Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER      

Meat and Heart Disease

Many studies show that eating meat every day is associated with increased risk for heart disease, but until now we have had little data about the effects of eating meat less often than that. A new study followed 29,682 participants, average age 53.7, for 30 years and found that eating two servings per week of mammal meat or processed meat was associated with a seven percent increased risk of heart disease.

Yogurt or Cheese Instead of Milk Reduces Heart Attack Risk

A recent Danish study followed 54,903 healthy men and women, 50-64 years old, for 16 years. Those who ate primarily fermented dairy products such as cheese and yogurt were significantly less likely to suffer heart attacks than those who drank milk.

Large Doses of Vitamin D Can Be Harmful

Lack of vitamin D can cause weak bones that break easily, bone pain, and muscle weakness, and may increase risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, nerve damage and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. However, taking very high doses (>3000 IU/day) of vitamin D can harm you.

Lifestyle Changes Do Help to Prevent Cancers and Heart Attacks

In North America, more than 40 percent of cancers and cancer deaths from 26 different cancers are associated with lifestyle factors such as excess weight, a faulty diet or lack of exercise.

Alcohol At Any Dose Can Increase Cancer Risk

Compared to non-drinkers, people who take one or two drinks per day for one year are at increased risk for cancer, and drinking even one glass of wine a day raises the risk of cancer of the throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum or breast.

Diabetes Caused by Both Excess Fat and Excess Sugar

Diabetes can be caused by repeatedly high levels of insulin from exposing the pancreas to too much fat. Insulin-resistant diabetes can come from eating too much fat as well as from too much sugar.

Belly Fat Predicts Fatty Liver and Diabetes

If you have excess fat in your liver, you can be at great risk for diabetes, even if you are not overweight. Most people you see with a large belly and small buttocks already have high blood sugar levels.

Weak Heart Muscle Associated with Weak Skeletal Muscles

As you age, you can expect to suffer from sarcopenia (loss of muscle size and strength). The smaller the muscles in the arms, legs and trunk, the smaller and weaker the upper and lower chambers of their heart. Having a smaller and weaker heart muscle puts a person closer to heart failure.

Metabolic Syndrome Predicts Heart Attacks and Diabetes

A huge study from Korea confirms that people with Metabolic Syndrome are at increased risk for heart attacks, and that when they correct some or all of the components of Metabolic Syndrome, their risk for a heart attack goes down dramatically.

Frostbite

You should never suffer from frostbite: painful freezing that can cause permanent loss of skin, and can be followed by loss of fingers, ears, toes, or even arms and legs. You get plenty of warning before your skin starts to freeze. First your fingers feel cold and then your skin starts to burn or itch.

Heart Disease and Cancers Share Many Risk Factors

The risk factors for a heart attack are also risk factors for many cancers. People who are at 20 percent increased risk for suffering a heart attack in 10 years are three times more likely to develop cancer in 10 years, while those who develop a heart attack, heart failure or atrial fibrillation are seven times more likely to develop a cancer.

High Calcium Artery Score Doesn’t Always Mean High Risk for a Heart Attack

Since heart attacks are usually caused by plaques breaking off from the inner linings of arteries leading to the heart, doctors use a test called Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CAC) to predict which people have the largest plaques and therefore are at high risk for suffering heart attacks that cause one out of four deaths in North America.

Cold Hands – Raynaud’s Phenomenon

If your fingers turn white and start to hurt when you are out in the cold, you may have a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon. When your body temperature starts to drop, your brain sends signals along nerves to shut blood flow to your hands and the skin turns white.

Taking Testosterone Increases Risk for Clots in Lungs

A study of 39,622 men who had blood clots in their veins shows that those who took testosterone (for legitimate medical reasons or not) suffered increased risk for forming potentially-fatal blood clots.

Stents and Bypass Surgery Not More Effective than Lifestyle Changes and Medication for Stable Heart Disease

The $100 million ISCHEMIA Trial showed that after four years, surgical treatments (stents or coronary artery bypass surgery) were not more effective than lifestyle changes and medication in preventing heart attacks deaths in patients with stable heart disease.

