Exercise Versus Drugs for Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes



A new study shows that exercise is at least as effective as drugs in reducing death rates from heart disease, stroke and diabetes.


 

EXERCISE VERSUS DRUGS FOR HEART DISEASE, STROKE AND DIABETES

Coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes are among the most common causes of disability and death in modern society.  In recent years, scientific advances have brought forth many new medications that can help to prevent and manage these life-threatening diseases, and prolong life.  But what if I was to tell you that there is a natural, medication-free, low-risk treatment that can reduce your risk of dying from these diseases, as well as dying from cancer?  What if I also told you that this treatment reduces stress, and can help to ease anxiety and depression?  Would you be interested in a free, nontoxic therapy that could do all of these miraculous things, and which did not require the use of any pills, injections or surgery?  Well, there is such a therapy, and that therapy is… exercise!

A newly published research study strongly suggests that plain old exercise appears to be as effective as medications in reducing death rates associated with heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  This research study appears in the British Medical Journal.

In this meta-analysis study, a whopping 305 prospective randomized clinical research trials, encompassing 339,274 study participants, were evaluated.  Among these more than 300,000 study participants, nearly 15,000 were assigned to undergo exercise as an intervention to prevent or treat coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes.  The findings of this meta-analysis revealed just how effective increasing physical activity levels can be in improving your health and prolonging your life with regards to coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes.  In fact, exercise was actually more effective than medications in preventing death in patients who were undergoing rehabilitation following stroke.  When comparing exercise to medications, exercise was as effective as drugs in the prevention of coronary artery disease and diabetes, as well as in reducing the risk of death due to these diseases.

As I document in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, there is extensive high-level research data available showing that regular and moderate exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of dying from cancer.  This newly published research study further confirms the very significant and broad health benefits of staying physically active.  While this particular study cannot tell us if it is safe to switch from medications to exercise alone in the management of chronic diseases, it does confirms the findings of earlier studies showing that exercise can be highly effective in preventing or controlling serious chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.  So, please don’t delay in starting this “miracle therapy” called exercise!

If you are not already regularly exercising, then please talk with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, and do not stop taking any medications prescribed by your doctor without first checking with him or her.

 

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

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

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

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

 

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Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

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According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, 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, 3.5 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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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risk



A new clinical research study shows that a Mediterranean diet significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk.


 

MEDITERRANEAN DIET REDUCES CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK

As I have discussed in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a Mediterranean diet appears to significantly reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract in particular. In general, a Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry. The use of unsaturated cooking oils, like olive oil and canola oil, and the avoidance of saturated fats, are also hallmarks of a Mediterranean diet, as is the decreased intake of red meat, processed meats, and dairy products. A Mediterranean diet has also been viewed by many experts as a heart-healthy diet, although most of the studies that have looked at the effects of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk have relied upon dietary surveys to collect data, which is a less rigorous method of doing research when compared to prospective randomized clinical research trials. However, a newly published prospective randomized clinical trial now provides the high level research data needed to properly assess the impact of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk. This important new clinical study appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this study, 7,477 research volunteers were randomized into one of three different study groups. The first group consumed a Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil. The second group consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with tree nuts. The third group, which served as the control group, was given advice on how to adhere to a low-fat diet, but the diets of the volunteers in this control group were not modified or controlled by the study’s researchers. Research dieticians closely followed the food intake of the volunteers in this study, and they worked intensively with the volunteers assigned to the two Mediterranean diet groups to modify the diets of these volunteers. All male study volunteers were between the ages of 55 and 80 years, while the female volunteers ranged in age from 60 to 80 years. None of the study volunteers had cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, when they entered into this clinical trial, although they all had one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes or at least three of the following risk factors: smoking, high blood pressure, increased LDL cholesterol levels, overweight or obesity, or a family history of early-onset coronary artery disease.

After an average of almost 5 years of follow-up, the impact of a Mediterranean diet on these research volunteers was highly significant. Both groups of volunteers who adhered to a Mediterranean diet in this study experienced a significant reduction in cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, or death from any cardiovascular cause (when compared to the control group). Indeed, both the group that adhered to the olive-oil-supplemented Mediterranean diet and the group that was placed on the nut-supplemented Mediterranean diet experienced 30 percent fewer cardiovascular events when compared to the control group that did not adhere to a Mediterranean diet!

