Risks

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UPDATE: Should I Take Fish Oils - or Not

A few years ago I wrote this post: Do You Take Omega 3 Fish Oils? Are You Taking Enough? A few of my awesome readers have sent me links to later studies that shed more light on the fish oil issue. I want to bring this topic up to date and also answer a few of the questions I’m asked about fish oils.

As I wrote in my earlier post, fish oil supplements at a dose of 4.000 mgs a day are recommended for people with high triglycerides (one of the four numbers in a cholesterol profile). I also wrote about taking that same dose for prevention and heart heath – even if your triglycerides are normal. Use of fish oils for prevention has not been supported by more recent studies.

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Symptoms and Causes of Diabetes

Insulin resistance is a silent condition with no symptoms that, because it goes unrecognized and untreated, causes diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 57 million adults are estimated to have insulin resistance – also known as (AKA) “impaired glucose tolerance”, “impaired fasting glucose”, “prediabetes” and “metabolic syndrome”.

And you know what? You have more power over this condition than your health professional does. A diagnosis of diabetes is a life changing event. Read this post to see what you can do to head diabetes off at the pass and prevent it.

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Do You Take Omega 3 Fish Oils? Are You Taking Enough?

After reading this post see this link for an UPDATE: Should I Take Fish Oils - or Not

The American Heart Association recommends that patients with elevated triglycerides take 2 to 4 grams (that’s 2000 to 4000 mgs) of omega 3 fish oils a day. In my practice, I recommend 4 grams per day for almost everyone – particularly those people with abnormal cholesterol profiles, Metabolic Syndrome, diabetes, and/or cardiovascular disease.

That’s the dose I take myself - for prevention - even though my cholesterol profile is normal. But when I ask my patients how much they take, most of the time they say “one a day” – and that is not enough. Read here why more omega 3s are better than not enough.

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The Vytorin Controversy: What’s a Patient to Do?

Note; This post was originally published on May 15, 2008 and updated updated on January 16, 2009. Click here to read the update. This has remained one of the most frequently read posts on this blog.

When all the controversy about Vytorin hit the popular press in January 2008, patients immediately began calling my office for more information. They are asking a lot of good questions. They want to know whether they should stay on the drug or stop it; whether it is doing them any good – or more importantly, whether it is doing them any harm. I’m going to try to explain what the controversy is all about and give you some information that will help you figure out what to do.

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The Vytorin Controversy One Year Later - An Update

On January 8, 2009, the FDA issued the following safety review of Vytorin and concluded: “patients should not stop taking Vytorin or other cholesterol lowering medications and should talk to their [health provider] if they have any questions about these medications.”

Dear patient, you have been drawn into a medical slugfest that is being fought among leading cardiologists, so what are you to do? Read my prior post to get some background on the Vytorin controversy and then read this post to see where we are one year later.

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7 Tips for Staying Energized

Here are 7 safe, solid and proven tips to help you stay energized all through the day.

BTW – these don’t come from me, they are from patients who have read my book and then come up with their own ways to make healthy lifestyle behaviors work in their lives. Those that do the following things say they have energy all day - and they are losing weight, too!

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Smart Women Missing Stroke Risks and Warning Signs

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in both men and women (right behind heart disease and cancer). It occurs equally in men and women until age 75. After age 75 women are at much greater risk for stroke than men. Stroke incidence has been increasing in women of all ages. In recent years strokes have surged in the age 45 to 54 age groups – groups usually at low risk for stroke. Why? Experts believe it’s because of an increase in risk factors that lead to stroke.

In a recent study published in the February 2009 issue of the medical journal Stroke researchers reported that 215 women, all having at least one risk factor for stroke, were unable to identify their risks. Furthermore they did not consider themselves to be at risk and were doing nothing to reduce their risk. The researchers concluded “Educational strategies must advocate for and target high-risk women.”

Read this post to learn the risks and warning signs of stroke these women missed.

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Your Lifestyle Choices: Are You Preventing Disease – or Inviting It?

Maverick Health and my book, A Nurse Practitioner’s Guide to Smart Health Choices, are all about using your lifestyle behaviors to prevent or control chronic diseases. I’ve been at this for over a decade now and every day I read studies and hear news-bites that only validate what I write about on this blog and talk about in my book.

But until you know what I know and, more importantly, act on what you know all this information is useless. Read this post about a study in Europe that looked at how well people controlled their risk factors after they’d already had a heart attack or serious cardiac event. Hint: reviewers that read the study found its results “ominous”.

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Synch to Your Body’s Own Clock and to Mother Earth for Better Health

In March 2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published research done at the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Researchers studied 10 subjects – 5 men and 5 women – to see what happened to their cardiovascular and metabolic systems if their behavioral and circadian rhythms were disrupted.

If you want to know what effect being out of synch with your body’s own clock and the rhythms of the Earth has on your health, read this post.

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High Blood Pressure Rx – Keeping It Simple

Successful treatment of high blood pressure is difficult to achieve for a couple of reasons. First, health practitioners have many drugs and multiple guidelines from which to choose when making a treatment plan for individual patients. Second, patients do not like taking medications, so often they don’t take them as they should - if they take them at all.

Researchers in Canada looked at this problem to see if they could come up with a simpler and more effective approach that would make it easier for prescribers and easier for patients. They published their findings in the April 2009 issue of Hypertension.

Read this post to see which drugs helped 20% more people reach their BP goals.

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