Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Stop wasting your money on supplements"

I'm sure you've seen the headlines splashed across almost every newspaper, web site, and television station. Doctors say "the case is closed for multivitamins." They don't help and can actually hurt you!
So is it true? Of course not!

First of all, what the media so eagerly lapped up was an editorial written by five doctors.

The main author of the editorial is Dr. Edgar Miller. Dr. Miller is a highly respected researcher for Johns Hopkins. Conventional medicine holds him in very high regard. Dr. Miller somewhat regularly publishes the results of meta-studies that bash supplements. A meta-study, as you may know, is a study of other studies. They look at a bunch of studies, take the results they like, group them together, and draw a conclusion.

If the researchers don't cherry pick the results, meta-studies can be useful. But no self-respecting researcher would take the results of any meta-study as the be-all-to-end-all. For that matter, no self-respecting scientist would declare that "the case is closed." And, yet, that is just what Dr. Miller does in his editorial.

The first study Dr. Miller evaluated in drawing his conclusion was a meta-analysis of 27 studies. This meta-analysis showed that multivitamins don't have any beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer. Well, did Dr. Miller cherry pick the studies he used? We know in the past that his team did cherry pick studies.

In 2004, Dr. Miller conducted a meta-analysis on vitamin E. The BBC picked up his story and ran with the headline "High dose vitamin E death warning." But Dr. Miller's team looked at studies that didn't evaluate how healthy people would respond to vitamin E supplements. And, even worse, his team looked at studies that researched only synthetic vitamin E. With a history of cherry picking, we have to think it's a reasonable possibility in his latest study.

What's more, his editorial completely ignores one study that showed a statistically significant reduction in cancer rates. If a drug got these same results, it would be big, positive news. But Dr. Miller chose not to mention that one - again, cherry picking his studies.

Dr. Miller also looked at two other studies. One wanted to know if multivitamins helped prevent second heart attacks. To me, the very premise of the study is foolish. Do you think a low-dose multivitamin has the ability to prevent heart attacks in someone who has already had a heart attack? Of course you don't!

And, the final study followed nearly 6,000 doctors over the age of 65. All of them took either a multivitamin or a placebo for 12 years.

The study found that the multivitamin didn't make any difference in their cognitive function. What Dr. Miller doesn't tell you is that these doctors were all healthy to start with and they were very health-conscious, well-nourished individuals. They were not a valid representative of the population as a whole. So, to draw a definitive conclusion for everyone based on this study is foolish at best.

Most people who take supplements know a simple low-dose multivitamin won't treat serious illness. They take multivitamins to keep their nutrition level high and to help prevent disease from occurring in the first place. But they don't take a multivitamin to treat serious illness.

Unfortunately, the news media doesn't think you're that smart. The media thinks you believe multivitamins are a silver bullet that can cure anything. So the headlines in today's news are bashing multivitamins because they won't treat these serious conditions.

I would love to say that the media just doesn't get it. After all, treating a serious disease with a low-dose multivitamin is like cleaning up a war zone with a bottle of Windex and a paper towel. It just won't work. But the media are showing their true colors more and more. Oh, they get it, alright. And it's very clear what they're doing. At best, it's a poor interpretation of the facts. At worst, it's collusion with the drug companies to undermine the value of supplements.

Some criticize the supplement industry for the amount of money they bring in. But consider this. All supplement companies combined sold only $12 billion in products in 2012. From September 2011 to 
September 2012, the antipsychotic drug Abilify (aripiprazole) racked up nearly $6.4 billion in sales all by itself. What's more, drugs are the leading cause of death in the U.S. Supplements are nowhere on the list because they almost never even hurt anyone.

The reality is that none of the arguments in Dr. Miller's editorial hold up to any real scrutiny. Unfortunately, the news media doesn't scrutinize these stories. So ignore their headlines and continue to take your high-quality vitamins and supplements.

Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Diabetes is Like a Marriage…

My wedding anniversary is quickly approaching, and I’m thinking about how my marriage of nearly 26 years to my husband Don is similar to the way he is dealing with his recent diagnosis with type 2 diabetes.
When you’re first married, the newness of dealing with another person taking up space in your life brings changes, challenges, and acceptance. Yet, as time goes on, sometimes you take advantage of those relationships and get careless in some ways. Let’s explore how marriage and a diabetes diagnosis are similar in some ways.
My husband and I were married on June 6, 1987.  Nearly 26 years and two sons later, we have adapted to one another, and though we have our ups and downs in the relationship, we are committed to one another until death do us part, no matter what. Our vows were not taken lightly, as they are in so many marriages today. Each day, marriage is a struggle or a blessing in one way or another, with good days and bad days, depending on how we interact or communicate with each other. That is life!
The same is also true of receiving the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, or any other disease for that matter. It is something that is with you day in and day out, and you have to deal with it, get along with it, manage it, and accept the goods and bads of that disease relationship, if you will. If you vow to follow the physician’s advice, much like a young couple that follows the advice of a pastor to be forgiving, giving, accepting, and eager to learn about one another, then life will be more enjoyable, less stressful, and well-managed.
I have found that as the wife, I have become very much involved with my husband’s diagnosis, and have asked questions about how he is feeling, if he made good food choices for the day, and more. I am aware of his down days or days when things just are not right. I’ve learned his behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, and his reactions to certain things.
For instance, this week I found Don’s blood test kit on the kitchen counter. He wasn’t being very active — instead, he was just sitting watching TV on a sunny nice day. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I’m not feeling right,” Don said. I inquired about what he ate at work that day, and he didn’t give me an answer except to say, “Quit preaching to me!” By his tone, I knew he was aggravated about his actions and that I had caught him. He finally admitted that his blood glucose was 154!  However, since he is tempted with so many things at work, I expected a high blood sugar reading could and would happen, eventually. I didn’t say, “I told you so.” I’m learning to hold the tongue so as not to aggravate things! That is another thing you learn in a marriage!
Two days later, once again, Don wasn’t feeling well. Later in the day, he realized he had forgotten to take his medication. Again, I held my tongue. “Just like when you don’t get your day started off right with an ‘I love you’ in a marriage, when you don’t take your diabetes meds when you are supposed too, you will have an unmanaged day,” I thought to myself.
Also, Mother’s Day week proved to be a green flag for Don to overeat and have desserts at events or when eating out. I noticed that he ate no fruit from the buffet and he ate about a half-cup of cabbage for his vegetables. The rest of his plate was meats and a lot of high-calorie, sweet desserts!  However, there are consequences once again to adding fuel to the fire.
So, how much does he weigh now? He’s not talking. My marriage experience tells me that Don has gained when he doesn’t give me an answer. Portion control has to be part of controlling diabetes.
However, I can’t hold his hand at all times. He will have consequences for his actions, very similar to someone who may have had an affair in their marriage. It isn’t something that can be hidden, if you know the person and how they react to certain questions. I just knew with his reactions that he either ate fast food, ate unhealthy at the office, or bought cookies or chips to cause the high blood sugar test. Or he could be lacking in exercise, which has become something he has to work on.
Just like someone in a comfortable marriage, he was getting too comfortable with how things were going with the good readings on his diabetes tests, until he misbehaved. Just weeks ago, the doctor said he wouldn’t have to do blood pricks unless he felt he needed to do so. What has changed? Is he being careless? I believe so.
There are many factors that can affect blood glucose levels. Struggling for that control and a good blood glucose level does take work, just like a healthy marriage. Seeking professional help, taking their advice, and being knowledgeable on the issues can help with both diabetes control and marriage. It’s how much you do and how you stay in line that matters. With diabetes, when you ignore your exercise, weight, stress levels, dietary intake, and medication, these things become downfalls to your control.
Like maintaining a strong marriage, managing diabetes takes effort, acceptance, knowledge, and a whole lot of love!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

10 Symptoms He Shouldn't Ignore

By Richard Laliberte and Gail Saltz, Woman's Day

Tue, Jun 07, 2011

Whenever I get sick, I have a conversation with my wife, Rachelle, that goes like this:

Her: “How are you doing?”
Me: “Fine.”
Her: “Are you sure?”

She just doesn’t trust me when I tell her nothing is wrong—a lack of faith she claims dates to an illness early in our marriage. “You wouldn’t take aspirin because you wanted to see how high your temperature could go,” she recalls. “It was the stupidest reason you ever gave me for not taking care of yourself.”

