Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Risk of Dementia And Being Overweight

A new study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden shows that having a Body Mass Index or BMI between 25 and 30 can increase your risk of developing dementia later in life by 80%. A BMI between 25 and 30 is classified as being overweight. A BMI over 30 is obese.

By being overweight or obese, you not only increase your risk of dementia's, but also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This study shows the importance of controlling your weight with diet and exercise. Studies conducted by Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas have shown that eating a Mediterranean type of diet and staying physically active can reduce your risks of developing Alzheimer's disease by 60%.

You can calculate your BMI here.

Scan Health News Headlines


Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is Fatty Liver Disease?

Fatty liver disease involves the accumulation of fat, especially triglycerides, in liver cells. If excessive use of alcohol is not a factor, then this disease is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. Generally, you may have NAFLD if the amount of fat in your liver is more than 5 to 10 percent of your liver's total weight.

Fatty liver is the initial phase of NAFLD and typically does not involve liver inflammation or liver scarring. Patients can have fatty liver for many years or even decades without serious medical implications. However, if left untreated, fatty liver can develop into a more serious phase of this disease.

Some patients with NAFLD develop the second phase of this disease known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis of NASH. NASH is the accumulation of fat in liver cells along with liver inflammation. Again, if left untreated, this phase can cause liver scarring. Eventually, it can lead to irreversible scarring known as cirrhosis of the liver. When this occurs, your liver can no longer function properly and can develop into liver failure, liver cancer or liver related death.

However, if you undergo yearly physicals, your doctor can detect NAFLD in its early stages. Patients typically experience no symptoms in the early stages of this disease, and may be surprised to learn that they have NAFLD. But if patients do experience symptoms, they may have a dull ache just below their ribcage on their right side. Other symptoms that they may have are:

  • Nausea

  • Weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • And an enlarged liver.

Research indicates that a change in diet and exercise routine can reverse this disease in its early stages.

Losing weight is will also help stop and reverse fat accumulation in your liver. However, the weight loss must be gradual. Sudden and rapid weight loss can actually make NAFLD worse by causing liver inflammation. Patients should target a weight loss goal of just 1 or 2 pounds a week.

Guidelines for improving your liver health include:

  • Not abusing alcohol

  • Not abusing medications and drugs

  • Not eating food high in saturated fats

  • Not eating foods high in sugar content

  • Staying away from highly processed foods like bleached flour, white bread and white rice

  • You should exercise regularly and stay physically active

  • Don't smoke

  • Eat whole grains and brown rice

  • And get adequate amounts of choline in your diet to help prevent fat accumulation

Stay fit and trim, stay physically active and eat properly, and follow your doctor's instructions for insulin resistance and diabetes, and you will not have to worry about fatty liver disease.