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Jump in Resting Heart Rate Increases Death Risk

People whose heart rates increased from under 70 beats per minute to more than 85 beats per minute over 10 years had a 90 percent increased chance of dying from heart disease, compared to people whose heart rates stayed under 70 beats per minute (Journal of the American Medical Association, December 21, 2011). The average age of those studied was 52. Resting heart rate measurements were taken at the start of the study, and again 10 years later.

First thing when you wake up in the morning, count your pulse in your neck. If it is above 70 beats per minute, you probably should try to follow a heart attack prevention program. People who have resting heart rates higher than 85 often have weak hearts and should check with their doctors immediately. They are at high risk for heart disease. A normal resting heart rate is usually between 60 to 70 beats per minute, while healthy endurance athletes often have resting pulse rates below 50. The weaker the heart muscle, the less blood it pumps with each beat. Therefore it has to beat more often.

Most cases of heart disease are reversible with immediate lifestyle changes. Prevention of heart disease includes:

• Dietary changes: Severely restrict red meat, sugared drinks, all foods with added sugars, and fried foods. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds.
• Exercise. Benefits increase markedly when you exercise every day.
• Avoid smoking or taking more than two drinks a day (A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 2/3rds of a shot glass).
• Lose weight and fat if overweight,
• Grow muscle,
• Check for vitamin D deficiency.

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Older Fit People Handle Heat Better than Out-of-Shape Younger People

Lack of fitness impedes a person's ability to exercise in hot weather far more than aging does (Scand J Med Sci Sports, Sept 13, 2011). Seven older highly trained 51-63-year-old cyclists were matched with a similar number of 19-35-year-old highly trained young cyclists and also young moderately trained cyclists. All groups had the same rectal and skin temperatures, maximum heart rate, and cutaneous vascular conductance during intense exercise in the heat.

The highly trained, older cyclists had the same amount of sweat loss and evaporative heat loss as the highly trained younger cyclists, but were better than the moderately trained younger cyclists.

More than 80 percent of the energy used to power your muscles during exercise is lost as heat. So being able to exercise safely in the heat requires a strong heart to pump the hot blood from the hot muscles to the skin, widening the blood vessels in the skin to allow the heat to be dissipated, and to produce enough sweat to evaporate and cool the skin. All of these factors are determined far more by your level of fitness than by your age.

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Ninety-two Percent of Obese Children Have Low Vitamin D

Ninety-two percent of obese children have low vitamin D blood levels, compared to only 68 percent for slimmer children in sun-filled Dallas, Texas (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, published online November 9, 2011). More importantly, obese children are at high risk for insulin resistance, the most common cause of diabetes. Inadequate vitamin D3 levels are defined as below 75 nmol/L (30 ng\mL).

Before insulin can do its job of driving sugar from the bloodstream into cells, it must first attach to special hooks on the outer surface of cells called insulin receptors. Vitamin D helps insulin attach to its receptors. Therefore, lack of vitamin D can cause blood sugar levels to rise too high, which causes the pancreas to put out increasingly higher levels of insulin. Insulin makes people hungry, so they eat more and are more likely to become obese.

You cannot meet your needs for vitamin D from the foods that you eat. You must depend on sunlight or pills. Obese children are at increased risk for becoming obese adults. Obesity increases risk for heart attacks, cancers and premature death. All overweight children should get blood vitamin D levels, even if they live in areas with lots of sunshine, and they need more sunshine if they are deficient.

All obese children should also:

• get into a sports or exercise program,
• avoid foods that cause a high rise in blood sugar (sugared drinks and foods made from flour),
• try to lose weight, and
• grow muscle.

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Recipe of the Week:

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Onions
You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

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December 25th, 2011
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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