It wasn’t the last time I put off going for an exam. Recently, a blotchy growth on my hairline went unchecked until its increasing size, nudges from Rachelle and “eww”s from my teenage daughter finally compelled me to see my doctor. It turned out to be an easily treated benign lesion—but the doc made it clear to me that it could have been cancer and really should’ve been checked sooner.

Like a lot of men, I have a thing about doctors. I’m not against them— I just figure medical care is for other guys. “Men like to think they’re indestructible,” says Alan Shindel, MD, codirector of the Men’s Health Program in the department of urology at the University of California, Davis.

We’re not total idiots about health, though. For example, men are more likely than women to get screened for colorectal cancer, and we understand it’s wise to get checked for serious conditions like heart disease and prostate cancer. It’s the out-of-nowhere aches, pains and oddball growths that we tend to blow off. One survey found that a quarter of men who were sick or in pain would wait as long as possible to see a doctor, and 17 percent would wait at least a week.

I finally went to the doctor about the spot on my scalp after I did some online research to assess the odds that it was something serious—and wasn’t reassured by what I read. Men like to be rational. Giving him the facts—as scary as they may be—may turn on a logic switch that makes it difficult to defend dodging his doctor.

Experts agree that not every symptom warrants a trip to the doctor, but some seemingly minor signs shouldn’t be toyed with (in men or women). We asked physicians to tell us the most serious symptoms that often go ignored—and why they shouldn’t be.

1. Feeling Tongue-Tied
He’s thinking: I’m having a senior moment.
But it could be: A stroke. When a clot, injury, narrow blood vessel or other problem restricts blood flow to the brain, the result can be a TIA—a transient ischemic attack, which impairs brain function and can make speech difficult. It’s different from the tip-of-the-tongue reaching for an elusive word. “He might find that words can’t come out at all, or he’ll speak words that are different from the ones he intended or mumble things that don’t make sense,” says Steven Kaplan, MD, director of the Iris Cantor Men’s Health Center now under construction at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Such symptoms warrant an immediate call to the doctor or trip to the ER. Mini-strokes usually last a few minutes and symptoms typically disappear within an hour, but having a TIA means you’re at immediate risk of a more massive stroke. Men have a slightly higher risk of TIAs than women, and risks go up with age, especially after 55. Photo: Stockbyte

2. Shortness of Breath
He’s thinking: I’m really out of shape.
But it could be: An impending heart attack. Shortness of breath with exertion such as walking up a flight of stairs could be a sign that the heart muscle isn’t getting enough oxygen—a hallmark of coronary heart disease, which men age 55 and over are at an increased risk for.

“Any condition that makes breathing a struggle, including asthma and allergies, is exacerbated by exertion,” Dr. Shindel says. “But if shortness of breath seems to be getting worse each time, we worry about the heart.” Breathing that’s labored and doesn’t improve warrants a call to 911. An electrocardiogram or EKG (which measures the electrical activity of your heart), a sonogram or ultrasound of the heart, and chest X-rays can help diagnose or rule out a heart problem. Photo: Jupiterimages

3. Persistent Pain On One side of the Abdomen
He’s thinking: I probably pulled a muscle.
But it could be: A kidney stone or tumor. One-sided pain that goes away probably is a side stitch or pulled muscle and nothing to worry about. “But if a dull ache is persistent, it should be evaluated by a physician,” says Dr. Kaplan. “It could be many things, but a tumor is one of the first possibilities we consider.” An ache from a tumor won’t likely move around, and may get better if he takes an over-the-counter pain reliever—but will keep coming back. “Any abdominal pain that doesn’t resolve within three days deserves to be checked out.”

Sharp, excruciating pain that hits suddenly and doesn’t improve within an hour warrants a trip to the ER. “If it’s a kidney stone, the pain will radiate from a specific point and can be intense enough to make you vomit,” Dr. Kaplan says. “I’ve had one myself, and it’s so horrible it makes you want to die.” The problem could also be appendicitis, a perforated ulcer or a hernia, so it’s important to get checked out. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Toilet-Time Blood
He’s thinking: Must be something I ate.
But it could be: A kidney stone or bladder cancer if blood is in urine; colon cancer if blood is in stools. Bright red spots on tissue after wiping are likely from hemorrhoids. But blood in stools that have become narrower and thinner than usual (like the width of a pencil) could be a sign of cancer. Black, tarry stools might also indicate stomach bleeding from an ulcer. His doctor will likely examine the GI tract via a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy to nail down the problem.

