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Simple Blood Test Highly Accurate in Detecting Alzheimer’s Biomarker

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Simple Blood Test Highly Accurate in Detecting Alzheimer’s Biomarker

A highly accurate blood test detects amyloid, a key biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), potentially eliminating the need for a lumbar puncture, new research suggests.
The study shows “that plasma Aβ42/Aβ40 accurately identifies individuals with brain amyloidosis, whether they are cognitively normal or cognitively impaired,” study investigator Suzanne Schindler, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, told Medscape Medical News.
These most recent findings, presented here at ANA 2019: 144th Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association, add to those recently published online in Neurology by the same research group.    

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Corticosteroid injection pain treatment may be more harmful than thought

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Corticosteroid injection pain treatment may be more harmful than thought

A common therapy for joint pain may not be as safe as experts believed, according to a new report published Tuesday.

Corticosteroid injections are often given to reduce pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis.

But these injections may do more harm than good: The report found corticosteroid shots in the hips and knees may accelerate the progression of osteoarthritis and potentially even hasten the need for joint replacement surgeries in the long run, said lead author Dr. Ali Guermazi, a professor of radiology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

“The intra-articular corticosteroid injections in the hips and knees are not as safe as we thought,” Guermazi, whose paper is published in the journal Radiology, said.
It’s estimated that more than 30 million Americans have osteoarthritis, a chronic condition that causes cartilage loss, joint inflammation, pain, swelling and, in severe cases, bone destruction, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Corticosteroid injections into the hips and knees are a common treatment for patients in significant pain; in one study of more than 16,500 patients who underwent knee or hip joint replacement, half had received corticosteroid injections in the prior two years. The injections often are covered by insurance.
While patients may report temporary pain relief from the corticosteroid injections, he said, the injections may be detrimental in the long run. “They may actually harm your knee or your hip,” he said.
“Exercise or chiropractic is really one of the best things that can be done”, states Dr. Gerald Lane, a Newark chiropractor.
Indeed, research indicates that exercise helps ease pain, improve mobility and strengthen muscles around the joints. Stretching activities such as yoga and tai chi may help increase flexibility and reduce joint stiffness. Exercise also can aid in weight loss to reduce pressure on the joints.

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High-Fiber Diet Tied to Lower CV Risk in Diabetes, Hypertension

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High-Fiber Diet Tied to Lower CV Risk in Diabetes, Hypertension

“A high-fiber diet is important to be prescribed in cases of diabetes and hypertension for future cardiovascular disease prevention, and this type of diet, in combination with medical treatment, can improve dyslipidemia, pulse wave velocity, waist-to-hip ratio, and hypertension

High-fiber diets can improve blood pressure, cholesterol level, and fasting glucose in patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a new study suggests.
Researchers studied 200 adults with T2DM and hypertension who increased their dietary intake of fiber over a 6-month period from the recommended dietary allowance for dietary fiber by 20% to 25%. Participants also adhered to a low-glycemic diet.
Those adhering to the dietary changes had a significant improvement in brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), systolic and diastolic hypertension, serum cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, and fasting glucose.
“This study shall help clinicians all around the world to learn three important things,” lead author Rohit Kapoor, MD, medical director, Care Well Heart and Super Specialty Hospital, Amritsar, India, told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.
American College of Cardiology (ACC) Middle East Conference 2019 and the 10th Emirates Cardiac Society Conference: Abstract P538. Presented October 3, 2019.

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In the US, the average life expectancy is 78 years. But there are a few places in the world—specifically Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Icaria, Greece—where living to be over 100 isn’t uncommon at all. In these regions, known as Blue Zones, the life expectancy isn’t just higher; centenarians are generally also healthy, their minds and bodies still working well.

1. Move naturally

Buettner found that in all the Blue Zones communities, movement was a regular part of daily life for the residents. The Longevity Plan author John Day, MD saw this first-hand as well when he spent a year living in remote China. Even in their advanced age, he saw centenarians working in the fields and throughout the village.
Richard Honaker, MD, who works with Your Doctors Online, echoes this saying, “The more exercise you can fit into your day, the better. Even walking is good for your health.” His recommendation is to aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. 

