Tag Archives: Framingham Heart Study

Abdominal fat or belly fat

As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase. Extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection. At one time, we might have accepted this as an inevitable fact of aging. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems. The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels.

Though the term  abdominal fat  or belly fat might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase — more so in women than men. Extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection.
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At one time, we might have accepted these changes as an inevitable fact of aging. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems — much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.

Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

Are you pear-shaped or apple-shaped?…….CLICK & SEE….

Fat accumulated in the lower body (the pear shape) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape) is largely visceral. Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones. As the evidence against abdominal fat mounts, researchers and clinicians are trying to measure it, correlate it with health risks, and monitor changes that occur with age and overall weight gain or loss. .

The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels. Subcutaneous fat located at the waist — the pinchable stuff — can be frustratingly difficult to budge, but in normal-weight people, it’s generally not considered as much of a health threat as visceral fat is.

Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. It’s appropriate to think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health. Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of these hormones.

Scientists are also learning that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines — for example, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 — that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These and other biochemicals are thought to have deleterious effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

One reason excess visceral fat is so harmful could be its location near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver. Substances released by visceral fat, including free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids. Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance means that your body’s muscle and liver cells don’t respond adequately to normal levels of insulin, the pancreatic hormone that carries glucose into the body’s cells. Glucose levels in the blood rise, heightening the risk for diabetes. Now for the good news.

Exercise and dieting can help you get rid of belly fat:

So what can we do about tubby tummies? A lot, it turns out. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity — at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight. Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat. Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.

Diet is also important. Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help.

Scientists hope to develop drug treatments that target abdominal fat. For example, studies of the weight-loss medication sibutramine (Meridia), have shown that the drug’s greatest effects are on visceral fat.

For now, experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat.
Source: Harvard Health Publication

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Reduce Salt to Save Lives, Money

A new study has found that reducing salt in processed foods could prevent strokes and heart attacks and also save billions of dollars in medical costs.
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According to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System , the U.S. food service industry should make a voluntary effort to reduce salt.

In the study, the researchers developed a computerised model that simulates the effects of reduced sodium intake on a large population of people between the ages of 40 and 85.

Based on a similar, salt-reduction campaign in the United Kingdom, the researchers estimated that a collaborative industry effort could lead to a 9.5 per cent decline in Americans’ salt intake.

That, in turn, would lead to a very modest decline in blood pressure among American consumers, minimising a major risk factor for cardiovascular problems.

“In our analysis, we found these small decreases in blood pressure would be effective in reducing deaths due to cardiovascular disease,” Crystal Smith-Spangler, MD, a postdoctoral scholar at the VA and first author of the study, said.

“The numbers of affected people are huge, so even a small decrease is significant if you have large numbers of people involved,” Smith-Spangler said.

By the researchers’ calculations, some 5,13,885 Americans would be spared from potentially fatal strokes in their lifetimes, and another 4,80,358 would not suffer heart attacks as a result of the reduced salt campaign.

In the study, the researchers relied on data from a variety of sources, including the Framingham Heart Study and the 2006 Medical Panel Expenditure Survey, to develop a hypothetical model of health benefits and costs of two different methods to reduce salt intake on a large scale.

Source::The findings are published in the March 2 Annals of Internal Medicine .

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Happiness is ‘Infectious’

Believe it or not, happiness is “infectious” and can “ripple” through friends, neighbours and family members, a new study has suggested.


Researchers have found that happiness is not just an individual experience or choice, but is dependent on happiness of others to whom individuals are connected either directly or indirectly, and requires close proximity to spread.

According to them, “Changes in individual happiness can ripple through social networks and generate large scale structure in the network, giving rise to clusters of happy and unhappy individuals.” In fact, the researchers, led by Nicholas Christakis of the Harvard Medical School, have based their findings on an analysis of data collected in the Framingham Heart Study, the British Medical Journal reported. In the Framingham Heart Study, 5,124 adults aged 21-70 were recruited and followed between 1971 and 2003, to examine various aspects of their life and health. All the participants were asked to identify their relatives, “close friends,” place of residence, and place of work to ensure they could be contacted every two to four years for follow-up.

The researchers found 53,228 social ties between the 5,124 participants and a total of 12,067 people. They focused on 4,739 people followed from 1983 to ’03 and found a person’s proximity to happy people, specifically partners, siblings and neighbours, could make them happy too. They also found that clusters of happy and unhappy people were visible in the networks and the effect lasted for three degrees of separation — meaning one person benefited from the happiness of their friends’ friends. “Most important from our perspective is the recognition that people are embedded in social networks and that the health and wellbeing of one person affects the health and wellbeing of others.

“This fundamental fact of existence provides a fundamental conceptual justification for the speciality of public health. Human happiness is not merely the province of isolated individuals,” the researchers concluded.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Cardiovascular Health

Definition: Cardiovascular disease refers to the class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins). While the term technically refers to any disease that affects the cardiovascular system (as used in MeSH), it is usually used to refer to those related to atherosclerosis (arterial disease). These conditions have similar causes, mechanisms, and treatments. In practice, cardiovascular disease is treated by cardiologists, thoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, neurologists, and interventional radiologists, depending on the organ system that is being treated. There is considerable overlap in the specialties, and it is common for certain procedures to be performed by different types of specialists in the same hospital.

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Most Western countries face high and increasing rates of cardiovascular disease. Each year, heart disease kills more Americans than cancer. Diseases of the heart alone caused 30% of all deaths, with other diseases of the cardiovascular system causing substantial further death and disability. Two out of three cardiac deaths occur without any diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. Up until the year 2005, it was the number 1 cause of death and disability in the United States and most European countries. A large histological study (PDAY) showed vascular injury accumulates from adolescence, making primary prevention efforts necessary from childhood.