Blood in urine may show up as a subtle pink hue, but he shouldn’t dismiss minuscule amounts or chalk it up to eating beets. “You’d have to eat a whole lot for that to happen,” says Mark Pochapin, MD, director of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Assume any reddish color is blood: One drop can turn the bowl pink. “Even microscopic amounts are a warning,” says Martin Miner, MD, codirector of the Men’s Health Center at The Miriam Hospital and clinical associate professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. “If he can actually see red color, he should definitely be evaluated.” Photo: iStockphoto

5. Trouble Down Below
He’s thinking: There’s a pill for this.
But it could be: An early warning of cardiovascular disease. “The latest studies find that men in their 40s and 50s with erectile dysfunction may be two to five years away from a cardiovascular event like a heart attack,” Dr. Miner says. A recent study at the Mayo Clinic found that men who had ED in their 40s were 50 times more likely to have heart trouble down the road than men who didn’t. The artery leading to the penis is about half the diameter of the one feeding the heart, so experts think that restricted blood flow from atherosclerosis shows up early down below. An EKG or stress test can identify cardiac problems and a Doppler ultrasound (usually from a urologist) can test blood flow in penile blood vessels.

“The first sign of ED is usually trouble maintaining an erection during sex or not having normal morning erections,” Dr. Miner says. The good news is that the onset of ED, if it’s caused by cardiovascular disease, suggests your man may have a window of opportunity to treat heart disease before it becomes a serious problem. Photo: Jim Arbogast/Thinkstock

6. Daytime Fatigue
He’s thinking: I should go to sleep earlier.
But it could be: Obstructive sleep apnea. Spending more time in bed won’t help if fatigue is due to this condition, in which the airway narrows or is blocked during sleep, cutting off breathing and disrupting slumber five to 30 times an hour. “Everyone has a night here and there when he doesn’t sleep well. But if the fatigue doesn’t go away even when he can catch up on rest, sleep apnea could be putting him at risk for health problems such as heart attack, arrhythmias, stroke or even heart failure,” Dr. Shindel says. A sign he’s chronically tired: falling asleep while doing activities during waking hours. “It’s not normal to fall asleep during usual waking hours just because you’re in a dark room,” Dr. Shindel says. Sleep apnea is especially common in overweight men and heavy snorers, but can be treated with breathing devices such as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), an apparatus that you wear at night to keep airways open. Losing weight and surgery to widen the airway can also help. Photo: Stockbyte

7. Constant Grumpiness
He’s thinking: I’m just under a lot of stress at work.
But it could be: Depression. Feeling cranky and low because of work hassles or difficult times is normal, but it should dissipate within a few days. With clinical depression, downbeat irritability lasts weeks at a time. “It’s different from run-of-the-mill blues and time for him to talk to his doctor if you’re saying to him, ‘You haven’t been acting like the person I think you really are for weeks’ or he’s lost interest in activities he used to enjoy or isn’t performing at work,” Dr. Shindel says.

Talk therapy and antidepressant medication are the options his doctor will likely suggest first. But if he has symptoms such as fatigue, low sex drive and loss of muscle mass, Dr. Shindel advises getting a blood test for low testosterone, which is sometimes the root cause of depression, especially in men over 40. Testosterone replacement in the form of gel, skin patches or injections can reverse the symptoms, but he should first talk to his doctor carefully about his medical history and the potential risks of testosterone therapy. Photo: Ditigal Vision

8. Frequent Urination
He’s thinking: I’m drinking too much coffee.
But it could be: Type 2 diabetes or an enlarged prostate. It might be the coffee—when he’s actually drinking it. But if he often gets up to go twice or more during the night, his body could be trying to get rid of excess blood sugar that’s built up because it can’t get into cells—the problem that defines diabetes. He should first try adjusting what or when he drinks at night to see if that leads to fewer wee-hour trips to the bathroom. “If he still urinates more than he did a month ago, he should get his blood sugar checked, especially if he also has increased thirst, another red flag for diabetes,” Dr. Miner says. Diabetes can usually be controlled with changes in diet and exercise, often combined with medication.

