’m continuously trying new foods and ways of preparing them (I love my new air fryer!), and I suspect that will never change. More importantly, what is the best diet for you? I can’t answer that question for you, but here are 3 steps that might help: Minimise or eliminate highly processed foods, processed meats, and deep-fried foods. While making small changes over time is often an effective strategy to lasting results, completely eliminating all processed foods for a period of time (a week to a month) can help reset your taste buds and get you on track faster. You have to like what you’re eating. If you don’t enjoy what you’re eating, or feel deprived, it’s not likely sustainable. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find foods that you enjoy AND that are good for your health. Practice mindful eating. Don’t be put off by the term. Simply pay attention while you eat, savour each bite, and stop when you’re nearly full. https://blogs.webmd.com kalip
  13. Teenager 'blind' from living off crisps and chips Experts are warning about the risks of extreme fussy eating after a teenager developed permanent sight loss after living on a diet of chips and crisps. Eye doctors in Bristol cared for the 17-year-old after his vision had deteriorated to the point of blindness. Since leaving primary school, the teen had been eating only French fries, Pringles and white bread, as well as an occasional slice of ham or a sausage. Tests revealed he had severe vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition damage. Extreme picky eater The adolescent, who cannot be named, had seen his GP at the age of 14 because he had been feeling tired and unwell. At that time, he was diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency and put on supplements, but he did not stick with the treatment or improve his poor diet. Three years later, he was taken to the Bristol Eye Hospital because of progressive sight loss, Annals of Internal Medicine journal reports. Dr Denize Atan, who treated him at the hospital, said: "His diet was essentially a portion of chips from the local fish and chip shop every day. He also used to snack on crisps - Pringles - and sometimes slices of white bread and occasional slices of ham, and not really any fruit and vegetables. "He explained this as an aversion to certain textures of food that he really could not tolerate, and so chips and crisps were really the only types of food that he wanted and felt that he could eat." Dr Atan and her colleagues rechecked the young man's vitamin levels and found he was low in B12 as well as some other important vitamins and minerals - copper, selenium and vitamin D. Shocking findings He was not over or underweight, but was severely malnourished from his eating disorder - avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder. "He had lost minerals from his bone, which was really quite shocking for a boy of his age." He was put on vitamin supplements and referred to a dietitian and a specialist mental health team. In terms of his sight loss, he met the criteria for being registered blind. "He had blind spots right in the middle of his vision," said Dr Atan. "That means he can't drive and would find it really difficult to read, watch TV or discern faces. "He can walk around on his own though because he has got peripheral vision." Nutritional optic neuropathy - the condition the young man has - is treatable if diagnosed early. Left too long, however, the nerve fibres in the optic nerve die and the damage becomes permanent. Dr Atan said cases like this are thankfully uncommon, but that parents should be aware of the potential harm that can be caused by picky eating, and seek expert help. For those who are conce rned, she advised: "It's best not to be anxious about picky eating, and instead calmly introduce one or two new foods with every meal." https://www.bbc.com/news/health kalip
  14. When it comes to cholesterol levels, white meat may be no better than red meat — and plant-based protein beats both A study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sparked interest when it reported that red and white meat have a similar effect on low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, which is associated with increased heart disease risk. You may conclude, “Well, if chicken is just as bad for my cholesterol as red meat, I may as well order that hamburger.” But let’s examine the study more closely before drawing any conclusions. Red meat, white meat, or non-meat? The study examined whether cholesterol levels differed after consuming diets high in red meat compared with diets with similar amounts of protein from white meat or non-meat sources (legumes, nuts, grains, and soy products). It also studied whether the results were affected by the amount of saturated fat in each of the diets. One hundred and thirteen healthy men and women, ages 21 to 65, participated in the study. Each study participant was randomly assigned to either a high- or low-saturated fat diet. Then, for four weeks each, and in varying orders, they consumed protein from either red meat, white meat, or non-meat sources. All of the foods consumed during the study were provided by the researchers (except for vegetables and fruits, to ensure freshness at the time of consumption). To reduce the chances that other factors that would affect cholesterol levels, participants were asked to maintain their baseline activity level and abstain from alcohol. They were also advised to maintain their weight during the study period, and their calories were adjusted if their weight shifted. White meat has same effect as red meat on cholesterol levels The study found that LDL cholesterol was significantly higher after consuming the red meat and white meat diets, compared with the non-meat diet. This result was found regardless of whether the diet was high or low in saturated fat, though the high-saturated fat diets had a larger harmful effect on LDL cholesterol levels than the low-saturated fat diets. High-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol was unaffected by the protein source. Though striking, the study has a number of limitations. The size of the study, 113 participants, was small; the duration was short (only 16 weeks); and there was a relatively high participant dropout rate. The study also did not include processed meats such as sausage, cold cuts, or bacon, which are known to be particularly harmful for heart health, or grass-fed beef, which is often touted as a healthier red meat option. Focus on plant-based protein An important point that might be getting lost in the red meat versus white meat conversation is the beneficial effects of non-meat protein sources on cholesterol levels. As the study authors state, “The present findings are consistent with … earlier studies of primarily plant-based, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, or vegan dietary patterns reporting significantly lower total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol concentrations than diets including animal protein.” The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines support healthy, plant-forward dietary patterns. Examples of plant-based diets include the Mediterranean diet and vegetarian diets. This study looked at plant-based protein sources, and plant-based diets can provide all the necessary protein for optimal health. Here’s a look at the amount of protein contained in a variety of plant-based foods. Protein content in plant-based foods Food Serving size Protein (grams) Calories Lentils 1/2 cup 9 115 Black beans 1/2 cup 8 114 Chickpeas 1/2 cup 7 135 Kidney beans 1/2 cup 8 113 Black eyed peas 1/2 cup 7 112 Pinto beans 1/2 cup 7 117 Soybeans 1/2 cup 14 150 Tofu 1/2 cup 10 183 Nuts 1/2 cup 5–7 160–200 Peanut butter 2 tablespoons 8 190 Flaxseeds 3 tablespoons 5 150 Sesame seeds 3 tablespoons 5 156 Barley (uncooked) 1/4 cup 6 160 Bulgur (uncooked) 1/4 cup 4 120 Millet (uncooked) 1/4 cup 6 190 Quinoa (uncooked) 1/4 cup 6 160 https://www.health.harvard.edu/ kalip
  15. KFC Beyond Chicken Sells Out In 5 Hours: Described As 'Kentucky Fried Miracle' The chain trialed the animal-free option - created by plant-based company Beyond Meat - on August 27 in a US outlet KFC sold out of vegan chicken in just five hours on Tuesday, with the company describing it as a 'Kentucky Fried Miracle'. The fast-food giant trialed vegan nuggets and boneless wings made by plant-based company Beyond Meat at its Cobb Parkway outlet in Smyrna, Atlanta, (USA) on August 27. KFC said that customer feedback from the Atlanta test 'will be considered as KFC evaluates a broader test or potential national rollout'. 'Kentucky Fried Miracle' Customers were spotted queuing around the building - which was painted green during the trial - waiting for up to an hour to be served. Reports claim the outlet sold the same amount of vegan chicken in the five hours, as it usually sells of animal-based popcorn chicken in a week. Tweeting about the sales, KFC said: "All of the Colonel's Beyond Meat Kentucky Fried Chicken has sold out. Yes, it is truly a Kentucky Fried Miracle." Worth the hype' According to animal welfare organization The Humane League, the trial chicken was 'worth the hype'. The group posted a photo of the vegan fried chicken to Instagram, captioning it: "We're at KFC in Atlanta, GA where they are testing Beyond Meat . The lines are out the door, and the verdict is that the vegan fried chicken is worth the hype! Thank you KFC for showing that the future of fast food is plant-based." Vegan KFC in the UK The test follows the recent UK trial of KFC's 'Imposter Burger' - which features a bespoke Quorn fillet, coated in the chain's Original Recipe herbs and spices, lettuce, and vegan mayo. The burger, which was sold in a limited number of stores across the UK, racked up staggering sales figures, around 500 percent higher than an average new KFC sandwich. "We knew there were plenty of people who would want to get a taste of the Imposter, but we didn't anticipate this phenomenal response," Victoria Robertson, Senior Innovation Leader at KFC, said days after the launch. Controversy Many vegans have pledged not to eat vegan products from KFC, due to the large number of chickens it slaughters every year, and the chain's poor track record when it comes to animal welfare. In October 2018, more than 500,000 people signed a petition by World Animal Protection(WAP) calling on KFC to 'give its chickens a life worth living'. 'Lives of chronic pain and suffering' "KFC sources chickens from factory farms all around the world – in many countries chickens live in cramped, barren sheds, often devoid of natural light,' said WAP. "Most chickens are grown unnaturally fast, slaughtered at just 40 days when they are still effectively babies. "This industrial, unnatural approach to farming places huge pressure on chickens' organs and legs. Many chickens live their entire lives in chronic pain, suffering from skin lesions, lameness, and heart failure." https://www.livekindly.co kalip