2. Have a larger purpose

Having a clear sense of why you wake up in the morning is connected to living a long, healthy life. “Purpose is related to happiness, and happiness is associated with better health than sadness or indifference,” Dr. Honaker says.
Dr. Day adds that the connection between the mind, health, and a sense of purpose is powerful. “Whether your goal is to beat cardiovascular disease or cancer, or even to live a long and healthy life, study after study has found an association of purpose in life with all kinds of better health outcomes—an effect that stands regardless of age, sex, education or race,” he says. “You have to have a reason to get out of bed every morning

3. Manage your stress

PSA: Chronic stress is terrible for your health, which is why stress management is one of the pillars for living a long, healthy life. “We all have stress. The key is how you perceive your stress,” Dr. Day says. “If you view stress as something that is making you stronger or refining you then it can be a good thing. If you view stress as something destructive then it probably is.”

4. Eat until you are 80 percent full

Here in the States, generous, oversized portions of food are valued greatly. But in Blue Zones, Buettner found that people stopped eating when they were mostly full, not when they finished everything on their plate or were too stuffed to eat another bite. He also observed that the biggest meal of the day occurred in late afternoon or early evening, not right close to bedtime.

5. Stick to a plant-forward diet

While we’re on the subject of food, people in Blue Zones tend to eat a diet that’s primarily plant-based, consuming meat only a few times a month on special occasions. “Processed foods and added sugar have never shown to have a health benefit. Cutting them out is 90 percent of a a healthy diet right there,” Dr. Day says. “[In China’s longevity village], they picked their own produce and ate it the same day.

6. Moderate alcohol consumption

Across Blue Zones, Buettner observed that alcohol was consumed, but moderately, at one to two glasses a day, with friends or food. This makes sense, as light to moderate drinking (particularly of wine) has been associated with a longer lifespan. According to a 2017 333,000-person, eight-year analysis, those who enjoyed an occasional drink—seven or less per week, to be exact—were 20 percent less likely to die of any cause and 25 percent to 30 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who were completely sober.

7. Find your community

A sense of family and community is important in all Blue Zones communities, which Dr. Honaker says has been directly linked to health. “Many studies have shown lower rates of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and possibly even cancer for people with lots of friends and loving relationships in their lives,” he says.

8. Stay close with family

Similarly, in Blue Zones, families tend to be close, both geographically and emotionally. Younger generations value and help care for older ones. Dr. Day says that healthy aging requires a close network of friends and family who share their health goals and values, not something people can do on their own. This may too be related to a sense of belonging. “This may be in part to the healthy lifestyles happy people adopt along with other factors we cannot measure,” Dr. Honaker says.

9. Maintain a fulfilling social life

People in Blue Zones areas not only have supportive families and communities, they actively participate in them. For some, faith may be the cornerstone of their social life, which Dr. Honaker says can provide both comfort and camaraderie through a shared beliefs system. “As with purpose, study after study suggests that having a faith may increase longevity,
This article was taken from here

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Science Finds Simple Way to Lower Diabetes, High Blood Pressure Risk: Fiber

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Science Finds Simple Way to Lower Diabetes, High Blood Pressure Risk: Fiber

  • New research finds a diet high in fiber, like shredded wheat, can help combat effects of type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
  • Those on a high-fiber diet had lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar.
  • Only 25 percent of adults get the recommended amount of fiber daily.
Fighting back against rising rates of type 2 diabetes and hypertension has been a losing battle for the medical community in the United States.
Now, new research finds that adding fiber to your diet may help stave off these serious health conditions.
Roughly 1 in 3 U.S. adultsTrusted Source lives with high blood pressure and about 100 millionTrusted Source have diabetes or prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Both conditions carry a strong risk of cardiovascular disease.
New research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Middle East Conference 2019 this week found that patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes who consume a high-fiber diet were able to significantly cut their risk of these health conditions.