If he’s also feeling like he can’t empty his bladder completely and/or is having a slow or weak stream, dribbling and having trouble getting urine flow started, the problem may be a growing prostate. This small gland surrounds the tube that carries urine out of the bladder, so an increase in size can put the squeeze on urine flow—a common problem in middle-aged and older men. (In men under 50, symptoms could be due to a urinary tract infection.)

Though painless, an enlarged prostate can eventually get worse and lead to acute urinary retention, where he suddenly can’t urinate at all, which is an emergency that often leads to surgery. Treatment ranges from exercises to strengthen muscles in the pelvic floor to medications that relieve symptoms or shrink the prostate. Prostate cancer is also a possibility, especially for men over 50, and if the doctor suspects that, he’ll do a rectal exam and draw blood to check PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels; higher-than-normal results may indicate prostate enlargement, an infection or cancer. Photo: Thinkstock

9. Yellowish Skin
He’s thinking: What yellow skin?
But it could be: Liver trouble. Yellow skin, or jaundice, suggests the liver isn’t functioning right. Possible causes in adults include liver disease, gallstones, pancreatic cancer or a viral hepatitis infection, which causes swelling of the liver.

“Hepatitis A isn’t a disease people think of, but it’s a virus found in contaminated shellfish and can be passed on by people who prepare food and don’t wash their hands,” Dr. Pochapin says. In fact, hepatitis A is one of the most common infectious diseases that’s preventable with a vaccine— worth considering for anyone who hasn’t been inoculated. Symptoms like jaundice, fever, upset stomach and fatigue usually show up within two to six weeks of exposure and get better on their own with a few weeks of rest. (And the virus doesn’t stay in your body after that.) But have him check in with his doctor, who’ll most likely want to run some tests to figure out exactly what’s going on. Photo: Jupiterimages

10. A New Spot—Mole, Freckle, Red Patch— On the Skin
He’s thinking: It’ll go away.
But it could be: Skin cancer or seborrheic keratoses— warty, waxy benign lesions that become more common in middle age. Any time a new skin growth appears or an existing one changes in size, color or shape, he should see a doctor. Be especially concerned if a spot or mole gets darker, bleeds, itches or feels irritated—all of which are possible signs of skin cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The differences in appearance between a benign growth and skin cancer—especially melanoma, the deadliest type—can be subtle. So your physician may want to take a biopsy to make a definite ID.

I know all this from firsthand experience— and when I understood what the dangers may have been, I was glad I saw my doctor. After all, nobody’s indestructible forever. Photo: Jupiterimages

Why he doesn’t want to go to the doctor...and how to get him there

Every woman has that man in her life— her father, husband, brother, boyfriend, friend—who just won’t go to the doctor. Indeed, research shows that men are 24 percent less likely to have seen a physician in the past year than women.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that men are more likely to be hospitalized for a preventable condition than women. What drives their avoidance? Research shows that it has a lot to do with men wanting to feel, well, manly. A study of 1,000 men found that those who have a more traditional view of masculinity—thinking that a “real” man doesn’t complain about pain, for example—were half as likely to get preventive care as those who didn’t agree with such stereotypes.

And let me tell you what else is going on: denial. Many people use it as a coping mechanism to deal with fear. So he’s probably thinking something like: “If I ignore this, it will go away” or “I don’t like needles and being prodded, so I’d rather just skip it” or “It’s either nothing or something too scary to know about, so I don’t want to go.”

So how can you help your man see the doctor? Talk to him about it. Sit down and have a chat, telling him that getting regular checkups is the best way to catch any potential illness before it becomes harder to treat and possibly life-threatening. Emphasize how important it is for him to be there—and healthy—for his family. Research shows this is the strongest motivator for men to see the doctor, probably because it appeals to their traditional sense of what their roles are. To help him address a symptom, the best dialogue I can suggest is something along the lines of: Let’s agree to tell each other when we’re feeling or seeing something that’s unusual or new for us—no matter how embarrassing—so we can help each other figure out what to do. I’m going to tell you if I have a stomach, gynecological or other issue and get it taken care of so I can stay healthy for you, and I want you to do the same for me.

