Welcome to the 38th edition of Viewpoints, our monthly e-newsletter. Click on In This Issue headlines to read individual articles.
|INTELLIGENCE REPORT: HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE 'COULD AFFLICT HALF OF ALL ADULTS BY 2025'
The stress of modern life coupled with bad diets and lack of exercise could cause as many as half of all adults in Western industrialized countries to develop high blood pressure in less than 20 years' time.
Ever-longer working hours and a growing appetite for fatty, salty fast food may create an explosion in high blood pressure in tens of millions of currently unaffected men and women in the US, putting them at greater risk of developing the cluster of increased risk factors for heart disease called Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X).
Besides high bloood pressure, other crucial risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome include excess weight or obesity, high levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and low levels of HDL "good" cholesterol.
A third of all adults in the West are already thought to have high blood pressure, which doubles the risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke. But the condition, which often goes unnoticed until it is too late, is set to grow much more common, according to a new study.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of death by heart disease and stroke. It can also result in Diabetes and kidney disease, as well as raising the risk of developing dementia. Worldwide, it affects a quarter of adults – about one billion men and women – and kills more than seven million a year.
The good news is that high blood pressure and the other symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome can be lowered to safer levels by adopting lifestyle changes to lose weight. A key underlying factor in excess weight and obesity is Insulin Resistance – an imbalance in blood glucose and insulin which can be reversed by increasing insulin receptor sites on the walls of a person's cells.
Losing weight via a balanced, nutritious diet combined with regular exercise can create more receptor sites to allow insulin to process glucose efficiently for energy. As a result, hormone balance is restored and weight loss can become permanent.
The new report, part-authored by the London School of Economics (LSE), said that unless urgent action is taken, the number of high blood pressure sufferers will soar by 2025.
"If high blood pressure was an infectious disease, we would mobilize against it as militantly as if it was avian influenza or AIDS," says the report. "But this silent condition continues to be grossly underestimated, despite its dangerous and far-reaching health consequences."
One of the report's authors, Dr Panos Kanavos, a lecturer in international health policy at the LSE, said: "Uncontrolled high blood pressure among people in their thirties, forties and fifties will inevitably lead to an increase in cardiovascular disease and stroke that will strike down men and women at the height of their earning power."
He warned this would cause a significant proportion of adults to be transformed from workers who benefit the economy and community into "long-term recipients of social benefits with increased health care needs."
Simple lifestyle changes required to keep blood pressure down include using less salt, cutting back heavily on carbohydrates and eating more vegetables, as well as exercising for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week to boost weight loss.
|NEW RESEARCH: 'GRUMPY OLD MAN' SYNDROME INCREASES RISK OF DIABETES
Elderly men – and women – who are depressed are more likely to become Diabetic than those who are not.
A study suggests depression may play a role in causing the most common form of Diabetes, namely the Type 2 variety.
Writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers said men and women with a high number of symptoms of depression, who make up the stereotypical 'grumpy old man' syndrome, were about 60% more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than people not considered depressed.
Unlike some other studies examining a link between depression and Diabetes, this one looked at the effects not only of single bouts of depression but also of chronic depression and depression that worsened over time. It found an increased risk for Diabetes in each of those scenarios.
Researchers tracked 4,681 men and women in North Carolina, California, Maryland and Pennsylvania ages 65 and older, with an average age of 73, who did not have Diabetes when the study began in 1989.
For 10 years, they were screened annually for 10 symptoms of depression, including those related to mood, irritability, calorie intake, concentration and sleep.
"People who report higher depressive symptoms may not take as good a care of themselves as they should," said lead researcher Mercedes Carnethon of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
"For example, they may be less physically active, and thus more likely to gain weight, which is the primary risk factor for Diabetes," added Dr. Carnethon.
The study statistically accounted for known lifestyle risk factors for Diabetes like being overweight and a sedentary routine – and still found that depression increased the risk of Diabetes.
While the study did not explore possible biological mechanisms, Dr. Carnethon said a high level of the stress hormone cortisol in depressed people may be the reason for the link to Diabetes.
Growing throughout the world, Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in the production or action of insulin, which enables glucose to enter the body's cells efficiently for use as energy.
High cortisol levels, the study said, may cut insulin sensitivity and raise fat deposits around the waist.
"Diabetes not only causes heart disease but is strongly related to stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputations," said Dr. Carnethon.
