Heart Disease Prevention Should Start During Childhood



A new study shows a heart-healthy lifestyle during childhood may prevent heart disease later in life.


 

 

HEART DISEASE PREVENTION SHOULD START DURING CHILDHOOD

Heart disease remains the most common cause of death in the United States, and throughout much of the world.

While most of us associate the development of cardiovascular disease with the bad diet and lifestyle habits that we adopt during adulthood, there is plenty of evidence showing that the underlying cause of coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis (also known as “hardening of the arteries”) may actually begin during childhood. Now, a newly published prospective clinical research study of adolescents in Finland reveals that a heart-healthy lifestyle, if adopted during childhood, can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis much earlier in life than was previously thought possible.  This study is published in the current issue of the journal Circulation.

Beginning in 1990, more than 1,000 infants were enrolled in this long-term prospective clinical study. These young research volunteers, who were 7 months of age when they entered into this research study, were randomly divided into two groups. The “intervention” group’s parents were intensively educated about heart-healthy diet and lifestyle factors, while the parents of the control group children received only the standard health information typically provided by pediatricians. These two groups of children were then closely followed through childhood, and into adolescence. A total of 7 cardiovascular health lifestyle factors were monitored throughout this research study. At ages 15, 17 and 19, the teenagers participating in this public health study underwent ultrasound measurements of the aorta (the largest artery in the body) to assess for thickening of the wall of this artery, which is a sign of early atherosclerosis. Ultrasound was also used to assess the elasticity of the aorta, which is reduced even at the earliest stages of atherosclerosis.

The lifestyle factors that were closely monitored during this prospective study included food choices, cholesterol levels in the blood, obesity levels, smoking, and exercise levels.

The results of this study confirmed the findings of earlier research studies that atherosclerosis, which leads to coronary artery (heart) disease does, indeed, begin early in life. The teenagers who followed only a few (or none) of the heart-healthy lifestyle recommendations throughout childhood were 78 percent more likely to have evidence, by ultrasound, of early atherosclerosis of the aorta when compared to the teens who had followed most of the recommended heart-healthy lifestyle strategies!

The findings of this long-term prospective randomized clinical research study are enormously important, as they show that failing to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle during childhood leads to a huge increase in the incidence of early atherosclerosis which, in turn, would be expected to progress to symptoms of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. As with prior clinical research studies, this study confirms that physical activity levels, diet, body weight, exposure to tobacco smoke, and other modifiable lifestyle factors play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, even during childhood. Therefore, based upon this important study’s findings, it appears that it really is never too soon to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle!Parents who wish to minimize the future risk of cardiovascular disease in their children should, therefore, take note of the findings of this innovative research study, even during the earliest years of their children’s lives.

 

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle not only reduces your risk of dying from cancer, but also reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease at the same time.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.


 

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Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

 

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Self-Help Books Improve Depression

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Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

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Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed



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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Poverty and Low Educational Levels Increase Colorectal Cancer Risk






 

A new study finds that diet and lifestyle choices among the poor account for a high percentage of colorectal cancer cases in that population.


 

 

POVERTY AND LOW EDUCATIONAL LEVELS INCREASE COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the risk of developing GI tract cancers, including colorectal cancer, is heavily influenced by diet and other modifiable lifestyle factors.

Colorectal cancer tends to be more common in people at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, and a number of explanations for this observation have been proposed, although the actual reasons for this finding have not been clear.  Now, a newly published update of the enormous National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study sheds important light on the disparity in colorectal cancer incidence observed between people at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum and those at the higher rungs.  This ongoing prospective public health study is one of the largest such studies in the world, having enrolled more than 506,000 patient volunteers thus far.  This study update appears in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

During the course of this huge ongoing public health study, thus far, 7,676 patient volunteers have developed colorectal cancer.