Asking him to go to the doctor, and, if need be, arranging the visit shows that you’re taking his health (and symptoms) seriously, which can propel him to as well. It also helps remove the stigma he may feel about asking for help. Beforehand, help him organize his questions and concerns in writing and, if he’d like, be there with pen and paper in hand (or send him with a tape recorder) so you can both discuss the doctor’s responses later. When people are anxious, they often don’t hear or process the information they’re given in the moment. Don’t worry about being overbearing: A little nagging can go a long way in helping him protect his health.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Try This Male Fertility Improvement Plan to Increase Sperm Production

By Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD

We bet you've heard the news linking high LDL cholesterol and saturated fat intake (for example, greasy cheeseburgers and premium ice cream) to low sperm counts, whereas good-fat foods, such as fish and walnuts, are associated with a bigger, better, baby-making squad. Our favorite headline (kudos to Maine's Bangor Daily News) says it all: "Sperm goes limp with fatty foods, while fish perks them up." But don’t stop there. If you're a man concerned about fertility (or a spouse hoping for a baby soon), we have a do-it-yourself male fertility improvement plan to increase sperm production.

Healthy sperm and a robust sperm count improve your odds that a single sperm will survive its ultra-marathon journey and meet an eligible egg. Sperm have different functions. Some act like blockers to stop other sperm, which makes "survival of the fittest" sense for animals with multiple mates during rutting season, while others are sprinters designed to beat a path to the egg. More than half of a guy's sperm are the sprinter/swimmer type, and those oval heads need to be strong enough to break through an egg's tough outer layer.

Giving your sperm a healthy makeover makes sense for every couple trying to have a baby. If you are younger than 34 and have been trying but haven’t conceived in 12 months, or if you're 35 or older, talk with your doctor. Also take these steps -- starting today -- for super-swimmer sperm:

  • Eat little to no bad fats and more good fats. Eating lots of saturated fat (found in red meats, processed meats, full-fat dairy products, and many snack foods and desserts) can reduce sperm counts by 38% and slow the swimming ability of the remaining 62%. Getting more omega-3 fatty acids (from fish such as salmon and wild trout), however, means higher sperm counts. To get more omega-3s, you can also take 1,500 milligrams of a DHA (the most active omega-3) supplement daily. Take 1,500 mg for 10 weeks, and then cut back to 1,000 mg. Discover more benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Hang out at the farm stand. Filling up on fruit and vegetables protects sperm quality and quantity by revving up your body's defenses that keep 'em healthy.
  • Add vitamin D3 and zinc. Plenty of vitamin D3 helps sperm swim better and faster. Aim for 1,000 IU a day from a D3 supplement. Add 12 mg of zinc a day for a healthy sperm count and superior shape. Find zinc in your multivitamin and in healthful food sources, including poultry, beans, cashews, and yogurt with no fat or added sugar.
  • Get that laptop off your lap and your phone out of your pocket. Surfing the Web or checking e-mail with a Wi-Fi-connected laptop in your lap is bad news for male fertility since it thwarts sperms’ swimming skills and the precious DNA (yours!) cargo they carry. Phones may hamper male fertility, too.
  • Keep cool where it counts. Sperm production needs temperatures cooler than the rest of your body, which is why hot tubs, a fever, and even a desk job can decrease your sperm count. Take stand-up breaks at work, let 'em breathe, and make the switch from briefs to boxers. Tight underwear can reduce sperm count by up to 50%. Cyclists, mix up your exercise routine, too.
  • Skip the drinks and smokes. Smoking tobacco is harmful to male fertility. It can cut your sperm count by 13% to 17% and increases the risk of genetic abnormalities, so it's best to quit smoking. There's evidence that marijuana is also bad news. More than one beer, glass of wine, or cocktail a day also messes with sperm quality. After two drinks, sperm get mixed up and travel in weird directions.
  • Stay trim for your swimmers. Being overweight subtracts from your sperm count and ups the number of abnormal sperm in your arsenal. Why? Obesity may alter hormone levels and heat up your testicles. Losing weight can also cure erectile dysfunction if you're unable to achieve an erection.
  • Don't hold back in the bedroom. Daily fun between the sheets improves sperm quality dramatically. Compared to several days of abstinence, daily intimacy reduces DNA damage in sperm by about 30%.

