Benefits Of Drinking Water: Tips And Tricks To Love Drinking Water

February 19, 2012 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE, Video: Health Tips for Women

5 Tips to Improve Your Health & Help Your Doctor, Holistic Natural Medicine

July 20, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=Yvozqho71i0%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

5 Tips to Improve Your Health & Help Your Doctor, Holistic Natural Medicine Desiree Scorcelletti, A holistic health educator discusses the importance of taking responsibility for our own health instead of relying completely on doctors and other medical professionals. The danger of blindly trusting your doctor to just fix you or expecting him to have a magic pill to solve every issue for every symptom. These 5 tips are a great start to taking control of and improving your health. Although it may seem intimidating, you can improve your condition and meet your doctor half-way so you can really improve your health. Find out how a holistic approach to health care and wellness might be beneficial. This self care technique is designed help reduce toxins and improve nutrition to aid in man’s and woman’s health. Reducing toxins from your diet and taking a holistic approach can reduce health risks and disease. Related Videos: Holistic Health Tips, Your Body As A Garden; Natural Medicine For Wellness www.youtube.com Is Your Doctor Duping You? Can You Trust Your Doctor? Holistic Natural Medicine www.youtube.com This video was produced by Psychetruth www.youtube.com www.twitter.com www.facebook.com www.myspace.com © Copyright 2011 Target Public Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. tips improve health help doctor holistic your body natural medicine wellness desiree scorcelletti happy more healthy nutrition fitness symptom pain ache self treatment diy woman’s man’s heart howto “how to” free

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Secret of cardiovascular benefits of alcohol unravelled

January 13, 2011 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

At least in southern Europe, it is believed, that a glass of wine a day, keeps the doctor away.  Wine is an integral part of the supposedly healthy Mediterranean diet. Many studies also support this statement when it comes to cardiovascular health.  Population studies have shown that light to moderate drinkers have 20 to 40 percent lower heart disease and cardiac-related death compared to people who don’t drink. The secret has been unraveled.

Scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered that the molecule Notch may be the reason for alcohol’s “protective” properites.  They found that drinking alcohol moderately, say one to three drinks per day, inhibits Notch, which previous research has shown, influences vascular smooth muscle cell development. The growth and movement of smooth muscle cells in blood vessels can lead to the hardening and narrowing of arteries, known as atherosclerosis, or in the other case, the re-narrowing of arteries, or restenosis.  Atherosclerosis and restenosis are risk factors for heart attack and stroke. 

The researchers found in mice and humans that “regular, limited amounts of alcohol decreased Notch, which in turn decreased the production and growth of smooth muscle cells, leaving vessels open and relatively free of blockages or build-up – a desirable state for a healthy heart.

In the study, when human smooth muscle cells were treated with moderate levels of alcohol,  the expression of the Notch 1 receptor significantly decreased and this inhibited Notch signaling, resulting to decreased growth of smooth muscle cells. Artificially switching the Notch pathway in these cells reversed the inhibitory effect of moderate alcohol on smooth muscle cell growth.   Reduced vessel thickening was also observed in a group of mice which received alcohol in a mouse model of vessel remodeling (which occurs when vessels change their shapes in response to injury). 

By identifying Notch as the signalling pathway regulated by alcohol, the benefits of moderate drinking to cardiovascular diseases were finally identified at a molecular level.  The next step is to find out how alcohol inhibits Notch in smooth muscle cells and this is going to be a really challenging task, according to the Notch experts. 

Meanwhile, those with coronary diseases can enjoy and raise a glass.  Cheers!

Statins and diabetes

February 18, 2010 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Some antidiabetes drugs are said to increase risk for cardiovascular disease. Can it also be true the other way around? That is what the JUPITER (short for Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention: An Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin) study reported – that some statins may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs commonly prescribed for those who are a t risk for cardiovascular events.

A more recent meta-analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow showed that indeed, statin users may be at risk for developing diabetes mellitus. However, it should be emphasized that the increase in risk is very slight, and doesn’t really outweigh the benefits of statins.

According to study investigator Dr David Preiss

“We found that there was indeed a risk of diabetes, about 9%, but it isn’t a worrying increase as had been suggested by other studies. Then again, it wasn’t a completely flat result. We did see something. Our message would be that people on statins should be those we think are at moderate to high cardiovascular risk in the future. If you look at that group of patients, then what we really want to see come out of the study is a reassuring message, because there is little question that the protective effects in reducing heart attacks, strokes, and so on heavily outweigh this risk of developing diabetes.”