By the time that heart problems are detected, the underlying cause (atherosclerosis) is usually quite advanced, having progressed for decades. There is therefore increased emphasis on preventing atherosclerosis by modifying risk factors, such as healthy eating, exercise and avoidance of smoking.

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During a lifetime, a human heart will pump 55 million gallons of blood through nearly 60,000 miles of blood vessels, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to trillions of cells. We can give this system a highly deserved break by eating a healthy diet that contains an abundance of essential nutrients, regular aerobic exercise and the revolutionary support of Transfer Factor Cardio.

Scientists now agree that inflammation fuels the development and progression of atherosclerosis: the dangerous accumulation of fat-laden deposits, or plaques, in the arteries. Click to See in this:-> “SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN” article how the old view – that fat builds up inside artery walls – is no longer tenable.

Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health Fact Sheet:-

*Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer in America. In 2004, about 871,000 adults in the United States died of CVD, accounting for about 36 percent of all deaths.

*Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

*The relative risk of coronary heart disease associated with physical inactivity ranges from 1.5 to 2.4, an increase in risk comparable with that observed for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cigarette smoking.

*Surveys show that 24 percent of Americans 18 or older aren’t active at all.
People with lower incomes and less than a 12th grade education are more likely to be physically inactive.

*In 2005, 33.0 percent of male high school students and 29.0 percent of female high school students attended physical education classes daily.

*In 2005, 43.8 percent of male high school students and 27.8 percent of female high school students met currently recommended levels of physical activity.

*According to the 2004 National Health Interview Survey, the following have a physically inactive lifestyle:

*Among non-Hispanic whites, 18.4 percent of men and 21.6 percent of women
*Among non-Hispanic blacks, 27 percent of men and 33.9 percent of women
*Among Hispanics, 32.5 percent of men and 39.6 percent of women
*Among Asian/Pacific Islanders, 20.4 percent of men and 24.0 percent of women

*Even low-to-moderate intensity activities, when done for as little as 30 minutes a day, bring benefits. These activities include pleasure walking, climbing stairs, gardening, yard work, moderate-to-heavy housework, dancing and home exercise.
More vigorous aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, running, swimming, bicycling, roller skating and jumping rope are best for improving the fitness of the heart and lungs.

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Prevention:
Attempts to prevent cardiovascular disease are more effective when they remove and prevent causes, and they often take the form of modifying risk factors. Some factors, such as gender, age, and family history, cannot be modified. Smoking cessation (or abstinence) is one of the most effective and easily modifiable changes. Regular cardiovascular exercise (aerobic exercise) complements healthy eating habits. According to the American Heart Association, build up of plaque on the arteries (atherosclerosis), partly as a result of high cholesterol and fat diet, is a leading cause for cardiovascular diseases. The combination of healthy diet and exercise is a means to improve serum cholesterol levels and reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases; if not, a physician may prescribe “cholesterol-lowering” drugs, such as the statins. These medications have additional protective benefits aside from their lipoprotein profile improvement. Aspirin may also be prescribed, as it has been shown to decrease the clot formation that may lead to myocardial infections and strokes; it is routinely prescribed for patients with one or more cardiovascular risk factors.

One possible way to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease is keep your total cholesterol below 150. In the Framingham Heart Study, those with total cholesterol below 150 only very rarely got coronary heart disease.

A magnesium deficiency, or lower levels of magnesium, can contribute to heart disease and a healthy diet that contains adequate magnesium may prevent heart disease. Magnesium can be used to enhance long term treatment, so it may be a fag in long term prevention. Excess calcium may contribute to a buildup of calcium in the veins. Excess calcium can cause a magnesium deficiency, and magnesium can reduce excess calcium.

Foods for cardiovascular health
Research has shown that a diet that includes dark chocolate, almonds, fish, wine, fruits, vegetables, and garlic can increase life expectancy and decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Eating oily fish at least twice a week may help reduce the risk of sudden death and arrhythmias. A 2005 review of 97 clinical trials by Studer et al. noted that omega-3 fats gave lower risk ratios than did statins. Olive oil is said to have benefits. Studies of individual heart cells showed that fatty acids blocked excessive sodium and calcium currents in the heart, which could otherwise cause dangerous, unpredictable changes in its rhythm.

Cardiovascular disease and salt:
There is evidence from one large unblinded randomised controlled trial of more than 3000 patients that reducing the amount of sodium in the diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by more than 25%. This re-affirms evidence from the Intersalt study published in 1988, that high levels of dietary salt are harmful;these results were at the time heavily disputed by the Salt Institute (the salt producers’ trade organisati

In the results of a study of 8,700 adults in the US released in 2008 by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, researchers found that the people who ranked in the 25% of the lower sodium intake in their diet were 80% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than the 25% who had the higher intake of sodium in their diet. This particular research implies that low sodium intake is also harmful.

Oral Hygiene and Cardiovascular Disease
Many recent clinical research discuss the direct relation between poor oral hygiene and cardiovascular disease. Oral bacteria and periodontal disease may trigger the inflammation in the coronary arteries and contribute to atherosclerosis (artery hardening and narrowing); same bacteria may determine the clot formation increasing the risk of heart attack or cerebral stroke.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.cure4you.4healthdirect.com/store/
http://www.herbnews.org/cardiovascularhealthdone.htm

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=820

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiovascular_disease