PS Melabic is a combination of the 9 all natural most effective diabetes fighting ingredients. To find out more how they can help you normalize your blood sugar levels and take back your health visit me at

Sunday, March 31, 2013

What's the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are not the same disease. Find out the essential differences and how they affect the body.

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes share the problem of high levels of blood sugar. The inability to control blood sugar causes the symptoms and the complications of both types of diabetes. But type 1 and type 2 diabetes are two different diseases in many ways. In the United States, 25.8 million people have diabetes — that’s about 8.3 percent of the population. But type 1 diabetes affects just 5 percent of those adults, with type 2 diabetes affecting up to 95 percent. Here’s what else you need to know to be health-savvy in the age of the diabetes epidemic.

What Causes Diabetes?

"Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease — the body's immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin," a hormone, says Andjela Drincic, MD, an associate professor of medicine in diabetes and endocrinology at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The exact cause is not known, but it is probably a combination of the genes a person is born with and something in the environment that triggers the genes to become active.
"The cause of type 2 diabetes is multifactorial," says Dr. Drincic. "People inherit genes that make them susceptible to type 2, but lifestyle factors like obesity and inactivity are also important. In type 2 diabetes, at least in the early stages, there is enough insulin, but the body becomes resistant to it." Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include a family history of the disease, a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and being a certain ethnicity.

Juvenile or Adult-Onset: When Does Diabetes Start?

Usually, type 1 diabetes in diagnosed in childhood, where type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed after age 40. But these rules are no longer hard-and-fast: People are getting type 2 diabetes at increasingly younger ages and more adults are getting type 1 diabetes, says Shannon Knapp, RN, BSN, a diabetes educator at the Cleveland Clinic, highlighting the need for diabetes prevention at all ages.

What Does Diabetes Do to the Body?

People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin, which allows sugar to build up in the blood instead of going into the cells, where it is needed for energy. In type 1 diabetes, high blood sugar causes symptoms like thirst, hunger, and fatigue and can cause devastating consequences, including damage to the nerves, blood vessels, and internal organs. The same scary complications of diabetes appear in type 2 as well. The difference is that people with type 2 diabetes still produce insulin; their bodies just become less sensitive to it over time, which is what causes the complications.

Are the Symptoms of Diabetes Different?

The first symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear when blood sugar gets too high. Symptoms include thirst, hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, weight loss, tingling or numbness in the feet, and blurred vision. Very high blood sugar can cause rapid breathing, dry skin, fruity breath, and nausea.
Meanwhile, the first symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not show up for many years, meaning the disease can ravage a person’s body without them realizing it. Early symptoms include frequent infections, fatigue, frequent urination, thirst, hunger, blurred vision, erectile dysfunction in men, and pain or numbness in the hands or feet. Drincic notes that "symptoms of type 2 diabetes don't start as suddenly as symptoms of type 1 diabetes."

Is Diagnosing Diabetes Types 1 and 2 Similar?

Blood tests used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 include fasting blood sugar, a hemoglobin A1C test, and a glucose tolerance test. The A1C test measures the average blood sugar level over the past few months. The glucose tolerance test measures blood sugar after a sugary drink is given.
"The blood sugar testing we do to diagnose and manage type 1 diabetes is very similar to the testing we do for type 2 diabetes," says Drincic. "We can do a blood test that looks for antibodies. That tells us if it is type 1 or 2." In type 1 diabetes, the immune system makes antibodies against the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, and these antibodies can be detected in a blood test. Your doctor may suspect type 2 diabetes based on your symptoms and risk factors like obesity and family history.

Is Diabetes Treatment Different, Too?

A good diabetes diet and regular exercise matters for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Knapp explains. "The big difference is that everybody with type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin,” she says. “People with type 1 diabetes need to check their blood sugar level with a device called a glucometer about four times a day to know how much insulin to take."
Treatment for type 2 diabetes also starts with diet and exercise, and oral medications can also be used to increase the amount of insulin the pancreas makes, Knapp says. Over time, if the pancreas stops making insulin, some people with type 2 will also need insulin." People with type 2 diabetes also need to check blood sugar, but usually only once or twice a day.

What Are the Complications of Diabetes?