Health experts who were not part of the study are appreciative of how the authors carefully worded their findings so as not to create panic among statin users. They are that the media would the same and be objective about what they report. Statins are the bestsellers of many pharmaceutical firms so it’s no wonder that statin-bashing is a favorite pastime of many.

According to Dr Richard Karas of Tufts Medical Center in Boston who was involved in the meta-analysis study:

“This is another opportunity for the media to really scare the pants off people, and I think their findings are very carefully worded—there is a statistically significant but slight increase in the risk of diabetes. It’s a provocative finding, but it’s also of modest strength because it’s information culled from studies not designed to answer this question.”

Statins are drugs designed to lower LDL-cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk for heart attacks and stroke. The majority of experts agree that the benefits of statins exceed the slight risk of diabetes. Clinicians are advised not to drastically change clinical practice based on these findings alone.

Exercise benefits prostate cancer patients

February 3, 2010 by  
Filed under CANCER

In 2009, 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in the US. In the same year, 27,360 men died from the disease, according the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Next to lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second cause of cancer mortality in men.

NCI defines prostate cancer as

“…cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum).”

Like most cancer treatments, treatments for prostate cancer bring some side effects, some of them quite severe. Which is why the motivation for physical movement is rather low among cancer patients before and after treatment. A recent study, however, indicates that even a little bit of exercise can go a long way in improving your prognosis.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health followed up 2,686 patients with prostate cancer who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study which spanned more than two decades (1986-2008). The patients’ physical activity was assessed before and after cancer treatment.

The results of the study showed that:

  • Engaging in vigorous exercise such as jogging, biking, swimming, or playing tennis for 30 minutes a week lowers the risk of death from any cause by 35%.
  • Walking 4 or more hours a week lowers the risk by 23%.
  • Power walking (brisk walk for 90 minutes a day) decreases the risk by 51%.

According to lead author Dr.  Stacey A. Kenfield, epidemiology research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“We saw benefits at very attainable levels of activity. The results suggest that men with prostate cancer should do some physical activity for their overall health…How these factors may work together to affect prostate cancer biologically is still being studied. For now, our data indicate that for prostate cancer survivors, a moderate amount of regular exercise may improve overall survival, while 5 or more hours per week of vigorous exercise may decrease the death rate due to prostate cancer specifically.

The study results showed that the more intensive and the longer the duration of the physical activity, the greater are the benefits for the cancer patients. Aside from improving the survival rate, it also helps in reducing the long-lasting side effects of cancer treatment such as chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression. It improves cardiovascular health, musculoskeletal health, and overall well-being.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Breastfeeding is good for Mommy’s heart

April 28, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

breastfeedingBreastfeeding is highly beneficial for the baby. However, there is also a growing body of evidence that indicates breastfeeding is beneficial to the mom, too. Lactation, for example, has been strongly linked to reduction of risks for breast and cervical cancer. This latest analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) data shows that breastfeeding also reduces a woman’s risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, hyperlipidemia, and insulin-resistant diabetes at postmenopausal period. This is based on a large scale study of 139, 681 women with an average age of 63 years.

According to lead researcher Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Healthcare, PA,

“We’ve known for years that breast-feeding is important for babies’ health; we now know that it is important for mothers’ health as well.”

The benefits of breastfeeding were observable in any woman with at least six months’ cumulative breastfeeding time. Women with a lifetime history of 12 months or more lactation are 10% to 15% less likely to develop CVD than those who never breastfed. A previous study has shown that a lifetime breastfeeding time of two years or more significantly reduced risks for insulin-resistant diabetes (14% to 15%) and incident myocardial infarction (23%).

What is interesting is the fact that the women who breastfed did not necessarily have a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-breastfeeding women. High BMI is an indicator of excess weight or obesity and obesity is a risk factor for CVD. In this case however, weight did not seem to matter.

The cardioprotective mechanism of breastfeeding is not clearly understood. It has always been thought that breastfeeding women tend to lose pregnant fat reserves faster than non-breastfeeding women. The results here indicate that it goes far more than just losing fat reserves. It is most likely that hormonal effects also play a role, include those of the hormone oxytocin, in stabilizing cardiovascular health. Oxytocin has anti-stress, probonding effects that contribute to the well-being of the mother. The study presents some interesting insight into the protective effects of breastfeeding, not only for the baby but for the mom.

According to an editorial by Dr Edward R Newton, an OB-Gyne at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

“The findings are dramatic and persuasive…A strong benefit of prolonged breast-feeding is still observed. It is imperative that healthcare providers and our society support and educate women concerning the maternal benefits of prolonged breast-feeding as well as the well-documented benefits of breast-feeding for the child.”