Closely tied to excess weight and obesity, Type 2 Diabetes accounts for about 95% of all cases.
Before the onset of Type 2, however, most people develop reversible Pre-Diabetes. This is a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated beyond normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
Left unchecked, Pre-Diabetes may lead to the Type 2 variety, which can only be managed for the rest of a person's life. Many Diabetics require daily injections of insulin.
|CONSULT DR. MARY: ARE SOME WOMEN MORE PRONE TO PCOS AFTER EXPOSURE TO ANDROGENS IN THE WOMB?|
Yes, it seems they are. Fascinating research out this month confirms that some of the conditions women experience later in life can occur because of exposure before they were even born.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity confirmed that exposure to testosterone in utero caused significant and measurable metabolic changes consistent with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in monkeys. (1)
Researchers found that early gestation exposure to androgens (the male hormone testosterone) results in the hormone imbalance called Insulin Resistance, as well as impaired pancreatic beta cell function and Type 2 Diabetes. Late gestation exposure results in insulin sensitivity that declines with increasing weight, while early gestation exposure to androgens induces visceral-fat-dependent hyperinsulinemia.
If a woman's mother has PCOS and if she had elevated androgens during her pregnancy, her daughter's chances of developing PCOS could very well be higher because of pre-natal exposure to these hormone levels.
This research doesn't definitively state that PCOS is often hereditary or whether a special gene is a major contributing factor. But it does make clearer that the pre-natal environment is a critical influence on health throughout our lives.
The relationship between the timing of pre-natal androgen exposure can explain how and where a woman stores her fat. Depending on where the fat is, it can also signal how she handles her insulin.
The earlier she is exposed to androgens in the gestational period, the more likely she will struggle with elevated insulin levels in later life. Perhaps this also explains how a woman who eats a healthy, lower carbohydrate diet can still struggle with elevated insulin.
As medicine evolves in its exploration of PCOS, women need to be careful about their hormone levels while pregnant in order to reduce their daughter's potential for PCOS during her lifetime.
(1) Bruns, CM, Baum, ST, Colman RJ, Dumesic, DA, Eisner, JR, Jensen, MD, Whigham, LD, Abbott, DH. Prenatal androgen excess negatively impacts body fat distribution in a nonhuman primate model of polycystic ovary syndrome.
Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 May 1
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|INSULITE LIFESTYLE TIPS: SIMPLE EXERCISES CAN HELP YOU TO BEAT STRESS|
As our top story this month reports, stress is a major factor in raising blood pressure, which, in turn, can have a deadly effect upon your heart.
So it's very important to avoid stress, whether mental or physical. It's relatively easy to fight back against the latter variety with some simple exercises that you can do virtually anywhere.
The best way to beat physical stress to stop it affecting parts of your body like the neck, shoulders and back.
First of all, take long, deep breaths and then stretch your arms forward, pointing your elbows straight ahead. Then put your hands on opposite shoulders as if you're giving yourself a big hug. Repeat this exercise several times for three to five second to help stretch your back.
Now slow your breathing by inhaling and exhaling to the count of three and then bend your head to your right shoulder and hold it for a few seconds before gently moving it to the left shoulder. Remember to breathe slowly and aim for five to ten head rolls.
Then roll your shoulders forward and back. Alternate from one shoulder to the other or try any combination that you find relaxing. Remember to squeeze your shoulder blades together from time to time.
Therapists say that 80% of neck and shoulder pain is caused by bad posture. So try these exercises and, as well as beating stress, you could be on your way to experiencing better posture and less pain.
Have You Been Diagnosed with PCOS?|
If You Have, We're Here to Help You Restore Your Health
Insulite Laboratories is committed to giving you a better understanding of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and a common underlying cause of the condition, namely Insulin Resistance-linked excess weight or obesity.
So we are very pleased to offer the Insulite PCOS System, which has been scientifically-formulated to help reverse Insulin Resistance, an imbalance of blood glucose and insulin.
PCOS is a major cause of female infertility, as well as irregular periods and excessive bleeding, obesity, skin conditions like acne and brown patches, excess body hair, female baldness and reduced sex drive.
The Insulite PCOS System includes a scientifically-designed combination of nutrients which are primarily designed to increase the number of insulin receptors on the surface of each cell.
As a result, cells can absorb blood glucose through the receptor sites more efficiently for conversion to energy, thereby reducing levels of circulating glucose. A decrease in elevated blood glucose lowers the secretion of insulin, which are both major underlying causes of excess weight gain and obesity.
