Go Ahead, Drink Your Milk!

Are you choking down huge, calcium horse pills?  You may want to rethink your calcium strategy and osteoporosis prevention plan!  New research conducted in Sweden shows that yes, calcium is critical to bone health, but too much may not be doing you any good.  Taking in enough calcium over the long haul appears to be the best way to protect your bones.  The study followed over 61,000 women born between 1914 and 1948.  The researchers broke the women down into groups with those receiving less than 751 mg daily in one group, those receiving over 1,137 mg and the middle group who took in between 882 to 996 mg per day.  The middle group was used as a reference group.  Those in the lowest group based on amount of calcium ingested daily were more likely to suffer first fractures in general and hip fractures specfically.  Those in the highest intake group didn’t show a marked difference overall, except for a slightly lower number of those with osteoporosis. The researchers concluded that women shouldn’t toss out their calcium supplements yet, but should look to improve their calcium intake through foods first.  For many of the risks of bone disease categories, getting over 750 mg didn’t improve women’s chances much.  Looks like dairy, like carbs, are back on the “good for you” list as long as you eat or drink them in moderation.  Get your vitamin levels tested so you know where you stand, but, a little of something is a good thing, but too much, again, is not good.  Moderation is the key and unfortunately, it’s over a lifetime, not...

How Long Will You Live?

If you could find out how long you have left to live, would you want to know?  Science is getting us closer to an answer to this question but how would the information be used?  If you only have 10 years left, would you blow all your cash and play?  What if the test turns out to be wrong and then you’re out of money and still hanging in there?  What if you only have 10 years left but you want to change that?  Are you willing to change your lifestyle?  Eat better, meditate, exercise?  Maybe knowing the numbers would make a difference?  A company in the UK is set to release a home test that will measure your telomeres, the caps that protect the end of your chromosomes.  The theory is that if they are shorter than normal for a person of your age that translates to a shorter lifespan.  Without telomeres or with short ones your chromosomes can’t reproduce so your body has a difficult time fighting off disease and you are more susceptible to systemic diseases like cancer. There are many companies that already provide this testing in the United States, but the UK test will be the first version available for use at home.  The test is intended to determine whether your biological age, measured by the length of your telomeres, is older or younger than your chronological age, which is the number of years you have lived.  The British company, Life Length, who has developed the over-the-counter test, claims to have the most accurate test and therefore, the best for practical uses.  The test won’t be able to...

Testosterone Replacement Therapy May Be OK With Prostate Cancer

Testosterone is the hormone that makes a man, a man.  A long standing belief in the medical community is that men at a high risk or currently being treated for prostate cancer should not undergo testerone replacement therapy.  The theory is that testosterone will encourage the growth of prostate tumors.  While many men experience a gradual reduction in testosterone levels as they age some may have extremely low levels of the hormone that create unpleasant symptoms, including erectile dysfuntion, low sex drive, mood problems, fatigue and sleep disturbances.  Out of the overall number of men whose testosterone level is significantly below normal, one half to two thirds of them experience symptoms and the change is usually insidious.  They don’t realize what is wrong or why they are suffering. Going hand in hand with this male menopause, “andropause,” is an increase in prostate cancer as men age.  Some good news has recently surfaced from a study conducted by Abraham Morgantaler and his colleagues and published in the Journal of Urology.  The research showed that men with untreated prostate tumors did not show any progression of the disease after receiving testosterone treatment.  It was a small study with only 13 men, but it certainly brings into question the long held strategy of denying testosterone treatment.  It’s bad enough to have cancer, but suffering with low testosterone symptoms at the same time must be worse!  Let’s hope that research continues.  Men need to feel like men, even when they’re ill. Written by www.labtestingnow.com...

Alzheimer’s Fears: Research Isn’t Helping

Alzheimer’s runs in my family.  Not that anyone has been tested, but I’ve seen great aunts and uncles suffer from it.  My grandmother died in her early 50s so her body didn’t have time to develop it.  I do know that my father is terrified of the disease.  He has told me that if he goes out on a boat and never comes back, that will be why. There is a lot of research on Alzheimer’s and what causes it, but so far they are learning better ways to identify it earlier so you’ll know if you might be at risk for getting it, but they haven’t figured out very much about how to treat it and stop it’s progression.  Delay it a little, yes, but still at some point your mind is gone and your spouse or children or strangers have to take care of everything for you and you won’t even realize it.  The newest study, conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and printed in the journal Neurology, shows that there are physical signs of brain atrophy as many as ten years before symptoms ever develop. I know that this could be a step, and maybe even THE step, that finds the cure for this debilitating disease.  But knowing that I’m going to have it would be scary, maybe too scary.  It would certainly send my father to the dock to outfit his boat for that last trip so he was ready when he felt it was time.  Getting a genetic predisposition test and recognizing symptoms may allow you to be treated and delay the onset...

Are You Going Red?

Tomorrow, February 4th, is Go Red for Women or National Wear Red day.  Will you be doing your part?  Not just by wearing a red shirt, but knowing the risks of heart disease for women to protect yourself and the women in your life.  The focus on overweight and obesity in the media lately is a major factor in heart disease, but many women aren’t aware of the other risk factors that could contribute to the disease and how high their risk really is.  Heart disease has become the Number One killer of women in the United States, but most people still think of it as a man’s disease.  It is critical to pay attention to factors that you can control, be aware of the ones you can’t that put you at greater risk and get the right tests to monitor your health. There are quite a few factors that women can control or change to reduce their risk: Cholesterol Blood Pressure Smoking Physical Activity Obesity Diabetes Stress Birth Control Alcohol and Illegal Drugs Your health is in your hands.  No, you can’t control everything, such as your genetics and family history, but the actions you take now can make a real difference in your longevity and your quality of life.  So, yes, wear a red shirt and help others become more aware of their risks, but take a walk in your red shirt and eat a healthy lunch.  Don’t take heart disease sitting down! Written by...