Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tips on how to get good quality sleep

The clocks go back at the weekend and experts say it will take many of us three days to adjust to the change in our normal sleeping patterns.

It's bad news for anyone who already struggles to get enough shut-eye. So here Dr Neil Stanley, who has been researching sleep for 28 years, gives his tips on getting a good quality kip.

1) Your bedroom should be a nest to encourage sleep. Block out excess light and noise, especially from gadgets like mobiles, which could disturb you unexpectedly. Make your bed as comfortable as possible - after all, you spend a third of your day in it.

2) You should be in a relaxed physical state for sleep. Eat big meals at least three hours before bed or your body will still be digesting it. But don't go to bed hungry, either - if you're peckish, eat something simple, like toast and butter. And don't exercise three hours before lights-out, or your body will still be buzzing from the natural high we get from vigorous activity.

3) You need to be mentally calm to sleep. If your mind's still ticking over, you won't nod off, so don't tackle a tricky Sudoku last thing at night.

4) Sleep's as important to our health as diet and exercise and you'll feel the instant benefits of a good night the next day. Go to bed early for a change.

5) Our sleeping patterns are as individual as our shapes and sizes. Anything between three and 11 hours sleep could be normal for you.

6) Research has shown that half of disturbed sleep is due to our partner tossing and turning. Consider having separate beds or even separate rooms.

7) Nocturnal leg cramps affect 13 million of us a year and are one of the five main factors that cause us to wake in the night. It happens when our muscles shorten in our sleep and when we stretch, we feel an instant, excruciating pain. Crampex, which you can buy over the counter, can be effective if cramps frequently bother you.

8) Most people accept tiredness as part of life, but we owe it to ourselves to try to get a good sleep every night. If you're having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, the real cause might be due to stress or a medical problem, Your best course of action is to talk to your GP about it.


Following healthy lifestyle tips could prevent bowel cancer

A new study has indicated that almost a quarter of colorectal (bowel) cancer cases could be prevented if people followed healthy lifestyle advice in five areas including diet and exercise.

Researchers from Denmark found that following recommendations on physical activity, waist circumference, smoking, alcohol and diet could reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer considerably - by 23 pc.
There is much evidence that implicates modifiable lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical activity, body composition, alcohol and diet.

The Danish researchers wanted to study the link between following healthy lifestyle advice and risk of bowel cancer in middle-aged people. They also wanted to find out the proportion of bowel cancer cases that might be linked to lack of adherence to the advice.

They studied data on 55,487 men and women aged 50-64 (bowel cancer is rare amongst people under 40) not previously diagnosed with cancer. The people were studied over almost 10 years up to 2006.
All participants filled in a lifestyle questionnaire including questions about social factors, health status, reproductive factors and lifestyle habits as well as a food frequency questionnaire developed to assess average intake over 12 months.

The researchers created a healthy lifestyle index using internationally accepted public health recommendations from the World Health Organization, World Cancer Research Fund and the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations.

These included being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, having no more than seven drinks a week for women and 14 drinks a week for men, being non-smoker, having a waist circumference below 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men and consuming a healthy diet.

During the follow-up period, 678 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer.

After looking at how the participants managed to keep to each of the five lifestyle recommendations, the researchers calculated that if all participants (except the healthiest) had followed even one additional recommendation, it was possible that 13 pc of the bowel cancer cases could have been prevented.

If all participants had followed all five recommendations, then 23 pc of the bowel cancer cases could have been avoided.

A second study shows that adults with low education who used a decision aid when considering whether to have a bowel cancer screening test were more informed, but were less likely to have the test. Despite the lower uptake, the authors state that the decision aid improved informed choice in people with low education. They recommend that such aids should be made available for people who want to make an informed choice about screening and could be integrated within primary care.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

5 Lifestyle Tips that Lower Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Keeping a healthy lifestyle — by refraining from smoking, limiting alcohol intake, eating healthily, working out and maintaining a small waistline — can go a long way in preventing colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

Nearly a quarter of colorectal cancer cases could be prevented by adhering to these five lifestyle 
recommendations, said study researcher Dr. Anne Tjonneland, of the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology at the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen.

"Bowel cancer is probably one of the cancers where lifestyle habits have the highest impact on risk," Tjonneland told MyHealthNewsDaily.

In the United States, the National Cancer Institute anticipates 51,370 deaths from colon and rectal cancers in 2010. Together, these cancers were second only to lung and bronchial cancer in the number of U.S. deaths from 2003 through 2007.

According to the Danish study, the risk of colorectal cancer can be lowered by being physically active for more than 30 minutes every day, having no more than seven drinks for a woman or 14 drinks for a man every week, not smoking, having a waistline smaller than 35 inches (88 centimeters) for women and 40 inches (102 cm) for men, and maintaining a healthy diet.

Even modest differences in lifestyle habits can have a substantial impact on colorectal cancer risk, Tjonneland said.

The study was published online today (Oct. 26) in the British Medical Journal.

Following the rules

The researchers surveyed 55,489 men and women between the ages of 50 and 64 over the course of nearly 10 years to learn about their lifestyle habits. By 2006, at the end of the 10-year period, 678 people had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Researchers then compared how closely those with colorectal cancer and those without had adhered to the five lifestyle recommendations.

