Weight Loss Surgery Raises Some Pregnancy Risks

In The New York Times (Health), they reported that women who have undergone bariatric surgery are more likely to deliver premature babies than those with low birth weight, a large new study shows.

The research looked at roughly 15,000 births that took place in Sweden between 1992 & 2009, including about 2,500 women who had had weight loss surgery.  On average, the women delivered about five years after the surgery.

After controlling for age, smoking and other factors that could influence pregnancy complications, the researchers found that 10 percent of children born to women who had undergone bariatric surgery were delivered prematurely, compared with 6 percent in the other group.

One interesting note, mothers who had had weight loss surgery did have one advantage: they were less likely to deliver excessively large babies. The researchers noted that excessive fetal growth is strongly linked to obesity and often driven by high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, both of which are improved by weight loss surgery.  

Health Tip: Managing Diabetes While Under Stress

Managing diabetes can be tough enough, but the challenge is even greater when you’re under stress.

The American Diabetes Association says possible impacts of stress on diabetes management include the risks of:

  • A sudden, dramatic rise in blood glucose levels.
  • Strong negative emotions.
  • Difficulty making decisions or thinking clearly.
  • Compulsive eating or making unhealthy food choices.
  • Significant strain on the heart and circulatory system.

Source for this article:  Yahoo Health


Is there a Link between Caffeine and Depression?


What is the relationship between caffeine and depression? Does caffeine make depression worse?

The exact relationship between caffeine and depression isn’t clear.  There’s no evidence that caffeine — a mild stimulant — causes depression.  However, some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than are others. In such individuals, caffeine may worsen existing depression.  How or why this occurs isn’t clear.  But several theories exist.

·         Although caffeine initially gives you a “lift,” it may later have the opposite effect as the effects of the caffeine wear off.

·         Caffeine can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.  A lack of sleep can worsen depression.

·         Caffeine appears to have some effect on blood sugar, especially in people with diabetes.  Fluctuations in blood sugar can be associated with mood changes.

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Considering Gastric Sleeve or Lap Band Surgery? ~~ Think Twice About Holiday “Splurges”

Holidays may be a traditional excuse to splurge, but excessive overindulging in anticipation of weight loss surgery can be counterproductive.

In PRNewswire, they reported that if you are seriously considering a gastric sleeve, lap band, or another weight loss procedures in early 2014, take caution about that one final round of caloric overindulgence during the holiday season. Binge eating can lead to dangerous blood sugar spikes, among other issues.

Sudden increases in blood sugar and blood pressure caused by excessive indulgence in rich holiday food, desserts, and alcoholic beverages can sometimes cause doctors to put the brakes on weight loss surgeries out of concerns about complications. Also, prior to weight loss surgery, patients are routinely put on very restricted low calorie diets, followed by a pre-surgery all-liquid diet. The switch, almost literally between “feast and famine,” can make it even more difficult for patients who are used to consuming a very large amount of food to switch to very small portions, and then no food at all just prior to surgery. Dr. Feiz (Board certified bariatric surgeon) strongly recommends that patients who are planning on weight loss surgery start scaling back their eating as soon as possible.


Mental Illness Tied to Higher Rates of Physical Problems

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) — Adults with mental illness are more likely to have certain types of chronic physical health problems than those without mental illness, according to a U.S. government report released this week.

The report said adults aged 18 and older who had any type of mental illness in the past year had higher rates of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

For instance, about 22 percent of adults with any type of mental illness in the past year had high blood pressure and nearly 16 percent had asthma. The rates in adults without mental illness were about 18 percent and 11 percent, respectively, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report said.

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Health Tip: Consider These Diabetes ‘Superfoods’

(HealthDay News) — April 12, 2012 –People with diabetes should look for foods that pack a powerful nutritional punch yet have a low glycemic index, experts say.

The American Diabetes Association suggests these optimal “superfoods”:

  • Any kind of bean, from kidney beans to pinto beans.
  • Vegetables that are dark green and leafy, including kale, collard greens and spinach.
  • Fiber-rich citrus fruits, including lemons, grapefruit and oranges.
  • Berries, sweet potatoes or tomatoes.
  • Salmon and other fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Nuts, whole grain foods and fat-free yogurt and milk.

Copyright © 2012HealthDay. All rights reserved


U.S. could bring more common drugs over the counter

(Reuters) – March 08, 2012 Prescription drugs to treat some of the most common chronic diseases, such as high cholesterol and diabetes, may become available over the counter under a plan being considered by U.S. regulators.

In what would be a major shift in policy if finalized, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comment until Friday on a way to make these medications more readily available. It will also have a meeting about the proposal at the end of March.

The goal is to ensure people take drugs as needed, while still understanding safety issues.

Experts say the unwillingness of people to take certain medications as prescribed has undermined effective treatment of conditions including high blood pressure, raising the cost of healthcare in the United States.

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Quitting Smoking May Halve Risk of Oral Health Problems

TUESDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) — Adult smokers are twice as likely to develop oral health problems as those who have kicked the habit, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found.

Compared to people who never smoked, current smokers are four times more likely to develop oral conditions, such as mouth cancers, gum disease and cavities.

The CDC investigators also found that smokers between the ages of 18 and 64 are nearly 1.5 times as likely as former smokers and more than twice as likely as people who never smoked to have three or more oral health problems.