"Whether it's type 1 or type 2, the big picture for diabetes is all about preventing complications," Drincic says, mostly nerve and blood vessel damage. For example, if you have either type of diabetes, you have the twice the risk of heart attack or heart disease than someone without the disease. Other complications include eye problems, kidney disease, foot infections, skin infections, stroke, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, and high cholesterol.

Can Diabetes Be Prevented or Cured?

"As of now there is no way to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes," Drincic notes. "There is lots of promising research, but it is still in the research stage." Some of the initiatives involve targeting the cells in the immune system that cause the autoimmune response. Other possibilities include the use of stem cells or pancreas transplants.
"The best cure for type 2 diabetes is prevention, and research on that is very exciting," Drincic says. "Losing a moderate amount of weight and exercising regularly can reduce or delay type 2 diabetes significantly." For example, one study followed 522 men with risk factors for type 2 diabetes. A weight-loss diet and 30 minutes of daily exercise lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 60 percent compared with those who didn't follow the diet or exercise. The findings were published in the journal Clinical Diabetes.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Sugar Equals More Diabetes, Study Finds

A new study found an association between sugar availability and diabetes rates in 175 countries.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27, 2013  Countries that have higher amounts of sugar in their food supply have higher rates of diabetes, according to an analysis of 175 countries published today in the journal PLOS ONE. While this type of study cannot prove that a high-sugar diet causes diabetes, it is consistent with other research suggesting that sugar plays an independent role in the development of type 2 diabetes, above and beyond its contribution to weight gain.
Diabetes is a global epidemic. The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled in the past thirty years, and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that at least 1 in 10 people will be living with the disease by 2030.
In the new study, researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of California-San Francisco looked at changes in the amount of sugar in countries' food supply between the years 2000 and 2010. Their analysis showed that an increase of 150 calories of sugar per person per day resulted in a 1.1 percent jump in the country's diabetes rate after adjusting for socioeconomic and demographic factors, obesity, and other variables. A 150-calorie dose of sugar is equivalent to the amount in one 12-ounce can of regular soda.
“In countries where sugar availability was going up, we saw increasing rates of diabetes, and in countries where sugar availability was going down we saw decreasing rates of diabetes,” says Robert Lustig, MD, the study’s senior author and a professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco. Examining trends in sugar supply and diabetes prevalence for an extended period, as opposed to a single moment in time, strengthens the findings, he says.
Importantly, the association between sugar and diabetes endured even after taking into account total calories in the food supply and countries’ obesity rates. A diet high in sugar may also be high in calories, and excess calories can cause weight gain and ultimately increase risk for type 2 diabetes. This connection complicates scientists’ attempts to isolate the effect of sugar on diabetes risk. In the new analysis, there was an independent relationship between sugar availability and diabetes rates in countries that could not be explained by a simultaneous increase in obesity or total calories.
The study used annual estimates of diabetes prevalence from the IDF for the 175 countries analyzed and data on sugar availability from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.
According to Dr. Lustig, the report “overturns the idea that a calorie is a calorie.” The authors say the study supports the theory that calories from sugar have a greater impact on diabetes risk compared to calories from other sources.
Because the study examined data from whole populations rather than individuals, it cannot prove that a diet high in sugar causes diabetes.
“No epidemiological study will ever be able to prove causation. This study is as close as we will ever come. It is the same scrutiny of analysis that we used to implicate cigarettes as the cause of lung cancer and done with the same criteria,” says Lustig.
Though the researchers used a sophisticated analysis, the findings are of limited value because this type of study is not designed to prove that a sugary diet is a risk factor for diabetes, counters Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was not involved with the study. Still, she says the results are in line with previous research. "This is not a game changer, it's not a new concept. There are stronger study designs that have given similar conclusions."
"At the end of the day, I think there is increasing evidence that added sugar, particularly sugar-sweetened beverages, may very well increase risk for diabetes. These findings are consistent with that," says Dr. Mayer-Davis.
The study authors call for more research to understand the role sugar may play in the development of type 2 diabetes, but some experts are urging health organizations to begin emphasizing sugar reduction to the public now. “How much circumstantial evidence do you need before you take action?” Marion Nestle, PhD, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, who did not contribute to the research, wrote in the study press release. “At this point we have enough circumstantial evidence to advise people to keep their sugar a lot lower than it normally is.”

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