When insulin and glucose are in balance, weight loss is facilitated and a related disease like PCOS can be reversed.
Please go to www.pcos.insulitelabs.com
for more details.
A MONTHLY MESSAGE FROM INSULITE LABORATORIES
We at Insulite Laboratories are not surprised that weight gain among young people is an ever-growing concern of parents.
New figures show that some 25 million kids in the U.S. alone are either overweight or on the brink of becoming so – the highest figure recorded to date.
What is so worrying is the extra pounds gained as a child or adolescent increase the chance of being obese as an adult, resulting in a much greater risk of prematurely developing such conditions as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and cancer.
Insulite Laboratories believes that a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise are the keys to losing weight, no matter what age you are.
We are dedicated to helping everyone in any way we can to enjoy better health.
"I had a seemingly normal menstrual cycle most of my life and never suspected any reproductive problems. But over the years I diagnosed myself as having chronic fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia, depression and sugar addiction. It was not until I was married and trying, at 30, to conceive that the pieces finally came together.
"I knew from the beginning something was wrong; my cycle was so irregular and I was worried. After about 6 months, my general practitioner said there was nothing to worry about since we hadn't been trying for a year; she brushed my concerns off. I decided to pursue two different infertility specialists, who determined through tests and ultrasounds that I had PCOS.
"I immediately researched this condition online and in books. I felt hopeful, as I wasn't considered a severe case. But I also realized that having a baby never felt so important and scary. The risk of miscarriage, as well as the challenge of conceiving at all was heartbreaking.
"I decided to take the aggressive, medical route. We eventually conceived Finley with medical intervention and countless months of planning, timing, temperature-taking, wishing, hoping and crying.
"Following my first pregnancy and birth I found out about a naturopathic doctor and PCOS specialist, Dr. Mary Shackelton. I was eager to curb my terrible sugar habits and cravings, as well as reduce the accumulated fat in my midsection.
"After I stopped breastfeeding I began the Insulite PCOS System following consultations with Dr. Shackelton. I couldn't believe that within a week I was absolutely NOT craving sugar everyday, I felt more balanced and less frenetic about my sugar habits. Without even trying, it felt absolutely effortless; I lost three pounds in less than a month. I had never felt more vibrant and confident about my ability to choose healthy foods and snacks. I was not moody, and I felt more energetic, happy.
"The Insulite PCOS System involves several herbal supplements taken at different times throughout the day, plus nutrition and exercise. With the amazing and prompt results, I was completely motivated to stick with the program.
"I felt blessed to have my first daughter, Finley, and my husband and I knew that at some point we wanted to have another child. But knowing the great work it would take with my PCOS and infertility, we would have to plan extensively. I really did not want to have to rely on medications again but did not think there was another option.
"I was informed by Dr. Shackelton that over time with the proper diet, exercise and supplements, I could actually reverse my PCOS!!!! What came as a complete and utter shock was the news that I was PREGNANT only nine months after I had Finley.
"We call her the miracle baby. How could we have worked so hard, planned, medicated painstakingly with our first and out of the blue, I was pregnant just two months after beginning the Insulite PCOS System with another baby!
"Channing is amazing. It's everything I could have ever dreamed of, to be spontaneously enraptured in love and create this gift of life. I never thought I'd get that opportunity, having learned of my condition. Most women with PCOS do not get that gift. It's a difficult, scary, frustrating process.
"What's more, this time, because my body responded so well to Insulite, Dr. Shackelton monitored my pregnancy with a natural hormone cream to support the pregnancy and reduce the risk of miscarriage, common with PCOS. This felt MUCH better to me than having to take a drug, called metformin (used commonly to treat Diabetes), that I had to use during my first pregnancy, under an OB/GYN and fertility specialist's direction.
"During my second pregnancy I did not crave and indulge in ice cream, cakes, candy and high sugar cereals and breads like I did during my first pregnancy. I know that the Insulite PCOS System had an incredible impact on my well being, physically, emotionally and mentally.
"It's been life-changing. I want Dr. Shackelton to be recognized for her special work, as well as to give hope to other women suffering from PCOS. There are alternatives to traditional/allopathic and drug interventions. Dr. Shackelton treats the whole person and the whole syndrome. I am so grateful and I want others to benefit as I have."