They found that if participants had adhered to all five lifestyle recommendations, 23 percent of the colorectal cancer cases could have been avoided. If all participants had followed just one of the recommendations, 13 percent of the colorectal cancer cases could have been avoided, the study said.
"What should be done as a next step would be to actually make people change their habits in an intervention study," Tjonneland told MyHealthNewsDaily.

The message isn't necessarily new, but the study itself is important because it looked at how lifestyle factors can act together to affect colorectal cancer risk, instead of looking at each factor on its own, said Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, a colorectal cancer specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

"It's been well-known that avoidance of obesity, increasing physical activity, certain dietary things, lack of smoking, reduction of alcohol are all things that can relatively reduce one's risk of developing cancer, but most papers individually look at each of these things," said Meyerhardt, who was not involved with the study.
Research published in 2000 in the journal Cancer Causes & Control found similar results. Harvard School of Public Health researchers found, in a study of 47,927 men ages 40 to 75, that those who adhered to a similar set of lifestyle recommendations had a lower colon cancer risk than those who didn't. And a 2009 study published in the journal Colorectal Disease found a correlation between body mass index and colorectal cancer risk.

Explaining the events

The reasons why following the recommendations can help prevent colorectal cancer are not certain, but it is known that high insulin and diabetes are risk factors for the disease, Meyerhardt said.

"Obesity and lack of activity leads to high insulin states, which can lead to growth of cancer cells," Meyerhardt said.

An American Cancer Society official noted, however, that the new study doesn't address whether lifestyle changes have more or less of an impact on people with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than on the average person.

The biggest risk factor for colorectal cancer is a family history of the disease, or a family or personal history of colon polyps, which are small clumps of cells that can turn cancerous, said , said Dr. Durado Brooks, director of Prostate and Colorectal Cancers at the society, who was not associated with the study.

"Regardless of lifestyle — you can do everything right — and you can still have significant chance" of developing colorectal cancer, Brooks said. "Getting screened for all adults starting at age 50, or earlier if they have risk factors, is the single most important thing that people can do."

Health tips

I would like to give the people of my beloved country some health tips. These are: 

1. Potassium is a mineral. It helps to maintain correct blood pressure. It also keeps a person young. It doesn't mean that one has to take potassium without consulting a physician. Too much potassium, or too little of it, can be fatal for human body.

2. Coffee is full of anti-oxidants which are essential for our body. Coffee (with or without sugar) increases gluconeogenesis (increases the production and secretion of glucose into blood by the liver). That is why drinking coffee makes us feel better. Patients of hyperglycaemia (diabetes mellitus) must be very careful about taking coffee.

Homemakers offer cooking, health tips

Participants in Saturday’s Blue Ribbon Recipes Cooking School had the opportunity to be served a five-course meal cooked by award-winning chefs.

They also had the opportunity to help make a difference to women statewide.

The Madison County Extension Homemakers hosted the cooking school, which featured chefs who have won first place, or blue ribbon awards, at the Madison County Fair and at a contest at Acres of Land.

All of the proceeds went to the University of Kentucky Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

This fund offers free ultrasounds to women age 50 or older who have no symptoms of ovarian cancer, as well as to women older than 25 who have a documented family history of ovarian cancer. This program was founded in 1987 and treats thousands of women each year. Kentucky Extension Homemakers help the program continue, by donating $1 per member annually.

Not only were the participants well fed, they also got the opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time.

Arritta Morris, a blue ribbon winner at this year’s county fair, made her peach mango ice tea and educated those in attendance about the origins of tea.

Morris is a retired school lunch coordinator for the Department of Education. She said the benefits of tea is its anti-oxidant power, thought to help slow aging. She suggested that tea always be brewed from leaves, as brewing through a bag interferes with the flavor of the tea. Black tea also contains tannins, similar to those found in red wine, which helps prohibit unhealthy levels of cholesterol, leading to better cardiovascular health, Morris said.

Pete Kensicki, also a blue ribbon winner at the county fair, delighted the audience with his teachings on the art of making homemade bread.

Kensicki said he fell in love with bread in his travels through eastern Europe. He taught audience members how to make a poolish, or a European type of bread starter. He also said that all good breads should be made with yeast and that yeast leaves holes in bread.

“The more holes, the better,” he said.

Making bread is an art, he said, one of love and of patience. Kensicki demonstrated to participants how to make his rustic hearth bread, which takes at least two days to complete.

“I like to say I have two things in my life that have taught me patience, baking bread and my daughter,” he said.

In addition, Katherine Land, owner of Acres of Land Winery, and winery chef Linda Burns, demonstrated how to make the winery’s eggplant parmesan. Pam Powell showcased her Tutti Frutti Baked Beans, made with blackberry wine. Both Powell and Burns won blue ribbons at Acres of Land’s contest. Also, Carol Kineslki demonstrated how to make her Hungarian Christmas stollen, a special type of fruit-filled cake. She, too, is a Madison County fair blue ribbon winner.

This was the sixth annual cooking school.

“It started as a fun little thing and I think it’s grown into our most popular event ever,” said Mary McCurdy, president of the Madison County Extension Homemakers.

“The purpose of the event is to have fun, but it’s also to make people aware that cooking can be fun,” said Gina Noe, Madison County Extension agent for the University of Kentucky Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. “It (cooking at home) is healthier than eating out and this class gives people tips on how to make cooking easier and the products it takes to make cooking easier.”

The event was conducted at the Madison County Extension office.

Emily Burton may be reached at or at 624-6694.