Month: November 2016

The Debate About the Risks of Saturated Fats Goes On… and On

A recent longitudinal, cohort study consisting of more than 100,000 men and women (taken from data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study) who were followed for over 20 years showed that replacing 1% of energy consumed in the form of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, whole-grain carbohydrates or plant proteins, led to a 5 to 8% decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Results of the study also showed an association between increased intake of individual saturated fats and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Read more

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Global Rates of High Blood Pressure Spiking

high-blood-pressureA recent article published by CNN reports escalating global statistics of blood pressure, in a collaboration with the World Health Organization and hundreds of scientists around the world. Collected data reveals that over 1 billion people are living with high blood pressure. While the majority live in low and middle-income countries, the statistics show that the number of people affected by high blood pressure has almost doubled in the past two decades—affecting men, more than women.

The study confirms that there is a striking disparity between geographical locations and people affected; high-income countries have shown a sharp decline in blood pressure, while the numbers have spiked in lower and middle-income countries: particularly Africa and South Asia. Majti Ezzati, the leader of the analysis and a professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, confirms that blood pressure “is a condition of poverty, not affluence.” Read more

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Mixed Reviews on New Statin Guidelines

new-statin-guidelinesStatins, a class of lipid-lowering medications that are used in the treatment of high cholesterol, rank in the leagues of the best-selling drugs in the United States: a 2011 study showed that at least 32 million Americans were taking them.

While most evidence has demonstrated the efficacy of statins in preventing heart disease in those with high cholesterol, a recent article in The Washington Post reported new guidelines that have been issued for statin drugs. The rules, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, dictate that everyone age 40 and above should be considered for the drug therapy, regardless of whether they have a familial history of cardiovascular disease. A study published Saturday verified that those who utilize statins have better chances of surviving heart attacks. Read more

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World Diabetes Day

diabetesToday marks World Diabetes Day, a commemoration of the disease that affects over 29 million Americans: 9.3% of the country’s population. November 14th also coincides with the birthday of Frederick Banting, the first physician and scientist to use insulin on human patients—and the youngest Nobel laureate in the area of physiology and medicine.

Diabetes manifests in two major forms; Type 1 is characterized by a lack of insulin production—the cause is unknown, and unpreventable. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common and accounts for approximately 90% of diabetics worldwide, is often preventable: it results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Because the pancreas generates little to no insulin, or the cells cannot utilize the insulin efficiently and effectively, glucose cannot enter the cells and builds up in the blood. Read more

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Childhood Obesity: A Nationwide Epidemic

childhood-obesityOn Tuesday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released proposed guidelines in an attempt to further combat childhood obesity—a nationwide epidemic that has progressively worsened in the past decade. Today, 17% of America’s children qualify for the official categorization and definition of obesity.

The publication is intended to help healthcare professionals and decision makers to make well-informed judgments and choices, thereby improving the quality of health services, and ultimately help curb the increase in childhood obesity. The report outlines the benefits and harms of screening and treatment for obesity in children and adolescents; obesity is not only commonplace in children and adolescents in the United States, but also produces a variety of negative, detrimental health effects—including, but not limited to, asthma, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and a host of other physical and psychological problems. Read more

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