These Signs of Aging Could Signal Heart Disease

Telltale signs of being past your prime, such as baldness and creased earlobes, may provide an early warning of heart disease, say scientists.

Researchers found that men and women who had three to four ageing signs were 57% more likely than younger looking individuals to suffer a heart attack. Their overall risk of heart disease was raised by 39%.

"The visible signs of ageing reflect physiologic or biological age, not chronological age, and are independent of chronological age," said lead scientist Professor Anne-Tybjaerg-Hansen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Her team studied almost 11,000 men and women aged 40 years and older noting four key signs of ageing - receding hairline, crown top baldness, earlobe creases, and yellow fatty deposits around the eyes.

Over the next 35 years, 3,401 of the participants developed heart disease and 1,708 suffered a heart attack.

Both individually and together, the ageing signs predicted heart attack and heart disease independently of traditional risk factors.

Fatty deposits around the eyes were the strongest single predictor of both heart attack and heart disease.

The risk of heart disease and heart attack increased with each additional sign of ageing, the scientists told the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Los Angeles.

People in their 70s and with multiple signs of ageing were most at risk.

"Checking these visible ageing signs should be a routine part of every doctor's physical examination," said Prof Tybjaerg-Hansen.

Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/07/signs-of-ageing-signal-heart-disease_n_2087208.html

More Physical Health...

Telltale signs of being past your prime, such as baldness and creased earlobes, may provide an early warning of heart disease, say scientists.

Researchers found that men and women who had three to four ageing signs were 57% more likely than younger looking individuals to suffer a heart attack. Their overall risk of heart disease was raised by 39%.

"The visible signs of ageing reflect physiologic or biological age, not chronological age, and are independent of chronological age," said lead scientist Professor Anne-Tybjaerg-Hansen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Her team studied almost 11,000 men and women aged 40 years and older noting four key signs of ageing - receding hairline, crown top baldness, earlobe creases, and yellow fatty deposits around the eyes.

Over the next 35 years, 3,401 of the participants developed heart disease and 1,708 suffered a heart attack.

Both individually and together, the ageing signs predicted heart attack and heart disease independently of traditional risk factors.

Fatty deposits around the eyes were the strongest single predictor of both heart attack and heart disease.

The risk of heart disease and heart attack increased with each additional sign of ageing, the scientists told the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Los Angeles.

People in their 70s and with multiple signs of ageing were most at risk.

"Checking these visible ageing signs should be a routine part of every doctor's physical examination," said Prof Tybjaerg-Hansen.

Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/07/signs-of-ageing-signal-heart-disease_n_2087208.html

Diabetes management requires awareness. Know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall — and how to control these day-to-day factors.

When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is often the central theme. After all, keeping your blood sugar level within your target range can help you live a long and healthy life. But do you know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall? The list is sometimes surprising.

Food

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. But it's not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level. How much you eat and when you eat matters, too.

What to do:

  • Keep to a schedule. Your blood sugar level is highest an hour or two after you eat, and then begins to fall. But this predictable pattern can work to your advantage. You can help lessen the amount of change in your blood sugar levels if you eat at the same time every day, eat several small meals a day or eat healthy snacks at regular times between meals.
  • Make every meal well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. It's especially important to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack because they have a big effect on blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and appropriate balance.
  • Eat the right amount of foods. Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food. Simplify your meal planning by writing down portions for the foods you eat often. Use measuring cups or a scale to ensure proper portion size.
  • Coordinate your meals and medication. Too little food in comparison to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia). Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.

Exercise

Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. Regular physical activity also improves your body's response to insulin. These factors work together to lower your blood sugar level. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities — such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods — can lower your blood sugar level.

What to do:

  • Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan. Ask your doctor about what type of exercise is appropriate for you. If you've been inactive for a long time, your doctor may want to check the condition of your heart and feet before advising you. He or she can recommend the right balance of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise.
  • Keep an exercise schedule. Talk to your doctor about the best time of day for you to exercise so that your workout routine is coordinated with your meal and medication schedules.
  • Know your numbers. Talk to your doctor about what blood sugar levels are appropriate for you before you begin exercise.
  • Check your blood sugar level. Check your blood sugar level before, during and after exercise, especially if you take insulin or medications that lower blood sugar. Be aware of warning signs of low blood sugar, such as feeling shaky, weak, confused, lightheaded, irritable, anxious, tired or hungry.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water while exercising because dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.
  • Be prepared. Always have a small snack or glucose pill with you during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low. Wear a medical identification bracelet when you're exercising.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. If you take insulin, you may need to adjust your insulin dose before exercising or wait a few hours to exercise after injecting insulin. Your doctor can advise you on appropriate changes in your medication. You may need to adjust treatment if you've increased your exercise routine.

