Tag Archives: Obesity

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS And CONDITIONS #23: OLD AGE / GROWING OLD

Old age is an inevitable condition if you are lucky enough to live a long life. Middle aged people say it begins at 70 years of age. According to an Elysium survey of people 40 and older, the average American FEELS old for the first time at age 47 years.

In the distant past, 50 was CONSIDERED to be old. The generally better conditions and Medicine of modern times keeps extending LIFESPAN, if not always HEALTHSPAN. Old age is certainly a Condition, and it is for sure Chronic, thereby qualifying for inclusion, but is it a Disease?

It is not considered a disease by the authorities, and so it doesn’t gather research funds like it should. What exactly IS old age? Being 88 Years old, and a physician, I feel qualified to comment. Old age is a collection of past accidents and sports injuries plus complications of past illnesses engrafted on a gradually deteriorating body.

Where does Obesity and Metabolic syndrome fit in this rubric? The Plague of our time fits in the disease category. It is definitely preventable, although with difficulty. Please search past postings for more information on this topic.

In what way does the body gradually deteriorate? Any organized, non-random high information structure gradually becomes more disordered, and “worn away” with the passage of TIME, the destroyer. Entropy (disorder) gradually increases, in the absence of corrective energy input.

Even rocks and mountains eventually erode, given enough time. One of the most interesting characteristics of life is that it maintains its integrity for an inordinate amount of time, given its complexity and furious dynamism.

Every day our DNA sustains thousands of molecular ruptures from high energy radiation and other stressors. Proofreading and repair mechanisms are employed, at high energy cost, to repair these breaks. This corrective is especially efficient when we are young and vigorous; In our youth, our reproductive years, growth and repair predominate. Gradually, growth ceases, repair mechanisms age, and we become old.

Our Darwinian “warranty” expires. We are left with an aging body, unimportant to evolution. We are long on experience and short on future. But we still have a marvelous metabolism at our disposal, depending on our lifestyle. There are a number of metabolic pathways which affect aging, 2 of which have been more studied.

The mTOR pathway is most attuned to youth, senses nutrients and gears up for ANABOLISM, or growth. If you have not been careful to tailor your food intake to suit your decreasing requirements, your efficient metabolism stores it away for a rainy day, around your belly and in your arteries, a bad effect from an essential mechanism. Antagonistic Pleiotropy is the name for a body mechanism that can be good for one function (or age) and bad for another.

The Sirtuin system is also important in aging, and has a variety of housekeeping functions, including mitochondrial maintenance. It is activated by exercise. The cells of our bodies change with aging. In old tissues, there are less stem cells and other young, functional units. There are more damaged, dysfunctional “zombie” cells that don’t do much but promote inflammation, and hence more inflammatory cells accumulate.

Controlling the mTOR System and promoting the sirtuins help increase apoptosis and get rid of dysfunctional cells, including cancer. DOCTORS SHOULD PRESCRIBE EXERCISE, as well as SLEEP AND DIET, like they do medicine, and maybe we wouldn’t need so many pills. We might also feel better into old age.

–Dr. C.

Disease, Metabolic syndrome, Entropy, DNA, Metabolism, Apoptosis, Zombie cells

INFOGRAPHIC: ’12 DEMENTIA RISK FACTORS’ (THE LANCET)

Executive summary

The number of older people, including those living with dementia, is rising, as younger age mortality declines. However, the age-specific incidence of dementia has fallen in many countries, probably because of improvements in education, nutrition, health care, and lifestyle changes.

Overall, a growing body of evidence supports the nine potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia modelled by the 2017 Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care: less education, hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and low social contact.

We now add three more risk factors for dementia with newer, convincing evidence. These factors are excessive alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injury, and air pollution. We have completed new reviews and meta-analyses and incorporated these into an updated 12 risk factor life-course model of dementia prevention. Together the 12 modifiable risk factors account for around 40% of worldwide dementias, which consequently could theoretically be prevented or delayed.

The potential for prevention is high and might be higher in low-income and middle-income countries (LMIC) where more dementias occur. Our new life-course model and evidence synthesis has paramount worldwide policy implications. It is never too early and never too late in the life course for dementia prevention. Early-life (younger than 45 years) risks, such as less education, affect cognitive reserve; midlife (45–65 years), and later-life (older than 65 years) risk factors influence reserve and triggering of neuropathological developments.

Culture, poverty, and inequality are key drivers of the need for change. Individuals who are most deprived need these changes the most and will derive the highest benefit.

