Salty Love Leads to Painful Hearts
A recent study by the CDC found that 9 out of 10 people consume more sodium than is necessary – a whopping 3300mg as opposed to the <2300mg recommendation. We do love our salt! But too much sodium can cause severe health issues such as heart disease and strokes. Read this article to get an idea of which foods contain the most sodium so you can make better, more informed choices about your meals!
In Your Corner: February 2012 – Love Your Heart!
Not all Fat is Created Equal
Ever wondered why it sometimes seems that thin, fit people don’t have to watch what they eat as much and are better able to keep exercising? This month Harvard & Dana Farber researchers report on a newly discovered hormone, Irisin, that may play a role in this seemingly unfair phenomenon. Irisin, created when people exercise, seems to turn white fat cells into brown fat cells. White fat? Brown fat? What difference does it make–fat is fat, right? Actually no, not all fat is created equal.
White fat just stores calories, whereas brown fat actually burns calories. We used to think that only babies had brown fat. It was thought that they used it to help keep themselves warm until they were old enough to move around and generate their own heat, and then-no longer needing the brown fat’s heat-the brown fat was replaced by white fat. In 2009 we learned that some adults still seem to have some brown fat, but we didn’t know how or why. This new study seems to have revealed one possible mechanism. In brief, exercising muscles release a hormone called PGC1-alpha which in turn leads to the creation of Irisin. Irisin then travels to white fat and seems to signal the white fat to become brown.
Now these guys aren’t the only reasons fit people are more toned than sedentary individuals, but the study does demonstrate that the more you exercise, the more of these hormones you release, and the more brown fat you develop – ergo, burning calories for you and increasing your metabolism!
You can read more in this NY Times article.
Obesity & Children: the Good News and the Bad News
Bad news first?
Okay, the bad news is that children who are overweight and obese and stay that way into adulthood, have a much greater risk of developing some serious problems. This risk ranges from about double the chance of having abnormal cholesterol levels to more than five times the chance of developing diabetes.
The good news is pretty good though. According to an article released today in the New England Journal of Medicine, if those children become nonobese–in other words, if they loose the excess weight–by the time they become adults, their risk for these problems goes back down. In fact, it seems to go back to the same risk as people who were never overweight or obese as children.
So, it’s never to late to encourage our kids to start exercising and eating well!
I often talk to my patients about the connections between one aspect of our health with others. Three recent studies provide additional examples of this. In the first an association between Alzheimer’s disease and low HDL cholesterol was seen. In the second, a type of counseling was found to reduce the risk of repeat heart attack by 45%. In the third, metabolic syndrome (a constellation of problems correlated with heart disease) was reversed in patients who followed a particular healthy diet.
These kinds of connections are why I designed Cornerstone Private Practice to facilitate a whole-person approach to care. Although medicines can be important, they aren’t always the answer to every problem. By taking the time to understand the issues and discuss the options, we can come up with approaches to care tailored to each patient individually.
Heart Attacks Preventable
Did you see the article in the Virginia Pilot on Thanksgiving about heart attack prevention? Here’s a quote from it: “Up to 90 percent of first-time heart attacks might be prevented if people were screened in advance and took the proper medications”. That is per the lead author of the study the article references. You can find the article at http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/virginian-pilot-ledger-star-norfolk/mi_8014/is_20101125/health-heart-attacks-preventable-study/ai_n56357963/