Friday, March 4, 2016

Women more vulnerable to smoking than men, study

Tobacco smoking seems to cause more respiratory symptoms among women than men, researchers say.

A team at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology studied a group of nearly 11,000 people aged between 20 and 97 years, who were either randomly selected or had reported symptoms of asthma. Lung function measures were taken, and an interview about respiratory symptoms and use of medication carried out.

In both men and women, cigarette smoking was linked to increased likelihood of respiratory symptoms, reduced lung function and lower self-reported health. But the more cigarettes that were smoked, the more women seemed to suffer the ill effects. They were more likely to have symptoms, perceive poor health and have poor lung function. One reason for this may be that women have smaller airways which may be more likely to be affected by cigarette smoke.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Benefit of lowering cholesterol early in life

Research shows that reduced cholesterol protects from heart disease later in life. Elevated levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol are a known risk factor for heart disease. A new report from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, which has been looking at heart disease risk factors for many years, looks at the benefits of lifelong low LDL levels.

A group within the study participants with variants in a newly discovered gene called PCSK9 was identified. These people had lower than average LDL cholesterol thanks to these mutations. They were tracked for about 15 years and proved to have a lower than expected risk of heart disease. If their LDL cholesterol was 40 mg/dl less than normal their heart disease risk went down eight times; if it was 20 mg/dl less than normal, then they had a twofold reduction in risk. The findings show the benefits of maintaining a low level of LDL cholesterol throughout life. For those not born with mutations in PCSK9, then a healthy lifestyle, maybe supplemented by cholesterol-lowering drugs, can acheive this end.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Skinny Jeans May Be Hazardous To Your Health

So, it turns out, skinny jeans may not be good for your health. Many have theorized this but it has not necessarily been proven yet. Well, a recent medical patient has been treated for poor circulation thanks to her skinny jeans.

The patient was a 35-year-old woman who had fallen while walking through the park. She was brought to the neurology unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, in Australia.

Dr Thomas Kimber (who works at the neurology unit) explains, "When she went for a walk, she noticed she was tripping; her feet became increasingly weak to the point where she fell in a park.” He continues, “By this time, it was dark and quite late at night, and she was unable to stand up again, and really was there for some time before she could crawl to the side of the road, hail a cab and bring herself to the Royal Adelaide Hospital."

It turns out that she had been helping a friend move the day before; and she had been squatting in skinny jeans. Kimber adds, "As a result of this prolonged squatting, she had really cut off the blood supply to her calf muscles, they had become massively swollen, and as a result of that, she had suffered compression to two of the major nerves in her lower leg and had developed this leg weakness as a result.”

Furthermore, Kimber says, "I think it's the non-stretchy nature of jeans that might be the problem," noting that if tight pants had more elasticity would be less dangerous because they would not squeeze nerves and muscles. He does not necessarily say that skinny jeans are the problem, just that maybe they should be constructed differently.