What the study found

Researchers tracked the fiber consumption of 200 participants, average age of 50, with diabetes and hypertension. They were given ‘diet prescriptions’ that included a detailed list of different foods and portion sizes. Health checks were performed at the beginning, then at 3 and 6 months into the study.
“I’ve done a lot of work in obesity and atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes and hypertension cases, so this time I wanted to see how dietary modifications, especially a high-fiber diet in this population, can help my patients improve their various cardiovascular risk factors,” lead study author Dr. Rohit Kapoor, medical director of Care Well Heart and Super Specialty Hospital, told Healthline.
The participants consumed 1,200 to 1,500 calories and the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for fiber in this group was about 30 grams. Their fiber intake was increased up to 25 percent, to about 38 grams, for this study. (This equates to about 1.5 cups of high-fiber cereal.)
Over 6 months, the high-fiber diet improved several cardiovascular risk factors:
  • 9 percent reduction in serum cholesterol
  • 23 percent reduction in triglycerides
  • 15 percent reduction of systolic blood pressure
  • 28 percent reduction of fasting blood sugar
“The results were amazing! These findings underscore the importance of dietary counseling, as well as the role of dietitians and diabetes educators,” said Kapoor.
Fiber intake was tracked several ways, including by sending photos of meals using WhatsApp. This helped verify fiber intake and portion sizes. Participants were also called three times a week to record a detailed dietary recall.
Probiotic fiber
According to Dr. William Li, author of “Eat To Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself,” fiber from food has been part of a heart healthy diet since the 1970s.
He said foods high in fiber have long been associated with lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, improving blood sugar metabolism, and even helping with weight loss.
“It was originally thought that fiber latches onto the bad cholesterol in the intestines before it can be absorbed in the blood, and that fiber stimulates the gut to keep moving, helping us poop out harmful fats and even sugars,” said Li. “But researchers have discovered that fiber may actually work by feeding our healthy gut bacteria, the microbiome.”
Li explained that bacteria digest the fiber into useful fragments called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
These benefit health by improving lipid metabolism, lowering cholesterol, helping control blood sugar, and reducing inflammation.
“The connection of dietary fiber as ‘prebiotic’ to gut health and metabolic changes that protect the heart is changing the way we understand how fiber protects against heart disease,” saidLi 

Two types of fiber — both are important

“Fiber is the part of plant foods that is non-digestible and there are two types: soluble and insoluble,” said Shelley Wood, MPH, RDN, clinical dietitian at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Wood explained that both types of fiber are helpful for weight management and eating a high-fiber diet can reduce the risk for some cancers, such as colorectal cancer.
“Soluble fiber is helpful in lowering unhealthy LDL cholesterol. It also helps slow down digestion and can assist with controlling blood glucose in diabetics. You can find soluble fiber in foods such as beans, oats, and peas,” said Wood.
However, insoluble fiber can prevent constipation and helps remove waste from the body. It speeds up the transit of food through your system and promotes regularity. Wood said you can find insoluble fiber in “foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits eaten with their skin.”
“Studies have shown that diets higher in fiber often result in a healthier weight, which by itself is helpful in preventing many chronic diseases,” said Wood. “Fiber is also essential for good digestive health because it acts as a laxative and fermentative agent as well as providing necessary food for our gut microbiota.”

Getting more fiber in your diet

“The easiest way you’re going to get foods with the most fiber is by sticking to fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable skin in particular has the majority of the fiber present in them — so if you’re eating an apple, instead of peeling it, leave the skin on,” Tasha Temple, MS, CDE, registered dietitian with Gwinnett Medical Center in Atlanta, told Healthline.
When it comes to fiber, more isn’t necessarily better. Temple cautioned that eating too much, especially if you’re not drinking water, can cause discomfort and constipation.
She added that we should shoot for 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, however, “anything over that and you need to make sure you’re drinking enough water to make sure that fiber is activated and able to move through the digestive system.”
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health PromotionTrusted Source, foods with the highest fiber content include:
  • high-fiber bran ready-to-eat cereal: 14 grams in ¾ cup
  • cooked yellow, navy, or small white beans: almost 10 grams in 1/2 cup
  • shredded wheat: 5 grams in 1 cup

New research confirms that increasing fiber intake can significantly improve the cardiovascular health of people with high blood pressure and diabetes.
Eating just 25 percent more than the RDA of fiber was all that was needed to see the benefits for this population.
Experts say eating fiber can benefit everyone’s health, and the best sources are fruits and vegetables.

