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Posts Tagged ‘disease risk assessment’

Vitamin A Deficiency Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

March 18, 2015

Type 2 diabetes affects over 29 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, and it accounts for almost 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes develops when insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when any insulin that is produced, fails to work properly.

Although a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication are often used to treat type 2 diabetes, a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found a potential link between vitamin A deficiency and the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A strengthens immunity against infections and aids in the growth of cells, along with helping maintain and improve vision. Vitamin A also boosts beta cell activity. Beta cells produce and secrete insulin, a hormone that regulates levels of glucose in the blood. Research found, significant beta cell loss, resulted in the reduction of insulin production and increased blood glucose levels – key factors involved in development of type 2 diabetes. It is for this reason Dr. Lorraine Gudas, the primary author in the recent study, suggests a lack of the vitamin may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, make sure to eat foods high in vitamin A so you do not become vitamin A deficient!

Foods High in Vitamin A

Good sources of vitamin A include cheese, eggs, yogurt, and liver. You can also make sure you have enough vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet. Add a few of these foods to your next grocery list:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Winter Squash
  • Swiss Chard


Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the goal is always prevention. With diabetes affecting more than 26 million Americans and quickly growing, it’s more important than ever to know your personal risk factors:

  • Family History
  • Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asian Americans are at an increased risk)
  • Being Overweight
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal fasting glucose screening results

If you have any of these risk factors, or are above the age of 45, it is recommended that you have a blood glucose screening once every three years.

New Research from the Cleveland Clinic Shows that “Good” Cholesterol May Not Live Up to Its Name

February 27, 2014

What if we told you that what you think you know about HDL “good” cholesterol is wrong? A new study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic has some shocking findings about cholesterol. HDL is known for preventing plaque buildup in arteries, but researchers are realizing that it can also turn and contribute to heart disease.

In its good form, HDL is meant to take molecules of cholesterol away from vessel walls and parts of the body to the liver to be removed. However, in the newly discovered dysfunctional or “bad” form of HDL, these molecules that are meant to be removed never make it to the liver. Due to this, it causes inflammation in vessel walls, and people who have a high level of the dysfunctional version are now at a higher risk for developing heart disease.

So, how are doctors able to differentiate between the two different forms of HDL? Researchers developed their own blood test through the Cleveland HeartLab, but may release it as soon as the end of this year. The blood test specifically tests for a protein found in HDL that when it is oxidized starts to cause problems for the heart and artery walls.


Connection Between Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol has long been linked to heart disease, and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol which carries 65% of cholesterol in the blood stream. LDL can help form plaque that builds up along artery walls that feed the heart and brain. When HDL works as it should, the “good” cholesterol carries LDL away to the liver and a high level helps to prevent heart disease.

High levels of LDL contribute to a condition called atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, which raises risk for heart attack and stroke.

More than 60% of adults in the U.S. don’t know their cholesterol levels. Knowing these simple facts is an important step towards a healthy future, and at Life Line Screening we offer high cholesterol screenings with a lipid panel test. Learn more about our cholesterol screenings now.

I’m Over Age 50: What Health Screenings Do I Need?

December 27, 2013

As we age, we become more at-risk for certain diseases that impact older adults more often than younger adults. Individuals over 50 should be screened regularly for a variety of health problems. Preventive health screenings can detect conditions that have yet to present any symptoms so treatment can be sought sooner.

Various health institutions, including the National Institute of Health, the National Cholesterol Education Program, the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend adults over age 50 take advantage of the following health screenings:

1. Prostate Cancer Screening

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a method of screening for prostate cancer that the American Urological Association says is for men who want to “pursue early diagnosis” of the condition. Approximately a third of all men over fifty have cancer in their prostate gland. While this type of cancer may never cause a problem, that is not easy to tell at an early stage. Early discovery via screening may prevent catastrophic consequences from prostate cancer.

2. Mammogram

A mammogram is the main method of screening for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women start having a yearly mammogram after age 40. However, women should talk to their doctors to see what’s right for them, especially if they are considered high-risk.

3. Colonoscopy

Colorectal cancer is a problem for both genders, but it can often be detected through a colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society recommends men and women have a colonoscopy every five to ten years starting at age 50, depending on risk factors.

Other tests that can detect colorectal cancer include flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography, fecal occult blood test and double-contrast barium enema. Talk to your doctor to see which test is right for you.