All of the patient volunteers in this gigantic clinical research study were assessed for the following dietary and lifestyle factors known to increase colorectal cancer risk: lack of physical activity (sedentary lifestyle), unhealthy fat- and meat-rich diets, smoking, and obesity.  When these lifestyle-associated risk factors for colorectal cancer were assessed in patient volunteers at various socioeconomic levels, a clear pattern emerged.  Among patient volunteers with less formal education and in lower income brackets, there was a significantly higher likelihood of engaging in dietary and lifestyle habits known to increase colorectal cancer risk.  Indeed, a striking 44 percent of the colorectal cancer cases that developed during the course of this research study appeared to be associated with high-risk diets and lifestyles among patient volunteers who reported lower levels of formal education.  Similarly, 36 percent of the colon cancer cases that developed during the course of this study were associated with high-risk diet and lifestyle factors among patient volunteers reporting lower income levels.

In view of the huge number of patient volunteers participating within this study, the findings presented above are highly likely to accurately reflect a true cause-and-effect relationship, rather than potentially coincidental “associations.”  While it has long been known that folks at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum tend to engage in riskier dietary and lifestyle behaviors than the general population, the eye-opening findings of this study indicate that the “excess” colorectal cancer risk among people with lower education and income levels is strikingly linked to modifiable dietary and lifestyle factors known to increase colorectal cancer risk (as well as other cancer and serious non-cancer illnesses, I might add).  As is the case with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and other diet and lifestyle associated chronic illnesses, colorectal cancer disproportionately affects the poor in our society.  Thus, the disturbing findings of this public health study indicate that more must be done to educate those at greatest risk for colorectal cancer (and other serious cancer and non-cancer diet and lifestyle associated illnesses) regarding healthier diet and lifestyle choices.


A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race is now available in both printed and digital formats from all major bookstores.  Get your copy now, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle now!


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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Obesity Linked to Deadly Form of Esophagus and Upper Stomach Cancer



 

A large new study reveals that obesity around the stomach area sharply increases the risk of cancer of the esophagus and upper stomach.


 

OBESITY LINKED TO DEADLY FORM OF ESOPHAGUS AND UPPER STOMACH CANCER

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, obesity remains an underappreciated risk factor for cancer, including some of the most deadly forms of cancer.  As I also specifically discuss in my book, the rising incidence of a formerly rare form of cancer, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and the gastroesophageal junction (the area where the esophagus and stomach join together), has been directly linked to steadily increasing levels of obesity in the United States and around the world by previous studies.  Now, newly reported data from a huge prospective public health study, the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) study, provides further insight into the serious impact of obesity on the risk of these formerly rare types of cancer.  This update of the NIH-AARP study appears in the current issue of the journal Gut.

The massive NIH-AARP study currently includes a whopping 218,854 volunteers, making it one of the largest ongoing prospective public health studies in the world.  Because of the enormous size of this clinical study, its findings are very likely to be highly significant.

During the course of this public health study so far, 253 cases of esophageal adenocarcinoma and 191 cases of upper stomach (gastroesophageal junction) adenocarcinoma have been diagnosed among the study’s volunteers.  After analyzing the known risk factors (including obesity) for esophageal and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma in this huge group of research study volunteers, obesity, by itself, was found to double the risk of developing this deadly form of cancer.  Similarly, obesity, alone, nearly quadrupled the risk of gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma.  Moreover, among study volunteers with normal body weight, but with increased fat in the abdominal area, esophageal adenocarcinoma was nearly two times more likely when compared to normal-weight adults without abdominal obesity.

The findings of this new study reinforce the conclusions of similar, earlier studies that I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, and confirm that obesity, and especially obesity in the abdominal area, significantly increases the risk of these two formerly uncommon (and highly lethal) types of cancer.

At the present time, nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese, and this still growing epidemic of increasing body weight shows no signs of slowing down.  As I discuss in my bestselling book, even conservative evidence-based estimates suggest that at least 15 percent of all cancer cases are directly linked to obesity, including several of the most dangerous forms of cancer.  If the incidence of obesity does indeed continue to rise from its already very high current level, obesity could, in time, overtake all other known modifiable risk factors for cancer.

If you are overweight or obese, please see your doctor about starting a sensible weight loss program, including healthy dieting and physical exercise.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 





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Even Modest Levels of Physical Activity Decrease Breast Cancer Risk






 

New research suggests that only 10 to 19 hours of low-level physical activity per week may cut breast cancer risk by 30%.