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Herbal Supplements You Shouldn’t Try

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Herbal Supplements You Shouldn’t Try

Supplement Safety

It seems like these products should be harmless. After all, you use herbs all the time when you’re cooking. But some may not be safe, especially if you have certain medical conditions or take some medications. Talk with your doctor before taking any supplements, whether in pill form or even the natural form.
Please be careful with supplements that are not the actual plant or root!  There is NO OVERSIGHT or central government body in the US overseeing the safety of the process of turning these herbal materials into pills or lotions.  Anything can be added to them during the processing and this means danger to you!  Also, herbal supplements that are used to mimic pharmaceuticals have been found to have the actual pharmaceuticals in them that they are supposed to ‘mimic’ (like viagra).
There is no way to be shy with this next subject: supplements from China should be avoided!  This country is worse than any other country in the laxity in their supplement processing and just about every single additive or contaminent has been found in their exported supplements.  China itself will punish citizen manufacturers who harm other chinese but turn a ‘blind eye’ when it is created as an export!

Final word: BE CAREFUL!!
St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort

This popular supplement is often taken for depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. But it can cause side effects like headache, nausea, dizziness, and dry mouth. And it may make you more likely to get sunburned. It also can cause problems if you take certain drugs — from heart medicines to antidepressants, and even birth control pills. And it can make some chemotherapy less effective. 
Kava root


This is supposed to help with anxiety and insomnia. But it may cause liver damage, like hepatitis. So you shouldn’t take it if you have liver or kidney problems. Kava also can be dangerous if you drink alcohol or take other drugs that make you sleepy.
Ginkgo plant


People often take this to try to improve their memory. Some believe ginkgo biloba also helps with circulation, mental function, and altitude sickness, among other health conditions. But it can thin your blood and cause bleeding. That’s especially risky if you take blood-thinning drugs.
Arnica globules


Some people believe rubbing oil from this plant on their skin helps ease pain from bruising, as well as from swelling and aches. Others take the supplement to try to help with constipation. But eating the herb can raise your blood pressure and cause a fast heartbeat and shortness of breath. It can even damage your liver, or bring on a coma or death.
Ginger root


People take this to try to ease nausea brought on by surgery, chemotherapy, or motion sickness. And sometimes it’s used to treat arthritis or other joint pain. But ginger may cause problems with blood clotting, heart rhythms, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Check with your doctor before taking this if you are on blood thinners or have diabetes.
Goldenseal capsules


This remedy, which has a long history among Native Americans, is used for constipation and colds, eye infections, and even cancer. But goldenseal can affect your heart’s rhythm, affect blood clotting, and lower your blood pressure. You should check with your doctor first if you have blood clotting problems or are on blood pressure medicines.
Aloe Vera


Rubbing this plant on a burn or wound may help it heal or feel better. But some people also take it by mouth, and that can cause an abnormal heart rhythm or kidney problems. It also may lower your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
Ephedra Plant


Also known as ma huang, this herb has been used for thousands of years in China and India to treat coughs, headaches, and cold symptoms. More recently, it’s been used to help people lose weight and get energy. But studies have found it may boost the chance of heart problems and strokes, and cause a rise in heart rate and blood pressure. Doctors also warn of possibly deadly interactions with many heart medicines. The FDA has banned ephedra as a dietary supplement, but it still can be found in some herbal teas.
Ginseng variety


Some people take this because they hope it will slow aging. Others take it for diabetes, to boost immunity, or to help with sex. But it may lead to a drop in blood sugar, so it can cause issues for people with diabetes. You also shouldn’t take it if you take blood thinners.
Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh

This supplement is often used for menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Some women also try it to help with PMS. But it should be off limits for anyone with liver problems, because there’s a chance it can cause inflammation or failure. It should also be avoided by women with breast cancer until more is known about how it may affect them.