  16. Why red wine could be good for your gut - in moderation Red wine could be good for the gut, increasing the number of different types of helpful bacteria that can live there, according to researchers. The benefits are likely to come from polyphenols - compounds that white wine, beer and cider have far less of, the King's College London team says. A glass a fortnight was enough to make a difference, but researchers say the findings are not an excuse to binge. Polyphenols are also found in many fruits and vegetables. Why does it matter? Polyphenols, such as resveratrol in the skin of red grapes, are micronutrients that are thought to have beneficial properties and act as a fuel for useful microbes living inside our bowel. Our guts contain trillions of bacteria and other micro-organisms and this community of "friendly" bugs helps keep us healthy. A growing body of research suggests small changes to our microbiota can make us more susceptible to illnesses such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heart disease and obesity and may even affect our mood and mental health. Our diets, lifestyles and some types of medication that we may take can upset this finely balanced gut ecosystem. What was the research? The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, looked at thousands of people living in the UK, the US and the Netherlands. The participants - all twins enrolled in health research programmes - were asked about their diet and how much and what type of alcohol they typically drank. The gut microbiota of red wine drinkers was more diverse than that of non-red wine drinkers. Gut bug diversity increased the more red wine a person consumed, although occasional drinking - one glass a week or fortnight - appeared to be sufficient. None of the participants was a heavy drinker. The researchers say heavy consumption is not recommended and would probably have a bad effect on gut bugs, as well as on a person's general health. What do experts say? Researcher Dr Caroline Le Roy said: "This is an observational study so we cannot prove that the effect we see is caused by red wine." "If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes, which in turn may also help weight and risk of heart disease. "You do not need to drink every day and it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation." She said she would like to do a follow-up study offering people red wine, no alcohol or red grape juice to see what effect each has on gut microbiota. "We are starting to know more and more about gut bacteria. It is complex, and we need more research, but we know that the more diversity there is, the better it appears to be for our health." Alex White, assistant nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: "The findings from this study are interesting, and the effects of our diet on the bacteria in our gut is a really exciting area of science. "However, more research is needed before making any firm conclusions about any associations between red wine intake and changes in the gut flora, and whether this is likely to result in tangible health benefits. "It should be remembered that high levels of alcohol intake are linked with an increased risk of a range of health problems including some cancers, heart disease, stroke and liver disease, and that to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is recommended that adults do not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis." Dr Megan Rossi, a consultant dietician at King's - not involved in the research - and a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, said: "There are merits in the findings. I wouldn't recommend that people start drinking red wine, but if people do drink a little bit now and again then they shouldn't feel guilty - and it might even be beneficial." https://www.bbc.com/news/health kalip
  17. The Best and Worst High-Carb Foods The carbohydrates your body uses for energy fall roughly into two categories: sugars and starches. Once they hit your bloodstream, both sugar and starch get broken down into simple sugars. While fibre is also a carbohydrate, it’s not broken-down during digestion (one reason why it keeps you feeling fuller longer and is beneficial to gut health).1 If you’re following a low-carb eating plan, you may want to cut back on your intake of sugary and starchy foods. Here’s a list of high-carb foods to consider limiting if you’re on a low-carb diet, as well as potential substitutions for some of the most popular carb-rich foods. High-Sugar Foods and Drinks Foods high in sugar are broken down quickly, giving your body a fast energy boost. However, this also rapidly effects your blood sugar levels. While obvious sources of sugar like candy are known to provide a quick energy burst (and perhaps a crash), many foods have added or hidden sugars. Beverages Soft drinks, flavoured coffee drinks, and bottled iced tea are known to be high-sugar beverages that also add calories. But you may not realize how many carbs these drinks can add to your daily intake. A 12-ounce can of regular Coke has 140 calories and 39 grams of carbs (all of which come from added sugar). A 16-ounce (grande) Starbucks latte with whole milk has 230 calories, 19 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of sugar. If you have pumps of flavoured syrup added, know the carb count for each flavour. For example, 1 pump of mocha syrup adds around 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 4.8 grams of sugar. One bottle of Teavana Sparkling Blackberry Lime Green Tea has 80 calories, 20 grams of carbs, and 19 grams of sugar (all of which are added sugars). Fruit Juice While generally touted as a healthy choice, most fruit juices are very high in sugar and may not have much added nutritional value compared to the fruit itself. For example, one 8-ounce cup of Mott’s 100% Apple Juice has 30 grams of carbs, 28 grams of added sugar, and no fibre. One medium apple has 25 grams of carbs, 18 grams of sugar, and 4.4 grams of fibre. Other high-carb fruit juices include: Orange juice (1 cup): 25 grams Cranberry juice (1 cup): 31 grams Grape juice (1 cup): 37 grams Some lower-carb options for juice include those made from low-carb root vegetables, such as celery. One 8-ounce cup of celery juice has just 9 grams of carbs. Additionally, some bottled fruit and vegetable juices, such as the brand, can also be lower in carbs if you stick to the 8-ounce serving size. One small cup of V8 has 10 grams of carbs and is lower in sugar than other brands of bottled juice. However, the choice can be high in salt. If you’re on a low-sodium diet, you might want to skip V8 or look for the low-sodium version. Alcohol If you consume alcohol, it’s important to remember that many popular drinks add calories, carbs, and sugar—especially mixed drinks made with soda, concentrated juice, liqueurs, or syrups. While a shot of most spirits straight or on the rocks won’t add any carbs, keep in mind that when you add mixers, you add carbs: Rum and Coke, for example, has 39 grams of carbs.2 Liqueurs are another high-carb add-on to alcoholic drinks. Amaretto has about 19 grams of carbs per 1.5 ounces. However, amaretto is one taste you can achieve using sugar-free syrups (such as Torani).2 Cocktails, for example, can be very high in sugar and therefore carbs. Swapping traditional mixers for low-carb, sugar-free alternatives can help reduce the drink’s carb content. For example, instead of using peppermint schnapps for holiday cocktails, add a drop or two of peppermint extract. While the carbs in a bottle of beer will vary by brand, the average for most beers is around 12 grams per bottle. As a general rule, the heavier the beer, the more carbs it has (such as stouts, porters, and black lagers). Alternatives While plain water is the best choice, you can also look for sugar-free beverages like flavoured sparkling water. Or, try adding sliced fruit or sprigs of mint to your water bottle to give still water a kick. Fruit Fruit is part of a healthy diet; whether fresh or frozen, it contains beneficial fibre, vitamins, and minerals.3 However, many fruits, such as ripe bananas and figs, are naturally high in sugar. The sugar content can also be influenced by how the fruit is packaged and prepared. Many dried fruits have added sugar—especially when part of granola bars and trail mix. While dried fruit contains natural sugar, it’s very concentrated. Dates, for example, are relatively low in carbs (6.2 grams per cup) but have 93 grams of sugar. Some dried fruits with the most carbs include: ​​Prunes (32.2 grams per cup) Banana or plantain chips (around 60 to 75 grams per cup) Apricots (81 grams per 1 cup, halves) Raisins (115 grams per cup) Another potential source of carbs is canned fruit and fruit cocktail cups. These cups are often packed in a sugar syrup (including high-fructose corn syrup) though you can usually get varieties that are not. Dole Diced Pears in 100% Juice cup (22 grams) Great Value Cherry Mixed Fruit cups (22 