Welcome to October '07 issue of the Preventive Health E-zine.
Wishing you the best of health.
Welcome! Ever heard the expression “health is wealth”? With rising costs of health care, that’s never been truer. But take a moment to stop and find out how you can maximize your ‘body wealth’ by keeping it in tip top condition, and you’ll reap the rewards later – both physically and financially.
The human body is a miracle, nature’s greatest creation. Hundreds of thousands of blood vessels and millions of body cells work tirelessly and with clinical precision, day after day. So well do these work in fact that we tend to take our bodies and health for granted, paying attention only when warning signs become too powerful to ignore. We neglect and de prioritize until the moment when an episode of breathlessness or a sudden tightening of the chest shouts out to us of the dangers of taking our bodies for granted.
If you take a casual survey among people you know, about the ailments they generally complain of, the answers will be monotonously regular – obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and sky high cholesterol levels. These conditions are also known as lifestyle diseases - with some nationalities seeming to be genetically more predisposed to these than others. Hereditary factors also play their part in determining your susceptibility to these ailments, but for the most part these lifestyle diseases are just that – the product of an unhealthy lifestyle. An improper diet, inactivity and stress are the prescription for a lifetime of diabetes pills and hypertension medication.
In this week’s newsletter we take a look at three new research findings – hot off the press! And we look at what they mean for folks like you and me. Read on…
New drugs to halt good Intake in the offing
Clinical research has just established that the deficiency of a chemical called “leptin” causes a person to gorge on food even something as unappetizing as broccoli – and even when he or she is not hungry. Efforts are underway to produce a new drug that will stop us from eating when we are not hungry. Considering how huge the global weight loss market is, one doesn’t doubt the success of such a drug if and when it is introduced onto the market. However, the focus of any attempts to control obesity should be on control and prevention rather than treatment. People don’t need more drugs – they need to be better educated ahout food and the absolute necessity of exercise and good quality nutritional supplements.
Preventive medication might not have positive effects on the elderly
Doctors now say that medication might not be as effective or older people as earlier imagined. They don’t necessarily promise a longer or better quality of life. Drugs such as statins, widely prescribed for heart disease, may in fact cause dementia or even cancer. The tendency to pop pills for every ailment may not be as suitable for older people. Good health for those above the age of 55 depends a great deal on having a balanced healthy diet, adequate exercise, avoiding stress, etc. The benefits of the age old adage of “diet, exercise and low stress” is just as true today as it always was and especially so in the case of senior citizens.
Decreased vitamin B12 levels in diabetics may Increase risk of complications
Patients with diabetes have been found to have decreased levels of Vitamin B12 in their bodies and thiamine and this might be linked to an increase in diabetic complications. According to researchers at the Warwick Medical School, these lowered levels of thiamine may be responsible for vascular complications that plague diabetic patients – stroke, heart disease and kidney damage. Cardiovascular disease are responsible for 80 percent of diabetic fatalities. Researchers are now looking into whether introducing Vitamin B12 in to the body will help reduce the risk of these diseases.
What happens if we don’t take preventive action against chronic degenerative diseases?
Take obesity as a good example. According to the latest survey by the World Health Organization, a whopping one billion people around the world are in some stages of obesity, and approximately 300 million of them can be classified as obese. They attribute this epidemic number to changing food habits, and a modern lifestyle in which people consume more and more saturated fat contents in the form of junk and ready to eat foods. Add to this the fact that opportunities for activity are limited owing to increased automation and a culture of getting things done at the snap of a button (literally!) and you have the perfect recipe for a health disaster.
The greatest tragedy in this sorry state of affairs is the inclusion of the world’s children in the ranks of the overweight. Obesity in children in the age group of 5 to 17 years has increased manifold in the last 20 years, with Australian children having the dubious distinction of being some of the word’s most overweight kids. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the causes for this looming child health disaster. With television, the Playstation and the computer doing their part to mesmerize kids, kids have significantly lowered levels of healthy outdoor activity. The problem is compounded by the dependence on snacks and junk food. In fact American teenagers consume as much as a quarter of their diet in the form of junk food. This unhealthy lifestyle and the resulting obesity tend to carry over into adulthood.
The global medical fraternity is unanimous in its recommendations for good health. The control of obesity lies in changing eating habits and including more physical activities on a daily basis. Avoid junk foods – soda, fries, and chips. Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole-grains, which have more fiber-content. Cut down on sugar. That includes not just sugarless tea, but also candy and chocolates. Make a conscious effort to move away from saturated and animal fats to healthier unsaturated fats. Mediterranean diets that are rich in olive oil, for instance are the reason why people in these regions have some of the fewest incidences of heart disease in the world. Make physical exercise –at least a few hours a week – mandatory.
