Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Put That In Your Mouth!
Drinks The Kids Shouldn't

Is it convenience or surrender? We let our children consume whole lakes of this stuff every year.

Energy/sports drinks. Tooth Decay. Destruction, really.
40 percent of teens consume energy drinks. Over 50 percent consume sports drinks every day.
A dental study demonstrated that enamel damage is apparent after only five days exposure to energy and sports drinks. Tooth enamal damage is irreversible. Damaged enamel can't protect teeth. Think cavities. High acidity and plenty of sugar are a bad mix for teeth.
Want your offspring to eventually spring off on their own? Teeth and employment here.
Addition 8/29/13  Teeth and success again, here.

 The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that children never consume energy drinks.
Energy ("energy"?) drinks contain caffeine and substances like ginseng, carnitine, taurine, guarana and yohimbe. These chemicals increase heart rate and blood pressure. They also appear to effect coronary artery dilation. So rate goes up, pressure goes up, but what should happen-- arteries enlarging to accomodate greater blood flow-- does not. The heart works harder with less oxyen supply.

Gatorade. Because this, that's why.
The original experimental  Gatorade was apparently not sugar laden. It was meant to essentially replace sweat, and it tasted like...sweat. It became a mixture of salt, sugar, and water, with a citrus-based flavoring and food coloring added. (side note: until this year Gatorade contained brominated vegetabe oil-- Yumm!)
When Susie and Sam are pouring sweat on the youth soccer field, like the athletes for which these rehydrants were originally intended, replacing electrolytes is a fine idea. In the school cafeteria or in front of the TV, they are only adding unnecessary salts and sugars.
It isn't just grandaddy Gatorade. Others are salt and sugar heavy as well.

Fruit juice has become something a whipping boy lately.
They give lots of sugar with little to none of the fiber of the fruit.

Two points from here:
One, when you eat fruit the bulk is filling. When you drink fruit juice it is not filling.  Hence you can easily overconsume sugars.
And two, fruit juice is sold by the idea natural is good. Unless you squeezed it yourself, don't think the juice is natural. The juice industry is selling a highly processed product. 
Shall I ruin store bought OJ for you? Some might be suspicious from the start that Coke and Pepsi are big players in US OJ. Try this link.
Excellent quote from the comments of the above link:  "While orange juice sounds healthy, it's really just a concentrated dose of flavored sugar as far as your pancreas is concerned."

Soft drinks are hard core.
Obviously there's the sugar. And acidity.
Nutritional Facts of Popular 12-Ounce Soft Drinks456
Brand NameSugar (grams)CaloriespH Level
Cherry Cola44.421542.522
Coca-Cola Classic40.741502.525
Diet Coke14.7003.289
Dr. Pepper40.341552.899
Mountain Dew46.68803.229
Pepsi Cola42.111502.530
Diet Pepsi9.5203.031

OK. Obesity, diabetes, tooth destruction.
But how about behaviour problems? Soda consumption tied to kid's behaviour problems here.
And as to bone health? Caffeine and phosphorous in soda can cause release and displacement of calcium. Soda and osteoporosis here.

Sugar and flavoring added, pasteurized, canned. Not really fresh anymore, is it?

Iced tea.
The store bought bottled ('round here can buy it in gallon milk jugs) stuff is typically sugar laden.
So, the sugar thing again.

Flavored milk.
Dyes-- do you really want your kid eating dyes?-- may cause hyperactivity or allergic reaction, may not. Good bit of contention there. Certainly not going to improve their health.
And, of course, more sugar.

Now that you've read a page largely beating up on sugar you may want to read this quick series of quotes on "Why is too much sugar bad for you?"
Sadly only small mention is made of inflammation. That can be found here, and here.

Bonus link: Wonderful piece on America's other drinking problem.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Before Your Heart Attack
8 Potential Predictors of Future Cardiovascular Disaster

In the months, and perhaps years, leading to a heart attack there are signs your heart health may be headed down the wrong road.

1. Erectile dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunctional men aged 40-49 are twice as likely to develop heart disease.
The retrospective Cologne study found two out of three men treated for cardiovascular disease had suffered from erectile dysfunction, usually for years, before being diagnosed with heart disease.
Narrowing and hardening of arteries leads to decreased flow to the penis. As these are smaller arteries than those at the heart, they may show signs of disease early.
What do these  have in common:  Obesity, Smoking, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Lack of Exercise?
They are all risk factors for both ED and heart disease.

Side note: Depression is linked to high cortisol levels. This raises blood pressure and heart rate and could lead to heart disease. Heart disease correlates to ED. Depression correlates to ED and heart disease.

2. Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Plus he gets a video of the entire night!

Snoring is caused by airway obstruction. In sleep apnea breathing actually stops briefly.
Either way, less oxygen to the blood means less oxygen to the heart.
Have severe sleep apnea? You are three times as likely to die of a heart attack within 5 years.

3. Swollen legs/feet

When you remove your socks does your calf look like it's been strangled by argyle?
Swelling from fluid retention (Edema, or oedema to our Brit cousins. Ain't American English grand?) in regard to heart disease occurs because a) the heart is not pumping strongly, b) the feet are furthest from the heart, and c) the fluids that should be carried away pool.
There are many causes of edematous extremities from clots to medications.
What's causing yours?

Bonus: A simple test shows whether your leg circulation is adequate. This is of particular interest in diabetes.

4. Gum disease

Looks like novelty store hillbilly teeth.
Is poor circulation a cause of gum disease, or does gum disease allow infection leading to heart disease?
Either way it's a curious sign of potential heart trouble to come.

5. Arrhythmia-- Irregular heart beat

Your heart is racing or plodding, pounding, or skipping beats.
Coronary artery disease  is the main cause of arrhythmia, and the leading cause of death in the US. (Sleep apnea is also a cause of arrhythmia.)
As blood vessels narrow the heart receives less blood flow, weakens, and an electrical system failure occurs resulting in irregular contractions.

6. Angina-- Weight on your chest

Frank Henry Netter: The superlative medical illustrator.

Angina is a temporary decrease of blood to the heart. It is triggered by exertion and relieved by rest.
It is usually a symptom of coronary artery disease.
Angina feels like a chest constriction or pressure. It can also feel like indigestion or pain in the jaw, neck, upper back, or  arm.

7. Dyspnea--Shortness of Breath


Shortness of breath in heart disease occurs because the heart can't properly fill and empty. This causes increased pressure on blood vessels of the lung.
A doctor once told me he uses spirometry because it is an excellent baseline indicator of health.
That sentiment is borne out here with the sentence, "shortness of breath was a significant predictor of death from cardiac causes, as well as death from any cause." And here, "Vital capacity is a predictor of death from respiratory and cardiac disease and abnormal spirometry is associated with an increase in 'all-cause' mortality."

8. Insomnia

Watch the clock. That always helps.

During the weeks before a heart attack patients report unexplained bouts of insomnia.
Is it the stress of chronically poor sleep that leads to high blood pressure and increased heart rate?
A recent study of 54,000 makes the connection here, though no one is going out on the cause and effect limb yet.

ED gets smirks and snickers. But it is serious business. With that in mind...

A man goes to his family doctor to get a Viagara prescription. Doctor says, "You're fifty pounds over weight,  have high blood pressure, diabetes, and angioplasty last year.
I'm not going to give you Viagara!
That would be like putting a new flagpole on a condemned building!"

Argentina best look out for their condemned buildings.