In summary, among a group of middle aged and elderly men and women with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or tree nuts significantly reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death due to these or any other cardiovascular causes.

As I discuss in 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 as well! This new research study also shows that it is never too late to adopt a healthier diet, and that health benefits derived from switching to a Mediterranean diet can be enjoyed by even middle aged and elderly men and women.

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 & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’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

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

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Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Deep Brain Stimulation May Help Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Toddler May Have Been Cured of HIV (AIDS) Virus

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Thousands of Surgery Mistakes Are Still Happening Each Year

Kids with Food Allergies May Become Targets of Bullies

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

“Talking” Therapy May Help Depression When Antidepressant Medications Fail

Predicting Childhood Obesity at Birth

Inexpensive Power Foods

 


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 2.8 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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Fast Food, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Death






 

 

A new study attaches some shocking numbers to the risk of diabetes, heart disease and death caused by fast food.


 

 

FAST FOOD, DIABETES, HEART DISEASE AND DEATH

The United States has long been a prolific exporter of products that reflect our unique culture.  American movies, books, music, musical instruments, iPhones, iPads, automobiles, motorcycles… and fast food can all be found in all but the remotest places on the planet.  While, arguably, some these quintessentially American exports are more prized than others by global consumers, American-style fast food has become utterly ubiquitous throughout the world.

By now, almost everyone knows that deep-fried fast food is not a healthy eating choice.  Now, a newly published public health study sheds some important light on just how unhealthy American-style fast food really is.  This new clinical study appears in the current issue of the journal Circulation.

Between 1993 and 1998, more than 50,000 ethnically Chinese men and women in Singapore participated in the Singapore Chinese Health Study.  These men and women ranged in age from 45 to 74 years.  The health outcomes of these research volunteers were then followed until the end of 2009.

All of the Singaporean Chinese participants in this clinical study were thoroughly assessed with respect to their lifestyle and dietary habits.  For the purposes of this public health study, these volunteers were separated into two groups.  The first group consisted of men and women who ate a traditional low-fat Chinese-style diet.  The second group of study volunteers ate American-style fast food meals at least two times per week.  The health outcomes of these two groups of Singaporean Chinese adults were then prospectively monitored, and, ultimately, with rather dramatic findings.

When compared to the men and women who never ate fast food, the volunteers who regularly consumed fast food meals had a 27 percent higher incidence of adult-onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes mellitus).  Even more disturbing, these Singaporean Chinese fast food lovers experienced a 56 percent increase in the risk of death due to heart disease!  Moreover, these worrisome outcomes remained consistent even after adjusting for differences in overall calorie intake and body weight.  While there may or may not be genetic differences in the way that ethnic Chinese adults respond to high levels of fatty and fried foods when compared to Westerners, the links between fast food, on the one hand, and diabetes and cardiovascular disease, on the other hand, are well established in both western and eastern populations around the world.  Therefore, the findings of this innovative public health study should give all of us pause before we pull into the drive-in window of our favorite fast food restaurant!




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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Heart Disease May Also Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update




New research strongly suggests that coronary artery disease may significantly increase prostate cancer risk.


 

HEART DISEASE MAY ALSO INCREASE PROSTATE CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my recent bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, many of the same lifestyle and dietary habits that increase our risk of developing cardiovascular disease (including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke) also increase our risk of developing certain types of cancer.  However, the data linking lifestyle and dietary factors with prostate cancer risk has, so far, been both weak and contradictory.  Now, a newly published study has found an apparent link between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer risk.  These findings appear in a new update of the ongoing REDUCE (REduction by DUtasteride of prostate Cancer Events) clinical trial, which I previously reported on in 2010 (), and these updated findings appear in the current online issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Among the 6,390 men enrolled in this prospective, randomized prostate cancer prevention trial, 547 men were known to have coronary artery disease at the time that they entered into this research study.  Not surprisingly, this group of men with heart disease had a greater number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease when compared to the men without coronary artery disease, including obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, and elevated cholesterol.    What was surprising, however, is that over the 4 year course of this clinical study, the risk of prostate cancer in this group of men with coronary artery disease was significantly higher than what was observed among the men without heart disease.  Two years into the REDUCE study, the men with a history of coronary artery disease were 24 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer when compared to the men with healthy hearts.  After four years of participation in this clinical study, the men with known coronary artery disease were 74 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer!

