Diseases and Conditions

  1. What your eyes can tell us about your brain

    They say that your eyes are windows to your soul.

    And regardless of whether that's true, there sure is a lot that docs can tell about your health by peering deeply into them.

    Of course, eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration can steal your sight, but that's not all that your doc can see in an eye exam.

    The health of the nerve cells and tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes (a.k.a. your "retina") are a reflection of what's going on elsewhere in your body. Early signs of heart disease... diabetes... and even cancerous tumors often show up in your eyes.

    And now, a new study shows that your eyes may also be a window to your BRAIN -- because certain changes in the retinas may be a sign of Alzheimer's.

    In the study, when UK researchers scanned the eyes of about 120 older folks, they found that 25 percent of those with Alzheimer's had yellow spots called "hard drusen" on their retinas, compared to just 4 percent of the control subjects.

    Now, the "hard" type of drusen has long been considered harmless, because it rarely impairs your vision (unlike the "soft" type, which increases the risk of macular degeneration ).

    But we know that hard drusen -- abnormal deposits of fat and calcium -- are associated with oxidative stress , and oxidative stress has also been linked to the development of Alzheimer's.

    What's more, the study found that those with Alzheimer's had THICKER blood vessels in the backs of their eyes than the controls.

    As I've shared with you before, when your blood vessels thicken, it restricts the amount of blood that can flow through.

    And we know that when blood can't gush freely to your eyes, it likely also can't gush freely to your BRAIN -- and that kind of "plumbing problem" is a risk factor for Alzheimer's.

    Of course, it takes more than an eye exam to diagnose Alzheimer's. It’s likely not caused by any one thing (and as I shared with you yesterday, it looks as though a viral infection may play some role), and it won’t manifest in just one way.

    But this new study is a good reminder to get your eyes checked out regularly -- not only to screen for eye diseases but also to gain "insight" into your general health.

    And it just so happens that many of the same healthy habits that protect your eyes from disease also help shield your brain from dementia.

    Eating leafy greens like kale, collards, and spinach can slash your risk of glaucoma AND dementia because they're loaded with nitrate, which your body converts to a compound called nitric oxide (NO) that boosts blood flow.

    Leafy greens are also packed with antioxidants that ease oxidative stress.

    And lay off "white carbs" like sugar and flour -- because having high blood sugar ups your risk of not only macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, but also Alzheimer's.

  2. Diabetic? Don't toss out the eggs

    When you've got diabetes, the most important meal of the day can be the hardest one to figure out.

    You know that the grains and sugars in typical breakfast foods -- from cereal to doughnuts and pancakes -- will spike your blood sugar and set you up for a crash later on.

    And you may be equally afraid to eat eggs -- because for decades, the mainstream has told us that the cholesterol in eggs can make you a sitting duck (or hen?) for cardiovascular disease.

    That's especially worrisome when you've got diabetes, since diabetics and even prediabetics tend to have higher levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol than non-diabetics.

    But according to a new study, the mainstream has egg on its face on this one, because you can safely eat eggs without compromising your cardiovascular health -- EVEN if you're diabetic or headed that direction.

    This is BIG news!

    In the study, Australian researchers assigned a group of diabetic and prediabetic folks to a weight-loss diet that was either high in eggs (12 eggs per week) or low in them (two eggs per week).

    After three months, members of the high-egg group didn't show ANY signs of increased cardiovascular risk when compared to the low-egg group.

    Whether they ate a couple of eggs or a dozen eggs each week, the participants' cholesterol levels were pretty much equal.

    The two groups also had about the same blood sugar and blood pressure levels and lost equivalent amounts of weight.

    And that held true even after six months and one year of follow-up!

    That means that regularly scrambling up some eggs WON'T impact cholesterol... worsen diabetes... or expand your waistline.

    Translation: Eggs definitely aren't the killers they’ve been cracked up to be!

    In fact, eggs may actually LOWER your risk of cardiovascular disease.

    A recent study showed that eating an egg each day slashes your stroke risk by 12 percent -- likely because the omega-3 fatty acids in egg yolks can tamp down inflammation and help protect your arteries from damage.

    Plus, the benefits of eggs don't stop there. They're rich in lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health... selenium to protect your liver... and choline that's been shown to shield your brain from Alzheimer's .

    And since they're packed with protein that fills you up and holds your blood sugar steady, eggs are actually the perfect breakfast choice for diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

    So, whether you like them scrambled, poached, or sunny-side up, start your day with a wholesome plate of eggs.

    You can also hard-boil some eggs to carry as on-the-go snacks, or you could whip up an omelet for a quick and satisfying lunch.

    And when you eat eggs as a delicious part of the Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman" diet) -- which eliminates the grains and sugars that make your blood sugar soar -- you can even put your diabetes in reverse.

  3. Crunch into this ‘brain food’

    As a kid, you may have hidden it under your mashed potatoes... and as an adult, you probably still skip it at the salad bar. Broccoli is the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables -- it gets no respect! But no matter how often you've pushed those crunchy green stalks to the side of your plate, you may want to give this...
  4. Low testosterone wreaks havoc on men's health

    Gentlemen, let's face it: Growing older can be a little tough on the ego. Your hair thins... your muscle strength isn't what it used to be... and your "steam" in the sack may even wane. For all of these insults to your manhood, you can blame plunging levels of testosterone. This "manly" hormone peaks when you're about 20 years old...
  5. Take a bite out of your summer infection risk

    With the warmer days of summer just around the corner, I'm sure you're itching to enjoy the fantastic weather outdoors. But whether you plan to plant yourself on the beach... hike through the woods... or just swing in a hammock in the backyard, you may wind up with the company of some unwanted companions. As you know, mosquitoes, ticks, and...
  6. A new clue in the chronic fatigue mystery

    You sleep through the night... and maybe even take a "power" nap... but you still feel wiped out. When you've got chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), it can feel like NO amount of rest will ever replenish your "get-up-and-go." And finding proper medical care for your condition can be exhausting in and of itself. That's because CFS is tough to diagnose...
  7. What one sleepless night does to your brain

    You can't think straight... your concentration is shot... and you fumble your way through the day's details. When you haven't gotten your 40 winks the night before, it can feel like your brain is asleep on the job! And if you toss and turn night after night -- like HALF of all adults over 60 do -- that "brain drain...
  8. The dirty truth about bathroom hand dryers

    When you're out and about and have to “go,” you may not want to touch anything in one of those public restrooms. After all, how many people have flushed that toilet or turned that doorknob before you? You can imagine how those shared surfaces can be CRAWLING with bugs. It's a jungle out there! So, it’s understandable if you want...
  9. Can’t make it to the bathroom in time? This may be why

    You feel a sudden urge to "go"... but you don't quite make it to the bathroom in time. When you can’t hold your pee, knowing that you might have an "accident" can make it tough to sit through a movie in the theater… play a round of golf… or hit the open road. And even though 30 percent of folks...
  10. Is this what could be narrowing your arteries?

    Remember when we thought that stomach ulcers were caused by too much stress... and spicy food? It was a reasonable theory -- but certainly not the first time that mainstream medicine has gotten things wrong! Of course, the REAL culprit turned out to be a nasty strain of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (a.k.a. H. pylori) that can burrow into your...

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