Read full Dementia Study and Report

COMMENTARY:

Lancet’s 2017 Metanalysis mentions 9 Dementia risk factors. The 2020 Paper adds 3 additional factors. TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY, ALCOHOLISM, and AIR POLLUTION.

The inclusion of Trauma, with a 3% weighting, may be due to the increased awareness of TBE stemming from football injuries. The preventable 12 Factors are still in the minority. 60% of the factors are not preventable, since they are Genetically determined.

LESS EDUCATION, HEARING LOSS and SOCIAL ISOLATION, 3 of the original 9 factors,all lead to less brain stimulation, and can be unified under the idea of COGNITIVE RESERVE. If a person starts with less Cognition, it is reasonable to think he would be Demented sooner.

Together, less education, hearing loss, and social isolation account for almost Half of the correctable conditions. SMOKING is one of those things which impact almost every human disorder. It is amazing that cigarettes are still manufactured. In fact, their use is actually Increasing,especially the Far East, where they probably account for much of the escalating problem with Dementia in that region.

Our favorite causes, Sleep, Diet, and Exercise, apparently play only a minor role in Dementia. Sleep is completely dismissed in this report. The fact that both Sleeping less than the Ideal 7-8 hours, and more than that amount is thought to correlate with health problems is probably the main reason for the omission.

My own opinion is that people who are in poor health may need more sleep, and therefore sleep longer. My own sleep is interrupted 3-5 times per night, so it is not surprising that I need an hour extra to feel rested. Any less than 9-10 hours, and I need a nap, which in my opinion is a sign of insufficient nighttime sleep. Poor sleep may be a factor in metabolic syndrome, often leading to DIABETES, OBESITY, and HYPERTENSION, which are factors in Dementia, mentioned in the article as bit players.

PHYSICAL INACTIVITY is mentioned as a minor factor in Dementia, but exercise, studied as a treatment of dementia, was found to improve only strength. Diet is not mentioned, but does contribute to OBESITY, which is a minor factor. Dementia is a great emotional and economic burden, afflicting many otherwise happy families with misfortune.

The Lancet metanalysis is admirable. But don’t forget the healthy lifestyle emphasizing Sleep Diet and Exercise; and exercise includes cognitive exercise. Anything we can do to avoid dementia is worthwhile. –

–Dr.C.

Medical Videos: ‘Fatty Liver Disease’ Affects One-Third Of U.S. Population

Fatty liver disease is an increasingly common condition that currently affects a third of the population. The most common cause of the disease is obesity. Extra fat in your body from weight gain accumulates in your liver, causing it to swell. Eventually, the cells in your liver will be so overburdened that they die. New cells grow to replace them, but those cells also contain fat. As liver cells continue to die off and regrow rapidly, it causes scarring of the tissue surrounding the organ.

Read more

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #15: VISCERAL (BELLY) FAT

ABDOMINAL (VISCERAL) FAT KILLS. The following post tells you how, and suggests what you might do to prevent this scourge, which is gradually becoming an epidemic in America.

OBESITY is an energy imbalance problem. MORE CALORIES ARE CONSUMED THAN ARE NEEDED AND CAN BE UTILIZED. A Good quality Diet, with lots of natural (rather than processed) foods, especially vegetables and fruits, have lots of FIBER that takes up space and makes you feel full.

Fiber also feeds the MICROBIOME. If the foods are DIVERSE, the microbiome will also be diverse and help utilize the calories you eat. A healthy Microbiome also contributes to your health by manufacturing neurotransmitters, vitamins, and other factors that are just starting to be appreciated. Diet QUALITY, as well as quantity, is important.

EXERCISE is critical for more than utilizing calories. It increases ADIPONECTIN which guides fat to fat stores where they belong, rather than to the liver, and IRISIN which favors the production of BROWN FAT, thus utilizing energy. The opposite of exercise, the SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE, is now considered a disease system in itself.

Lack of SLEEP favors obesity in a number of ways; at the very least, you can’t eat while asleep. Abdominal fat contains INFLAMMATORY cells which go directly to the Liver via the hepatic portal system to cause metabolic disruption. Insulin sensitivity falls, blood sugar, LDL and triglycerides rise. DIABETES and the METABOLIC SYNDROME result.

The excessive weight also causes back, hip and knee problems which contribute to the 10% increase in overall medical costs due to Obesity.

