Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Mysterious Link Between Sleeplessness and Heart Disease

Sleep 7 hours a night, my friends. Here's another reason why. Your brain needs it and your organs need it particularly if you're under more stress than you can handle. Why are you not sleeping? Are you staying up late watching TV and surfing the net? Or do you go to bed and have trouble sleeping? With some work on your part and nutritional solutions to your hormonal problems you can normalize sleep and improve your waking hours and your life!

Lack of sleep and lack of regular sleep times has a negative effect on hormone balances. Melatonin, cortisol, and insulin are thrown out of balance. This will age you faster than normal and lead to some diseases on the way. It will cause you to start on prescription meds and put your health and life on a downward cycle. Are you waiting for the crisis to hit before you change your habits? The average person is symptom oriented only. If there's no pain there's no problem they think. Only they don't understand that the first symptom of a heart attack is the heart attack. The deadliest cancers are often asymptomatic until it's end stage and too late. It's already a big event when you feel the pain! The human nervous system does not make pain a priority. It has lots of other things to deal with. By the time you feel pain you're experiencing a major event of some sort. Sometimes it's fixable and sometimes it's not.

Sleep. Recharge your battery. Normalize your sleep and normalize your life. Be in balance with your purpose. Be healthy and choose life!

A Mysterious Link Between Sleeplessness and Heart Disease

By RONI CARYN RABIN December 24, 2008, NYT

People who don’t get much sleep are more likely than those who do to develop calcifications in their coronary arteries, possibly raising their risk for heart disease, a new study has found.
The 495 participants in the study filled out sleep questionnaires and kept a log of their hours in bed. At night they also wore motion-sensing devices around their wrists that estimate the number of hours of actual sleep. At the beginning, none of the participants, who were ages 35 to 47, had evidence of coronary artery calcification.

Five years later, 27 percent of those who were sleeping less than five hours a night on average had developed coronary artery calcification for the first time, while only 6 percent of those who were sleeping seven hours or more had developed it. Among those who were sleeping between five and seven hours a night, 11 percent had developed coronary artery calcification, the study found.

After accounting for various other causes, the researchers concluded that one hour more of sleep per night was associated with a 33 percent decrease in the odds of calcification, comparable to the heart benefit gained by lowering one’s systolic blood pressure by 17 millimeters of mercury.
The study was published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The data were drawn from the ongoing Coronary Artery Risk Development In Young Adults study.
Senior author Diane S. Lauderdale cautioned that the new report does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between a lack of sleep and heart disease.

“It’s important to say that this is the first report and this does not yet prove the association is causal,” said Dr. Lauderdale, an associate professor of health studies at the University of Chicago Medical Center. “Until we know what the mechanism is -- that it’s really a direct or a causal relationship -- there is no point in making recommendations based on this.”

Although a number of studies have suggested that people who sleep less are at greater risk of heart disease and death, this is the first investigation to measure how much its subjects actually are sleeping, said Dr. Sanjay Patel, assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University and expert in sleep medicine. Patients’ own self-assessments can be very inaccurate, he added.

What isn’t clear is whether reduced sleep triggers physiological changes that increase heart disease risk, or whether a third, unrelated factor causes both changes, he said.

“It’s possible, for example, that people who are under more
stress may be both sleeping less and at higher risk of heart disease,” Dr. Patel said.

If so, he added, “If we got those people to sleep more but they still were under a lot of stress, it wouldn’t change their risk of heart disease.”

Higher education levels are also associated with both a lower risk of heart disease and a tendency to get more sleep, said Dr. Lauderdale.

But it is also possible that lack of sleep leads to certain changes, like increasing blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can raise the risk of coronary artery disease over time, Dr. Lauderdale said.

Another possible mechanism could be through the effect that sleep has on average blood pressure levels over a 24-hour period. Blood pressure usually dips when people are asleep, which could provide health benefits for those who get more sleep, Dr. Lauderdale suggested.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Your Portable Guide to Stress Relief

Ask anybody and they're sure to say that stress levels are at an all time high. It seems that everything we could once count in is now an uncertainty. Where will terrorist bombers hit next? Which financial institution will crumble? Entire governments are going bankrupt, people are losing their jobs and homes, and major corporations are slipping down the slope to oblivian. People seem to be sicker than ever and they're starting younger than ever.

Before all this started we weren't in the best of shape. People are more sedentary, there's more major diseases occurring earlier in life, personal credit is out of control, and technology is putting us out of touch with what's important. How much time is lost by people aimlessly surfing the net and playing on their xboxes? How much human interaction is forfeited? Technology, like anything else, can be used for our great benefit or our great harm. It's that powerful.

When all is said and done a major amount of our illnesses, both mental and physical, are rooted in not being able to handle stress. Some stress is beneficial but apparently many of us have more than we can handle today and that is very damaging on all body systems.

From Harvard University here is a portable guide to stress relief. It's 5 suggestions and only 4 pages! So if you don't have time to read a book with this you can take as little as 30 seconds to help yourself out with some helpful tips.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Worried Sick:Stressed By Downturn, Patients Flocking To Health Professionals

As an integrative practitioner I see many people who have either stress as a component of their health problems or as the true root of their physical ailments. Everyone has stress and to some degree it's good for us. Unfortunately most of us have more than we can handle. The key is to improve the body's ability to handle the stress that comes our way. This can be done in various ways. More and better sleep is powerful. So is simply drinking your 64-80 oz of water daily. And then there are great foods and nutrients which give the body the raw materials it needs to build hormones, neurotrasmitters, and immune factors. So if you're experiencing stress that is overwhelming you should see someone who knows about these methods. The stressors may still be there but you'll be able to handle it better! That's how you can break the vicious circle that occurs with the effects of stress on the body.