Physical exercise here doesn’t have to mean hiring a trainer and investing in fancy gym equipment. It could be something as simple as a brisk walk, a quick jog, cycling or hiking with friends. The more you enjoy the activity the better! Special attention should be paid to exercise for kids. Encourage them to participate in a group sport, or make arrangements for them to be part of an out of school team. Drastically cut down TV and Playstation time. Remove all traces of junk food from the house – a home free from useless snacks and sodas is a healthier home.
On a sugar high:
One of the complications most closely associated with obesity is diabetes. Known medically as diabetes mellitus, this is the most common disorder in the world. Diabetes is not a disease in itself but an insufficiency existing in the body.
There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 is known as juvenile diabetes. This form most commonly develops in childhood or adolescence. In this type negligible or no amount of the chemical ”insulin” which plays a vital part in conversion of the food intake into energy, is produced in appropriate levels. Type 1 is comparatively rare. Patients may require injections of insulin on a daily basis to augment the sugar levels of the blood, which may vary from low to high frequency. The pancreas, the insulin producing organ, is seriously affected, impairing its ability to function normally.
Type 2 diabetes is very common among people of 45 years and upwards, accounting for about 90% of the total diabetic population. In this type insulin produced from the glucose in food is not spent as energy. Rather it gets stocked in the blood cells. The onset of Type 2 diabetes is rather slow and external symptoms may not be visible for up to many years.
Yet another fallout of obesity is hypertension or high blood pressure.
Blood is pumped constantly to the body organs and their cells through blood vessels called arteries. The pressure of blood flow for a normal person is defined to be between 120/80, i.e. when the heart contracts and pumps the blood the pressure (systolic) on the high side is 120 and when the heart eases up after pumping (diastolic) it is on the lower side of 80. Age and other factors can cause a slight difference in this reading up to 139/89. So far so good. Once the reading crosses 140/90, however, there is cause for alarm.
The main reasons attributed to causing hypertension are increased tension and stress, particularly with persons above 40. Rid your life of stressful situations as much as possible. Practice stress management techniques – deep breathing, thinking calming thoughts, meditation, long walks etc. Laugh away your stresses. Laughter has been found to have a beneficial and relaxing effect on overwrought anxious people. It brings welcome air into the lungs and sets the mind at rest.
Make dietary changes as suggested by your physician (less salt is often recommended to bring the pressure to acceptable levels). Continuous medication is also essential to control hypertension. Alternative natural cures recommend inclusion of omegas, ginger, and garlic to reduce high blood pressure, particularly in the case of senior citizens.
I ‘heart’ my heart:
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, U.S.A., nearly 7 million persons die every year from heart disease. Out of these, nearly 71% deaths are due to coronary heart disease – that is blood not flowing freely and normally through the blood vessels.
Cardiac arrest due to coronary deficiencies needs emergency medical care, and around 47% of the deaths occur before patients can receive medical attention. The usual risk factors associated with heart disease are – high cholesterol; high blood pressure; diabetes; smoking; lack of physical activity and obesity. Clinical research shows that lowering levels of cholesterol and blood pressure can successfully prevent the progress of heart disease.
Stop Press! News flash on skin cancer:
According to statistics by the National Cancer Institute, U.S.A. 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma type skin cancer were reported in 2007. In the U.K. the figures for skin cancer were about 62,000 in the year 2000 while in Australia latest figures indicate that nearly 80,000 patients are currently receiving treatment for skin cancer.
In all these countries exposure to ultra-violet rays of the sun as well as the popularity of tanning process lights and beds contribute to the onset of this disease. Skin cancer generally tends to be concentrated in the exposed parts of the body like the face, neck, hands and legs. Never step out without sun block, no matter how cloudy the day. The sun’s rays can still find a way through to your skin. Slather up heavy duty while at the beach.
Click on the links for more information on these topics
Degradation of food supply
High quality supplements
Doctors and vitamins
If you want to suggests something for the e-zine then go ahead and
*What's the real meaning of P.S.?
A few of my readers have asked why I called the E-zine for preventive-health-guide P.S.
The obvious answer is that it stands for Post Script; that little notation you put at the end of a letter when you've left something out.
The real P.S. stands for Paradigm Shift.
That is what this whole website and news letter is about - turning the current health system upside down and inside out - focussing on prevention rather than cure.
For more information go to
the health paradigm shift.