Statins and Alternatives to Lower Cholesterol

Having high cholesterol increases risk for a heart attack, but a review of 49 studies showed that the reduced risk for suffering a heart attack is the same for statins as it is for dietary changes.

Sunlight May Help to Prevent Auto-Immune Diseases by Altering Gut Bacteria

Lack of vitamin D may change the colon bacteria to an overabundance of harmful bacteria to cause inflammation that increases risk for autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lupus and some types of arthritis.

Breakthrough Research from Winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine

2019 Nobel Prize honors the discovery of how your body responds when you can't meet your needs for oxygen. Their groundbreaking research is now being used to treat certain cancers, strokes, infections, anemia, heart attack risks, and some eye diseases that can cause blindness.

People with Arthritis Should Keep On Moving

If you have joint pains, you should still keep moving. Inactivity worsens arthritis by preventing joints from healing.

NSAIDs and Heart Attack Risk

An analysis of 7,743 people suffering from osteoarthritis found that those who took NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) were at 41 percent increased risk for suffering heart attacks, heart failure and strokes, compared to arthritis patients who did not take NSAIDs.

Strengthen Bones with Weight Training

Your bones weaken progressively after age 30, and between ages 35 and 50, about 28 percent of North American men and women suffer from bone weakening called osteopenia. Just one year of lifting weights can strengthen the bones enough to help protect people from fractures.

Statin Drugs and Muscle Pain

At last we have a reasonable explanation why statins can cause some people to suffer skeletal muscle pain and damage, but do not cause heart muscle damage.

Head Injuries Increase Risk for Impotence

A study of more than 3,400 former National Football League players, average age 52, found that those who had had a concussion were at increased risk for low testosterone and erectile dysfunction, regardless how young or old they were.

Fasting Blood Sugar Can Be Too Low

A low fasting blood sugar or an abnormally low HbA1C (a test of the amount of sugar stuck on cells) may increase risk for heart attacks. Researchers followed almost 5000 people for 13 years and found that having a very low fasting blood sugar (<80 mg/dL) and very low HbA1c (<5.0 percent) is strongly associated with increased risk for heart attacks and premature death.

Inflammation Can Help or Harm

Your body uses inflammation to protect you from invading germs and to heal injuries. When a germ gets into your body, you make cells and proteins to kill that germ. As soon as the germ is gone, your immune system is supposed to dampen down and stop making large amounts of these cells and antibodies.

Being Overweight Increases Cancer Risk

A study of more than two million people showed that being overweight markedly increases risk for at least nine different cancers in men (bladder, colorectum, gallbladder, kidney, liver, lung, lymphatic system, pancreas, stomach) and eleven cancers in women (gallbladder, kidney, liver, lung, lymphatic system, ovaries, pancreas, stomach, uterus, cervix, and endometrium).

Dementia Risk May Be Increased by Some Common Drugs

A study of 58,769 patients over 55 years of age diagnosed with dementia and 225,574 people of the same age without dementia found a 50 percent increased risk of dementia among people who used a strong anticholinergic drug daily for about three years within the 10-year study period

Reduce Inflammation and Clotting to Prevent Heart Attacks

Heart attacks and strokes cause 50 percent of the deaths in North America today, yet many people are not adopting the lifestyle changes needed to prevent the factors that cause them: inflammation and clotting. A new study from the University of Michigan shows how important inflammation is as a cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Flu Shots

It only takes one injection each year to protect you from the flu. The vaccine is very safe and cannot cause disease because it is made from killed virus. The most common side effect is a sore arm from the injection. Some people may suffer a few hours of fever, muscle pain, and chills.

Lifestyle and Drugs to Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis

On April 9, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new osteoporosis drug called Evenity. Bones are constantly changed by bone cells called osteoblasts that grow new bone and osteoclasts that remove old bone cells. Evenity is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the effects of the protein sclerostin that encourages the growth of osteoclasts that remove old bone cells.