grams) One half-cup serving of canned Del Monte Pear Chunks (25 grams) Consider making your own fruit cups, salads, and parfaits at home. If you’re watching your sugar and carb intake, focus on including low-carb fruits (such as berries and summer fruits, like peaches) in your diet. Dairy Milk, whether whole, low-fat or fat-free, has about 12 grams of carbs and sugar per cup. The sugar in milk is primarily in the form of lactose. Unless you’re lactose intolerant, this natural sugar is fine to include in your diet. With other dairy products, such as sweetened yogurt, flavoured milk, and ice cream, be aware of added sugars, which can influence the total carb count. TruMoo Chocolate Milk (20 grams of carb per cup) Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Strawberry yogurt (26 grams) Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream (38 grams per ½ cup) Keep in mind that when ice cream is advertised as “healthy” or yogurts are labelled “low-fat” and “fat-free,” these products will often have added sugar to replace the taste and consistency provided by fat.4 When you’re focused on reducing your carb intake, you’ll need to balance the nutritional benefits of milk products (such as being a great source of calcium) with their carb load. If you’re lactose intolerant or prefer non-dairy alternatives such as almond and coconut milk, choose unsweetened ones. Desserts Cake, ice cream, candy, and other sweets are obvious sources of sugar. Since sweets taste good but aren’t especially filling (or don’t satisfy your hunger for very long), it’s easy to lose sight of portions, and therefore, carbs. Original Klondike Bar (28 grams)Brach’s Classic Jelly Beans (37 grams per 14 pieces) Yellow cake with chocolate frosting (38 grams per slice of an 18-ounce cake) Skittles (56 grams per 2.17-ounce bag) Wegman’s Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcake (76 grams) You don’t have to completely avoid your favourite treats, even on a low-carb diet. In addition to keeping an eye on portions and having sweets in moderation, there are plenty of recipes and swaps you can use for low-carb desserts. Candy Bars, Energy Bars, and Granola Bars If you’re looking for something quick, cheap, and convenient to grab when you’re at work or on the road, you might be tempted to reach for a candy bar. While some are advertised as healthy, all candy bars are inherently high in sugar—even those sweetened with dried fruit and made with whole grains. Kind Maple Cinnamon Breakfast Protein Bars (28 grams per pack) Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Luna Bar (26 grams) Cherry Pie LÄRABAR (28 grams) Kit Kat (28 grams per bar) York Peppermint Patties (31 grams per piece) Snickers Bar (33 grams) Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Clif Bar (43 grams) Added and Hidden Sugar Manufacturers know most people are naturally inclined to find sweet-tasting foods more pleasing to our palate. Many products you wouldn’t necessarily think of as being sweet often have sugar added to them: everything from breakfast cereal to ketchup and salad dressings. When you’re shopping or eating out, it’s important to know that the food industry has come up with many creative ways to say "sugar." If you’re trying to cut down on sugar, check the nutrition label on everything you buy. Added sugars are sometimes hidden sugars—that is, sugar by another name. If ingredients like molasses, honey, agave, barley malt, or maltodextrin appear on a food label, the product contains sugar. If you’re watching your carbs, take note when sugar-containing ingredients are found near the top of the list on a food's nutrition label or if there is more than one. If either (or both) is true, you’ll know the food is high in carbs as well as sugar. Highly processed foods, like most breakfast cereals, and foods made with white flour or other refined carbohydrates, are among the most prevalent sources of sugar. These foods also tend to be high in additives, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients that don’t offer any of the nutritional benefits of whole foods. Eating Processed Foods Can Cause Many Digestive Problems Manufactured ingredients and additives may even have negative health effects, particularly in children.5 Some people experience gas and bloating as a result of sugar substitutes like aspartame. While products like fruity breakfast cereals marketed to kids are obvious sources of sugar, many brands are relatively high-carb—especially if you’ve overestimated portion size. Frosted Flakes (37 grams per cup) Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (46 grams per cup) Honey Bunches of Oats (46 grams per cup) Frosted Mini Wheats (47 grams per cup) Grape Nuts (93 grams per cup) Condiments, including salad dressing, can also be high in carbs. Newman’s Own Honey Dijon Mustard Dressing (3 grams per tablespoon) Heinz Ketchup (5 grams per tablespoon) Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette (7 grams per tablespoon) Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce (8 grams per tablespoon) Keeping an eye on portion size helps, but the best way to avoid added calories, carbs, and sugar is to make your own dressing. Balsamic vinaigrette you can make at home only has about 1 gram of carb per tablespoon. Making homemade dressing also gives you more control over the ingredients and portions, so you can easily keep your pantry stocked with low-carb condiments. High-Starch Foods Starches are long strands of glucose the body breaks down into sugar. Many foods high in starch have low-carb alternatives or substitutions you can incorporate into your diet. Starchy Vegetables Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, and corn are examples of high carb, starchy vegetables. An easy way to evaluate how starchy a vegetable is to consider it from the root up. Root vegetables and seeds have the most starch, followed by the fruits of the plant, with stems and leaves having the least. Vegetables are packed with nutrition and are a good source of fibre, so you should include them in your diet. Focus on choosing low-carb vegetables and mind your portions when including starchy ones. Flour Foods made with white or whole wheat flour, such as bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, pretzels, bagels, crackers, donuts, cakes, cookies, and pastries, are high in starch. Wheat Thins crackers (22 grams per serving) Panera Bread Plain Croissant (29 grams) Dunkin Donuts Glazed Donut (30 grams) Challah (35 grams) Spaghetti—cooked, plain (43 grams per cup) Starbucks Plain Bagel (56 grams) Auntie Anne’s Original Soft Pretzel (65 grams) For lower-carb flour alternatives for baked goods, use those made from nuts or seeds, such as almond flour. Carbs in Flour White 107 grams Wheat 86 grams Almond 24 grams Per cup Whole Grains Rice, barley, oats, quinoa, and other whole grains are high in starch. Even those with health benefits, such as oatmeal, still add carbs. However, these options also have more fibre, making them a better choice than processed grains. Oats (28 grams per cup, cooked with water) Quinoa (39 grams per cup, cooked) Pearled Barley (44 grams per cup, cooked)2 Long Grain Brown rice (45 grams per cup, cooked) Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal (50 grams per serving) White rice (53 grams per cup, cooked) The best way to avoid overloading your carb intake is to watch your portion size and include these foods thoughtfully in your meal planning. Legumes Beans and peas are high in carbs, but your body digests this type of starch more slowly —especially when the beans haven’t been canned or pureed. These resistant starches help you feel full and won’t cause spikes in blood sugar. Common beans and legumes that are higher in carbs include:2 Pinto beans (22 grams) Garbanzo beans/chickpeas (22 grams) White beans (23.7) Adzuki beans (28 grams) Navy beans (28 grams) If you’re paying attention to the Glycaemic Index (GI) of the foods you eat, legumes are a great low-GI food. A Word From Verywell Becoming aware of which foods are high in carbohydrate will help you balance your diet. You don’t necessarily want to eliminate foods that are also high in nutritional value, but you may need to watch your portions if you are managing your blood sugar or you are on a low-carb diet. Whenever possible, get your carbs from sources rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, such as whole grains, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, and fruit. https://www.verywellfit.com kalip