Some people believe it helps with high blood pressure and can treat cold symptoms. Studies show it can lower your cholesterol a bit, too. It’s safe for most people, but garlic can thin your blood. That can increase your risk of bleeding if you take blood-thinning medications for heart problems.
Licorice Root

Licorice Root

Some people use this to treat coughs, stomach ulcers, bronchitis, infections, and sore throat. But it can raise your blood pressure and cause issues with heart rhythms, so check with your doctor first if you have heart problems. Excessive amounts also can cause problems for people with kidney disease.
Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle

This is thought to help with allergies and arthritis, kidney and bladder stones, and urinary tract infections. Some people use it on their scalps to fight dandruff. But nettle can make your body hold on to water, so you shouldn’t take it if you retain fluid because of heart or kidney problems or if you take diuretics.
Feverfew flower


This supplement is most commonly taken to try to prevent migraines. Some people also take it for arthritis and allergies. Feverfew, however, may cause a problem with blood clotting, so it may cause issues for people with heart disease or blood disorders.

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What Causes Spider and Varicose Veins

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What Causes Varicose Veins

Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Spider veins and varicose veins are practically a rite of passage. As we age, many of us find the jagged purple lines or swollen bluish cords spreading across our thighs and calves. These warped blood vessels occur in up to 60% of adults. Find out exactly what they are, what causes them, and how to make them disappear — and see undoctored before-and-after pictures that meet WebMD’s editorial standards.
Spider Nevus

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small, twisted blood vessels that are visible through the skin. They may be red, purple, or blue and most often appear on the legs or face. They take their name from their striking spiderweb pattern.
Varicose Veins on back of Woman's Legs

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are larger blood vessels that have become swollen and twisted. They appear dark blue and stick out from the skin like raised tunnels. Varicose veins can develop anywhere in the body, but usually sprout on the legs and ankles.
illustration of blood flow in varicose vein

What Causes Spider/Varicose Veins?

Healthy veins carry blood to the heart through a series of one-way valves. These valves allow blood to flow in the right direction from superficial veins to deeper veins and to the heart. The vessels are surrounded by muscles which contract and help pump blood to the heart. Normally the veins have a one-way valve to prevent backflow. However, problems with the valves, muscles or blood itself can allow blood to  pool inside the vein. As blood pools within the vein, pressure builds and the vessel wall weakens. As a result, the vein tends to bulge and twist. Depending on the size of the blood vessel and extent of swelling, the result is a spider vein or varicose vein.

Who Gets Spider/Varicose Veins?

Anyone can get spider veins or varicose veins, but women are twice as susceptible as men. The problem is also more common in people with jobs that keep them on their feet, including nurses and teachers. Other factors that may contribute include aging, obesity, pregnancy, prior trauma, or surgery to the leg and a genetic predisposition. 
Spider and varicose veins on woman's legs

Spider/Varicose Vein Symptoms

For some people, spider veins and varicose veins are more than an eyesore. Varicose veins in particular may cause aching or cramping in the legs. The affected area may throb, burn, tingle, or feel heavy. Severely inflamed veins can be tender to the touch and may reduce circulation, leading to itchy, swollen ankles. They can also produce chronic skin and tissue changes such as discoloration and ulceration of the skin.
Close-up of varicose ulcer on ankle of patient

Spider/Varicose Vein Complications

Spider veins and varicose veins may be unsightly and annoying, but they rarely pose a serious health threat. Occasionally, they may contribute to ulcers forming– large sores in the skin — especially near the ankles. Varicose veins can also form painful blood clots.
Doctor examining veins on woman's legs

Diagnosing Spider/Varicose Veins

Spider veins and varicose veins are easy to diagnose. Your doctor simply looks at the patterns on your legs, feet, or other affected areas. He or she will also check for swelling, tender spots, ulcers, and changes in skin color. Most spider veins and varicose veins don’t need to be treated, unless they result in ulcers, bleeding, and phlebitis, or because you want them removed for cosmetic reasons. If the veins are causing pain, soreness, and muscle fatigue or cramping, there are steps you can take at home to reduce the symptoms.
Mature woman wearing support hose

Treatment: Support Stockings

The simplest treatment for spider veins and varicose veins is to pull on a pair of support stockings. Sometimes called compression stockings, they improve circulation and relieve pain and discomfort in the legs. You can find them in knee-high or pantyhose style at surgical supply stores and some pharmacies.

