Tag Archives: heart disease

How you react to stress is vital for your health

The fact that stress and negative emotions can raise the risk of heart disease is evident, but the reasons why this occurs are not explicitly known. One possible rationale that connects stress to heart disease is an impairment of the autonomic nervous system — an instance of an individual’s typically self-regulated nervous system being led astray.

Nancy L. Sin, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of biobehavioral health and in the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State, and colleagues desired to discover if everyday stress and heart rate variability are connected. Heart rate variability is the change in intervals between sequenced heartbeats, and a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart.

Depression and major stressful occurrences are indisputably dangerous for health, but less consideration has been taken to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life. Before this study, not very many studies had explored the relationship between heart rate variability and everyday stressful occurrences.

“Depression and major stressful occurrences are dangerous for health.”

The researchers examined information gathered from 909 participants, involving day-to-day phone interviews during eight consecutive days as well as the results from an electrocardiogram — a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. The participants were between the ages of 35 and 85 and were drawn from a national study. The study’s discoveries were reported online in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Throughout the day-to-day telephone interviews, participants were requested to describe the stressful occurrences they had encountered that day, ranking how stressful each occasion was by picking “not at all,” “not very,” “somewhat” or “very.”

Additionally, participants were questioned about their negative feelings that day, if they were feeling either angry, sad or nervous. Participants reported, on average, experiencing no less than one stressful event on 42 percent of the interview days, and these events were, in most cases, rated as “somewhat” stressful.

Sin and colleagues discovered that the individuals who reported numerous stressful occurrences in their daily lives were not automatically those who had lower heart rate variability. No matter how many or how few stressful occurrences participants faced, it was those who rated the occurrences as more stressful or who encountered an increase in negative emotions that had lower heart rate variability. What this means is that these people might have an increased risk for heart disease.

BMI may be an inaccurate indicator of health

As claimed by a new study, the body mass index, or BMI, may not be an valid predictor of an individual’s likelihood of getting a metabolic disorder or heart disease.

Obsessed with your BMI and stepping on the scale? BMI may not be as effective at weighing your health. Image from militaryspot.com

The outcome of the study proposes that around 75 million adults in the United States might be misdiagnosed. The researchers suggested that adults might have a genuine likelihood of diabetes or heart disease that is either lower or higher than advised by their BMIs.

Jeffrey M. Hunger, co-author of the study, said to maintain their health, individuals should “prioritize eating well, staying active and getting enough sleep,” instead of focusing on their weight. Hunger is a doctoral candidate, meaning he has completed all of the requirements for his degree, except his dissertation, at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The researchers focused on the BMIs of around 40,000 adults in the United States. Additionally, they looked at information on the individual’s “cardiometabolic health,” which is their likelihood for diabetes and heart disease.

When looking at the relationship between the individual’s cardiometabolic health and their BMIs, the researchers discovered that almost 50 percent of the individuals with a BMI in the overweight section, 29 percent of individuals with a BMI in the obese section and 16 percent of very obese individuals were cardiometabolically healthy.

A. Janet Tomiyama, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and lead study author, said ”many people see obesity as a death sentence, but the data show there are tens of millions of people who are overweight and obese and are perfectly healthy.”

Additionally, over 30 percent of the individuals whose BMIs were considered to be a normal weight were discovered to be cardiometabolically unhealthy.

Preceding research on the topic of BMI has likewise proposed that using BMI as a measure of health may an issue. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2010 concluded that waist size was a better indicator of children’s future likelihood of heart disease than BMI. A separate study, distributed in the journal Pediatric Obesity in 2014, discovered that one fourth of children who were not labeled as obese based on their BMI were obese based on their body fat content.

The study’s findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity on February 4.

Twitter could be lifesaving

We all have that one friend who overshares everything on social media. Every meal, every thought, every action is posted for the whole world to see. Does it get annoying? Yes. But a new study, soon to be published, may argue that this bad habit could actually be useful.

Yes, many of the tweets out there saying things like, “My leg hurts so bad, I think I’m going to die,” can be written off as melodramatic. Researchers at the University of Arizona, however, believe these seemingly whiny tweets shouldn’t be ignored. They decided to try to prove a direct connection between Twitter and trips to the emergency room. During their experiment, they chose to stick with a small population- asthmatics. The researchers searched for keywords on Twitter related to asthma, such as “inhaler.” After compiling a list of tweets, they compared the areas in which the keywords were trending with air quality reports from the Environmental Protection Agency and numbers gathered from the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Texas.

One member of the study, Sudha Ram, said, “We noticed that people were tweeting about and talking a lot about their asthma symptoms. There were even parents tweeting about how they got calls from their child’s teacher saying their child was having breathing problems.”

Using this method, the research team concluded that they could predict emergency room visits with 70 percent accuracy. On this, Ram stated, “One of the challenges for this hospital and other hospitals is being able to predict how many people with various chronic conditions will show up on different days.” She explains that with their research, she and her team will be able to help those hospitals so that they will be better equipped to handle mass amounts of patients.

The University of Arizona’s researchers aren’t the only academics to be investigating the correlation between social media and predicting health concerns.

Back in January, a research team out of the University of Pennsylvania used Twitter to predict rates of heart disease. The team realized that negativity and stress can often be a huge factor in getting heart disease, while happiness can lower the risk. Like the University of Arizona, they relied on chronic over-sharers to conduct their research. Since so many people have become comfortable with sharing their innermost thoughts on Twitter, the researchers were able to find where the happiest, saddest, and angriest people resided. They used keywords such as “wonderful” and “friends” as well as “hate” and profanities to determine which areas seemed more at risk of heart disease. After collecting their data, the research team created a county-by-county, color-coded map of the United States. The greener the area, the less likely the population was to become afflicted with heart disease; the redder the area, the greater the chances. The map created by the researchers was compared to a map that was actually created to reflect deaths due to heart disease. The maps ended up looking almost identical, showing that researchers were on to something big- not only could dangerous diseases be predicted due to location, but also that a little positivity could save a life.

As social media becomes more and more influential in the lives of modern Americans, these studies show that it may become entirely possible to use the lifestyle of over-sharing to actually help people.



Lung cancer is no longer a prejudiced disease

In a woman’s journey to aspire for gender equality, she can live like a man, dress in jeans, work in previously male-dominated fields, and now she can die like a man, too. Since the 50s, women have been celebrating their new-found liberation by lighting up their cancer sticks. Consequently, women have suffered a dramatic increase in lung cancer rates in recent decades leading to lung cancer becoming the lead cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Continue reading Lung cancer is no longer a prejudiced disease

New cancer-fighting drug is not so new

Aspirin, one of the cheapest pain relievers on the market, may have found a new use. It has been known for years that taking one aspirin a day can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies suggest that this common painkiller may have been a long overlooked weapon in the fight against cancer. Continue reading New cancer-fighting drug is not so new

Is financial success worth killing ourselves?

I’ve always dreamed of growing up and getting a “big girl job.” That term seems so immature, but that’s how I describe it. A career that defines you, like being a nurse, a lawyer or a journalist. But as I approach graduation I see that this fantasy might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Our nation and our society have created an almost hostile work atmosphere.

Continue reading Is financial success worth killing ourselves?