Heart and Cardiovascular

  1. Exercise slows mild cognitive impairment

    Break a sweat to boost your brainpower

    It's happened to all of us at one time or another.

    You're in the middle of telling a friend or loved one an exciting story -- only to have them remind you that you ALREADY told it to them.

    There goes your punch line!

    As we age, it's not at all uncommon to forget conversations, even recent ones. And you can usually chalk it up to one of those "senior moments."

    But if you begin to get absentminded about events... appointments... and other details more and more frequently, it could be a sign of mild cognitive impairment.

    It doesn't have a great name, because sometimes it's not so "mild." And it can lead to something more serious.

    It's actually a gray area between the "brain burps" of aging -- the ones you don't have to worry about -- and the more severe onset of dementia.

    Some docs will throw up their hands in defeat and tell you that there's nothing you can do to stop it.

    On the other hand, your doc might prescribe you a drug -- but one that's approved for Alzheimer's (which you don't actually have yet) and comes with risky side effects and few benefits.

    But according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology (based on a review of all studies to date), there's something else you can do to put the brakes on cognitive impairment -- and it just so happens to be invigorating for your body AND your brain.

    I'm talking about exercise!

    Multiple studies have found that exercising at least twice a week won't just improve your memory problems... it may even SLOW DOWN the rate at which your cognitive troubles worsen.

    And that's critically important -- because 5 to 10 percent of cases of mild cognitive impairment progress to full-blown dementia over time.

    The theory is that exercise gets blood flowing to every nook and cranny of your gray matter AND "beefs up" your brain thickness in key areas -- both of which are known to help preserve your precious memories.

    So, instead of driving over to the pharmacy... go take a walk!

    "Aerobic" activities that make you break a little sweat, like brisk walking and jogging, are recommended to get that blood a-flowin'.

    But previous studies have shown that everything from gentle yoga to lifting weights can put the brakes on cognitive decline.

    While even just two workouts each week can boost your brainpower, it's ideal to aim for about 30 minutes of activity, five times a week.

    As a bonus, ANY form of exercise can boost your mood... strengthen your heart... and help you shed a few pounds.

  2. Hypertension drug raises skin cancer risk

    WARNING: Do this to save your skin

    It's a familiar story.

    You go in for your annual physical... that cuff tightens around your arm... and you walk out with a prescription for a drug you're supposed to take for the rest of your LIFE.

    It's a scenario that's happening to more and more people now that new guidelines have lowered the threshold for a hypertension (a.k.a. high blood pressure) diagnosis to anything above 130/80 (previously 140/90).

    And though popping a pill sounds like an easy way to lower your BP and protect your health, this story doesn't always end so happily.

    You see, many BP meds have been shown to cause serious side effects that range from irregular heartbeat to problems in the bedroom.

    And according to a new study, one drug in particular -- the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (a.k.a. Microzide) -- may raise your risk of two types of skin cancer.

    In the study, Danish researchers linked data on hydrochlorothiazide use to cancer registry records.

    After they crunched the numbers, it turned out that those who took the drug daily for six years were 29 percent more likely than those who didn't to develop a type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma.

    And they were four times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that can grow into deeper layers of your skin... and even spread to other parts of your body.

    What's more, when the researchers looked at those who took hydrochlorothiazide the longest -- about 24 years of daily use -- those subjects were 54 percent more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma and SEVEN TIMES more likely to get squamous cell carcinoma than those who never took it.

    That's about as close as we can get to finding out what happens in the "rest of your LIFE" part of the story!

    Now, we know from previous studies that hydrochlorothiazide has been linked to another dermatological issue: a higher risk of sunburns.

    The theory is that the drug can make you more vulnerable to skin damage from UV rays, allowing cancer to take hold.

    Sure, you could slather yourself in strong sunscreen every day to protect yourself. But do you really need to be on hydrochlorothiazide in the first place?

    If you ask me, it's just too easy for mainstream docs to diagnose you with hypertension based on ONE reading... at one time... on one day.

    And in many cases, simple lifestyle changes -- such as losing weight, exercising regularly, and supplementing your diet with natural BP regulators -- can keep your BP in check without side effects.

    As you've read right here in eTips, I recommend magnesium, tart cherry juice, and cinnamon. Even taking a hot bath can work wonders.

    But if your BP is truly dangerously high and you take hydrochlorothiazide, make sure you're getting plenty of vitamin D in your diet -- because studies show that this hero vitamin can help protect you against medication-induced sunburn.

  3. Protect heart health by fighting cholesterol oxidation

    The surprising key to maintaining maximum heart health How time flies! February will be here sooner than you know it, and there's something you need to prepare for right now. No, it's not Valentine's Day. It's "Heart Health Month." Of course, that doesn't mean that you can wait until February 1 to think about your own heart health -- but...
  4. Quality of cholesterol more important than quantity

    Time to winterize your body and "rust-proof" your insides Believe it or not, your body is probably "browning" as you read this. It's not happening on the outside of your body, where you can see it -- but INSIDE, where it can cause inflammation and lead to all sorts of health issues, not the least of which is heart disease...
  5. Air pollution wallops your heart and lungs

    To avoid tailpipe toxins, take the path less traveled The holidays always bring more hustle and bustle to our roads and highways. Even now, in early January, you'd think it would have calmed down -- but everyone's STILL out! Only now they're returning gifts instead of buying them. And if you've braved the trip to the mall or shopping center...
  6. Surgery can damage your heart

    Even minor operations can tax your ticker Happy New Year. I wish you happiness and health for the coming year. It's about that time when everyone will be talking about their New Year's resolutions -- for most, it will involve losing weight. But you may have something else on your "to do" list for 2018 -- and if it involves...
  7. Beat gravity to obliterate blood clots

    The latest breakthrough in blood thinning Q: Is any progress being made in dealing with or preventing blood clots in leg arteries? GR: As I shared with you in the November 2017 issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter, getting blood to move around your entire body is of paramount importance. And whenever one of my patients is struggling with...
  8. CT scan diagnosis doesn’t improve heart attack outcomes

    Chest pain? You may not need a CT scan When there's searing pain ripping through your chest, it's pretty hard to remain calm. If there's ANY chance you could be having a heart attack, you want to make a beeline for the emergency room -- STAT! And once you're there, I'm sure you'll do anything to find out what's going...
  9. Nuts lower the risk of heart disease

    For heart health, break out the nutcracker It's hard to believe that we're almost at the end of another year. That means we're subject to a glut of end-of-year recaps and countdowns -- and when it comes to a tally of America's most deadly illnesses, heart disease will most likely top the list. AGAIN. It's been the number one killer...
  10. Heartburn meds increase your risk of stomach infections

    Acid blockers invite bad bugs into your belly Look, it happens. You might pour too much gravy onto your holiday roast... treat yourself to a slice of "yule log" cake... or realize too late that the eggnog was spiked. Whoops! When you've got acid reflux, holiday parties are full of potential triggers. It may be cold outside -- but one...

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