While this particular research study was not designed to determine which risk factors for cardiovascular disease were specifically involved with prostate cancer risk, as I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, both obesity and smoking have previously been linked to an increased risk of death due to prostate cancer, and these two lifestyle factors are also strongly linked to cardiovascular disease risk.

 

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death due to cancer (following lung cancer) in men, and is associated with nearly 35,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.  In many ways, prostate cancer is the male counterpart of breast cancer (which is also the second most common cause of cancer-associated death in women), although prostate cancer has yet to receive the same level of attention and research funding as has breast cancer.  In my view, we men have a lot to learn from our female counterparts about raising cancer awareness, and advocating for increased research funding, when it comes to prostate cancer. Therefore, I urge all men to explore opportunities to actively support prostate cancer awareness, and improved research funding, in their local communities.


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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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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Mammograms Predict Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

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Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”




MAMMOGRAMS PREDICT RISK OF

HEART DISEASE AND STROKE

In view of the growing concern about the potential adverse health effects of CT scans (including increased cancer risk), the enthusiasm for performing CT scans of the heart and coronary arteries, as a noninvasive method of diagnosing asymptomatic heart disease, has been decreasing. Now, an innovative clinical research study, which has just been published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, has evaluated the potential value of mammograms (which use low-dose x-rays to screen for breast cancer) to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Calcification of the arteries within the breast are detected in approximately 10 to 20 percent of mammograms, and the incidence of these vascular calcifications rise in proportion to a woman’s age. Previous clinical research studies have suggested that the presence of vascular calcifications on mammograms may be an important early indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. However, the clinical research data in this area has been somewhat inconsistent, to date.

In this prospective clinical research study, 1,919 women, with an average age of 56 years, who presented for routine annual screening mammograms were subsequently followed for 5 years.Data was collected regarding their cardiovascular disease risk factors, and their own personal history (if any) of cardiovascular disease, as well as the presence or absence of cardiovascular disease in family members. This data was collected at the beginning of the study, and was updated throughout the course of the study.

The findings of this study were quite dramatic. During the 5-year course of this study, 21 percent of the women who were noted to have vascular calcifications within the breast, on routine mammography, were found to have coronary artery disease, while only 5 percent of the women without vascular calcifications on mammography had clinical evidence of coronary artery disease. Among those women with no clinical evidence of coronary heart disease at the beginning of this clinical study, 6 percent of those with vascular calcifications eventually developed coronary artery disease during the brief 5-year course of this study (compared to 2 percent of the women without vascular calcifications of the breast). Moreover, among healthy women with no history of coronary artery disease at the beginning of this study, 58 percent went on to experience a stroke if they had vascular calcifications in the breast, while 13 percent of the women without vascular calcifications of the breast experienced a stroke during this 5-year study.

The findings of this clinical research study strongly suggest that vascular calcifications of the breast, in women who are undergoing routine annual screening mammograms, may be a powerful indicator of increased risk for both coronary artery disease and stroke. While larger and longer-term prospective clinical research studies should be performed to validate the findings of this relatively small clinical research study, the findings of this study are consistent with earlier studies that have also linked vascular calcifications of the breast with a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that there may be an important secondary role for screening mammograms, beyond early detection of breast cancer. As women who have evidence of arterial calcifications of the breast by mammography (when compared to women without vascular calcifications) appear to be nearly 4 times more likely to have coronary artery disease, and have more than 4 times the risk of stroke, the presence of vascular calcifications on screening mammograms should prompt patients and their physicians to look for risk factors that can be modified to reduce the risk of premature illness and death related to cardiovascular disease.

