Month: December 2006

Make a Better Choice

As mentioned yesterday, the national health report card has just been released by the NIH. My fellow Americans, we did not make the honor roll. We are not number one. (Though there’s a roll, all right.)

Here’s how America scored in some major subjects:

Heart disease: 685,000 deaths (down about 10% from 1980)
Cancer/tumors: 556,000 deaths (up about 35% from 1980)
Diabetes: 74,000 deaths (triple the 1980 rate)

Things that killed people in 1980 – like cirrhosis, accidents and the flu, are way down. But preventable diseases like diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease and cardiovascular conditions are way up.

– Obesity is up – a lot. In the 1960s, that rate was about 44%; it’s now over 66%. Click here for the kid stats.
– You might be surprised: heart disease killed more women last year than men. Take care of those arteries, ladies!
– Also worth considering: the millions of deaths, bad reactions and side effects of drugs used to treat all these conditions. Can’t we do better?

What all this means:

It’s tempting to feel a little pessimistic, but a lot of this news is actually good. That’s right, good!

We don’t have to worry too much about clean water or adequate food or – even with the big mess health care is in right now – access to a doctor. There’s a lot to fix in this country, but the good news is that we’re blessed with a lot of options and advantages.

Most of the diseases and health issues facing Americans are things that are preventable with a few basic lifestyle changes: things like eating less, cutting out sugar, eating more vegetables every day, quitting smoking, getting exercise, taking supplements that limit free radical damage, and avoiding stress.

While these things are challenges and there are a lot of choices to weigh, the important thing is that we have choice. That, in itself, is a blessing.

So, choose to be healthy! Health, to the extent you can control it, is nothing more than good choices (because you can’t help genetics or luck). So always be making a better one.

[tags] American health statistics, national health, country comparisons, National Institutes of Health, NIH, major causes of death, most common health problems [/tags]

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Smart Fuel

SMART FUEL

Avocados are at the tail end of their season right now, so you can scoop up these deliciously fatty treats for a great price. The best part about this rich fruit? The fat is good for you! Especially in winter, when skin is prone to dryness, an extra daily dose of beneficial fatty acids can be all it takes to stay comfortable in your skin.

Slice, score, or mash your avo, drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice, add a dash of kosher salt, and you’ve got yourself a really nutritious snack. Keep in mind that, like nuts, avocados are very high in calories, so enjoy in moderation.

Fuel up with this smart pick before the weekend hits!

[tags] good fats, avocados, low-carb snack, omega-3 [/tags]

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Lose Weight, Lose Cancer?

A new study seems to confirm that losing even a few pounds can help reduce a man’s prostate cancer risk. But what’s most intriguing about the latest and greatest findings is the following:

The studies reinforce the notion that prostate cancer is not a single cancer but a family of diseases, each fueled by different chemicals…

Cancer, once thought to be a “single” disease, may in fact be more similar to a condition caused by an association of factors or culprits: stress, oxidation, cell mutation, even fungus. We certainly know now that even within types of cancers, the pathologies are incredibly complicated.

It’s an ongoing issue we’ll be getting into more deeply in the future. For now, give the article a click, and spread the word: weight loss is almost always a benefit to health.

What are your thoughts, Apples?

[tags] oncology, cancer risk, cell mutation, cancer etiology [/tags]

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Sticks & Stones May Break Your Bones…

BUT NOT NEARLY AS EFFECTIVELY AS HEARTBURN PILLS

A large-scale study out of Britain has reported that taking popular heartburn medications like Tagamet and Pepcid AC can seriously increase your risk of bone fractures, because the drugs block calcium absorption.

Check out the article – here’s the clickativity.

Of course, the pill pushers contrarians say that a simple calcium pill can offset the damaging effects of heartburn medications. That’s classic – needing a second pill to address problems caused by the first pill, which is unnecessary in the first place.

An easy fix for heartburn is avoiding foods that cause it. Getting daily exercise, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol are also good ways to avoid heartburn.

Each year, about 300,000 older Americans break a bone, and 60,000 of them will die from the injury.

Heartburn medications are a $10 billion-a year cash cow.

Sara adds:

And surprise, surprise: Ole’ Denmark did a heartburn study last year but reported that heartburn medications are, wouldn’t you know, perfectly safe. I keep trying to give the motherland the benefit of the doubt, so I would like to cast doubt on this new British study, but seeing as how it was funded by the U.S. government and GlaxoSmithKline, I have to say, something is rotten in Denmark.

[tags] Tagamet, Pepcid AC, heartburn, pharmacology, calcium, osteoporosis [/tags]

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HRT: The Problem That Just Won’t Go Away

A doctor weighs in on the HRT-cancer connection. The controversy isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

I recommend reading the whole interview if this is an area of interest for you. What caught my attention is the subtle pro-drug stance the interview appears to take, while simultaneously bringing out revealing facts like the following:

Q. Was it a surprise to learn that estrogen and progestins can cause breast cancer?

A. We’ve known there is a cause and effect with hormones and breast cancer since 1896.

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Take 2 Bites & We’ll See You in the Morning

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

1. Ririan Rocks
We love how the posts over at Ririan make life so much easier and more productive. Check out the essential tips for good sleep – and we’ll add one to the list…

Spend 5 or 10 minutes before bed doing one of the following:

– Journaling (write your thoughts, your to-do list, your worries, whatever!)

– Prayer or meditation (concentrate on the positive – focus on appreciation)

– Light a candle, take 10 deep breaths, and decide to get a great night’s sleep. You’ll be amazed at how the decision to rack out will really work! (Work up to 20, 30 or more deep breaths before going to sleep.)

2. Allergic? Pour It On

We’ve been noticing a particular allergy hypothesis begining to take hold in the scientific community. Well, actually, Mark has been noticing and pointed it out. Scientists are finding that, in some cases, increased exposure to an allergen seems to be the best way to cure the allergy. Of course, this is not a “do it yourself” experiment; so far, studies have been strictly controlled in labs. The latest study could make a big difference for children’s food allergies. Check it out by jumpin’ on this clickativity.

[tags] sleep tips, improve sleep, allergies [/tags]

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