We have no photographs, abdominal, navel-level girth measurements, CTs, BMIs or death certificates to prove it, but it is highly unlikely that Paleolithic Humans suffered from excessive abdominal fat. They had no refrigerators, deliciously packaged snacks, sugary, fructose-containing soft drinks and candy, nor did they have cave-lighting to extend their daylight eating hours and disrupt their diurnal rhythm.

They had to walk or run long distances to obtain their meagre food supplies, which tired them out so that they most likely had a good night’s sleep. SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE are built into our Metabolism by Darwinian Evolution. Paleolithic humans didn’t live long lives and succumb to cancer and heart disease.

They died most often by violence, which made Blood clotting a survival benefit, rather than the Risk factor for stroke and heart attacks that coagulation is to us now. It is not all our fault that OBESITY is steadily increasing over the last few decades.

CAPITALISM is driven to provide us with ever increasingly available and tasty food. Both consumers and purveyors scream when even the most logical political check on OVEREATING is legislated: Taxing of sugary, fructose-containing, nutritionless soft drinks was tried in Philadelphia to a chorus of complaints. To my knowledge the tax has survived, reduced sugary drink consumption, and was helpful in reducing the weight of Philadelphia residents. Not many cities were brave enough to follow suit.

GENETIC Influences can also conspire against weight control. The FTO gene, while relatively infrequent does have an influence, as shown in twin studies. And there seems to be a SET POINT in weight that makes it difficult to take off the pounds and keep them off. 2 years after almost all diets, the weight has returned. Eating HABITS, once established are hard to change.

BARIATRIC SURGERY has been shown to help Obesity, as well as Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes .I hope it will survive the test of time. Weight gain is easier to PREVENT than it is to treat. Somehow, society must get to the children, and keep them from gaining weight in the first place. Even children are now becoming obese.

INTERMITTENT FASTING can help contain Obesity. My own version is TIME-RESTRICTED EATING. I limit my eating to 6 hours a day, from Noon (usually 1PM) until 6PM. This has resulted in a modest weight loss from 142 pounds to 137 pounds. My son lost some 30 pounds in a 30 day, 1000 calorie “crash” diet to fend off advised Back Surgery. He exercised a lot of SELF CONTROL both to lose the weight, and to keep it off.

Unfortunately, Self Control is in short supply in our present SOCIETY OF EXCESS. Good luck in your quest, if you choose to embark on weight reduction. And good luck with your health if you don’t. I recommend “the secret life of fat” by Sylvia Tara in either case. Also, search for intermittent fasting in DWWR.

–Dr. C.

COVID-19 STUDIES: 77% OF HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

The Journal Science recently reported on nearly 77,000 patients hospitalized with Covid 19.  29% were overweight and 48% were Obese. A total of 77% of admissions for Covid were overweight or worse.

Overweight was defined as BMI of 25-29.9 Kg. per Square Meter, and Obese was defined as BMI of 30 or greater. Another way of stating the data is giving the rate of Hospital admissions per 10,000 People.

  • Normal Weight, BMI 18.5-25 kg. Per square Meter—12%
  • Overweight, BMI 25-29.9 per square a Meter———-19%
  • Obese, BMI 30-34.9 per square Meter——————-23%
  • Severe Obesity, more than 35 per square meter——-42%

BMI calculators are everywhere to be found on the internet. Put in your weight and height, and find your BMI displayed.

These are striking figures, the more so because of the LARGE SAMPLE, and the LINEAR Relationship; the greater the overweight, the greater the hospitalization rate.

Every way you look at it, obesity is hazardous. More hip and knee replacements, harder to exercise, find comfortable seats, more difficult to do surgery, more diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, Hypertension, Sleep apnea, worse immunity, and now, confirming previous suspicions, clearly higher risk of being hospitalized (and dying) with Covid.

I realize that nobody chooses to be Obese; in addition to the health problems,  overweight people are Subjected to discrimination.

Obesity is notoriously hard to treat; one of the few, seldom mentioned medical truths is that Diets fail long term. Starting and maintaining a diet takes Herculean Will Power, which is in short supply in our overindulgent, overadvertised, and overfed society.

If I were morbidly Obese, I might opt for Bariatric Surgery, and try my best to hold the short term weight loss, since even with surgery the pounds tend to creep back on over time.

The best way to treat Obesity is to treat it as the Plague it is. CHILDHOOD OBESITY should be treated aggressively. Keep the Obese Child from becoming an obese adult, and maybe carry yourself along with the Family.

Better yet, Good SLEEP, DIET, and EXERCISE come as an interactive mutually reinforcing package deal. Prevention always beats treatment.

