Hypochondria and Heart Disease

Hypochondria and Heart Disease

We all know people who seem to be obsessively and excessively worried about their health. Here’s a new downside to hypochondria. A large study out of norway finds that those who worry needlessly that they might have a serious illness could be increasing their chance of getting one. The study followed more than 7,000 people born in the 1950s for 13 years. By 2009, 234 people in the group had had a heart attack or bout of acute angina according to the paper in BMJ Open. But those who were anxious about their health, known as the ‘worried well’, were 73 per cent more likely to go on to develop heart disease than those who were not. This research can’t tell us why health anxiety was linked to a higher risk of heart disease. It could be that the hypochondriacs could sense some of those early symptoms that would eventually develop into disease, giving them good reason to worry. Or it could be that all that worrying could trigger heart issues, as other research has suggested. The researchers stressed their findings “underline the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment of health anxiety which affects 1 or 2 percent of the...
Brisk Walk and Heart Risk

Brisk Walk and Heart Risk

Here’s more evidence on how a little bit of exercise can do a lot of good! It’s from research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress and it’s a startling way of quantifying the benefit. The finding shows that just 25 minutes of brisk walking a day could add up to seven years to a person’s life, The German study put men and women aged between 30 and 60 who had not been regular exercisers on a daily fitness program. The study then tracked key markers of ageing in the blood. Within six months, these showed changes which helped the body to repair DNA. These changes suggest that regular exercise can delay the ageing process, and effectively halve the risk of heart attack death among those in their 50s and 60s. Cardiologists at the conference also said it was never too late to start...
Do You Know How Much Added Sugar You’re Eating?

Do You Know How Much Added Sugar You’re Eating?

Do you know how much added sugar you’re eating? It’s an important question now that the World Health Organization is telling us to cut back on those sweeteners because of mounting evidence of the link between high sugar intake and obesity, tooth decay, and death from heart disease. The new guidelines recommend that no more than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugar. For most adults that means about 6 teaspoons or 25 grams. The problem is that while about ¾ of packaged foods contain added sugar – food companies aren’t required to distinguish on labels between these sweeteners and naturally occurring sugars – the good kind you find in fruit and vegetables. The publication Mother Jones crunched the numbers on some everyday snacks and found it wouldn’t take much to exceed the limit. An 8 oz. container of low-fat strawberry yogurt has 6 teaspoons. A can of pop has about 40 grams and would put you over the limit. Health Canada says it is reviewing these recommendations. It relies on the U.S. Institute of Medicine for its guidelines,and that body currently suggests limiting added sugars to no more than 25 per cent of daily calories. However, it’s been more than a decade since this group looked at sugar – while a landmark study earlier this year found that eating more than a quarter of your calories in sugar nearly tripled the risk of heart...
Breathing Control

Breathing Control

It’s our most basic function and we have to do it to live. But according to Health.com you can use the way you breathe to fight anxiety, sleep better, and focus your attention. For instance, you may not notice, but in a stressful situation, the natural reaction is to take quick and shallow breaths, which actually increases your body’s stress response. Experts say the fastest way to relieve anxiety is to slow your breathing down to about five breaths per minute and breathe gently and naturally without overfilling your lungs and without forcing the air out. For those times that you need to concentrate, they recommend taking a few short, forceful breaths. Breathe in sharply and breathe out forcefully while shouting ‘ha’. They advise about 20 breaths per minute, for no more than 3 to 5 minutes. There is a big caveat here. If you have high blood pressure, avoid this type of breathing. Finally if you have trouble drifting off,sleep specialists recommend deep breathing before falling asleep. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Breathe through your nose for about 2 seconds, with your belly moving outward more than your chest. As you breathe out, gently press your belly. That will slow your heart rate and help you get to...
Processed and Red Meat W.H.O

Processed and Red Meat W.H.O

The latest report on the dangers of processed and red meat sparked a social media backlash and a flurry of clarification followed the first sensational headlines. It came from an international panel of experts convened by the World health Organization, and it concluded that processed meat definitely causes cancer and red meat probably causes cancer. It made that determination after sifting through more than 800 studies and then classified processed meat as a carcinogen that is in the same category as cigarettes, asbestos and plutonium. The report says if you eat 50 grams of processed meat every day, that’s about two slices of ham or a sausage, you would raise your risk of colon cancer by 18 percent. That means an 18% increase in a risk that is low. For an average Canadian man, that much daily consumption would raise the risk from about 7% to around eight per cent. And even if bacon is in the same category as diesel fumes, these experts are NOT saying it’s as dangerous as smoking. Red meat fared slightly better under the scrutiny, and was classified as a possible carcinogen. After all the alarmist headlines, the bottom line seems to fall in line with longstanding recommendations to limit red meat to 3 times and week and to eat processed meat only in...
HDL Cholesterol

HDL Cholesterol

For years we’ve been told that it is best to have a high level of so-called “good” cholesterol – HDL cholesterol and a low-level of the bad kind – LDL . Now a large Canadian study is questioning that conclusion. The study of nearly 632,000 adults, did find that those with the lowest HDL levels had higher death rates from heart disease and stroke over five years. But They also had higher death rates from cancer and other causes. And there was no evidence that very high HDL levels — above 90 — were desirable. On the contrary. People with HDL that high were more likely to die of noncardiovascular causes, compared to those with HDL levels in the middle. The lead researcher says The fact that low HDL was linked to higher death rates from all causes suggests it’s a generic marker of factors like a less healthy lifestyle. No one is saying that doctors and patients should ignore it. Causes of low HDL include, smoking, poor diet being overweight or sedentary. But the researchers say it’s probably those factors — not the HDL level itself — that really...