 

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Screening for prostate cancer: the pros and the cons

March 23, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

Resource post for March

yes_no_3In almost all diseases, screening and early detection is the key to management and cure. What used to be fatal diagnoses of late stage breast and cervical cancer have now become uncommon as more and more cases are detected early by regular screening.

In men, prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer mortality. The Institute for Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK gives us the following statistics:

As many as 80% of men develop prostate cancer during their lifetime, but in most cases it does not cause any ill health. Around 6% of men experience symptoms of the disease, while 3% of men die of prostate cancer.

Screening for prostate cancer is done in two ways, namely:

PSA test. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is protein biomarker produced by prostate cells. PSA is normally present in blood in low amounts. Cancerous (malignablood-testnt) prostate cells are expected to produce more PSA than noncancerous cells, leading to elevated PSA levels in the blood. PSA testing consists mainly of testing for levels of the antigen in a blood sample. If PSA levels are found to be high, other tests, including a prostate biopsy may be deemed necessary. Currently, the American Urologic Association, the American Cancer Society, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend that all men 50 years and older should have annual PSA tests. Men with high risk profiles (e.g. of African American heritage, family history of prostate cancer) are advised to get tested starting at the age of 40.

Digital rectal examination. This examination is performed by a doctor by inserting a lubricated finger through the rectum. Through the walls of the rectum, the doctor can feel for structural abnormalities (bumps, growths, enlargement) in the prostate.

The usefulness of the PSA test in screening for prostate cancer has always been a subject of controversy. Some studies have produced inconclusive results regarding its benefits as well as its side effects. Potential risks include, unnecessary invasive testing (biopsy), and unnecessary treatment with serious side effects, and unnecessary expense. However, 95% of male urologists and 78% of male primary care clinicians admit to having had a PSA test themselves. PSA gives the potential benefits of catching cancer at its early stages, with better prognosis.

In the March issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, results of two studies on PSA screening were presented: one study conducted in the US, and one study conducted in Europe. Unfortunately, instead of resolving the controversy once and for all, the two studies actually produced contradicting results.

The American study:

Mortality Results from a Randomized Prostate-Cancer Screening Trial
This study is part of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. The study looked at 76,693 men from 1993 to 2001. doubt2About 50% of the participants had PSA screening every year for 6 years and digital rectal examination for 4 years. The other half did not undergo screening for prostate cancer. The PLCO results showed that after 7 to 10 years the incidence of prostate cancer was 116 per 10,000 person-years in the screening group and 95 in the control group. The incidence of death per 10,000 person-years was 2.0 (50 deaths) in the screening group and 1.7 (44 deaths) in the control group. Statistically speaking, there was no difference in cancer incidence and mortality between the screened group and the unscreened group.

The European study:

Screening and Prostate-Cancer Mortality in a Randomized European Study
The European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) started in the 1990s and followed up 182,000 men aged between 50 and 74 years old for about 12 years. The study had also two groups. In one group, PSA screening way conducted on average, once a year. The other group did not undergo PSA screening. The study was conducted in 8 European countries, namely Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland The results of the study showed that

PSA-based screening reduced the rate of death from prostate cancer by 20% but was associated with a high risk of overdiagnosis

Both studies will now look into the cost effectiveness and overall quality of life of the PSA testing. Although PSA testing itself is non-invasive, the subsequent confirmatory tests such as biopsy can be invasive and present with risks.

About PSA testing

Many expertbalance2s observe that PSA testing is not specific enough and has a 30% rate of false positives – e.g. cancers are non-aggressive and are indolent or slow-growing. It is sometimes difficult to decide which really cancer needs treatment which one doesn’t. While many would opt to be on the safe side and go for early treatment, the treatment comes with side effects such as impotence and incontinence.

A more conservative form of prostate cancer monitoring is called “Active Surveillance which aims to individualise the management of early prostate cancer by selecting only those men with significant cancers for curative treatment… Patients on active surveillance are closely monitored using PSA blood tests and repeat prostate biopsies. The choice between continued observation and curative treatment is based on evidence of disease progression during this monitoring.

It seems that prostate cancer screening by PSA testing have its pros and cons. In the end, it is always a question whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

The crisis of the uninsured: the whole community suffers

March 10, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

money_headacheThe state of the health care system of the US has always been a subject of great controversy. The recent approval of the Children´s Health Insurance Bill by President Obama which gives health care access to all American children as well as children of legal immigrants was met with mixed reactions. Its proponents were pleased and hope that this is the first step in their goal of having health coverage for everyone. Those against the bill, on the other hand, the bill too closely resembles “socialized medicine” or “government-run health care for every one” that can easily be abused and can cost taxpayers a lot of money.