My article on ABDOMINAL FAT is suggested reading, and there is a link to the Infographic which Displays the above date in graphic form.

—Dr. C.

Read Science article online

STUDIES: “INSOMNIA / SHORT SLEEP DURATION” IS A TYPE 2 DIABETES “RISK FACTOR”

Diabetologia  (Sept 8, 2020) – Insomnia with objective short sleep duration has been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in observational studies [2728]. The present MR study found strong and suggestive evidence of a causal association of insomnia and short sleep duration, respectively, with increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions/interpretation

The present study verified several previously reported risk factors and identified novel potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes should be considered from multiple perspectives on obesity, mental health, sleep quality, education level, birthweight and smoking.

Read full study

COMMENTARY

This was a laborious and apparently objective study.

The discovery of insomnia as a unique risk factor is no surprise, and reinforces the restorative IMPORTANCE of SLEEP.

I was surprised to see docosohexanoic and Eicosapentanoic acids in the risk column and LDL in the good column. However they were studying type 2 diabetes, and not vascular health. I will continue to take my fish oil, and enjoy my HDL, which is in the good column.

—Dr. C.

HEALTHY DIET PODCASTS: “SPOON-FED” AUTHOR & PROFESSOR TIM SPECTOR

According to a recent study, obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50%. Governments around the world are now hoping to encourage their citizens to lose weight. But with so much complex and often contradictory diet advice, as well as endless food fads, it can be hard to know what healthy eating actually looks like. 

How many pieces of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day? Will cutting out carbs help you lose weight? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Speaking to Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London about his new book Spoon-Fed, Madeleine Finlay asks why we’re still getting food science wrong, and explores the current scientific evidence on snacking, supplements and calorie labels. 

Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at Kings College, London and has recently been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He trained originally in rheumatology and epidemiology. In 1992 he moved into genetic epidemiology and founded the UK Twins Registry, of 13,000 twins, which is the richest collection of genotypic and phenotypic information worldwide. He is past President of the International Society of Twin Studies, directs the European Twin Registry Consortium (Discotwin) and collaborates with over 120 centres worldwide. He has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common complex traits, many previously thought to be mainly due to ageing and environment. Through genetic association studies (GWAS), his group have found over 500 novel gene loci in over 50 disease areas. He has published over 800 research articles and is ranked as being in the top 1% of the world’s most cited scientists by Thomson-Reuters. He held a prestigious European Research Council senior investigator award in epigenetics and is a NIHR Senior Investigator. His current work focuses on omics and the microbiome and directs the crowdfunded British Gut microbiome project. Together with an international team of leading scientists including researchers from King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts University, Stanford University and nutritional science company ZOE he  is conducting the largest scientific nutrition research project, showing that individual responses to the same foods are unique, even between identical twins. You can find more on https://joinzoe.com/ He is a prolific writer with several popular science books and a regular blog, focusing on genetics, epigenetics and most recently microbiome and diet (The Diet Myth). He is in demand as a public speaker and features regularly in the media.

Website

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #8: GOUT (GOUTY ARTHRITIS)

If you develop severe big toe pain in the middle of the night, and it is so tender that you can’t even stand the pressure of the sheet on it, you may have GOUT, an increasingly common form of ARTHRITIS.

And you would be in famous company: King Henry Vlll, Isaac Newton, and Benjamin Franklin all had Gout. There is even a famous dialogue between Franklin and his Tormentor.

Gout is caused by a buildup of URIC ACID in the bloodstream. This buildup can be caused by eating too much nucleic-acid-containing foods, like meats, “sweetbreads” and shellfish, and drinking too much alcohol, especially beer.

Reduced Clearance of Uric acid in the kidneys may contribute, and may be responsible for some of the familial tendencies of gout. The uric excess acid in the blood stream gets into joint tissues, most famously the big toe, although ankles, knees and other joints may be involved.

When deposited in joint tissues, the uric acid crystals attract inflammatory cells, which secrete their Interleukins and produce all of the symptoms of painful, red and swollen joints.

Risk factors include Obesity, diabetes, and the usual suite of problems of the METABOLIC SYNDROME. Just look at a picture of Henry Vlll with a mug of beer in one hand, and a leg of mutton in the other, and your big toe will start to hurt.

Dietary regulation is one of the best ways of reducing PURINE AND PYRIMIDINE intake and consequently the metabolic BYPRODUCT, Uric Acid, in the circulation.