Medication

Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar level when diet and exercise alone aren't sufficient for managing diabetes. But the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. And any medications you take for conditions other than diabetes can affect your blood sugar level, too.

What to do:

  • Store insulin properly. Insulin that's improperly stored or past its expiration date may not be effective.
  • Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, the dosage or timing may need to be adjusted.
  • Be cautious with new medications. If you're considering an over-the-counter medication or your doctor prescribes a new drug to treat another condition — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medication may affect your blood sugar level. Sometimes an alternate medication may be recommended.

Illness

When you're sick, your body produces stress-related hormones that can help your body fight the illness, but they can also raise the level of blood sugar. Changes in your appetite and normal activity may also complicate diabetes management.

What to do:

  • Plan ahead. Work with your health care team to create a sick-day plan. Include instructions on what medications to take, how often to measure your blood sugar and urine ketone levels, how to adjust your medication dosages, and when to call your doctor.
  • Continue to take your diabetes medication. However, if you're unable to eat because of nausea or vomiting, contact your doctor. In these situations, you may need to temporarily stop taking your medication because of risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Stick to your diabetes meal plan. If you can, eating as usual will help you control your blood sugar level. Keep a supply of foods that are easy on your stomach, such as gelatin, crackers, soups and applesauce. Drink lots of water or other fluids that don't add calories, such as tea, to make sure you stay hydrated.

Alcohol

The liver normally releases stored sugar to counteract falling blood sugar levels. But if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, your blood sugar level may not get the boost it needs. Alcohol can result in low blood sugar shortly after you drink and for as many as eight to 12 hours more.

What to do:

  • Get your doctor's OK to drink alcohol. Alcohol can aggravate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye disease. But if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is fine.
  • Choose your drinks carefully. Light beer and dry wines have fewer calories and carbohydrates than do other alcoholic drinks. If you prefer mixed drinks, stick with sugar-free mixers — such as diet soda, diet tonic, club soda or seltzer.
  • Tally your calories. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Ask your doctor or dietitian how to incorporate calories from alcohol into your diet plan.

Menstruation and menopause

Changes in hormone levels the week before and during menstruation can result in significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels. And in the few years before and during menopause, hormone changes may result in unpredictable variations in blood sugar levels that complicate diabetes management. Also, the similarity of some symptoms of menopause and low blood sugar can result in errors in adjusting what you eat.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Keep careful track of your blood sugar readings from month to month. You may be able to predict fluctuations related to your menstrual cycle.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. Your doctor may recommend changes in your meal plan, activity level or diabetes medications to make up for blood sugar variation.
  • Check blood sugar more frequently. If you're likely approaching menopause or experiencing menopause, talk to your doctor about monitoring blood sugar levels. You may need to do so more often or when you're experiencing symptoms that you normally interpret as low blood sugar.

Stress

If you're stressed, it's easy to abandon your usual diabetes management routine. You might exercise less, eat fewer healthy foods or test your blood sugar less often — and lose control of your blood sugar in the process. Additionally, the hormones your body produces in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Log your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 each time you log your blood sugar level. A pattern may soon emerge.
  • Take control. Once you know how stress affects your blood sugar level, fight back. Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Whenever possible, avoid common stressors.
  • Get help. Learn new strategies for coping with stress. You may find that working with a psychologist or clinical social worker can help you identify stressors, solve stressful problems or learn new coping skills.

The more you know about factors that influence your blood sugar level, the more you can anticipate fluctuations — and plan ahead accordingly. If you're having trouble keeping your blood sugar level in your target range, ask your diabetes health care team for help.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-management/DA00005

Do you know the greatest threats to men's health? The list is surprisingly short. The top causes of death among adult men in the U.S. are heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is that a few lifestyle changes can significantly lower your risk of these common killers.

