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Archive for June, 2012

Reminders about Seated Exercise, Aspirin for Skin Cancer Prevention, and Vitamin E to help Battle Stroke Damage

June 29, 2012

Friday Roundup:

For today’s Roundup blog post we thought we’d refresh your memory with some outstanding posts from the past that provide relevant exercise, health and nutrition information for summer-time fun and festivities. It’s hot out there, so please remember to drink plenty of liquids, wear sun protection, and use hats to keep your heads safe from those powerful rays of the Sun. Enjoy the beginning of Summer 2012!

Stay Active with Seated Exercises and More – Some great information here about exercise that does not require sweating away in the hot Sun in order to get your recommended 30 minutes of aerobic activity during these hot summer days.

Why Aspirin is good for preventing skin cancers – Sun tan lotions, big hats and sunglasses may not be enough to keep skin cancer at bay. This article talks about how aspirin can help battle some of the biggest skin cancers out there today.

Vitamin E May Reverse Tissue Damage Caused by Stroke – Learn about a natural form of vitamin E that may help recent stroke victims as they recover. Don’t forget that Life Line Screening offers stroke screening tests to help you prevent a stroke before it happens.




How Omega-3 Oils, Salt and Low-Fat Foods Influence Stroke and Memory Loss Risks

June 22, 2012

Friday Roundup:

 

Omega-3 Oils May Curb Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s

Researchers at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center have discovered that the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids in one’s diet – often associated with the so-called Mediterranean Diet of fatty fish like mackerel, trout, tuna, salmon, and other sources such as kale, tofu, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and more – may “significantly” lower their risk of developing memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. What’s more, the researchers think they know why as well.

It turns out that a protein found in the blood called beta-amyloid is associated with memory problems and Alzheimer’s. Indeed, tangles and plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients are clumps of this protein, perhaps akin to cholesterol clumps that accumulate in arteries that can lead to stroke and even heart attack. People in the study – 1,219 individuals over the age of 65 – who consumed foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids had significantly lower levels of beta-amyloid in their blood, with an apparent correlation being that the more omega-3s consumed, the lower the levels of amyloid in the bloodstream.

Interestingly, omega-3 was the only nutrient that showed an association with lower amyloid blood levels, period. This study also correlates with a 2010 study that found that people who ate foods high in omega-3 acids had a 40% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to those who did not consume omega-3s. Although it’s best to get such nutrients from natural sources, omega-3 supplements can also be effective – though you should consult with your doctor before adding fish oil supplements to your diet because they may interact with other medications. Food for thought indeed!

You can read the full article on omega-3s and memory loss by visiting this website page: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/02/omega-3-may-curb-memory-loss-study-says/?hpt=he_c2

 

High Salt Intake Seemingly Linked to Higher Stroke Risk

Most people already know that high levels of salt are not good for the human body, and normally lead to higher blood pressure over time as the body ages. This is a precarious situation for many Americans, as fast food burgers and fries as well as most canned meats and vegetables have high amounts of salt to increase the flavor of the food, or to preserve the food for longer shelf lives. A study led by Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami School of Medicine and popularized in the journal Stroke now seems to support the claim that there’s a strong link between high salt intake and such conditions as heart disease and stroke – not just high blood pressure. Although Gardener is quick to explain that it’s tough to draw conclusions about the cause-and-effect relationship between sodium intake and diseases such as stroke, statistics in the study certainly back-up the idea and Gardener advocates for a detailed reading of all food labels in order to control salt consumption.

Read full article in detail at: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/26/high-salt-intake-linked-to-higher-stroke-risk/

Learn more about stroke information & stroke screening services from Life Line Screening at: http://www.lifelinescreening.com/disease-information/stroke.aspx

 

Low-Fat Dairy Products May Help Lower Risk of Stroke

The old saying, “you are what you eat,” seems to prove itself true time and time again. A Swedish study we came upon in the journal Stroke claims that middle-aged and older adults may be able to lower their risk of stroke by switching to low-fat dairy products. The researchers of the study, who tracked the diets of nearly 75,000 men and women over a 10-year period, found that those who consumed the most low-fat dairy foods and beverages were found to be 12% less likely to have a stroke than those who ate the least. Proof positive that diet consideration is a good strategy in managing your ongoing health for both men and women.