There are DRUGS, called uricosurics, which will cause the kidneys to Clear more Uric acid, and other drugs, such as thiazide diuretics, which will reduce clearance and excretion of gout’s causative agent.

Yes, UNHEALTHFUL EATING CAN BE PAINFUL.

–DR. C

Dr. C’s Journal: A Little Bit About “Energy & Fatigue”

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with a feeling of RELAXED ENERGY. My mind is clear, I have no fatigue, and believe once more that the world is wonderful, and it’s great to be alive.

I St-re-tch, exercise my hands (I have Osteoarthritis, and they are stiff), take out my Nite guard ( I grind my teeth at night and would otherwise wear them away), take my beta blocker eye drops ( to lower my intraocular pressure) and wash down my Eliquis ( an anticoagulant to prevent stroke from my Atrial Fibrillation) with 16 oz. of water, while thinking about all of the delights awaiting me.

Yes, my body was in better shape 60 years ago; but I had much more responsibility then, and much less discretionary time. All things considered, I like to believe that I am happier now.

The KEY is to stay in GOOD HEALTH. GOOD SLEEP is critical, but it cannot be had by willpower alone. As I have discussed previously, you need a bedtime routine, good SLEEP HYGIENE.

You also need a…….. GOOD DIET. with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fatty, spicy foods will stay in your stomach and bother you at night, particularly if you eat Late. I like to finish eating by 5 PM. Late dinner is also likely to produce GERD, and maybe Sleep Apnea.

GOOD EXERCISE is also critical. If you are not tired at the end of the day, it is hard to get good sleep. I always seem to sleep better on the day when I walk the hills for an hour, which is 3 days a week. Try not to exercise within 2 hours of bedtime. Assuming that you have a good base of SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE, there are other mechanisms that can foul things up. INFLAMMATORY conditions often cause fatigue.

The most common inflammatory diseases are OBESITY, METABOLIC SYNDROME and DIABETES. OBESITY is the defining disease of our EXCESSIVE SOCIETY, where there is too much of everything, and excessive consumption is relentlessly advertised everywhere.

External correction is probably a pipe dream, since there is no will even to Tax Sugar-containing Beverages, the “low hanging fruit” of dietary excess. Internal correction is all that is left, and that takes WILL POWER, also in short supply.

INFECTIOUS DISEASES are a subset of inflammatory conditions. COVID 19 is the poster child of infection, and FATIGUE is one of the hallmarks of the disease. Interleukins, like TNF-alpha, IL-1, andIL-6 are some of the defense factors which cause the fatigue. AUTOIMMUNE Diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus are also associated with fatigue-producing interleukins.

Fatigue even has its own flagship disease, CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME. Chronic viral disease has been suspected as the cause of this condition, and inflammatory cytokines may be elevated. This condition, and the similar GULF WAR SYNDROME are still poorly understood. Several CFS patients were sent to me when I was in practice, and I had some success in getting them to exercise regularly, which seemed to help. CANCER is another category of diseases where Fatigue is prominent.

Inflammation plays a role in these diseases, which also drain energy substrates from the Patients body; Cancer cells have a high metabolic requirement. MEDICATIONS, Cancer meds especially, but a variety of other Drugs are associated with FATIGUE. I went through MY MEDICATION LIST. Lo and behold, 3 of them are associated with fatigue.

Finasteride is a relic of my prostate operation, recommended to keep it from growing back. It causes fatigue, probably because of its ANTITESTOSTERONE effect. At least I can still pee, and am not bald. I take METFORMIN because of its fame in prolonging life. Its mechanism is that of interacting with the Sirtuin system, and increasing the inefficiency of mitochondria. Isn’t this surprising?

Like many other things in physiology, you place a stress on the body, and the body responds by improving its performance. If you are fatigued, you exercise. Respecting the body works with drugs as well. If you are drinking a ton of coffee and stop it, after a few weeks you will feel less fatigued.

And when you ARE FATIGUED, you drink a LITTLE coffee, and it wakes you right up. Caffeine works by displacing ADENOSINE, which causes Fatigue as it increases through the morning, peaking at SIESTA (or tea) time,at about 2 PM. OMEPRAZOLE, which I take to prevent HEARTBURN, also is related to fatigue especially if it blocks MAGNESIUM for long enough. DEPRESSION overlaps with fatigue, as does SLEEPINESS, to increase the complexity of the situation.

Many chronic LUNG, KIDNEY and LIVER diseases are associated with fatigue as a secondary concern. STAY HEALTHY!

–Dr. C