Start by looking at your lifestyle

Take charge of your health by making healthier lifestyle choices. For example:

  • Don't smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. It's also important to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and exposure to chemicals (such as in the workplace).
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — can lower your risk of heart disease as well as various types of cancer.
  • Get moving. Include physical activity in your daily routine. You know exercise can help you control your weight and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. But did you know that it may also lower your risk of certain types of cancer? Choose sports or other activities you enjoy, from basketball to brisk walking.
  • Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For men, that means up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger and one drink a day for men older than age 65. The risk of various types of cancer, such as liver cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you've been drinking regularly. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure.
  • Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under assault, your lifestyle habits may suffer — and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.

Stop avoiding the doctor

Don't wait to visit the doctor until something is seriously wrong. Your doctor can be your best ally for preventing health problems. Be sure to follow your doctor's treatment recommendations if you have health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Also, be sure to ask your doctor about when you should have cancer screenings and other health evaluations.

What else puts you at risk?

Another common cause of death among men are motor vehicle accidents. To stay safe on the road, use common sense. Wear your seat belt. Follow the speed limit. Don't drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substances, and don't drive while sleepy.

Suicide is another leading men's health risk. An important risk factor for suicide among men is depression. If you have signs and symptoms of depression — such as feelings of sadness or unhappiness and loss of interest in normal activities — consult your doctor. Treatment is available. If you're contemplating suicide, call for emergency medical help or go the nearest emergency room.

The bottom line

Understanding health risks is one thing. Taking action to reduce your risks is another. Start with healthy lifestyle choices — eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, quitting smoking and getting recommended health screenings. The impact may be greater than you'll ever know.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Orginal Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mens-health/MC00013

Outdoor hiking has a myriad of benefits for both the body and the mind. Hiking is inexpensive and easy to start, so you can participate no matter how fit you currently are. Most people live within driving distance of wonderful hiking spots and discovering these places is a good way of getting to know an area. Here's a look at some of the benefits of hiking.

Outdoor Hiking Promotes Mental Health

Hiking is much more varied than many other types of exercise, particularly those undertaken in a gym. Not only can your workout be different each time, depending on the trail you take, but the landscape will also change, if only from the seasons. Hiking outdoors can help you to maintain your motivation for exercise by making it more interesting. Hiking can also be as social as you like. You might feel embarrassed about exercising on the streets or in a gym when you're first starting out, and hiking on an isolated trail will decrease the chances of feeling like people are judging you (although you should always tell someone where you are going for safety's sake). Alternatively, hiking with a group or a friend can feel more like entertainment thanexercise, and campsites are often very friendly places where it is possible to meet new people.

Exercise is a very good stress reliever in any form, including hiking, and can also reduce insomnia, leading to better mental health. Hiking outdoors will help you feel closer to nature and natural rhythms, which may increase your happiness and help you feel more fulfilled. A difficult hike, for example, up a hill or mountain, can also help you feel like you've achieved something more tangible than completing a fitness circuit at the gym.

Outdoor Hiking Promotes Physical Health

Hiking is a great exercise because it is easy to adjust to any level of fitness. Outdoor hiking can be on a level, well maintained path, or up a pathless mountain. This makes it excellent for people who are hoping to improve their fitness, as they can simply take more and more difficult hikes. Losing weight is another benefit of hiking. This is particularly true of hiking uphill, as this can burn similar amounts of calories to jogging. Exercise can help reduce insulin resistance in both the short and long term.

As hiking puts pressure on your bones, it encourages healthy bone structure and reduces the chances of osteoporosis. Being exposed to sunshine will also increase your levels of vitamin D. Hiking is a cardiovascular activity, depending on how hard you push yourself during a hike, and thus has benefits for your cardiovascular system, such as reducing the chances of heart disease, and increasing your overall fitness. Hiking is excellent for muscle tone, particularly cross country hiking, as your body and legs have to compensate for the rough terrain by working harder.

Hiking is a wonderful activity that is easy to start and continue, due to its varied and customizable nature. Outdoor hiking can help you to lose weight, clear and ease your mind and build a healthier body.

Original By: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/outdoor-hiking-why-its-good-for-the-body-and-mind.html#b