Read full article in detail at: http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20120419/low-fat-dairy-may-help-reduce-stroke-risk




Aspirin Fights Skin Cancer, Exercise + Liposuction to Keep Fat Away Permanently, Regular Breakfasts Battles Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity

June 15, 2012

Friday Roundup:

 

Very Good News – Aspirin Helps to Prevent Skin Cancer

It’s been a pretty important last few days for cancer research news. Recent studies have found that diesel fumes contribute to or actually can cause lung cancer – not the best of news for the hundreds of thousands of diesel engines out and about on the roads in the trucking industry. The fumes are said to be even more carcinogenic than second-hand cigarette smoke! Then came news from the American Cancer Society that America will contain 18 million cancer survivors by 2022 – with figures estimating that one in three women and one in two men will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. The good news of course is that we’re talking about 18 million survivors of the disease – people who have beaten cancer.

Fast on the heels of these reports came some very good news as reported on the Today show and covered by MSN.com – taking ordinary aspirin helps to prevent skin cancer – particularly malignant melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. According to the journal Cancer, non-acetaminophen pain relievers with an aspirin base actually help to prevent skin cancer, blocking an enzyme reaction that would otherwise hamper the immune system’s ability to ward off skin cancer development. The study the report was based on examined 18,000 people in Denmark over a “significant period of time” to determine these fascinating and encouraging results. The study also found that the larger the dosage of aspirin taken, and the longer the aspirin had been consumed by the individual, the better were the results in preventing skin cancer. Of course, since aspirin can also thin the blood and cause ulcers in some people, beginning such a regimen should only be undertaken once your physician has been consulted first. Chalk-up another positive effect for “wonder drug” known as aspirin!

You can watch the video coverage on aspirin and skin cancer by visiting this website page: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3041426/vp/47596707#47596707

 

Without Exercise, Liposuction for Fat Removal Is Not a Permanent Solution and May Cause “Worse” Fat to Develop

Although liposuction was once considered a “vanity” surgical procedure, the cosmetic surgery practice for syphoning subcutaneous fat cells that reside just beneath the skin in the lower abdomen, thighs and buttocks has become the most popular cosmetic surgical operation in America. A new and relatively ground-breaking study that will appear in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, however, suggests that without future exercise, not only does stored fat come back – it comes back as “visceral” fat that surrounds bodily organs and releases biochemical substances known to increase one’s risk for heart disease and diabetes.

According to the article in the New York Times, “Despite the popularity of the procedure, there have been intimations for several years that it might not permanently reduce bodily fat stores. Surgically excising fat pads from rodents, for example, almost always ended in the fat’s return after a few months or a year, although not always in the same area from which it was removed. Instead, the animals often packed on the new lard deep inside their abdomens, creating what’s known as visceral fat, a fatty tissue that twines around organs and produces and releases biochemical substances known to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes. In multiple studies, visceral fat has been shown to be significantly more physically harmful than subcutaneous fat. And liposuction seems to prompt the body to make more visceral fat. Last year, in a groundbreaking study by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, women who had liposuction performed on the subcutaneous fat marbling their thighs and lower abdomen regained all of the fat within a year, and some of this new fat was of the unhealthy visceral variety. ‘The message of our study was that body fat is very well defended,’ says Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver who oversaw the study.”

The good news is that women in the study who exercised three times a week kept the fat from returning to their bodies, and added no visceral fat either. It appears that it’s pretty hard to cheat nature when it comes to fitness and fat deposits after all.

You can read the entire article on liposuction, visceral fat and the benefits of exercise by visiting this website page: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/after-liposuction-exercise-keeps-the-fat-off/?ref=health

 

Eat Breakfast to Reduce the Risk for Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity

Exercise enthusiasts and nutritionists have been touting the benefits of eating a breakfast for years and years. So have moms and dads, and even farmers, who swear by their first meal of the day as their prime energy fuel source for getting a lot of work done on the farm. A new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association goes farther, however – claiming that a breakfast of just about any kind helps those who partake to be less likely to become obese, to develop Type 2 diabetes or to gain fat around their mid-section.

According to the study, reported by our friends at WebMD.com, “The study included more than 5,000 men and women. None had type 2 diabetes when they entered the study. Seven years into the study, they filled out diet questionnaires that included a question asking how many times a week they ate breakfast. They were followed for an average of 18 years. People who ate breakfast daily fared best. Compared to people who ate breakfast three or fewer times per week, they were:

  • 34% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
  • 43% less likely to become obese
  • 40% less likely to develop fat around the tummy (abdominal obesity)

People who ate breakfast at least four to six times per week also did well… The American Diabetes Association recommends a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nonfat dairy products, beans, lean meats, poultry, and fish.”