Treatment: Lifestyle Changes

Losing weight and walking regularly can ease the symptoms of spider veins and varicose veins. If swelling is a problem, try a low-salt diet to reduce water retention. Whenever possible, prop up your legs with a pillow or recliner, so they rest at or above the level of your heart.
Sclerotherapy of spider veins

Treatment: Sclerotherapy

If home remedies don’t yield enough improvement, there are medical procedures to eliminate spider veins and varicose veins. Sclerotherapy wipes out 80% of treated veins. A doctor injects a solution directly into the abnormal vein. The blood vessel is destroyed, becomes fibrotic, and eventually disappears. This procedure requires a high degree of technical skill and special training. A thorough evaluation prior to the treatment is necessary to avoid side effects such as discoloration, or the formation of new, superficial tiny blood vessels. The solution can be highly caustic; inadvertent injection into areas outside the vein can lead to serious side effects in the tissue surrounding the vein.
spider veins before and after sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy: Before and After

After treatments with sclerotherapy, spider veins generally disappear in three to six weeks, while varicose veins may take three to four months to respond. Once gone, the veins do not reappear. But you will probably develop new spider veins at the same rate as before.
Laser thread vein treatment

Treatment: Laser and Light Therapy

Laser therapy and intense light pulse (ILP) destroys tiny spider veins and small varicose veins with heat. The heat causes scar tissue to form, which eventually closes off the vein. For some patients, this is an appealing alternative to injections. Side effects may include minor discomfort in the treated area, skin discoloration, and the formation of blisters.
spider veins before and after laser therapy

Laser Therapy: Before and After

Laser therapy works more slowly than sclerotherapy. More than one session is usually needed to get results, and it can take a year or two for the vein to disappear completely.
Varicose vein surgery

Treatment: Vein Surgery

For varicose veins that do not respond only to sclerotherapy or laser therapy, surgery is an option. The common procedure is ligation and stripping — tying off a vein and removing the problematic segment. This may be done with local or general anesthesia. If the vein is near the skin’s surface, it may be possible to remove it through a tiny incision that does not need stitches.
Before and after varicose vein surgery

Vein Surgery: Before and After

Vein ligation and stripping successfully removes varicose veins in most people. The procedure does not require a hospital stay, and most patients can return to work in a few days. It’s important to consider that surgery done for cosmetic reasons may not be covered by insurance. In addition, there are now less invasive techniques for eliminating large varicose veins.

Treatment: Endovenous Laser

Endovenous laser is a new alternative for veins that were once only treatable by surgery. A small laser fiber is placed inside the vein, pressure is placed on the vein, and the laser delivers pulses of laser light. This causes the vein to collapse. Studies suggest endovenous laser is effective 98% of the time. Patients also report less pain and a quicker recovery than with ligation and stripping.
Radiofrequency ablation for large varicose veins

Treatment: Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is another option for large varicose veins. The principle is similar to endovenous laser. A small catheter delivers radiofrequency energy (instead of laser energy) directly into the vein wall, causing it to heat up and collapse. After about a year, the vein disappears. The results are comparable to vein surgery, but there is less risk and pain.
Woman Stretching

Preventing Spider/Varicose Veins

Getting plenty of exercise is the best way to ward off spider veins and varicose veins. Exercise helps keep your weight under control and your leg muscles toned, so your blood will flow freely. If your job keeps you on your feet, stretch your leg muscles often to increase circulation. And if you’re pregnant, try to sleep on your left side rather than your back.

