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Survey: 1 in 3 adults may have had warning stroke, but most didn’t seek help

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In 1991 the television program 60 Minutes speculated that French people’s consumption of red wine may be responsible for their low incidence of cardiac disease. Americans jumped on the bandwagon; red wine consumption in the United States rapidly increased 44%.

The following is condensed from Harvard Heart Letter by Julie Corliss

The evidence that drinking red wine in particular (or alcohol in general, for that matter) can help you avoid heart disease is pretty weak, says Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an internist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. All of the research showing that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have lower rates of heart disease is observational. Such studies can’t prove cause and effect, only associations.

Moderate drinking — defined as one drink per day for healthy women and two drinks per day for healthy men — is widely considered safe. But to date, the health effects of alcohol have never been tested in a long-term, randomized trial.

The French Paradox 
The French Paradox refers to the notion that drinking wine may explain the relatively low rates of heart disease among the French, despite their fondness for cheese and other rich, fatty foods. Another argument stems from the fact that the Mediterranean diet, an eating pattern shown to ward off heart attacks and strokes, features red wine.

The French Paradox may not be so paradoxical after all. Many experts now believe that factors other than wine may account for the observation, such as lifestyle and dietary differences, as well as earlier underreporting of heart disease deaths by French doctors. What’s more, Dr. Mukamal notes, heart disease rates in Japan are lower than in France, yet the Japanese drink a lot of beer and clear spirits, but hardly any red wine. Read more

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Condensed from an article by By Claudia Fisher/Travel+Leisure

Despite being inside, sitting on an airplane leaves you more exposed to the sun’s harmful rays than you may realize.

“Although plane windows can block UVB rays, UVA rays can still pass through and given the elevated level, the UV rays don’t have to travel as far to cause damage and can be much more intense at higher altitudes,” says Dr. Marisa Garshick, NYC-based dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

While flying, Dr. Garshick says, “It is important to protect from UVA rays in addition to UVB as UVA rays can lead to skin aging as well as skin cancer.”

She recommends “finding a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, which provides coverage for both UVA and UVB, and at least SPF 30. The sunscreen should be applied approximately 30 minutes before flight and you should remember to reapply every two hours, especially if you are traveling on a long flight.” Read more

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Condensed from US News.com by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Despite declining smoking rates among adults, 15 percent of American adults (36.5 million) were cigarette smokers in 2015. Of those, more than 22 million said they’d like to quit, according to the FDA. However, though more than 55 percent of adult smokers tried to quit in 2015, the agency said that only about 7 percent were successful.

To help encourage adult smokers to quit, the FDA is launching a new public education campaign called “Every Try Counts.” It will target smokers aged 25 to 54 who’ve tried to quit smoking in the past year but haven’t been successful.

To learn more about the new anti-smoking campaign, go to the Every Try Counts website.

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Condensed from article in Health Day by Serena Gordon

Fulfilling this years resolutions does not have to be as difficult as it’s been in preceding years. Believe it or not, small steps can make a big difference.

Here are eight ways to get started:

Break it down. Changing your lifestyle to shed weight can seem overwhelming. “Look at it one plate at a time, or even one choice at a time, but start right now, and by this time next month, you’ll see good changes,” advises nutritionist Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.”If you lose 5 percent of your body weight, you can significantly decrease your risk of many diseases…”

Pace yourself. Nutritionist Maudene Nelson, from Columbia University Health in New York City, and Ms. Heller both feel that very low-calorie diets don’t work in the long term because the body goes into starvation mode. “You don’t want to lose weight too quickly, because it scares the body into thinking there’s no food available,” Heller said.

Segment your plate. Half of your plate should be vegetables, one quarter is protein and one quarter is starch. If you finish your plate, and you’re still hungry, she said be sure to refill your plate in the same way. “Don’t just refill on the mac n’ cheese,” Nelson advised. In the morning, you can substitute fruit for the veggies.

Identify trouble times. Kids clamoring, worked late, you’re tired — you don’t feel like cooking. Don’t get into the fast food trap. Make sure you always have healthy snacks in the refrigerator and ingredients for a quick meal. Your family will understand. After all, you’ll all be learning to make changes to become healthier.

Add protein. Protein helps keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and then crashing. Without at least a little protein in your meal (especially breakfast), you’ll be hungry soon after eating because of a fast rise and fall in your blood sugar.

Track it. Both Heller and Nelson said one of the most important things you can do for losing weight is write in a journal or food tracker to keep track of the food you eat.

“You can use your food tracker to see what happened when you did well, or on days you didn’t. If you over-eat one night, you can look back and see that maybe you skipped lunch and were starving. You can use it as a learning tool for the next time,” Heller said.

Don’t drink your calories. Both experts said people often get empty calories from soda and juice. “It’s just not worth it to drink your calories,” Nelson said. What about adult beverages, such as wine and beer? Nelson said those can be considered part of the plate method. Each drink replaces a starch from your plate.

Plan a reward. It doesn’t have to be something expensive, it just should make you feel that you’ve accomplished something in small steps.

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heart

 

Condensed from an article by Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Researchers followed the food habits of 42,000 Swedish men over 12 years and found that men who drank at least two sweetened beverages a day had a 23% higher risk of going into heart failure.

“People who regularly consume sweetened beverages should consider limiting their consumption to reduce their risk of heart failure,” said Dr. Susanna Larsson co-author of the Stockholm Karolinska Institute study

The risk for heart failure is mostly associated with coronary artery disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or a prior heart attack that damaged heart tissue. But heart defects present at birth, such as abnormal heart valves, can make the disease occur at any age. READ MORE

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Condensed from an article by Andrew Griffin in The Independent

Head and neck cancer is predicted to overtake cervical cancer in the USA by 2020. 

Men who have oral sex with multiple partners are at a much higher risk of developing head and neck cancer, according to a new study. Those who smoke and have oral sex with five or more partners are the most likely to develop the cancer triggered by exposure to the human papilloma virus, known as HPV, according to new research published in the journal Annals of Oncology.

Doctors hope that proof of the increased risk caused by the two behaviours (smoking and oral sex) will help identify the people who are more at risk of developing head and neck cancer. READ MORE

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