Considering how many details about our health are out of our control due to genetics, it’s great news to know that some things as simple as regular exercise, plenty of sleep, preventative screenings and regular breakfasting can play such a vital role in our ongoing health. If you’re interested in learning about Life Line Screening’s diabetes screening tests for Type 2 diabetes, please follow the embedded link.

You can read the entire article on the power of breakfast for battling Type 2 diabetes and obesity by visiting this website page: http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20120614/breakfast-diabetes-obesity




Dear Editor – Our C.M.O. Addresses Health Writer Susan Perry’s Issues against Life Line Screening

June 14, 2012

Some criticism of our work at Life Line Screening comes from an article by health writer Susan Perry on the MINNPOST website, interestingly sponsored by a Minnesota health care insurance provider called UCare. Below, we’ve included a letter written to MINNPOST from our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Andrew Manganaro. We hope you’ll read it and decide for yourself if health screening companies such as Life Line Screening are valuable or not. You can also read what our many satisfied customers have to say on our Testimonials page –we’re clearly doing something right according to them!

 

Subject: From the office of Andrew Manganaro, MD, FACC, FACS, Chief Medical Officer, Life Line Screening

Andrew J. Manganaro, MD
Member, International Society for Endovascular Surgery
Fellow, American College of Cardiology
Member, Society for Vascular Medicine
Fellow, American College of Chest Physicians
Member, Society for Vascular Surgery
Fellow, American College of Surgeons
Member, Society for Vascular Ultrasonography
Fellow, International College of Surgeons                                                                                        

Fellow, International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery
Member, Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Dear MinnPost.com and Ms. Susan Perry:

I am writing in response to the article posted on 3.21.12 entitled “Buyer beware of direct-to-consumer health screenings.”  I wish to refute your claims that the screening tests are ‘pointless, a waste of time and money.” This is objectively not true and you do your readers harm by not discussing both sides of the debate and discussion. In addition to my letter, I am attaching some recent research of which you may not be aware.

As a clinical vascular surgeon for 30 years, I have seen many strokes and ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) which could have been easily prevented had the patient only known of their presence. So much death and terrible disability could be avoided by identification of previously unknown disease and successful preventive measures.

Indeed, to put this personal experience into context, we must remember that there are nearly 800,000 strokes a year in this nation.  What we as a nation are doing isn’t working. It isn’t enough. We need to do something to reduce these numbers. Everyone who read your article knows someone who has had a stroke or a heart attack. These conditions are simply that prevalent.

This is where health screenings come in, as well as the new evidence-base that supports it. Preventive vascular screening aims to identify those with subclinical disease at a time when lifestyle changes and medical management can make a difference. Its focus is on creating a teachable moment between doctors and patients during which advice such as eating well, exercising and not smoking can actually result in behavior change.  Medical management such as aspirin therapy or statins can also be implemented and possibly avert a serious health event or surgery. For those in whom surgery is necessary, the usual response is one of gratitude for finding a potentially life-threatening condition.  Community-based vascular screenings for carotid disease have been reviewed by researchers in the UK and found to be cost effective and life-saving. (References1, 2 below)  Research in the U.S. has found consistent findings. (3)

In addition, the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are incredibly prevalent. The latest statistical research reveals that 94% of the United States population has at least one serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Thirty-eight percent have at least three serious risk factors. (4)  Stroke risk doubles every decade after age 55. (5) These facts are clear – we are a nation at risk.

Many groups recommend vascular screening for at-risk individuals. Groups such as the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Diabetes Association, for example, which recommends Peripheral Arterial Disease screening for every diabetic age 50 and over. (6, 7)  PAD screening is also recommended for better cardiovascular risk prediction, as documented in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  by Jaff and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts.  AAA screening is already recommended for male smokers. Newer research also reveals that women are at higher risk than previously thought. (8, 9, 10)

Vascular surgeons, Drs. Kent and Zwolak, highlight the importance of vascular screening and the necessity to do more of it, when they cited Life Line Screening as an example of a successful company in the field of AAA and vascular screening in a paper in Endovascular Today, writing “The most successful of these organizations is Life Line Screening, which has screened more than 6 million individuals for vascular disease since 1993. Despite the progress made by Life Line and other companies, this is still only a fraction of the individuals at risk. (11)