  18. Vaping Raises Heart and Lung Concerns Add another health risk to the use of e-cigarettes: New research shows that vaping instantly stiffens and tightens your blood vessels. The small study of healthy young adults discovered that even e-cigarettes without nicotine caused a short-lived drop in blood vessel function. The long-term consequences of that are unclear. But researchers said the findings add to evidence that e-cigarettes are not benign -- and not only because they contain nicotine. The liquids used in the devices appear to be harmful, too. "We know from research conducted to date that 'e-liquids' contain chemical substances and ultra-fine particles that are toxic and carcinogenic to the human body," said Pat Aussem, director of clinical content and development at the non-profit Centre on Addiction. Aussem, who was not involved in the study, said the findings add to a growing body of evidence on the short-term harms of vaping. Those risks, she noted, include acute injuries to the lungs, wheezing and asthma exacerbation, and "nicotine toxicity" -- which can cause vomiting, migraines and seizures. Less is known about long-term health consequences, Aussem said. But, she added, impairments in blood vessel function or lung cells are likely to contribute to heart or lung problems down the road. And with teenagers and young adults, Aussem noted, the concerns are not only those long-term health issues: Nicotine affects the developing brain in ways that might impair kids' learning and behaviour, or "prime" them to be more vulnerable to other substance abuse. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that work by heating a liquid that contains nicotine and other substances, such as propylene glycol and glycerol. The heating creates a "vapor" that is inhaled. "Often, people think the only bad component is the nicotine," said the study's senior researcher Felix Wehrli. But the heating and vaporisation of the liquid creates a toxic chemical brew, explained Wehrli, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. Based on government figures, however, many young e-cigarette users are unaware of that. These days, U.S. teens are more likely to vape than to smoke, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Among high school seniors, 16% say they used e-cigarettes in the past month, while only 11% smoked. And of kids who vape, a full two-thirds believe the devices contain "just flavouring." Another 14% say they don't know what they are inhaling. For the latest study, Wehrli's team had 31 non-smoking young adults inhale vapor from an e-cigarette that contained the typical e-liquid ingredients, except for nicotine. All had their blood vessel function measured before and after vaping -- via MRI scans of the large femoral artery in the leg. The researchers used a cuff to first constrict the blood vessels of the thigh. Then they released the cuff and measured the femoral artery's dilation in response to the rush of blood. Overall, the study found, participants' arteries showed a 34% reduction in dilation after vaping. That, in turn, meant less blood and oxygen flowing to the leg. The effect was seen one to two hours after vaping, according to Wehrli. If someone used e-cigarettes repeatedly over time, he said, that might raise the risk of heart disease. "This should be a warning to young people to stay away from these products," Wehrli said. Aussem agreed. "It's important to know that while [vaping] may be safer than smoking conventional cigarettes, there are significant short- and long-term health risks," she said. The findings were published online Aug. 20 in the journal Radiology. https://consumer.healthday.com/ kalip
  19. Older adults can boost longevity 'with just a little exercise' Norwegian review of 36,000 cases links more activity overall, light or intensive, with lower risk of death Even a small increase in light activity, such as washing dishes, a little gentle gardening, or shuffling around the house, might help stave off an early death among older adults, researchers say. Being sedentary, for instance, by sitting for long periods of time, has been linked to an increased risk of developing many conditions, including heart disease, as well as an early death. The latest study backs up previous research suggesting that reducing time spent sedentary and replacing it even with light movement is beneficial. It says higher levels of any physical activity help ward off an early grave. “It is important for elderly people, who might not be able to do much moderate-intensity activity, that just moving around and doing light-intensity [activity] [will have] strong effects and is beneficial,” said Ulf Ekelund, a professor and first author of the study at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. However, the study finds that there is more “bang for your buck” if you engage in intense activity compared with light activity. A short stint of intense activity is viewed as beneficial as much longer periods of lesser activity. Emmanuel Stamatakis, professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the University of Sydney, who was not involved in the study, said movement should be re-engineered into our daily lives. “People could seek to add more physical activity of any intensity to their daily routines when their circumstances and surroundings allow. But the onus is more on governments to put forward policies that will enable and empower people to move more as part of their daily routines,” he said, noting that this could include building infrastructure to promote walking and cycling. Published in the BMJ, the latest research involved a review of eight studies encompassing a total of more than 36,000 people with an average age of almost 63 years. Participants were followed for about five to six years; 2,149 deaths were recorded. Crucially, all the studies involved monitoring the physical activity of individuals who had activity trackers, and the studies did not rely on self-reporting, which, the experts noted, could be unreliable. For each study, participants were split into four equal-sized groups, based on the total amount of time spent active, and the risk of death assessed, taking into account factors such as age, @@@, body-mass index, and socioeconomic status. This was then repeated for an amount of activity at different levels of intensity. The results were analysed together to give an overview. The team found a greater volume of activity overall was linked to a lower risk of death. The results held for different intensities of activity. Compared with those who managed the least light physical activity, of about 200 minutes a day, those who clocked up about 258 minutes a day had a 40% lower risk of death, and those who managed about 308 minutes had a 56% lower risk. Meanwhile, the group with the highest levels of light physical activity – achieving about 380 minutes a day – had a 62% lower risk of death than the group that did the least. The team noted that this was about twice as big an effect as previously thought, possibly due to more accurate data collection. For moderate to vigorous activity, the trend was similar, even when levels of sedentary time were taken into account. Compared with those who managed the least, of about 90 seconds a day, those who managed about six minutes a day had a 36% lower risk of death, while those who managed most, about 38 minutes a day, had a 48% lower risk of death. The team said the study supported the message “sit less and move more and more often”. However, the study had limitations. It only looked at the situation for middle age and older adults, most of whom lived in the US or Europe, and some of the effect could be due to those people with a higher risk of death being less likely to engage in physical activity. Physical activity levels also were only measured over one period of time. Gavin Sandercock, of the University of Essex, said the results suggested moving more brought bigger benefits than simply reducing sedentary time, another factor measured in the study. “This study reinforces the important message that getting the least active people to do even just a little bit more physical activity can have have important public health benefits,” he said. https://www.theguardian.com kalip
  20. Four-in-one pill could slash the risk of heart attacks, strokes and low blood pressure by a THIRD and save thousands of lives for just 2p a day The British-led research believes a polypill could reduce heart and stroke risks The pill would contain aspirin, a statin and two blood pressure medications Experts believe the four-in-one pill could save the NHS money and save lives It would also be convenient for patients by reducing the number of pills they take Thousands of lives could be saved by a cheap, four-in-one pill cutting the risk of heart attacks and strokes. A major British-led study found the daily pill containing aspirin, a statin and two drugs to lower blood pressure slashes the risk by up to a third. In those without a history of heart attacks or strokes, the risk was reduced by around 40 per cent. The idea of a ‘polypill’ containing several drugs to prevent heart disease has been around for years, but none is available in the UK. This is the first major study to confirm polypills, which cost as little as 2p a day to produce, do help protect all adults – even those with no history of heart disease. It suggests such a pill could be given to millions of over-50s as a preventative measure, in a similar way to how statins are prescribed. Many experts believe a single combined pill could prevent more deaths from heart attacks and strokes, save the NHS money and provide more convenience for patients. But others are concerned that mass prescription, even to those with no history of problems, risks turning healthy people into patients. Today’s study, published in The Lancet, monitored almost 7,000 adults over five years. Study author Professor Tom Marshall, from the University of Birmingham, said: ‘This is the largest trial confirming the value of the polypill and showing it is effective in prevention of heart disease. ‘Millions of Britons are already on statins and blood pressure drugs, but they could be offered one polypill instead of taking lots of different tablets. It is a much more convenient way of taking medication.’ The Birmingham researchers and scientists at the University of Tehran monitored adults aged 50 to 75 living in Northern Iran. The participants were divided into two groups of 3,400. They were all encouraged to adopt a healthier lifestyle, but one group was also given the polypill to take every day. Researchers tracked them over five years and found the polypill group were 34 per cent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke. This included a 40 per cent reduced risk for those with no prior history of heart disease, and a 20 per cent reduction in those who had previously had heart problems. Participants who stuck to the pill as directed throughout the five years got the best results, with those who took it most days cutting their risk by 57 per cent. In total, 202 people in the group that took the polypill suffered a heart attack or a stroke, compared with 301 in the group where only lifestyle advice was given. Professor Marshall added: ‘The polypills can be produced very cheaply, at around 2 pence a day. They are currently made by a company in India for pennies, and would not be much more expensive to manufacture over here.’ The research will add to pressure for the drug to be licensed for use in the UK. Many elderly patients fail to stick to prescription regimes including statins, blood pressure drugs and several other tablets, reducing their effectiveness. In 2007 Professor Sir Roger Boyle, then the government’s heart tsar, said mass polypill prescription would transform the nation’s health and relieve pressure on the NHS. The polypill tested by the team, produced by the Iranian company Alborz Darou, included aspirin, a statin called atorvastatin and two blood pressure drugs called hydrochlorothiazide and enalapril. Experts welcomed the findings, but said further research was needed before the introduction of a polypill in the UK. There are concerns that the mass prescription of such medication could lead many people to forgo a healthy diet and exercise in the belief the polypill will protect them. Professor Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation said: ‘This study shows that in low- and middle-income countries, where the use of medicines to reduce heart disease risk is low, a single pill combining several drugs is safe and effective. The findings are not transferable to high-income countries where baseline preventive medical care to reduce heart and circulatory disease risk is common.’ Yesterday a major report from Age UK found that two million over-65s - 20 per cent of pensioners - now take at least seven different medications each day. The idea that there is a ‘magic bullet’ to cure sickness and disease is always popular. Despite disease often being complicated, we like to think that there is an easy, one-size-fits-all answer. This week sees the promise of yet another ‘magic bullet’ in the form of the polypill. This is one tablet that combines four different medications which, it is claimed, could nearly halve the risk of heart attacks and strokes in middle-aged and older people. It contains aspirin to thin the blood, a statin to lower cholesterol and two blood pressure-lowering medications. All these medications are readily available, but the idea is that combining them into one tablet will make compliance easier. The research also suggests that starting everyone on it in their 50s – not just those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease – could save tens of millions of lives worldwide. It is the perfect lifestyle drug; easy to take, few side effects and cheap. But if the history of medicine has taught us anything, it’s that there is rarely a quick fix for disease – and as much as we’d like it to, a ‘magic bullet’ doesn’t exist. Fighting disease requires a number of approaches. Medication is just one weapon and shouldn’t be used alone. Heart disease and strokes are diseases of lifestyle and unfortunately, while medications may reduce their impact on our health, they can’t reduce the damage completely. Remember, the study showed the polypill reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events by an average of 34 per cent. When adjusting for people taking other heart medications – which might also be giving a benefit – the protective effect of the polypill was reduced to around 20 per cent. While this is still statistically significant, it’s a far cry from 100 per cent, meaning it doesn’t protect completely and that without changes to lifestyle, people are still at risk. While I broadly welcome this pill, it must be seen as an adjunct only to other attempts to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. There is a concern that such a pill, hailed as a panacea for two of the biggest killers in the western world, will make people complacent about altering their lifestyle. This pill offers a reductive view of disease. It is aimed at only one consequence of an unhealthy lifestyle, while there are many. The tablet may lower your cholesterol, but without changes to the lifestyle that led to it, there is still a risk of disease such as cancer. Unless you make changes to your diet, you may still be overweight and therefore at risk of diabetes, which in turn might lead to blindness, kidney failure or nerve damage. There are also very real concerns about the ‘medicalisation of everyday life’. Prescribing whole populations, a tablet will mean that many people are being needlessly medicated. In fact, the research shows that in order to save one person from having a heart attack or stroke, 35 will need to be treated. That’s fine if you’re that one person who is saved, but what if you’re taking the tablet needlessly? While I’m sure the polypill will offer some benefits, unfortunately there is no tablet that removes the need for a good diet and regular exercise. https://www.dailymail.co.uk kalip
  21. Quit Smoking for Your Heart’s Sake You probably already know that smoking is bad for your lungs. Did you know it also makes you more likely to get pressure and heart disease? The nicotine in cigarette smoke is a big part of the problem. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, and makes your blood more likely to clot. It stresses your heart and sets you up for a heart attack or stroke. If you smoke, make quitting your No. 1 health priority. It could save your life. Not a smoker? Remember that second-hand smoke still puts you at risk. How to Quit Smoking You need to prepare and get support. Use these tips to get started: Pick a date to stop smoking. Tell your doctor about it. Write down why you want to quit. Read the list daily. Also note what triggers you to smoke. Only in certain situations? With particular people? When you feel specific emotions? Make a list of activities you can do instead of smoking. Save it on your phone, so it’s handy. Ask your doctor about nicotine gum or patches. Some people find them helpful. Join a quit-smoking group or program. Call your local chapter of the American Lung Association. Don't carry a lighter, matches, or cigarettes. Keep all of these reminders out of sight. Do you live with someone who smokes? Ask them not to smoke around you. Don't focus on what you have given up. Think about how much healthier you will be. When you get the urge for a cigarette, take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment, and then slowly exhale. Do this a few times, until the urge to smoke passes. Keep your hands busy. Doodle, play with a pencil or straw, drum on your car’s dashboard, or scroll through your phone. Take a walk or read a book instead of a cigarette break. When you can, avoid places, people, and situations that make you want to smoke. When you crave cigarettes, eat low-calorie foods (such as carrot or celery sticks, or sugar-free hard candies) or chew sugar-free gum. Limit drinks that have alcohol or caffeine. They can trigger urges to smoke. Exercise. It’s a great way to relax. You may want to start a fitness program before you quit. Get support. Tell others that your goal is to kick the habit. With your doctor, make a plan that uses over-the-counter or prescription nicotine-replacement products. How Will I Feel When I Quit? It’s tough at first. You’ll probably crave cigarettes, be irritable, feel more hungry than normal, cough often, get headaches, or have trouble concentrating. These are symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It’s strongest when you first quit and will go away within 10 to 14 days. In those first few days, work to stay in control. Think about your goal. Remind yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and adjusting to your new smoke-free life. Most people try to quit three times before it lasts. Hang in there! It will be worth it when you can confidently say you used to smoke. https://www.webmd.com kalip
  22. Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis is a potentially serious condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaques, or atheroma. These plaques cause the arteries to harden and narrow, restricting the blood flow and oxygen supply to vital organs, and increasing the risk of blood clots that could potentially block the flow of blood to the heart or brain. Atherosclerosis does not tend to have any symptoms at first and many people may be unaware they have it, but it can eventually cause life-threatening problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, if it gets worse. But the condition is largely preventable with a healthy lifestyle, and treatment can help reduce the risk of serious problems happening. Health risks of atherosclerosis If left to get worse, atherosclerosis can potentially lead to a number of serious conditions known as cardiovascular disease (CVD). There will not usually be any symptoms until CVD develops. Types of CVD include: coronary heart disease – the main arteries that supply your heart (the coronary arteries) become clogged with plaques angina – short periods of tight, dull or heavy chest pain caused by coronary heart disease, which may precede a heart attack heart attacks – where the blood supply to your heart is blocked, causing sudden crushing or indigestion-like chest pain that can radiate to nearby areas, as well as shortness of breath and dizziness strokes – where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted, causing the face to droop to 1 side, weakness on 1 side of the body, and slurred speech transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) – where there are temporary symptoms of a stroke peripheral arterial disease – where the blood supply to your legs is blocked, causing leg pain when walking Who's at risk of atherosclerosis Exactly why and how arteries become clogged is unclear. It can happen to anyone, although the following things can increase your risk: increasing age smoking an unhealthy, high-fat diet lack of exercise being overweight or obese regularly drinking excessive amounts of alcohol other conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes a family history of atherosclerosis and CVD being of south Asian, African or African-Caribbean descent You cannot do anything about some of these factors, but by tackling things like an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise you can help reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and CVD. Find out more about the risk factors for CVD Testing for atherosclerosis Speak to your GP if you're worried you may be at a high risk of atherosclerosis. If you're between the ages of 40 and 74, you should have an NHS Health Check every 5 years, which will include tests to find out if you're at risk of atherosclerosis and CVD. Your GP or practice nurse can work out your level of risk by taking into account factors such as: your age, gender and ethnic group your weight and height if you smoke or have previously smoked if you have a family history of CVD your blood pressure and cholesterol levels if you have certain long-term conditions Depending on your result, you may be advised to make lifestyle changes, consider taking medication or have further tests to check for atherosclerosis and CVD. Reduce your risk of atherosclerosis Making healthy lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis and may help stop it getting worse. The main ways you can reduce your risk are: stop smoking – you can call the NHS Smoke free helpline for advice on 0300 123 1044 or ask your GP about stop smoking treatments; read more advice about stopping smoking have a healthy diet – avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, salt or sugar, and aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day; read more healthy diet advice exercise regularly – aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and strength exercises on at least 2 days a week maintain a healthy weight – aim for a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9; use the BMI calculator to work out your BMI and read advice about losing weight moderate your alcohol consumption – men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 alcohol units a week; get tips on cutting down on alcohol Read more specific advice about preventing CVD Treatments for atherosclerosis There are not currently any treatments that can reverse atherosclerosis, but the healthy lifestyle changes suggested above may help stop it getting worse. Sometimes additional treatment to reduce the risk of problems like heart attacks and strokes may also be recommended, such as: statins for high cholesterol – read more about treating high cholesterol medicines for high blood pressure – read more about treating high blood pressure medicines to reduce the risk of blood clots – such as low-dose aspirin or clopidogrel dietary changes and medication for diabetes – read more about type 1 diabetes and treating type 2 diabetes a procedure to widen or bypass an affected artery – such as a coronary angioplasty, a coronary artery bypass graft or a carotid endarterectomy https://www.nhs.uk kalip
  23. How Tired Is Too Tired? Do you feel like you're always tired? Are you having trouble staying awake during prime-time sitcoms? Most of us know what it's like to be tired, especially when we have a cold, flu, or some other viral infection. But when you suffer from a constant lack of energy and ongoing fatigue, it may be time to check with your doctor. What Is Fatigue? Fatigue is a lingering tiredness that is constant and limiting. With fatigue, you have unexplained, persistent, and relapsing exhaustion. It's similar to how you feel when you have the flu or have missed a lot of sleep. If you have chronic fatigue, or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), you may wake in the morning feeling as though you've not slept. Or you may be unable to function at work or be productive at home. You may be too exhausted even to manage your daily affairs. In most cases, there's a reason for the fatigue. It might be allergic rhinitis, anaemia, depression, fibromyalgia, or some other health condition. If that's the case, then the long-term outlook is good. WebMD looks at some common causes of fatigue and how they are resolved. Allergies, Hay Fever, and Fatigue Symptoms: Fatigue, headache, itchiness, nasal congestion, and drainage Allergic rhinitis is a common cause of chronic fatigue. But allergic rhinitis often can be easily treated and self-managed. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will assess your symptoms. The doctor will also determine through a detailed history or testing whether your allergies are triggered by pollens, insects (dust mites or cockroaches), animal dander, moulds and mildew, weather changes, or something else. One way to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis -- including fatigue -- is to take steps to avoid the offending allergen. In addition, proper medication can help with symptoms. Drugs that might help include: Nasal steroids Oral antihistamines Nasal antihistamines Leukotriene modifiers Mast cell stabilisers Allergy shots -- immunotherapy -- may help in severe cases. This treatment involves weekly shots of increasingly higher solutions of the offending allergens. Allergy shots take time to be effective and are usually administered over a period of three to five years. Anaemia and Fatigue Symptoms: Fatigue, dizziness, feeling cold, irritability Anaemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects more than 3 million Americans. For women in their childbearing years, anaemia is a common cause of fatigue. This is especially true for women who have heavy menstrual cycles, uterine fibroid tumours, or uterine polyps. Anaemia, a condition in which you don't have enough red blood cells. It can be due to blood loss or decreased production of red blood cells. It can also be the result of haemorrhoids or GI problems such as ulcers, or cancer. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin can also lead to GI problems and bleeding. Other causes of anaemia include a deficiency of iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12. Chronic diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease can also cause anaemia. To confirm a diagnosis of anaemia, your doctor will give you a blood test. If iron deficiency is the cause of your fatigue, treatment may include iron supplements. Iron-rich foods such as spinach, broccoli, and red meat can also be added to your diet to help relieve symptoms. Vitamin C with meals or with iron supplements can help the iron to be better absorbed and improve your symptoms. Depression, Anxiety, and Fatigue Symptoms: Sadness, feeling hopeless, worthless, and helpless, fatigue Sometimes, depression or anxiety is at the root of chronic fatigue. Depression affects twice as many women as men and often runs in families. It commonly begins between the ages of 15 and 30. Women can get postpartum depression after the birth of a baby. Some people get seasonal affective disorder in the winter, with feelings of fatigue and sadness. Major depression is also one part of bipolar disorder. With depression, you might be in a depressed mood most of the day. You may have little interest in normal activities. Along with feelings of fatigue, you may eat too much or too little, over- or under-sleep, feel hopeless and worthless, and have other serious symptoms. Anxiety symptoms may include: agitation difficulty sleeping excessive worrying feeling "on alert" most of the time feeling of impending doom nervousness If you are depressed or have regular symptoms of anxiety, talk to your doctor and get a physical exam. If there is no physical cause for the depression or anxiety, your doctor may prescribe medication. Or your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for a psychological evaluation. Although the specific causes of depression and/or anxiety are unclear, these are highly treatable medical problems. Medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two can help relieve symptoms. Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Symptoms: Chronic fatigue, deep muscle pain, painful tender points, sleep problems, anxiety, depression Fibromyalgia is one of the more common causes of chronic fatigue and musculoskeletal pain, especially in women. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are considered separate but related disorders. They share a common symptom -- severe fatigue that greatly interferes with people's lives. With fibromyalgia, you may feel that no matter how long you sleep, it's never restful. And you may feel as if you are always fatigued during daytime hours. Your sleep may be interrupted by frequent waking. Yet, you may not remember any sleep disruptions the next day. Some people with fibromyalgia live in a constant 'fibro fog' -- a hazy, mental feeling that makes it difficult to concentrate. Constant daytime fatigue with fibromyalgia often results in diminished exercise. That causes a decline in physical fitness. It can also cause mood-related problems. The best way to offset these effects is to try to exercise more. Exercise has a tremendous beneficial effect on sleep, mood, and fatigue. If you do try swimming (or any moderate exercise) to ease fatigue, start slowly. As you become accustomed to the added physical activity, you can increase your time in the pool or gym. Set up a regular time for exercise, but watch overdoing it to avoid added fatigue. Food Allergies, Food Intolerance, and Fatigue Symptoms: Fatigue, sleepy, continually exhausted Although food is supposed to give you energy, new medical research suggests that hidden food intolerances -- or allergies -- can do the opposite. In fact, fatigue may be an early warning sign of food intolerance or food allergy. Ask your doctor about the elimination diet. This is a diet in which you cut out certain foods that cause a variety of symptoms, including sleepiness within 10 to 30 minutes of eating them. You can also talk to your doctor about a food allergy test -- or invest in a home test such as ALCAT -- which may help you identify the offending foods. Heart Disease and Fatigue Symptoms: Fatigue with an activity that should be easy If you find yourself becoming exhausted after an activity that used to be easy -- for example, walking up the steps -- it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. If your fatigue is related to your heart, medication or treatment procedures can usually help correct the problem, reduce the fatigue, and restore your energy. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fatigue Symptoms: Fatigue, morning stiffness, joint pain, inflamed joints Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a type of inflammatory arthritis, is another cause of excessive fatigue. Because joint damage can result in disability, early and aggressive treatment is the best approach for rheumatoid arthritis. Medications that may be used early in mild RA include: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) Other drugs used in more serious forms of RA include the anti-cytokine therapies (anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha agents), as well as injections and other forms of treatment. Sleep Apnoea and Fatigue Symptoms: Chronic fatigue, feeling exhausted upon awakening, snoring According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than one-third of adults in the U.S. snore at least a few nights a week. If snoring is associated with periods when breathing stops, a condition called sleep apnoea, a person may have daytime sleepiness and excessive fatigue. Obstructive sleep apnoea results in low oxygen levels in the blood. That's because blockages prevent air from getting to the lungs. The low oxygen levels also affect your heart and brain function. Sometimes, the only clue that you might have sleep apnoea is chronic fatigue. Talk with your doctor about a sleep study (polysomnogram) to determine if you have sleep apnoea. Lose weight if you are overweight, and if you smoke, stop. Both obesity and smoking are risk factors for sleep apnoea. Sleeping on your side instead of your back may help eliminate mild sleep apnoea. Your doctor may prescribe a medical device called CPAP that helps keep your airways open while you sleep. In severe cases of sleep apnoea, surgery may help. The surgeon will remove tissues that are blocking the airways. If left untreated, sleep apnoea can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. Type 2 Diabetes and Fatigue Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, increased thirst and hunger, increased urination, unusual weight loss The incidence of type 2 diabetes is escalating in children and adults in the U.S. If you have symptoms of type 2 diabetes, call your doctor and ask to be tested. While finding out you have diabetes may be frightening, type 2 diabetes can be self-managed with guidance from your doctor. Treatment for type 2 diabetes may include: losing excess weight increasing physical activity maintaining strict blood glucose control taking diabetes medications (insulin or other drugs) eating a low glycaemic index carbohydrate diet, or, though controversial, a low-carbohydrate diet Other lifestyle measures are important in staying well with type 2 diabetes. They include smoking cessation, blood pressure control, and reduction in cholesterol. Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism) and Fatigue Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, sluggishness, feeling run down, depression, cold intolerance, weight gain The problem may be a slow or underactive thyroid. This is known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck. It helps set the rate of metabolism, which is the rate at which the body uses energy. According to the American Thyroid Foundation, approximately 17% of all women will have a thyroid disorder by age 60. And most won't know it. The most common cause is an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Hashimoto's stops the gland from making enough thyroid hormones for the body to work the way it should. The result is hypothyroidism, or a slow metabolism. Blood tests known as T3 and T4 will detect thyroid hormones. If these hormones are low, synthetic hormones (medication) can bring you up to speed and you should begin to feel better fairly rapidly. https://www.webmd.com/ kalip
  24. Statins: Are these cholesterol-lowering drugs right for you? Find out whether your risk factors for heart disease make you a good candidate for statin therapy. Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol. They work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has built up in plaques on your artery walls, preventing further blockage in your blood vessels and heart attacks. Several statins are available for use in the United States. They include: atorvastatin (Lipitor) lovastatin (Altoprev) pitavastatin (Livalo) pravastatin (Pravachol) rosuvastatin (Crestor) simvastatin (Zocor) Sometimes, a statin is combined with another heart health medication. Examples are atorvastatin/amlodipine (Caduet) and simvastatin/ezetimibe (Vytorin). Increasing evidence suggests that statins do more than just lower bad cholesterol. Research has found that the medicines can safely prevent heart disease in certain adults ages 40 to 75. But the benefits aren't entirely clear for the elderly. And doctors still want to know more about the side effects of statins. Should you be on a statin? Whether you need to be on a statin depends on your cholesterol levels and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Your doctor will consider all of your risk factors for heart attacks and strokes before prescribing a statin. But knowing your cholesterol numbers is a good place to start. Total cholesterol. Most people should try to keep their total cholesterol below 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL), or 5.2 millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). The ideal level for this "bad" cholesterol is under 130 mg/dL, or 3.4 mmol/L. If you've had a heart attack, aim to keep it below 100 mg/dL, or 2.6 mmol/L. If you're at very high risk of a heart attack or stroke, you may need to aim even lower (below 70 mg/dL, or 1.8 mmol/L. The most important thing that your doctor will keep in mind when considering statin treatment is your long-term risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. If your risk is very low, you probably won't need a statin, unless your LDL is above 190 mg/dL (4.9 mmol/L). If your risk is very high — for example, you've had a heart attack in the past — a statin may be helpful even if you don't have high cholesterol. However, everyone is different. Talk to your doctor about your specific risks and benefits. Risk assessment tools Your doctor may use an online tool or calculator to better understand your long-term risks of developing heart disease and whether a statin may be right for you. Depending on the tool used, your doctor may be able to predict your chances of having a heart attack in the next 10 to 30 years. The tool may consider our cholesterol levels as well as your age, race, @@@, blood pressure, smoking habits and history of diabetes. Cholesterol guidelines Not everyone with a heart condition needs to use a statin. Guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association outline four main groups of people who may be helped by statins: People without cardiovascular disease who have risk factors for the disease and a higher 10-year risk of a heart attack. This group includes people who have diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or who smoke and whose 10-year risk of a heart attack is 7.5 percent or higher. People who already have cardiovascular disease related to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). This group includes people who have had heart attacks, strokes caused by blockages in a blood vessel, mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks), peripheral artery disease, or prior surgery to open or replace coronary arteries. People who have very high LDL (bad) cholesterol. This group includes adults who have LDL cholesterol levels of 190 mg/dL (4.9 mmol/L) or higher. People who have diabetes. This group includes adults who have diabetes and an LDL between 70 and 189 mg/dL (1.8 and 4.9 mmol/L), especially if they have evidence of vascular disease or other risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, smoking or being older than age 40. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends starting low- to moderate-dose statins in adults ages 40 to 75 who have one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and at least a 1 in 10 chance of having a CVD event in the next 10 years. Healthy lifestyle is still key for preventing heart disease Risk factors for heart disease and stroke are: Smoking High cholesterol High blood pressure Diabetes Being overweight or obese Family history of heart disease, especially if it was before the age of 55 in male relatives or before 65 in female relatives Not exercising Poor stress and anger management Older age Narrowing of the arteries in your neck, arms or legs (peripheral artery disease) Lifestyle changes are essential for reducing your risk of heart disease, whether you take a statin or not. To reduce your risk: Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke. Eat a healthy diet that's low in saturated fat, trans fat, refined carbohydrates and salt, and rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. Be physically active, sit less and exercise regularly. Maintain a healthy waistline: less than 40 inches in men and less than 35 inches in women. If your cholesterol — particularly the LDL (bad) type — remains high after you make healthy lifestyle changes, statins might be an option for you. Consider statins a lifelong commitment You may think that once your cholesterol goes down, you can stop taking statin medication. But if the drug helped lower your cholesterol, you'll likely need to stay on it for the long term. If you stop taking it, your cholesterol levels will probably go back up. There is one exception: If you make significant changes to your diet or lose a lot of weight, you may be able to lower and control your cholesterol without medication. However, don't make any changes to your medications without talking to your doctor first. The side