 

EVEN MODEST LEVELS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DECREASE BREAST CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, obesity and decreased levels of physical activity have both been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer.  Among all major types of cancer, the links between excessive body weight and sedentary lifestyle are arguably the strongest for breast cancer, the second greatest cancer killer of women.

I have written extensively about physical activity, obesity, diet and other modifiable lifestyle risk factors as they pertain to cancer risk.  Now, a newly published clinical research study in the journal Cancer adds further important information regarding breast cancer risk related to physical activity levels and obesity.

The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project assessed 1,504 women with breast cancer and 1,555 women without breast cancer.  Specific factors that were evaluated in this study included levels of physical activity, weight gain, and body size.  The women involved in this public health study ranged from 20 to 98 years of age.

The findings of this study offer women very important information regarding the amount and frequency of physical activity necessary to significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Based upon the findings of this important study, moderate physical activity, when performed 10 to 19 hours per week, was associated with a 30 percent reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer among adult women.  It is important to note that even relatively modest levels of physical activity still appeared to provide this same level of breast cancer risk reduction benefit, including walking, jogging, riding a bicycle, and other relatively non-strenuous sports-related activities.  Taking the stairs instead of using elevators, and even actively working in one’s garden, also appeared to significantly reduce breast cancer risk.

There is an important caveat to this good news, however.  Gaining significant weight after menopause appeared to abolish the cancer risk reduction benefit of moderate physical activity, even among women who reported high levels of physical activity.  (Obesity is a well known risk factor for breast cancer, particularly when excess weight is gained after the onset of menopause.  Obesity is also known to increase the risk of cancer recurrence in women previously diagnosed with breast cancer.)

While the findings of this important study linking breast cancer risk with obesity and low levels of physical activity are not new, this study does provide women with new, specific physical activity recommendations with which to lower their risk of developing breast cancer.  Moreover, women do not have to become professional athletes in order to cut their breast cancer risk by nearly one-third, based upon the findings of this clinical study.  Instead, just 10 to 19 hours of relatively modest physical activity per week may be enough to significantly decrease one’s risk of developing breast cancer!


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author



 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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Obese Fathers (Not Obese Mothers) Increase Their Children’s Risk of Obesity






A new study finds that paternal obesity significantly increases the risk of obesity in children, but not maternal obesity.


 

 

OBESE FATHERS (NOT OBESE MOTHERS) INCREASE THEIR CHILDREN’S RISK OF OBESITY

The incidence of obesity has skyrocketed over the past 10 years, and at this time, nearly two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.  Moreover, fat- and sugar-packed foods, combined with sedentary lifestyles, have resulted not only in an epidemic of obesity among adults, but even our children and teens are heavier than ever before.

A newly published prospective public health study, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, has reported a rather interesting finding regarding obesity patterns in Australian families.  This study, which appears in the current issue of theInternational Journal of Obesity, followed more than 3,000 men, women and children in two-parent families between 2004 and 2008.  Height and weight data was collected on all family members during this 4-year study.

Not surprisingly, obesity was more common, in general, among the children of obese parents.  However, a very interesting phenomenon was observed in that childhood obesity was significantly associated with having an overweight or obese father and a mother of normal weight, but not with having a normal weight father and an overweight or obese mother.  In this study, children with an overweight or obese father (but a normal weight mother) were nearly 15 times more likely to be obese than children without obese parents.  (Once again, however, having an overweight or obese mother, and a normal weight father, was not associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity when compared to children with normal weight parents.)

While this study was not designed to explain why paternal obesity appeared to increase the risk of childhood obesity, while maternal obesity apparently did not, this unexpected finding suggests that either behavioral or genetic factors (or both) linked to obesity in fathers have a particularly strong impact on their children’s risk of also becoming overweight or obese.  The results of this study also suggest that interventions to prevent childhood obesity may be especially important in families with overweight or obese fathers.

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the incidence of obesity has skyrocketed over the past 10 years, and obesity is known to significantly increase the risk of multiple types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, uterus, colon, rectum, and other organs.  In fact, even conservative estimates suggest that at least 10 percent of all cancer cases are directly linked to obesity.  If you are overweight or obese, please consult with your doctor about safe, evidence-based approaches to weight loss.



