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Diet & Weight Loss Archive
6 natural ways to lower blood pressure
Medication to lower high blood pressure is a proven way to reduce a person's risk for heart disease. But adopting lifestyle changes may let people maintain healthy readings and perhaps even avoid drug therapy. Six lifestyle changes have the most significant influence on blood pressure: diet, exercise, weight control, limiting sodium and alcohol, and managing stress.
Junk food addiction more common in women
A 2022 nationally representative poll indicated that nearly one in five older women reported symptoms of addiction to highly processed foods and drinks over the prior year.
The weighty issue of heart disease
The rates of heart disease among men are predicted to rise significantly by 2060. The primary reason is America's rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. While controlling calorie intake and increasing activity are the two best strategies for weight loss, another effective method is hospital-based weight management programs that offer a team of physicians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, life coaches, and counselors who provide instruction, guidance, and support for weight management.
Short on slumber
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but more than one-third consistently sleep fewer than seven. Reasons for poor sleep include pregnancy, menopausal night sweats, medication use, sleep disorders, and various illnesses. Sleep deprivation can raise the risks for such conditions as diabetes, certain cancers, obesity, dementia, depression, and heart disease. To promote sounder sleep, people can keep consistent sleep-wake schedules, reduce intake of caffeine and alcohol, and avoid using electronic devices before bed.
The skinny on fatty liver
The body’s second largest organ, the liver is responsible for more than 500 bodily functions. One of the liver’s greatest threats is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an umbrella term that includes several forms of liver disease. Most people with NAFLD have a type known as simple fatty liver. However, up to 20% of people with NAFLD develop inflammation in the liver known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Left unchecked, this more dangerous form can progress into fibrosis (scarring) and potentially cirrhosis (severe scarring and liver damage). Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, increasing exercise, and adopting a plant-based diet are the best means to manage and prevent NAFLD.
The new diabetes drugs: Your best shot for weight loss?
Several drugs originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes can help people shed as much as 20% of their body weight—far more than other anti-obesity drugs. Known as incretin mimetics, they also improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Up to half of all new-onset diabetes cases in this country are linked to obesity, a disease that now affects more than 40% of Americans. Both conditions are closely linked to cardiovascular disease.
A closer look at good cholesterol
Doctors concentrate on helping men lower their blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower HDL levels are associated with higher cardiovascular risk. This may be related to HDL's role in helping to remove excess cholesterol in arteries that can lead to plaque buildup and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, no specific therapies to raise HDL levels have improved outcomes.
Harvard study: Curb late-night eating to stave off weight gain
A 2022 study found that eating later in the day increases hunger, decreases the number of calories a person burns, and promotes fat storage. Over time, those effects could lead to weight gain.
Sugar substitutes: New cardiovascular concerns?
People who use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), acesulfame potassium (Sunnett, Sweet One), and sucralose (Splenda) may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared with people who avoid these products. These zero-calorie sweeteners might not help people lose weight, and experts postulate that artificial sweeteners may trigger inflammation and alter normal metabolism, the gut microbiome, and blood vessels in ways that promote type 2 diabetes, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure.
Kidney health quick-start guide
Unhealthy lifestyle habits, chronic diseases, and genetic conditions can damage the kidneys and reduce their ability to do their many jobs. But many precautions can help protect the kidneys. Examples include controlling diabetes; lowering high blood pressure; moderating intake of salt, alcohol, and protein; limiting intake of oxalate-rich foods such as spinach, almonds, or cashews; losing weight; stopping smoking; exercising regularly; staying hydrated; limiting the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); and getting annual kidney function tests.
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