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Healthy Living Newsletter - Volume 2, No. 2

Issue Date: Janury 20, 2005
Publisher: Mellanie True Hills, The Health & Productivity Revitalizer

Escape the hype. The Healthy Living News cuts through all the health clutter to bring you reliable news to optimize your life, your health, and your work.

A lot has happened over the past two weeks, so in this issue you'll find the following health updates:

1. Cancer Surpasses Heart Disease--Don't Let This Fool You!

2. C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Statins, and Heart Disease

3. Statin Drugs Over-the-counter?

4. New 2005 Dietary Guidelines

5. Red Wine and Your Heart

6. Shocking, Yet Not So Surprising

7. Wear Red

8. What Are Your Health Goals for 2005?

1. Cancer Surpasses Heart Disease--Don't Let This Fool You!

According to new numbers from the American Cancer Society (ACS), in 2005 more people under the age of 85 will die of cancer than of heart disease. While the death rate from many cancers is decreasing due to decreased smoking and progress in treating those cancers, the number of cases for other cancers is growing due to our increasingly unhealthy diets and our overweight epidemic.  

Does this mean that you should forget about heart disease and just start focusing on fighting cancer? Not at all, as both are very serious issues. However, the American Heart Association notes that the ACS estimate only compares cancer deaths to the number of heart disease deaths, and excludes the other closely-related cardiovascular diseases. Heart disease, stroke, and the other cardiovascular diseases together still take two out of every five of us (40%), and largely stem from the same issues that lead to cancer.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent all these serious and deadly diseases, and you can save yourself if you know how. (You'll find lots of crucial life-saving information in A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life).  

2. C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Statins, and Heart Disease  

We've previously discussed the promise of C-reactive protein (CRP) testing. Just what does C-reactive protein (CRP) testing do? It's a simple blood test that indicates high levels of inflammation or infection in the body, which may indicate potential heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, or other diseases. CRP may soon become more important then cholesterol testing in foretelling your risk of heart disease, especially since half of those having heart attacks have normal cholesterol.  

Several new studies just published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that medications that reduce the levels of C-reactive protein in heart patients can also reduce their risk of heart attacks and cardiac death. One of those studies found that patients on statin drugs to lower their cholesterol not only saw a drop in their bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, but also saw a drop in their CRP readings and in the number of heart attacks they experienced. The next step in this clinical trial is to determine if healthy patients experience the same results.

Though CRP is not a formally-recommended test, if you have risk factors for heart disease it might be prudent to ask your doctor about CRP testing. If a CRP test shows that you have high inflammation numbers, you must do something about your risk factors immediately.

Coincidentally, there has been recent evidence that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in soybean oil, flaxseed, nuts, and leafy green vegetables, can decrease CRP levels, and other testing has shown the impact of vitamins in decreasing CRP. (See A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life for more details about CRP, including the impact of diet and vitamin supplements on CRP.)

3. Statin Drugs Over-the-counter?

The FDA just turned down a drug company request to sell statin drugs over the counter. Over-the-counter sales appear inevitable as this has been approved in the United Kingdom, but doing so now in the US might be premature. Statins are tricky and should only be taken under a doctor's watchful supervision due to the possibility of liver, muscle, and other problems that can happen with some statins.       

4. New 2005 Dietary Guidelines

The USDA just released the new 2005 Dietary Guidelines, replacing the old 2000 USDA Food Pyramid that had been under attack for being obsolete due to advances in nutritional science. The new guidelines are far more complex and don't lend themselves easily to a pyramid so we've yet to see how they will be visually displayed.

The new guidelines focus on determining your daily calorie requirements and balancing that by getting 30-90 minutes per day of physical activity, depending upon whether you wish to maintain or lose weight. (By the way, this 30-90 minutes is already under attack.)