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a lighthearted perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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Vitamin D Improves Both HDL Levels and Weight Loss



A new prospective randomized clinical study showed that Vitamin D supplements increased levels of the HDL (“good cholesterol”) and improved weight loss.


 

 

VITAMIN D IMPROVES BOTH HDL LEVELS AND WEIGHT LOSS

Many health claims have been made for Vitamin D, although very few such claims have been well substantiated by high quality research studies.

In my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, I exhaustively review and discuss the available scientific data supporting Vitamin D as a potential cancer prevention nutrient.  However, other health claims have also been made for Vitamin D, aside from cancer prevention.  For example, there is some research data available suggesting that low levels of Vitamin D in the blood may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  As with most disease prevention research, though, much of the data supporting this claim for Vitamin D is based upon rather weak methods of clinical research, and there is very little “gold standard” prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research data available that confirms a role for Vitamin D in cardiovascular disease prevention.  However, a newly published prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical study, which appears in the current issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, adds further support for Vitamin D as a protective factor against cardiovascular disease, particularly among overweight and obese women.

In this new study, 77 otherwise healthy overweight or obese women were secretly randomized to receive either 1,000 International Units (25 micrograms) of Vitamin D per day or a daily placebo (sugar) pill for a period of 12 weeks.  Both groups of patient volunteers were then tested throughout the course of this study, including measurements of their blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, and weight.  Food intake and physical activity levels were also monitored throughout the course of this clinical research study.

At the end of the study, the blood level of HDL cholesterol (the so-called “good cholesterol”) was found to have significantlyincreased in the group of women who had been secretly randomized to receive daily Vitamin D supplements for 12 weeks.  Similarly, the blood levels of apolipoprotein A-I, which also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (and which makes up part of the HDL molecule), was also noted to be significantly higher in the group of women who had received Vitamin D supplements, when compared to the women in the placebo control group.  (Moreover, the levels of both HDL and apolipoprotein A-I were noted to have actually decreased, over time, in the group of women who received only daily placebo pills.)

Finally, in this group of overweight and obese women, 12 weeks of daily Vitamin D supplementation was also associated with an average weight loss of just over 5 pounds (2.7 kilograms), whereas the women in the placebo control group lost less than one pound (0.4 kilogram) during the 12 week course of this study.  Interestingly, the enhanced weight loss that was observed in the Vitamin D group was not associated with any differences in the level of physical activity between the two groups of women in this study.

The rather dramatic results of this prospective, randomized, doubled-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study, therefore, showed that, at least among overweight and obese women, daily Vitamin D supplementation for 12 weeks was associated with heart-healthy improvements in HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels, as well as significant weight loss.  Although this study included a rather small group of patient volunteers, and should therefore be repeated with a larger cohort of patients, the fact that this study was conducted according to “gold standard” methods of clinical research further adds to the credibility of its findings.  (Whether or not similar improvements in HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels can be achieved by Vitamin D supplements in non-overweight or non-obese women, or in men, was not addressed by this clinical study.  However, other human and animal studies have suggested that Vitamin D deficiency may, indeed, be associated with lower HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels in both males and females.)

As excessive levels of Vitamin D can lead to significant health problems, including nausea, vomiting, dehydration, kidney stones, kidney failure, and ulcers of the GI tract, I strongly recommend that you see your physician first if you choose to start taking Vitamin D supplements.

For more information regarding the potential cancer prevention effects of Vitamin D, order your copy of my evidence-based book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, today!



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books.  Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a lighthearted perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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The Four Critical Cardiovascular Disease Risks That You Can Change

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



New research shows that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking account for the vast majority of all deaths caused by cardiovascular disease.


 

THE FOUR CRITICAL CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISKS THAT YOU CAN CHANGE

As I mention in my recent bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, many of the very same lifestyle and dietary habits that increase our risk of developing cancer also increase our risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks (myocardial infarction), peripheral vascular disease, and stroke.  Likewise, adopting an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle can not only cut your cancer risk in half, but can also significantly reduce your risk of developing life-threatening cardiovascular disease as well.