Although current smokers were more likely to acknowledge the importance of oral health issues, they were less likely than former or never smokers to visit a dentist for an existing problem, the findings showed. The researchers reported that people who smoke are about twice as likely to have not been to the dentist in more than five years or not at all.

The main reason smokers said they avoided the dentist, the CDC authors noted, was that they couldn’t afford dental treatment. The research showed cost was the number one reason adults with an oral health problem did not visit the dentist within six months. More than half (56 percent) of current smokers either couldn’t afford treatment or didn’t have any insurance. The same was true for 36 percent of former smokers as well as 35 percent of people who never smoked.

The CDC report emphasized that research has long shown there is a link between tobacco use and oral disease. In addition, oral health problems could be a red flag for the development of many serious conditions, such as diabetes, HIV, heart disease or stroke, the authors noted.


Are Diet Soft Drinks Bad for You?

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2012) — A new study finds a potential link between daily consumption of diet soft drinks and the risk of vascular events.

Individuals who drink diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be at increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and vascular death. This is according to a new study by Hannah Gardener and her colleagues from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and at Columbia University Medical Center. However, in contrast, they found that regular soft drink consumption and a more moderate intake of diet soft drinks do not appear to be linked to a higher risk of vascular events. The research appears online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine published by Springer.

In the current climate of escalating obesity rates, artificially sweetened soft drinks are marketed as healthier alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages, due to their lack of calories. However, the long-term health consequences of drinking diet soft drinks remain unclear.

Gardener and team examined the relationship between both diet and regular soft drink consumption and risk of stroke, myocardial infarction (or heart attack), and vascular death. Data were analyzed from 2,564 participants in the NIH-funded Northern Manhattan Study, which was designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors and prognosis in a multi-ethnic urban population. The researchers looked at how often individuals drank soft drinks — diet and regular — and the number of vascular events that occurred over a ten-year period.

They found that those who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have suffered a vascular event than those who drank none, after taking into account pre-existing vascular conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure. Light diet soft drink users, i.e. those who drank between one a month and six a week, and those who chose regular soft drinks were not more likely to suffer vascular events.

Gardener concludes: “Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes. However, the mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events are unclear. There is a need for further research before any conclusions can be drawn regarding the potential health consequences of diet soft drink consumption.”


Health Tip: Preparing for a Stress Test

To check heart function

(HealthDay News) — A cardiac stress test gives doctors an idea of how your heart functions at rest and when it’s under “stress” from activities such as treadmill exercise.

The U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says you can prepare for the test by:

  • Dressing comfortably in workout clothes, including footwear designed for exercise.
  • Checking with your doctor to see if you need to avoid food and water before the test.
  • Checking with your doctor, if you’re diabetic, to see if you should adjust your medication before the test.
  • Asking your doctor if you need to avoid caffeinated beverages, certain foods or over-the-counter medications before the test.
  • Bringing any inhaler you use to the test and letting the doctor know about it.


Spending on depression up, quality of care lagging

(Reuters Health) – December 06, 2011 –  Spending on depression has gone up by nearly a third with no clear improvement in the quality of care, according to Medicaid claims data from Florida.

The uptick in spending was fueled mainly by prescriptions of psychiatric drugs, in particular antipsychotics, while the use of psychotherapy and hospitalizations dropped between 1996 and 2006.

“With the decline in use of hospitalization and antidepressants going generic, the cost of treating depression could have been expected to be falling over this period, but this didn’t happen,” said Thomas G. McGuire, a professor of health economics at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Patients were getting more drugs, mainly more antipsychotics, driving total treatment costs up not down,” he told Reuters Health in an email.

Quality of care measures included how much treatment patients’ received – both in person, from a doctor, and in sustained use of their prescribed medications.

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Antipsychotic drugs tied to diabetes risk in kids

(Reuters Health) – November 22, 2011 – The antipsychotic drugs that are increasingly being used to treat bipolar disorder, autism and other mental disorders in children may come with an increased risk of diabetes, a new study suggests.

Previous research has linked the so-called second-generation antipsychotics to an increased risk of diabetes in adults. And there’s been some evidence that the drugs can cause weight gain in children.

The new findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, add to concerns that the medications may ultimately lead to diabetes in some kids.

Using records from three U.S. health plans, researchers found that children and teens who started on an antipsychotic had four times the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, versus kids not using any psychiatric medication.

They developed diabetes at a rate of just over three cases per 1,000 children per year. That compared with just under 0.8 cases per 1,000 among medication-free kids.

Second-generation antipsychotics include drugs such as Risperdal, known generically as risperidone, Zyprexa (olanzapine), Seroquel (quetiapine) and Abilify (aripiprazole).

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Early sexual abuse increases heart risks

(Reuters) – November 13, 2011 – Women who were repeatedly sexually abused as girls have a 62 percent higher risk of heart problems later in life compared with women who were not abused, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.

The findings, presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Florida, underscored the lasting physical effects of early sexual abuse.

Much of the increased risk was related to coping strategies among abuse survivors such as overeating, alcohol use and smoking.

“The single biggest factor explaining the link between severe child abuse and adult cardiovascular disease was the tendency of abused girls to have gained more weight throughout adolescence and into adulthood,” Janet Rich-Edwards of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the study, said in a statement.

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