A common criticism, albeit misguided, is that LLSA offers screenings not recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).  The focus of these criticisms usually revolves around the Task Force report on carotid artery screenings.  The USPSTF statement on carotid artery stenosis screening is widely misunderstood. The statement recommends against hospital-based screening of asymptomatic individuals for the purposes of treating with carotid endarterectomy.  They do not examine community-based screening for the purposes of early identification and treatment with lifestyle coaching and medical management, which is what Life Line Screening does. Others agree, as Dr. Lavenson, of the prestigious Uniformed Services, states in his article on this topic, “The USPSTF recommendation against screening for CAD (carotid artery disease)…is ill advised and should be reconsidered.”(12)  

The lack of warning signs associated with vascular disease, coupled with the sheer prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors has led the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) to promote screening in the asymptomatic population.  SHAPE guidelines are supportive of screening using both ultrasound for carotid artery stenosis and ankle-brachial index. The reasoning for recommending screening in “at-risk asymptomatic population for subclinical atherosclerosis is to more accurately identify and treat patients at high risk for acute ischemic events, as well as to identify those at lower risk who may be treated more conservatively.”(17, 18)

I also draw to your attention the National Stroke Association website which clearly outlines the underlying disease states that lead to stroke, all of which are conditions for which Life Line Screening tests. (19) These diseases are listed as “Controllable Risk Factors” but, as noted in the website, are often silent and go undetected. Screening is a method of detection and can help individuals get on a path to wellness before something unfortunate and serious happens. The goal is to always share the screening results with a doctor, who can help determine which steps are right for that individual.

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss our program with you in more detail.

Yours truly,

 

 

 

Andrew J. Manganaro, MD, FACC, FACS
Chief Medical Officer
Life Line Screening

References:

  1. SVS – see http://www.vascularweb.org/Media/JVS_Releases/Screening_Aids_Early_Detection_of_Vascul.html
  2. Wyman RA, Fraizer MC, et. Al. Ultrasound-detected carotid plaque as a screening tool for advanced subclinical atherosclerosis. Am Heart J. 2005 Nov; 150(5): 1081-5.
  3. Saleem MA, Sadat U, et al. Role of carotid duplex imaging in carotid screening programmes – an overview.  Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2008; 6: 34.
  4. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2012 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2011/12/15/CIR.0b013e31823ac046
  5. NIDDS: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/stroke_needtoknow.htm
  6. SVS —  see http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/vascularscreenings/ and click on Position Statement
  7. American Diabetes Association. Peripheral Arterial Disease in People with Diabetes. Diabetes Cares 2003. 26: 3333-3341.
  8. Ankle Brachial Index Collaboration.  Ankle Brachial Index Combined With Framingham Risk Score to Predict Cardiovascular Events and Mortality: A Meta-Analysis.  JAMA. 2008l 300 (2): 197-208.
  9. Beckman JA, Jaff MR, Creager MA.  The United States Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement on Screening for Peripheral Arterial Disease: More Harm Than Benefit?”  Circulation, 2006; 114: 861-866.
  10. DeRubertis BG, Trocciola SM, Ryer EJ, et al.  Abdominal aortic aneurysm in women: Prevalence, risk factors, and implications for screenings.  J Vasc Surg 2007; 46: 630-5.
  11. Zwolak R and Kent C. Screenings for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. Endovascular Today; Feb 2008:  51-54.
  12. Lavenson GS.  Why the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation against Screening for Asymptomatic Carotid Artery Disease Should be Reconsidered.  J Vasc Ultrasound, 36(10: 26-30, 2012.
  13. Most Stroke Patients Do Not Get A Warning: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Hackham DG, Kapral MK, Wang JT, Fang J, Hachinski V.  Neurology 2009; 73: 1074-1076.
  14. Kent CK, Zwolak RM, Egorova NN, et al. Analysis of risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurisms in a cohort of more than 3 million individuals. J Vasc Surg 2010; 52: 539-48.
  15. USPSTF Guidelines on Mammograms Questioned.  EMax Health, January 26, 2011.  Available at: http://www.emaxhealth.com/1024/uspstf-guidelines-mammograms-questioned
  16. New U.S. Analysis Backs Annual Breast Screening.  Reuters, January 26, 2011. Available at:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/26/us-cancer-breast-screening-sb-idUSTRE70P0MO20110126
  17. Naghavi M, Falk E, et. al. From Vulnerable Plaque to Vulnerable Patient – Part III: Executive Summary of the Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education (SHAPE) Task Force Report.  Am J Cardiol 2006; 98[suppl]: 2H-15H.
  18. SHAPE Society Website: http://www.shapesociety.org/
  19. National Stroke Association:  http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=cont



