In Tom Cruise’s 2013 Jack Harper movie, “Oblivion,” it’s hard to know who was less hip to what was going on: Earth’s beleaguered inhabitants or their supposed controllers. Kinda like what’s happening right here in the U.S.A. Turns out that more than a third of the country’s population has prediabetes, and they’re often oblivious to it. That’s in part because their doctors are not inclined to follow guidelines about testing for the condition or, if they do identify someone with the condition, they often fail to provide treatment or even make suggestions for lifestyle modifications! Oblivion is trumping common sense.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine looked at a sample of folks 45 and up who’d received an A1C test (it reveals your average blood glucose level). Forty percent of women and 36.5 percent of men had prediabetes (defined as an A1C of 5.7 percent to 6.4 percent). But when the researchers looked at the study group’s medical records, they found that “three-fourths of those with prediabetes were not provided with an appropriate treatment plan.” Yikes!
That means, like Jack Harper, you’ve got to face reality and save your world. If you’re overweight, ask your doc for a screening test; make sure you get the results; and if your A1C is between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent, INSIST on getting lifestyle and treatment recommendations. Losing just 5 percent of your weight can ease or reverse the condition, and taking metformin and a statin may save you from diabetes and heart disease.
to track those triglycerides
In the children’s book “Matilda,” when Bruce Bogtrotter, a student at Crunchem Hall Primary School, stole a chocolate cake from the mean headmistress, Ms. Trunchbull, she punished the lad by making him eat an enormous cake in front of a school assembly.
Ms. Trunchbull hoped to humiliate Bruce, but failed totally. She did succeed, however, in getting his triglycerides to spike! Levels of this blood fat rise when you eat sweet foods, processed carbs, trans and sat fats or consume excess alcohol.
Chronically elevated levels are associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart woes. Research has shown that guys 26 to 54 with the highest triglyceride levels have four times greater risk of heart disease and stroke than peers with the lowest levels.
And there’s another hazard: A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found even slightly elevated triglyceride levels boost your risk for pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that causes severe abdominal pain and even can be fatal. Seems registering 177-265 mg/dL (less than 150 mg/dL is healthy) raises your chance of pancreatitis by a whopping 130 percent!
So, ask your doc for a blood test to check your level. If it’s even slightly elevated (or even if it isn’t):
• Eliminate refined grains, added sugars, added syrups and excess alcohol from your diet.
• Lose weight if you need to; a 5 to 10 percent reduction results in a 20 percent decrease in triglycerides.
• Get at least 30 minutes of added physical activity daily, headed for 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent.
Risks of social media
We found a meme of “Honest Abe” Lincoln online accompanied by the quote, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.” Well, a new study confirms Abe’s advice — and shows how often it is ignored!
Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Tulane University published a study in the American Journal of Infection Control revealing that the most read/most popular posts on Facebook during the initial Zika scare were the least accurate medically, even though the majority of posts about Zika during the study’s one-week window were accurate.
The most popular post was a false one claiming that birth defects from Zika actually come from an insecticide, and that Zika was a host invented by chemical companies. It had over 19,600 shares! The most popular accurate post about Zika, a press release by the World Health Organization, was shared only 964 times! We want people to be accurately informed (you’re entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!), because health misinformation can be dangerous. If you believe that Zika is a hoax, you won’t adequately protect yourself from the mosquitoes carrying it.
So take Abe’s advice, and be a detective the next time you’re reading health information on social media. Ask: “Where did the person get the information?” and be skeptical of people and websites that don’t identify their sources. Sources you can rely on include government health organizations (sites ending in “.gov”), major medical schools (sites ending in “.edu”) and articles from journals and research publications like JAMA and The Lancet.
Don’t drop dead
Members of the punk-rock band Dropdead also have played with crust-punk and grind-core bands Exploding Corpse Action and Conniption. (We don’t make this stuff up, folks.) Because they’re in an underground music scene, they’re easy to miss.
And if you have familial hypercholesterolemia —a genetic condition that causes hyped-up levels of lousy LDL cholesterol reaching 400 mg/dL or higher — and don’t deal with it, you could develop a health conniption that sounds like the name of a headbanger band! The problem: FH is an underground condition.
In the U.S. alone, over 1.3 million people have this disease, yet only 10 percent know it. By age 50, men with FH have a 50 percent higher chance of heart attack (more than 30 percent drop dead), and by age 60 women have a 30 percent higher risk than folks without the condition.
Fortunately, researchers from Queen Mary University of London may have a diagnostic solution: Both child and parents, whether or not they’re aware of a family risk, should be screened for FH when the 1- to 2-year-old gets vaccinated (84 percent of British families are now doing this). Research shows that about one in every 270 kids has FH, and every child identified with the disorder will have at least one parent who’s passed down the gene.
So, ask about the test when you take your child to the pediatrician, or if your kids are older, consider a family screening, especially if you have any relative who had a heart attack in their 50s or younger.
for delayed gratification
Delayed Gratification is a magazine dedicated to slow journalism — that is, analysis of news events that is delayed until after the dust has settled. The hope: Waiting will shed some of the unnecessary baggage that can accompany a breaking story, and cast a clearer light on the real news.
Turns out that delayed gratification can help shed more than misconceptions and reshape more than perceptions — it can help you shed pounds and reshape your body!
Research published in Preventive Medicine took a long, slow look at what influences your away-from-home eating. Researchers discovered that when you’re hungry, picking up a quick bite at a drive-thru (even though you know it’s bad for you) is hard to resist, if you’re the sort who favors immediate rewards. And that’s even though waiting provides much greater rewards: a slimmer you and a younger RealAge!
So the next time you’re hungry, dodge the fast-food solution with these tricks:
• Tamp down crazy hunger by getting vitamins and minerals your body craves: Take 1/2 a multivitamin morning and night (avoid mega-doses of nutrients).
• Keep a bag of walnuts in your car, pocket or desk. Eating 12 halves provides enough healthy fat and calories to quell your hunger until you can prepare a healthy meal or find a restaurant that offers healthy choices.
• Drink plenty of water. Being thirsty can make you think you’re hungry, which can drive you to the drive-thru. Plus, research shows that drinking 12 ounces of water before you eat means you’ll take in 75 to 90 fewer calories.