4. Heart Disease Screening

Health screening tests for heart disease include blood tests for cholesterol, blood pressure tests and screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. People with high cholesterol are at a higher risk for heart disease. Age and other risk factors (like a history of smoking) raise the likelihood of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Life Line Screening recommends at-risk individuals should undergo the aortic aneurysm screening annually.

5. Bone Density Screening

Bone density scans have the ability to better detect osteoporosis risk. It is recommended that women start getting screened for this condition at age 65 and men at age 75. Women at a higher risk should start getting screened at menopause and men at age 50, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

 6. Pap Test

Pap tests are capable of detecting cervical cancer. Until she gets to 65, a woman should have a pap smears at least once every three years. If the results have been normal up that point, she can stop getting the tests at 65 or 70, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about which health screenings you should be having and how often you may need them.


Study: Big Breakfast May Benefit Diabetes Patients

December 13, 2013

Ever heard the phrase breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It turns out this saying may be true – especially for patients who are suffering from diabetes, specifically, type 2 diabetes. According to several new studies, a large breakfast can provide a number of benefits for diabetes patients.

An Israeli study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes showed that individuals suffering from diabetes who ate a large breakfast over the course of three months experienced lower blood sugar levels than those who did not. In fact, almost 33 percent of those very same individuals were able to lower the amount of diabetic medication they needed to take.

The Israeli study used 59 subjects who suffered from type 2 diabetes and split them into two groups: a small breakfast group and a large breakfast group. The large breakfast provided roughly 33 percent of the daily calories that the subjects would have as well as more protein and fat than the small breakfast. The small breakfast only contained 12.5 percent of the subject’s daily calories.

After 13 weeks, the study found that the blood sugar levels as well as the blood pressure levels of the subjects who ate the large breakfasts dropped significantly. In fact, the blood sugar levels were reduced three times as much in patients who ate larger breakfasts compared to those who ate smaller breakfasts, and their blood pressure was reduced four times as much.

While around 33 percent of the subjects who ate large breakfasts were able to reduce their diabetic medication, almost 17 percent of the subjects who ate smaller breakfasts ended up having to increase their medication during the study. In addition, the subjects who ate larger breakfasts were much less likely to feel hungry throughout the day.

The results from this study aligned with those of previous studies concerning diabetes patients and breakfast. Previous studies showed that individuals who ate breakfast on a regular basis were more likely to have a lower body mass index compared to individuals who skipped breakfast. Height and weight are both taken into account in order to come up with the body mass index measurement. Previous studies also discovered that individuals who ate breakfast tended to have lower blood sugar levels and were also able to use insulin much more efficiently.

Blood glucose screening for type 2 diabetes from Life Line Screening has the capability to measure blood sugar levels to identify diabetes. Learn more about diabetes screenings now.

Why Some Women Ignore Their Breast Cancer Risk

October 23, 2013

Many of us know someone who had or has breast cancer. This disease is both fairly common and well-publicized, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. As such, research and information on the condition are widely accessible. The risk factors are well-known and testing is readily available.

Regardless of all of this, many women with multiple risk factors end of ignoring or not believing the results of their testing. Some think that their risk is too low, while others ignore the more obvious signs of trouble ahead. Why?

According to the American Cancer Society, the risk factors of breast cancer include:

  • Gender (women have a higher risk)
  • 55 years or older
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Race and ethnicity
  • History of other breast conditions

In August 2013, the journal Patient Education and Counseling published the results of a study describing differences in the way women perceive their risk of developing breast cancer. In this study, 690 women used an online program to learn about medications that may help reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer. As part of the program, each woman received a tailored assessment identifying her personal breast cancer risk.

Researchers told half of the women how this risk was tallied. At the conclusion of the study, all participants were asked what they thought of the results. Nearly 20 percent said that they did not believe the assessment of their risk. They felt the test did not take all concerns, such as personal and family history, into account.

While the study’s authors believe that some patients may reject the results of testing as part of a natural skepticism, they still argue that screening is important. Assessing risk of breast cancer or the likelihood of developing other diseases, such as the preventive health screenings offered by Life Line Screening, can still be useful. This study shows that many patients may be more likely to accept a company’s assessment if they feel that their specific history has been taken into consideration.

Many women want to know the chances they will develop breast cancer, since it is such a serious condition. But when women are assessing their risk of contracting the disease, testing should be as complete as possible to ensure that they take the results seriously. Furthermore, preventive medicine only works if we take into consideration our risk factors for certain diseases. Being proactive with health is crucial to obtaining peace of mind or the knowledge needed to stop a catastrophic health problem before it gets worse.



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