Soda Linked to Stroke Risk, Foods that Can Lower Your Cholesterol Level, and Coffee’s Positive Effect on Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

June 8, 2012

Friday Roundup:

 

Drinking Soda’s Not Too Sweet an Idea If You Want to Guard against Stroke & Diabetes

Some of you may have heard about the recent study published in the American Journal of Nutrition, concerning findings of an increase in the risk of stroke for those who drink more than one soda a day. If not, CNN’s diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis has also been talking about it on the CNN website. It turns out that soda consumption has been increasing significantly over the past few decades, and is being blamed in part for the childhood obesity epidemic in America, as well as being linked to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol – all of which can help to contribute to stroke as well.

Considering that recent statistics show that half of all Americans consume at least one sugar-sweetened drink per day, and that men and women consume on-average 178 calories and 103 calories per day respectively from sugar-sweetened beverages, it might be time for you to think about how much soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages you or your loved ones are drinking. Keeping in mind that the consumption of soda pop and other sweetened drinks often displaces other healthier drinks in your diet such as soy milk, green tea or even naturally sweetened fruit juices may help you to keep that liquid sweet tooth at bay, and may prove beneficial for your teeth too!

Life Line Screening offers stroke screening tests as well as Type 2 diabetes tests, which you may wish to consider if you’re a big fan of sugary drinks and NOT a big fan of exercise and healthy eating choices. You can learn more about soda pop and its connection to stroke and other debilitating diseases by visiting this website page: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/18/health/jampolis-dangers-drinking-soda/index.html

 

10 Easy Food Swaps to Cut Cholesterol, Not Taste

Everyone these days knows that too much “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in one’s body is not a good thing, and can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, to name just a few negative consequences. Most people also know that there’s “good” cholesterol (HDL) in the body, and that our bodies needs a certain amount of cholesterol for the manufacture of hormones and several other body functions. As mammals, we manufacture our own cholesterol on a regular basis. The trouble comes about when we consume other mammals, or by-products of mammals – such as cheese, butter, eggs, etc. We’re then getting additional cholesterol those animals manufactured, and too much of that extra cholesterol is what starts getting our bodies into trouble. The good news is that simple dietary changes can help to lower cholesterol levels in most people, often times without the need of taking medications for cholesterol at all.

A new article from our friends at Health.com chronicles ten simple substitutions you can make in your diet that will help you to cut your cholesterol consumption. And they’re flavorful switches that you’ll enjoy! Some of the suggested switches include using walnuts in salads instead of croutons, drinking red wine instead of alcoholic cocktails, using vinegar and lemon juice instead of fattening salad dressings, and eating popcorn instead of tortilla chips. We think those all sound like tasty switches that will have your heart saying “thank you” instead of “Is there a doctor in the house.”

Life Line Screening offers high cholesterol screening tests for those who are concerned about their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. To read all ten dietary substitutions to help your body lower its cholesterol level, visit this website page: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307281,00.html

 

Drinking Coffee May Delay Alzheimer’s Disease

Rounding-out our food and nutrition-based Round-Up blog post this Friday is another news piece about beverage consumption – only this time some really good news about a beverage millions of Americans start their day with each day. More and more men and women are concerned about dementia and the most common type of dementia today – Alzheimer’s disease. As we’re living longer and longer lives each generation, we want those extra years to be happy and productive, not full of diminishing memory, mood swings and brain capacity. An article released just this week from the good people at WebMD.com reports on a study soon to be released in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, announcing the very good news that 3 cups of coffee a day can “turn the tide” against the debilitating condition in older adults who are already experiencing memory problems.

“According to the findings, people older than 65 who had higher blood levels of caffeine developed Alzheimer’s disease two to four years later than their counterparts with lower caffeine levels,” WebMD reports in the article. “The new study included 124 people aged 65 to 88 who had mild cognitive impairment, which is the medical term for mild memory loss. About 15% of people with MCI develop full-blown Alzheimer’s disease each year. In the study, blood levels of caffeine were more than 50% lower among people with MCI who developed Alzheimer’s during follow-up, when compared with their counterparts who did not worsen. Coffee was the main, or only source, of caffeine among people in the study.”

Life Line Screening encourages all our readers to make healthy, informed choices about the food and beverages you put into your body. You are what you eat, after all. To learn more about the advantages of coffee for staving off memory decline, please read this website page: http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20120607/coffee-may-help-turn-tide-on-alzheimers-disease




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