There is also a more intense focus on the number of servings of specific foods required to get needed vitamins and minerals. Eating vegetables is important, but just got more complex due to the breakdown of vegetables into five groups, with recommended servings per week for each group. In addition, the guidelines recommend that half of your daily grain intake should be whole grains.

Check out the detailed 2005 dietary guidelines (or use my distilled and simplified recommendations from them in A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life).

5. Red Wine and Your Heart

The latest issue of Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, provides an interesting look at Red Wine and Your Heart that is based on a review of the existing scientific literature.

Data from 51 studies showed a 20% decrease in heart disease risk when 0 to 2 alcoholic drinks were consumed per day, and light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with an approximately 20% reduction in (ischemic) stroke risk.

Is red wine better? The results conflict—some studies showed up to a 32% heart disease risk reduction while others showed no such beneficial effect, leading researchers to surmise that factors such as diet, exercise, or socioeconomic status might have been at work.

However, red wine's chemical composition (alcohol and polyphenolic compounds, such as flavonoids and resveratrol) appears to help maintain healthy blood vessels. Regular alcohol consumption also appears to increase good (HDL) cholesterol by about 12%, and to carry away the bad (LDL) cholesterol so that it doesn't deposit itself in the blood vessels. In addition, those who consume light to moderate alcohol have less of the proteins that encourage blood clots to form.

In spite of all this evidence, the researchers concluded that the evidence is still insufficient as light alcohol consumption has also been frequently shown to contribute to cardiovascular disorders and recommending alcohol use is risky due to other alcohol-related health concerns. The American Heart Association recommends discussing this with your physician, as do I. But it's good to know the facts behind what we so frequently read.

As an aside, the effect of alcohol on the brain is also being studied. A newly-released study of more than 11,000 nurses that was led by Harvard Medical School researchers definitively linked alcohol consumption and the brain with their finding that one drink or less per day prevents cognitive decline in women. Presumably, the same would apply to men, but requires further study.  

6. Shocking, Yet Not So Surprising

A study found that cardiologists in New York don't always perform emergency angioplasties on patients that come to the emergency room with heart attacks because they don't want to hurt their physician scorecard rankings. Seventy-nine per cent of those responding said that their decision had at some time been influenced by knowing that their statistics would be made public. This is just one more reason to be extremely proactive about your own health. (The New York Times) 

7. Wear Red

February is National Heart Month, and February 4 is National Wear Red Day. Wear red to raise awareness that heart disease is not only the number 1 killer of men, but also of women. To receive your free red dress pin, call 1-888-MY-HEART. Wear it with pride.

Men, please wear red, too, to show your support for your wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and employees.

8. What Are Your Health Goals for 2005?

Don't forget—please send me what health goals you've set for 2005 and how I can help you reach them. Please take a moment to e-mail me to let me know. I'd love to know:

  • Do you make New Year's resolutions, and do you keep them?
  • What are your goals or resolutions for 2005?
  • How can I help you reach them?
  • How will you pamper yourself this year?

I'll share a summary soon.

Be healthier in 2005: Order and download the e-book of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life, or pre-order the printed book (FREE Shipping), which will be out in February. It includes the secrets of how I easily lost 85 pounds and how you can lose excess weight, too. Get off to a great start for 2005! (By the way, it's not just for women. Save yourself and your loved ones.)

Please, take care of yourself.  

Wishing you health and happiness,


Mellanie True Hills
The Health & Productivity Revitalizer
Speaker, consultant, health and productivity coach, and
Author of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life: The HEART Program for Health and Longevity - read the first two chapters

PS. My latest speaking topic is Getting More Done Without Killing Yourself. I'll be glad to share this topic with your organization, or help revitalize your individual or company health or productivity. Just send me an e-mail. Here are some organizations for whom I have spoken or worked and comments from attendees at my speeches.

PPS. Feel free to reprint this or any of my articles in your publication, company newsletter, or on your intranet. Please include attribution, copyright, and contact information ( and and please send us a copy. Thanks.

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