A newly published research study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, provides, for the first time, a comprehensive assessment of the lifetime risks of developing cardiovascular disease based upon the following four health-related factors: blood pressure, cholesterol (lipid) levels in the blood, smoking status, and diabetes status.  Importantly, this huge meta-analysis study, which appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, comprehensively analyzes the data from 18 different prior clinical research studies, which included 257,384 adult black and white men and women.  These research volunteers were assessed for these four critical cardiovascular risk factors every 10 years, beginning at age 45 and ending at age 75.  This enormous group of research volunteers was then closely followed, and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death rates due to cardiovascular disease were then carefully evaluated and analyzed.

When looking at cardiovascular risks factors at age 55 as predictors of future cardiovascular disease risk, and the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, the findings of this extremely large clinical study were striking.  In this study, a low-risk profile for cardiovascular disease was defined as total blood cholesterol less than 180 milligrams per deciliter (4.7 mmol per liter), average blood pressure less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), nonsmoker status, and nondiabetic status.

Among the 55 year-old men and women who met all of the criteria for a low-risk profile for cardiovascular disease, their lifetime incidence of cardiovascular disease, through age 80, was remarkably lower than for the 55 year-olds who failed to meet two or more of the four low-risk criteria.  In fact, the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, through age 80, was only 5 percent among the men who met all four low-risk criteria at age 55, while the men who met only two or fewer low-risk criteria faced a dramatic six-fold increase in the risk (30 percent) of dying of cardiovascular disease by age 80.  Among the women volunteers, only 6 percent of the women who met all four low-risk criteria went on to die of cardiovascular disease by age 80, while 21 percent of the women who failed to meet two or more of the four low-risk criteria died of cardiovascular disease between age 55 and age 80 (for a nearly four-fold increase in the risk of death).

Fatal and nonfatal coronary artery disease occurred in only 4 percent of the men who met all four low-risk criteria, but occurred in nearly 10 times as many of the men (38 percent) who failed to meet two or more of these four criteria.  The women who met all four low-risk criteria faced a less than 1 percent risk of fatal and nonfatal coronary artery disease, while the women who met two or fewer low-risk criteria experienced an 18 percent incidence of fatal and nonfatal coronary artery disease (for a more than 18-fold increase in risk).

The risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke was also significantly lower among men and women who met all four low-risk criteria for cardiovascular disease.  Among the men who met all four low-risk criteria, the incidence of stroke through age 80 was only about 2 percent, but quadrupled, to more than 8 percent, among the men who failed to meet two or more of the four low-risk criteria.  Among the women who met all four low-risk criteria, the incidence of stroke was about 5 percent, but more than doubled, to nearly 11 percent, among the women who failed to meet at least two of the low-risk criteria.

The findings of this very large study cannot be overstated in terms of its public health importance, as this is the only study that has prospectively assessed very large numbers of men and women, including both black and white adults, over long periods of time, and that has analyzed the long-term impact of the four most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease on incidence and death rates associated with cardiovascular disease.  As with the studies that I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the impact of lifestyle, diet, and other modifiable health-related factors on both cardiovascular disease risk and cancer risk is enormous, particularly when measured over the lifespan of the average adult.

The findings of this epic public health research study also add further weight to my strong belief, based upon my review of thousands of research studies, that we, as individuals, hold the key to improving our health, and to significantly reducing our risk of serious illness and premature death, by living evidence-based healthy lifestyles.  If your blood pressure is high, change your diet and increase your level of exercise, with the support of your doctor.  If diet and physical activity interventions alone do not correct your hypertension, then ask your doctor about medications for high blood pressure.  If you have diabetes, you also need to change your diet, increase your levels of physical activity, and safely lose any excess weight.  If these lifestyle changes do not completely resolve your high blood sugars, then you may also need to ask your doctor about medications for diabetes.  If you smoke, or use smokeless tobacco, stop immediately.  Finally, if your LDL and total cholesterol levels are high, then, once again, you need to be more careful about what you eat.  (The cancer-preventing foods and diets that I discuss in my book have also been linked to lower levels of blood cholesterol, as well as a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease.)  You may also need to increase your physical activity levels, and get your weight down to a healthy level, to improve your LDL and total cholesterol levels.  Once again, if these prudent lifestyle measures are not enough, by themselves, to bring your cholesterol levels down into the normal range, then your doctor may need to add a cholesterol-lowering medication as well.