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What High Blood Pressure Can Do to Your Body


HBP can cause plaque buildup in arteries that supply your brain. The clogging of those arteries can slow the flow of blood to the rest of your body. When it changes the way your brain works, it’s called “vascular dementia.”
It might affect how well you think, speak, see, remember — even the way you move. This usually happens slowly over time. But if you have a stroke, you could notice symptoms very quickly. 
kidney nephron illustration

Kidney Failure

High blood pressure is the second-leading cause of kidney failure. It narrows and hardens the blood vessels your kidneys use to help get rid of waste and extra fluid. That keeps special filters, called nephrons, from getting enough blood and nutrients. That can eventually shut down your kidneys for good.
blurry outdoor scene

Eye Problems

Over time, high blood pressure can slow blood flow to the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eyeball. It can also slow the travel of blood to the optic nerve, which helps send signals to your brain. Either may blur your vision, or in some cases make it go away. HBP might also cause fluid to build under your retina. That could scar the tissue and distort your vision. 

Sex Problems for Men

High blood pressure can slow down blood flow anywhere in the body. Without enough blood to your penis, you may have problems getting or keeping an erection. If you thought you were healthy, this may be a sign that you need to see your doctor to check your high blood pressure and rule out related health issues. 

Sex Problems for Women

Your body may respond differently because of less blood flow to your vagina, both before and during sex. You might not be as aroused when you want to be, and it could be harder to climax. High blood pressure can also make you more tired. It can ease your sex drive, too.
xray of broken femur near hip

Bone Loss

People with high blood pressure often have more calcium in their urine. It may be that HBP causes your body to get rid of too much of this mineral that’s so important to strong bones. This can lead to breaks or fractures, especially in older women. 

man snoring in bed

Sleep Apnea

This makes your throat muscles relax too much and stops your breathing briefly, but repeatedly, as you sleep. High blood pressure seems to cause sleep apnea, which in turn appears to raise blood pressure. Work with your doctor to treat both conditions as soon as you can. It may prevent other health problems. 
arterial plaque

Artery Damage

Your arteries should be sturdy, springy, and smooth to move blood easily from your lungs and heart, where it gets oxygen, to your organs and other tissues. High blood pressure, or HBP, pushes too hard on your artery walls. This damages the inside and causes fat, or “plaque,” to collect. That plaque makes your arteries more stiff and narrow, so they can’t do their job as well. 
aortic aneurism


It’s when pressure pushes out a section of an artery wall and weakens it. If it breaks, it can bleed into your body, and that could be serious. It’s possible in any artery, but an aneurysm is most common in your aorta, which runs down the middle of your body. If you have a damaged artery, you could get an aneurysm even if you don’t have high blood pressure.
coronary artery block
CAD happens when plaque builds up in arteries close to your heart. This slows blood flow, which can bring chest pain or a strange heart rhythm (called an arrhythmia). A total blockage can cause a heart attack.  

Heart Attack

When enough plaque builds up, or a clump of it comes loose, to completely block an artery to your heart, it can cause a heart attack. The blockage starves the heart muscle of oxygen and nutrients. That can hurt or destroy it.
You usually feel pressure or pain in your chest, but sometimes in your arm, neck, or jaw too. It might be hard to breathe, and you could be dizzy or nauseated.
Call 911 if you have any of these warning signs. 
mature woman with knee pain

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

PAD is like CAD, but it affects blood vessels farther from your heart, like those in your arms, legs, head, or stomach. You might have pain or cramps in your legs, often when you walk or climb stairs. It can also make you tired. The pain may go away when you rest and come back when you move. Left untreated, PAD could bring more serious problems like stroke, ulcers, and loss of circulation in your legs, which can cause amputation.
heart illustration

Heart Failure

High blood pressure can cause your arteries to narrow. Over time, that can make your heart work harder and get weaker. Eventually, it gets so weak that it can’t supply enough blood to the rest of the body. This is heart failure.

Enlarged Heart

As it works harder to move blood around, the muscle of your heart thickens. As a result, your whole heart gets larger. The bigger it gets, the less able it is to do its job, which means your tissues might not get the oxygen and nutrients they need.
stroke victim close up


High blood pressure is the top cause of stroke. There are two types:
  • Hemorrhagic: A weakened artery bursts in the brain.
  • Ischemic: A clump, or “clot,” of plaque comes loose and blocks blood flow to brain cells.
Part of your brain starts to die when it doesn’t get enough blood. This can hurt your ability to think, move, speak, and see. For symptoms, remember FAST:
  • Face drooping?
  • Arm weakness?
  • Speech problems?
  • Time to call 911.