For a complete discussion of the potential impact of medical x-rays (including CT scans) on cancer risk, as well as important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, 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 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.com Top 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, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an 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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Green Tea Epicatechin Reduces Heart Damage & CHF

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


GREEN TEA EPICATECHIN REDUCE HEART DAMAGE & CHF

Epicatechin is a member of a group of dietary antioxidants known as flavonoids.  Epicatechin is found in a variety of plant-based foods, but is particularly abundant in green tea and dark chocolate. 

Regular readers of this column are already familiar with previous research studies suggesting that green tea flavonoids, including epicatechin, have been linked to a potential decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as decreased blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension).  Now, an innovative new laboratory research study has suggested that daily epicatechin supplements may dramatically reduce heart damage, and the risk of congestive heart failure (CHF), following heart attacks (myocardial infarction).

In this study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, laboratory rats underwent surgical blockage of their main coronary artery, which reproduces the acute blockage of human coronary arteries that cause heart attacks (myocardial infarctions).  In one group of rats, daily oral supplements of epicatechin (1 mg/kg per day) were started prior to tying off the rats’ coronary arteries, and were continued after coronary artery ligation.  In a second group of “control” rats, daily water supplements (without epicatechin) were started 10 days prior to coronary artery ligation.  Yet another “control group” of rats underwent “sham surgery,” wherein the chest wall was surgically opened (as with the other two groups of rats), but the coronary arteries were not tied off.  In this group of rats, daily epicatechin supplements were also started 10 days before their sham operations were performed.

When the hearts of these laboratory animals were evaluated 48 hours after their surgically induced heart attacks, the animals that had received daily epicatechin supplements (before and after coronary artery ligation) were found to have 52 percent less permanently damaged heart muscle (myocardial infarction) when compared to the animals that received only daily “placebo” water supplements.  Moreover, these “control” animals, that underwent coronary artery ligation but did not receive epicatechin supplements, were observed to develop signs of CHF, as was expected, following the surgical induction of a massive heart attack.  Amazingly, the animals that were pretreated with epicatechin prior to surgical ligation of the main coronary artery did not display evidence of CHF (these animals’ heart function did not significantly differ from that of the “sham surgery” rats that did not have their coronary arteries tied off)!

At 3 weeks after coronary artery ligation, the rats that had received epicatechin supplements, in addition to coronary artery ligation, had, on average, a 33 percent decrease in the extent of dead heart muscle (myocardial infarction) when compared to the “placebo control” animals that received only water supplements (but no epicatechin) before and after coronary artery ligation.  Once again, there was a significant incidence of CHF in the rats that received only water supplements, in addition to coronary artery ligation, 3 weeks after surgical induction of myocardial infarction, while the animals that received epicatechin supplements in addition to coronary artery ligation retained normal heart function (similar to what was observed in the “sham surgery” rats that did not have their coronary arteries ligated).

 

This is quite an amazing research study, as the protective effects of daily epicatechin supplementation following ligation of the main coronary artery in rats was profoundly significant, and essentially prevented the onset of CHF in these laboratory animals.  If epicatechin was to be shown to have similar “cardio-protective” effects in humans, then this would enormously increase the potential role of epicatechin, and other related green tea and dark chocolate flavonoids, in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease!Fortunately, there are several clinical research studies that are evaluating the potential cardio-protective effects of epicatechins, and other green tea and dark chocolate flavonoids, in patients with elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and other conditions that are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.  (At least one other study is also evaluating these same dietary flavonoids in patients who already have CHF.)

Meanwhile, green tea is well tolerated by most people, and if there are no preexisting medical illnesses that prevent you from drinking green tea, then a few cups or glasses of green tea a day may help to decrease your risk of heart attack and CHF.  (As always, however, I must remind readers that laboratory experiments with rats and mice often do not translate to human beings once the same treatments are evaluated in high-quality prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research trials with human volunteers.)

 

To learn more about the role of green tea, dark chocolate, epicatechin, and other dietary flavonoids in the prevention of cancer, look for the publication of my new landmark book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” in the summer of this year.



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, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Tdv7XW0qg



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 1000,000 new and returning readers who visit our premier global health information website every month.  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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