The striking results of this important cardiovascular disease prevention study provide all of us with the key to maximally reducing our risk of developing—and dying from—largely preventable cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke.  Better long-term health (and a longer and more vigorous life) is within your grasp, and this study, in addition to my book, can show you the way forward.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!



Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 








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Orlistat (Alli or Xenical) Significantly Reduces Obesity

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New research suggests that the over-the-counter drug orlistat can significantly improve weight loss when combined with a low-fat diet.



ORLISTAT (ALLI or XENICAL) SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES OBESITY

Approximately two-thirds of the population in the United States is overweight, while at least a third of all people are obese.  Excess weight has clearly been linked to serious illnesses, including high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, liver disease, gallstones, and arthritis, among other potentially life-threatening ailments.  As I note in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the extremely high concentration of fat and calories in modern processed foods, when combined with the sedentary lifestyles that most of us lead, almost guarantees a high level of obesity in our population.

Orlistat, which is available in both prescription and non-prescription forms, blocks the activity of lipase, an enzyme within the GI tract that breaks down dietary fats so that they can be absorbed.  Previous clinical research studies have shown that the addition of orlistat to a low-fat diet can significantly reduce body fat, and, in turn, can reduce the risk of illnesses that are associated with obesity.  Now that orlistat is available without a prescription, there have been concerns that this medication may be less effective, as it can now be purchased and taken without first having to enroll in a structured weight loss program.

A newly published study, which appears in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that non-prescription doses of orlistat (trade names Alli and Xenical) may still be an effective addition to the standard weight loss strategies of a healthy low-fat diet and exercise.  In this study, 27 obese research volunteers took over-the-counter orlistat (60 milligrams three times a day, with meals) for three months.  At the beginning and end of this study, the 27 volunteers were subjected to specialized imaging tests, including MRI scans, to measure the amount of fat in their bodies.  Blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels were also assessed.

In this clinical study, the use of over-the-counter orlistat, in combination with a reduced calorie, low-fat diet, was associated with a significant 11 percent reduction in body fat after 3 months.  Moreover, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all decreased, as well, following three months of orlistat combined with a prudent diet.

The findings of this study suggest that even over-the-counter orlistat, in conjunction with healthy eating habits, can significantly reduce both body fat and at least some of the adverse health effects associated with obesity.

Now for the bad news… orlistat works by blocking the absorption of fat from the GI tract, which means that 25 to 30 percent of the fat consumed while taking orlistat will remain within the GI tract until it is eliminated in the feces.  Unfortunately, high levels of undigested fat in the stool can lead to some rather unsettling symptoms, including flatulence, greasy/oily stools, bloating, and in some patients, an urgent desire to have a bowel movement.  On the other hand, while these symptoms are very common during the first few months of orlistat use, they appear to improve over time, such that only about one-third of patients taking orlistat will still have these symptoms four years after starting the drug.  Moreover, in patients who conscientiously maintain a low-fat diet while taking orlistat, the incidence and severity of these GI tract side effects are even lower.  (Another potential complication of orlistat is the reduced absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, although vitamin supplements will prevent significant deficiencies of these vitamins.)

While orlistat is associated with significant potential side effects, and thus should not be taken by everyone, the results of this small study do strongly suggest that orlistat is an effective option for obese patients who are able to both tolerate the drug’s side effects and remain compliant with a low-fat diet.  As always, however, I strongly recommend that you check with your primary physician prior to starting any new diet or medication, including orlistat.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Lifestyle and Diet Modifications Reduce Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

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New research suggests that the same lifestyle and diet choices that reduce cardiovascular disease risk also reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, and improve male sexual function.