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that “having health insurance is essential for people’s health and well-being”. However, the report continues to provide troubling statistics about health insurance coverage in the US, namely:

  • The number of people who have health insurance is decreasing.
  • Employment-sponsored coverage, which is the main source of insurance coverage for Americans, is also dropping due to increasing unemployment and the current economic crisis.
  • In 2007, almost 10% of American children and 20% of non-elderly adults had no health insurance.
  • In a separate report by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) the number of children enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has increased by 4% in 2008, probably due to the current economic crisis.

The IOM report states that there is an urgent need for government intervention to prevent further decline of health insurance coverage among Americans.

The report gives evidence that the problems of the uninsured can spill over to the whole community whereas coverage for everyone benefits everyone, not only the needy. This was demonstrated by comparing the health status of people before and after enrolment in Medicare, Medicaid, and the SCHIP.

What are the consequences of lack of insurance coverage?

  • Adults without coverage are much less likely to receive preventive and preemptive care that can reduce preventable diseases and premature death.
  • Thise with underlying and chronic conditions delay or forgo check ups and are less likely to comply with follow-up treatments.
  • Early screening and detection are less likely among the uninsured whereas diagnosis of late-stage cancers and acute conditions are more likely.
  • Those hospitalized with serious conditions are also more likely to suffer poorer outcomes and premature death, and have poorer quality of life.

These problems can affect those with health insurance as well.

Based on the available evidence, the committee concluded that when a community has a high rate of uninsurance, the financial impact on health care providers may be large enough to affect the availability, quality, and cost of local services for everyone, even people who have insurance.  For example, survey data show that privately insured, working-age adults in areas with higher uninsurance rates are less likely to report having a place to go for care when sick, getting a checkup or routine preventive care, and seeing a specialist when needed.  They are also less likely to be satisfied with their choice of physicians or to trust their doctors’ decisions.

However, there is also evidence obtaining coverage lessens or reverses many of these harmful effects. As an example, insurance coverage for children can have the following benefits:

Children are more likely to gain access to a regular source of care, immunizations and checkups, needed medications, asthma treatment, and basic dental services. Serious childhood health problems are more likely to be identified early, and those with special needs are more likely to have access to specialists. Insured children experience fewer hospitalizations and improved asthma outcomes, and they miss fewer days of school.” In the process, outbreaks of infectious diseases and disruption of school schedules are reduced.

Currently, Americans without health insurance coverage are taken care of by the so-called “safety-net services such as charity care and emergency departments.” The IOM report, however, indicates that these “safety nets” are not enough and is urging the current US administration to act urgently and solve the “crisis of the uninsured.”

Music for your heart and health

December 1, 2008 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

 

The brain plays a very important role in cardiovascular health. And whatever soothes the brain is good for the heart. Like music.

Music has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on people, from fussy babies to stressed professionals. But how does it really work?

Researchers from the University of Maryland in Baltimore demonstrated for the first time the positive effects of the positive emotions triggered by music on endothelial function.

“We believe that the brain plays a pivotal role in vascular health. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are very important, but some individuals lacking these risk factors develop significant heart disease, and that may be partly related to their response to stress… If music can evoke positive emotions to counteract negative stresses of everyday life, it could have a very important influence on vascular health. It should be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, just as we might incorporate other healthy habits,”

according to lead researcher and author Dr Michael Miller.

The study involved 10 healthy, non-smoking adults (7 men, 3 women) with the average age of 36 years. Endothelial function was measured as “brachial-artery-flow-mediated dilation” – indicated by measurements of blood flow in the upper arm. The assessments were done while the study participants were exposed to following stimuli:

  • Music that triggered positive emotions
  • Music that triggered anxiety
  • A funny video clip
  • A relaxation tape

The results are as follows:

The authors think that compounds called endorphins may play a role in this “mind-heart” connection. When released from the brain, endorphin-like compounds have a direct effect on the vascular system.

In a previous study by researchers fromOhio State University, classical music was observed to be beneficial for cardiac rehabilitation.

Listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while on the treadmill, patients had a significant 3% higher scores on postexercise verbal fluency. Howevever, the music has no effect on depression, anxiety, or hemodynamic parameters.

Mental and emotional stress in out everyday life leads to vasoconstriction. These studies show that music cna actually counteract this. Although the effect of music on people is thought to be short-lived – about 30 minutes, it is though that when used on a regularly basis, it can have some cumulative benefit that may prove to be a strong preventive measure against cardiovascular disease.

So what more can we ask? As a preventive therapy, music is cheap, makes us happy, and comes with no side effects!

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.