May 2011

Our Hips Keep Growing, And Growing, And Growing

A recent study conducted by an orthopedic group in North Carolina has found that as we grow older so grow our hips. Long after we stop growing taller, which is around age 20, our hips keep going. This may help to explain why older people have larger waistlines than younger people.

The study looked at over 200 people and studied them in age categories ranging from 20 to 80. Those in the higher age groups had pelvic bones, which were wider than those in the younger age groups. It appears that as we age our hips grow by one inch, which results in a 3-inch increase in our waistline.

This is good incentive to keep weight at a healthy level. This will diminish the appearance of the hip enlargement. Staying trim will help to counteract the spread that does not have to be inevitable. This is just one more reason to get and stay in shape!

Take Care Of Your Joints

May is National Arthritis Month in the U.S. Every other month it seems that there is another study saying that there is or is not benefit to using glucosamine for arthritis. So, what is the scoop? It looks as though glucosamine sulfate does help with arthritis of the knee and possibly other joints.* It is theorized that it protects the joint cartilage. Studies have found that glucosamine has an anti-inflammatory effect and improved joint function.There are some studies to suggest that injecting glucosamine along with chondroitin in lumbar disc disease can help pain in the leg that results.In addition, glucosamine has been found to improve flexibility for those in rehabilitation for joint injury.

Glucosamine is taken as 500 mgs three times a day. It is also possible to find preparations that can be taken as 1500mgs once daily.There is ongoing research to see if glucosamine used topically is effective.

Glucosamine is relatively safe, however it is often made from shellfish such as shrimp and crab. In theory, those who are allergic to shellfish could be allergic to glucosamine.There is some question as to whether glucosamine can alter blood glucose by increasing insulin resistance. Abdominal discomfort, elevated blood pressure and palpitations can also rarely occur.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis,glucosamine may be helpful.It is relatively safe and may help reduce inflammation and protect your joint cartilage.You might want to check it out.

*Frestedt JL, Walsh M, Kuskowski MA, Zenk JL.A natural mineral supplement provides relief from knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a randomized controlled pilot trial. Nutr J. 2008 Feb 17;7:9.

Eat Whole Foods And Eat Organic

I recently attended a wonderful nutrition conference where many of the leading experts weighed in on the cause of obesity and nutritional problems that we are facing in our country. Each expert had their particular focus and reason for the rise in obesity.

One attributed the cause to sugar and high fructose corn syrup. He pointed out that fructose is metabolized to fat in the liver. Another felt that it was the glycemic index of foods containing sugar that was the problem. Sticking with foods with a low glycemic index was preferable. Another expert felt that genetically modified foods were responsible for many of the medical issues that many Americans are dealing with. In animal studies, genetically modified foods caused infertility, premature aging and abnormal insulin regulation.

What do we do with all the information? The obesity epidemic is not due to just one thing. Clearly sugar is a problem. The best way to get carbohydrates in the diet is by eating foods with a low glycemic index that take time to digest. Instead of drinking orange juice, which is seen as liquid sugar to the body, eat the whole orange. The fiber in the orange slows down the way we process sugar. Eating the whole food is the key.

Whenever possible eat organic. Avoiding genetically modified food is possible if we become aware of what has been modified. Many of the ingredients used in processed foods have been genetically modified. The most common foods that have been genetically altered are corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya and some zucchini and yellow squash. When at the store, look for no GMO on the label to make sure that food has not been modified. Avoiding processed food altogether will help as well.

The bottom line is to eat whole foods and eat organic.

May is Stroke Awareness Month

Each year in the US over 700,000 people suffer a stroke and over 143,000 people die as a result.Three-quarters of those who suffer a stroke are over 65 years old.It is important to know who is at risk and how to recognize the symptoms.A stroke occurs when there is lack of blood flow to the brain.

The risk factors for a stroke are similar to those for a heart attack.These include: smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a sedentary lifestyle. A family history of stroke, a history of a previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), increasing age and alcohol abuse can also increase the risk of stroke.

The long term consequences of a stroke can be devastating.That is why it is important to prevent them.You can do this by reducing your risk and modifying your risk factors.Quit smoking, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol down. Eat healthy and exercise.Take folic acid as part of your vitamin regimen.

What are the symptoms and warning signs of a stroke,they include:

* Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
* Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
* Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
* Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
* Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Other danger signs that may occur include double vision, drowsiness, and nausea or vomiting. Sometimes the warning signs may last only a few moments and then disappear. These brief episodes, known as transient ischemic attacks or TIAs, are sometimes called “mini-strokes.” Since they may clear quickly, many people ignore them but that is a mistake. Many people with a TIA have a stoke within 48 hours.

If you think you are having a stroke call 911. Time is of the essence. It is possible in some cases to reverse the damage of a stroke if you are treated within hours of having symptoms. We discuss stroke in great detail in the chapter on the brain in our book.


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