LIFESTYLE AND DIET MODIFICATIONS REDUCE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)

As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, evidence-based lifestyle and diet modifications can dramatically reduce your lifetime risk of developing cancer, including some of the most deadly forms of this disease.  As an “added benefit,” many of the same lifestyle and diet modifications that I discuss in my book have also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well.  Moreover, previous research studies have suggested that the risk of male sexual dysfunction, and erectile dysfunction (ED) in particular, might also be reduced by living a heart-healthy lifestyle.

The most important risk factors for sexual dysfunction in men, and ED in particular, include heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, elevated blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and sedentary behavior. Since the risk of these serious health problems can all be significantly reduced through lifestyle and diet modification, it is worth asking whether or not evidence-based lifestyle modifications associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes can also significantly reduce the risk of ED. A newly published research study, which appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, provides important new insights into this serious men’s health issue.

In a meta-analysis of 6 previously published prospective randomized clinical research studies, 740 adult male research study volunteers were evaluated. In this group of men, heart-healthy changes in diet, physical activity, and other modifiable lifestyle factors were associated with a highly significant improvement in sexual function when compared to similar-aged men who did not modify their lifestyle and diet. (Moreover, the addition of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in men with elevated blood cholesterol levels improved sexual function even further than lifestyle and diet modifications, alone.)

Too many men continue to refuse to change their unhealthy lifestyles and dietary habits, and so they face an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other largely preventable diseases.  However, sexual function is such a very important quality-of-life factor for most men that it is my hope that studies such as this one will get the attention of men who are still living unhealthy lifestyles that increase their risk of ED and other preventable serious illnesses.  Also, as ED is now known to be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other preventable lifestyle-associated diseases in men, modifying your lifestyle and diet to reduce your risk of ED will also significantly reduce your risk of these other life-threatening diseases at the same time (and cancer, as well)!


For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Lifestyle, Diet and Diabetes Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


New research reveals the profound impact of diet, obesity, and lifestyle factors on diabetes risk.



 

 

LIFESTYLE, DIET AND DIABETES RISK

Along with the incidence of obesity, the incidence of diabetes has recently skyrocketed in the United States and around the world.  The list of health complications associated with diabetes is frightening, and includes heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, kidney failure, progressive blindness, and as I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, an increased risk of cancer.

Now, a newly published clinical research study, which included more than 200,000 adult volunteers, sheds important light on the major lifestyle-associated risk factors for this life-threatening disease.  Nearly 2 million adults will be newly diagnosed with diabetes this year in the United States, and nearly 80 million Americans are currently living with diabetes at this time. In fact, diabetes has become such a serious public health problem that it is now considered the seventh leading cause of death in the United States!

This newly published prospective public health study appears in the current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, and was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute, as part of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.

A total of 114, 996 men and 92,483 women, aged 50 to 71 years, participated in this public health study; and this huge group of research volunteers was closely followed for an average of 10 years. Importantly, none of these research volunteers had diabetes, heart disease, or cancer at the time they initially joined this research study.

After evaluating diet, level of physical activity, smoking status, and alcohol intake, this enormous group of research volunteers was assessed for the risk of onset of diabetes according to these lifestyle factors. Altogether, about 10 percent of the men and 8 percent of the women went on to develop diabetes during the 10-year course of this public health study. When compared to men who ate poorly and did not exercise, and who also smoked and regularly consumed alcohol, the men who had very healthy behaviors in these same areas had a 39 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, while the women with healthy lifestyle behaviors experienced a 57 percent lower risk of diabetes when compared to the women with unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Even more impressive was the additive role of obesity on diabetes risk. When all of the previously mentioned healthy lifestyle behaviors were combined with the absence of being overweight or obese, men experienced a whopping 72 percent decrease in the risk of diabetes, while women experienced an extraordinary 84 percent reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. Importantly, these dramatic reductions in the risk of diabetes were maintained even among the men and women who had a family history of diabetes or obesity.

This huge prospective public health study adds important and helpful information to our understanding regarding the most important risk factors for diabetes, and reveals just how important eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, abstaining from tobacco use, and minimizing alcohol intake are to the prevention of diabetes.  Other large public health studies have also conclusively linked these healthy lifestyle-associated behaviors with a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke) and cancer, as well!




For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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