HARRISONBURG - As the economic news worsens by the day, physicians and therapists who treat the physical and mental effects of stress and anxiety are seeing more new patients - and an increase in symptoms among longtime patients.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, stress due to the economic downturn is making Americans angry, sleepless and anxious - and that survey was completed in August 2008, before the worst of the news about the economy had surfaced.

Seventy-two percent of Americans cited money as a significant source of stress, and 69 percent cited the economy, according to the APA.

"Some clients have expressed distress over losing large portions of their retirement that was tied to the failing stock market as well as the mortgage crisis," said Dr. Audie Gaddis, owner of Commonwealth Psychological Services. "Many are reporting fears that they may lose their jobs."

Work is causing stress in 68 percent of Americans, with housing coming in at 47 percent and job insecurity at 34 percent, according to the survey. Forty-six percent of Americans are now worried about providing for their families' basic needs, the APA said.

Physical, Mental Effects

Gaddis is seeing more clients who need basic anxiety management techniques and strategies to live within their means or prepare for personal financial crises.

"Clients heavily in debt and living paycheck to paycheck are quite anxious that should they lose their job their problems could readily mushroom out of control, forcing them to sell their already devalued homes or worse, face the prospects of bankruptcy," Gaddis said. "The problem [is that] these mood disorders could adversely impact job performance and money management strategies."

That in turn, he said, could lead to "self-fulfilling prophecies" among patients who lose their jobs or savings due to poor performance or bad financial decisions.

Gaddis' office also provides employment consulting and coaching, and has seen more clients coming in for help on resum├ęs and interview skills.

Increased Fatigue, Depression

At Atwell Family Chiropractic, Dr. Daniel Atwell, who has been a chiropractor in Harrisonburg for eight years, has seen clients mention both directly and indirectly the health effects of the economy.

The APA said stressors tend to manifest themselves in distinct physical ways. In the survey, 53 percent of Americans have reported fatigue, lack of interest and motivation, feeling depressed, headaches and muscular tension, and lost sleep.

Chiropractors don't just treat physical pain, but also work to relieve stress in the nervous system, which can appear as stress tension in the spine, nervous system, back or neck, Atwell said.

Holiday Stress

Clients seem to be more stressed at this time of year, and more than last year especially, Atwell said.

Emotional stress is one of the most overlooked common factors in pain, he said.

"When it comes to any condition, we always ask our patients, if you think back to when your back or neck went out, or when you had pain, you were probably under physical, nutritional or emotional stress," he said. "It's almost always true."

It's a fair assumption that economic stress coupled with the typical stress of the holiday season can make people sick with symptoms that are often painful, Atwell said.

"What do we do during the holidays? We don't eat the best, we're also physically doing more shopping, more walking, and getting less sleep," he said. "So all parts of us are being attacked."

In his cold and flu prevention seminars, Atwell urges clients to watch those three areas - physical, nutritional and emotional.

"You can also find an avenue for stress, like journaling or meditation before you go to bed," he said. "Exercise is also a great avenue."

Contact Kate Prahlad at 574-6277 or

Prominent Physician Advises Against Flu Shots

From Dr. Mercola's website:

Dr. Donald Miller, a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington, recommends avoiding the flu shot and taking vitamin D instead. According to Dr. Miller, “Seventy percent of doctors do not get a flu shot.”

Health officials say that every winter 36,000 people will die from it. But the National Vital Statistics Reports compiled by the CDC show that only 1,138 deaths a year occur due to influenza alone -- more than 34,000 of the “36,000″ flu deaths are actually pneumonic and cardiovascular deaths.

There is also a lack of evidence that young children benefit from flu shots. In fact, a systematic review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo. But there is also a risk of harm from the flu vaccine itself, particularly from the mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde it contains.

Eco Child’s Play November 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moisturizers Containing Estrogen Could Cause Breast Cancer

This news video segment discusses the link between breast cancer and the use of body lotions.

The point is that many commercial hand and body lotions contain various forms of the hormone estrogen. The skin is highly absorbant and the largest organ in the body. These absorbed estrogens have a powerful effect on metabolism and breast fat and glands are highly metabolic tissue.

Dr. Ashton also mentions the prevalance of environmental toxins. Heavy metals, volatile chemicals, plastics, etc. are rampant in the air, soil, and water. Everything we eat, breathe, and drink contains these toxins. Many toxins don't have a metabolic pathway for excretion and therefore get stored in joints and fat. The breast is mostly fat and very susceptible to environmental toxins and excess estrogens.

Dr. Ashton invokes the ayurvedic (Indian medicine) principal which says if something is not edible then don't put it on the skin. She suggests simply rubbing in sunflower, olive, or other natural oils.

My suggestion in addition to this very good idea is to stay well hydrated by drinking 64-80 oz of water and day and making sure to ingest these same oils. In this way you'll moisturize the skin from the inside out. Another important point is to use extra virgin oils or cold pressed oils in dark glass bottles.

Thursday, December 04, 2008