effects of statins Statins are well-tolerated by most people, but they do have side effects. Some side effects go away as the body adjusts to the medication. But always tell your doctor about any unusual signs or symptoms you might have after starting statin therapy. Your doctor may want to decrease your dose or try a different statin. Never stop taking a statin without talking to your doctor first. Commonly reported side effects of statins include: Headaches Nausea Muscle and joint aches However, several research studies comparing statins versus a placebo (fake pill) have found a very small difference in the number of people reporting muscle aches. About 1 in 20 people (5 percent) have muscle aches when using very high doses of statins. Rarely, statins can cause more-serious side effects such as: Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes. It's possible that your blood sugar (blood glucose) level may slightly increase when you take a statin, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. This is especially likely if your blood sugar is already high. However, the benefit of taking a statin may potentially outweigh the risk. Studies show that those with diabetes who take statins have much lower risks of heart attacks. Muscle cell damage. Very rarely, high-dose statin use can cause muscle cells to break down (rhabdomyolysis) and release a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. This can lead to severe muscle pain and kidney damage. Liver damage. Occasionally, statin use causes an increase in liver enzymes. If the increase is mild, you can continue to take the drug. Low to moderate doses of statins do not appear to severely raise liver enzyme levels. Contact your doctor immediately if you have unusual fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, pain in your upper abdomen, dark-coloured urine, or yellowing of your skin or eyes. Cognitive problems. Some people have reported memory loss and confusion after using statins. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has not found any evidence to prove that statins actually cause cognitive problems. Also, ask your doctor if the statin you use will interact with any other prescription or over-the-counter drugs or supplements you take. What other benefits do statins have? Statins may have benefits other than just lowering your cholesterol. One promising benefit seems to be their anti-inflammatory properties, which help stabilise the lining of blood vessels. In the heart, healthier blood vessel linings would make plaques less likely to rupture, thereby reducing the chance of a heart attack. Researchers are also studying whether statin therapy could prevent venous thrombosis, which includes blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or deep veins (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT). Weighing the risks and benefits of statins You should not take statins if you are pregnant or have some forms of advanced liver disease. When thinking about whether you should take statins for high cholesterol, ask yourself these questions: Do I have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease? Am I willing and able to make lifestyle changes to improve my health? Am I concerned about taking a pill every day, perhaps for the rest of my life? Am I concerned about statins' side effects or interactions with other drugs? It's important to consider your medical reasons, personal values, lifestyle choices and any concerns when choosing a treatment. Talk to your doctor about your total risk of cardiovascular disease and personal preferences before making a decision about statin therapy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/ kalip
  25. Humans must adopt vegetarian or vegan diets to stop climate change, UN report warns Current food system accounts for between 25 and 30% of greenhouse gases To feed 9.8bn people on Earth in 2050, world needs 56% more food than 2010 Experts have warned this would involve converting 6 million sq km to agriculture The world must turn towards healthy plant-based diets stop climate change, a UN-backed report has warned. Our food system accounts for between 25 and 30 per cent of greenhouse gases, and is choking the life from fresh and coastal waterways with excess nitrogen. In order to feed the predicted 9.8 billion people on Earth in 2050, the world will need to produce 56 per cent more food compared to 2010. If the level of meat and dairy consumption rises in line with current food habits, six million square kilometres (2.3 million square miles) of forests would need to be converted to agriculture - an area twice the size of India. Two-thirds would be changed to pasture land, with the final third being used for crops, according to the Creating a Sustainable Food Future report. Johan Rockstrom, former director of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Change Impact Research, said: 'To have any chance of feeding ten billion people in 2050 within planetary boundaries, we must adopt a healthy, plant-based diet, cut food waste, and invest in technologies that reduce environmental impacts.' The 'great food transformation' proposed in the report is at odds with other schemes that aim to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. One report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proposes to convert areas the size of India to biofuel crops or CO2-absorbing trees. Nearly all Paris-compatible climate models slot in a major role for a two-step process that draws down carbon by growing biofuels, and then captures CO2 released when the plants are burned to generate energy. The amount of 'bioenergy with carbon capture and storage', or BECCS, required in coming decades will depend on how quickly we sideline fossil fuels and shrink our carbon footprints. Capping global warming at 1.5C would require converting some 7.6 million square kilometres (2.9 million square miles) to BECCS. Even if temperatures were allowed to climb twice as high, the report concluded, biofuels would still need to cover some 5 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles). But these proposals 'could compromise sustainable development with increased risks - and potentially irreversible consequences - for food security, desertification and land degradation,' a draft summary of the 1,000-page IPCC report warns. Meanwhile, the fundamental drivers of Earth's environmental meltdown - CO2 and methane emissions, nitrogen and plastics pollution, human population - continue to expand at record rates, further reducing our margin for manoeuvre. To have at least a 50/50 chance of capping global warming at 1.5C - the temperature guardrail laid down in a landmark IPCC report last year - civilisation must be 'carbon neutral' within three decades. Earth's surface temperature has already risen 1C above pre-industrial levels, enough to trigger deadly extreme weather and sea level rise that could swamp coastal megacities by 2100. And yet, 2018 saw a record 41.5 billion tonnes of planet-warming CO2 added to the atmosphere, up two per cent from the previous record, set the year before. At this pace, humanity will exhaust its 'carbon budget' for a 1.5C world before US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, turns 45 (in 16 years). 'Forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today,' said Tom Crowther, a professor at the university ETH Zurich. 'If we act now, this could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 25 per cent, to levels last seen almost a century ago.' Crowther's 'trillion tree' initiative made headlines, but has come in for a drubbing. His calculations, according to several climate scientists, appear to assume that every tonne of CO2 stored in replanted trees would be a tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere. In fact, the ratio is 2:1 due to the nature of Earth's carbon cycle, which vastly reduces the scheme's projected benefits. In addition, it takes decades for trees to reach their maximum CO2-absorbing potential, as the authors themselves point out. Other critics warn against the 'moral hazard' of an apparently simple solution that may dampen resolve to purge fossil fuels from the global economy, a danger underscored, perhaps, by the enthusiasm of oil and gas giants for planting trees. 'Heroic reforestation can help, but it is time to stop suggesting there is a 'nature-based solution' to ongoing fossil fuel use,' noted Myles Allen, a professor of geosystem science at the University of Oxford. 'There isn't.' The sharpest objections - which may also apply to BECCS - had to do with assumptions made about the type and quantity of land available for reforestation. 'It might sound like a good idea, but planting trees in savannahs and grasslands would be damaging,' Kate Parr and Caroline Lehmann from, respectively, the Universities of Liverpool and Edinburgh, commented recently in a blog. The landscapes of lions, giraffes and vast herds of wildebeest cover more than 20 percent of Earth's land surface and can be as rich in biodiversity as tropical forests. They are also home to a billion people, many of whom grow crops and raise livestock. Andre Laperrière, Executive Director of Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, said: 'Our industrialised farming practices are in fact the largest contribution to soil erosion and pollution, and perhaps the biggest hurdle we face is to try and teach about half a billion farmers globally to re-work their agricultural model to be carbon sensitive. 'Other steps we can take would involve changing our collective diets to be environmentally ethical (avoiding mass produced, resource intensive and land pollutant foods such as avocados, palm oil and red meat), protect natural habitats and prevent large scale natural destruction (like in the amazon rainforest), improve crop varieties and engage in agri-forestry (instead of cutting down forests to farm).' https://www.dailymail.co.uk kalip
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