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Older Diabetics May Be Getting Too Much Insulin

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Older Diabetics May Be Getting Too Much Insulin
By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Are elderly people with diabetes being overtreated?

A new study suggests that’s so: Older, sicker patients tend to be the ones most likely to still be using insulin to manage their blood sugar, despite guidelines that suggest it’s often safer to lower diabetes treatment intensity with age.

The study found that nearly 20% of people with type 2 diabetes older than 75 were still using insulin treatment. And almost 30% of people with diabetes over 75 in poor health were taking insulin.

One of the most significant side effects of insulin is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This can leave you feeling shaky, sweaty, irritable, confused and dizzy. It can also cause an irregular heartbeat, and may lead to fainting. At its most serious, hypoglycemia can cause death, though this happens rarely, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Major health organizations — including the American Diabetes Association, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Geriatrics Society — recommend that healthy older patients can maintain tighter blood sugar control. But for patients in poor health, with shorter life expectancies, these groups suggest less aggressive lowering of blood sugar levels.

Grant said patients are often concerned if doctors bring up the idea of treating their diabetes less aggressively. “It’s not abandoning care, it’s maybe taking half a step back to reduce the risk from treatment,” he explained.

The findings were published online Sept. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Another study published online Sept. 16 in the same journal found that patients don’t always follow the guidelines for stepping down their treatment. The study — led by Dr. Nancy Schoenborn at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore — found that 60% of people surveyed didn’t agree with the guidelines and thought the longer you live with diabetes, the more aggressive your treatment should be.

These findings suggest that patients need better information about why doctors are recommending certain treatments plans over others, Schoenborn said in a university news release. Reducing treatment levels can lower the risk of side effects and improve quality of life, she said.

Grant’s study included almost 22,000 people with type 2 diabetes. Their health was followed for up to four years, beginning at age 75.

Their health was defined as good if they had fewer than two additional medical conditions, or had two additional conditions but stayed physically active. Intermediate health was defined as having more than two additional conditions or having two additional conditions and no weekly exercise. People in poor health had end-stage lung, heart or kidney disease, or dementia or advanced cancer.

People in poor health had double the risk of being treated with insulin compared to those in good health. Those in intermediate health had an 85% higher risk of being treated with insulin than those in good health, the findings showed.

Those most likely to continue using insulin throughout the four-year study were those in poor health. People in good health were least likely to stay on insulin.

Grant said, “It’s very important for doctors to reassess the goals and treatment of older patients from time to time.”

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said, “We have to start thinking a bit more about how we treat elderly patients and the impact of treatment on their quality of life.”

Zonszein said preventing low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) is even more important in older patients, and that there are newer types of insulin and other medications that can be used that have less risk of causing hypoglycemia.

The bottom line, according to the experts, is to maintain an ongoing conversation with your doctor. Anytime your health status changes, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of all the treatments you’re taking.

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Minorities More Likely Than Whites to Have Diabetes at Normal BMI

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Minorities More Likely Than Whites to Have Diabetes at Normal BMI

Ethnic minorities are more likely to have diabetes at a lower body mass index (BMI) than whites, and many even have the condition despite a normal BMI, according to new research.
Yeyi Zhu, PhD, at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, and colleagues analyzed data from close to 5 million racially diverse adults including understudied minority groups who were part of three healthcare insurance plans in the United States.
“Compared with whites,” they report, “all other racial/ethnic groups had a higher prevalence of diabetes at a given BMI with the difference being more pronounced at lower BMI levels (ie, underweight, normal weight, overweight).” 
“This study suggests that along with screening patients who are overweight and obese, minorities should probably be screened even if they have a normal BMI, particularly as they get older,” senior author Assiamira Ferrara, MD, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, said in a statement issued by Kaiser.
The study was published online September 19 in Diabetes Care.

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