The Hidden Toll of Shift Work

Important health news has uncovered a hidden cause of illness. A study in the “British Medical Journal” has shown that shift work is linked to a higher risk of major vascular problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.

We’ve long known that shift work throws the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) out of whack. And we know that disrupted sleep patterns then lead to a higher risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. But as of yet, shift work’s link to vascular disease is controversial. Continue reading

More about the Truth on Bariatric Surgery You Must Know

Since bariatric surgery bypasses the sites where vitamins, minerals, and trace metals are absorbed, this can clearly lead to deficiencies of certain nutrients. This article is about what the three surgeries do to five essential nutrients.

“Biliopancreatic Diversion” (BPD) surgery commonly causes deficiencies in vitamin B12, folate and iron. It less commonly does the same for vitamin D and calcium.

“Short Limb Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass” (RYGB) surgery commonly causes deficiencies in vitamin B12 and iron. It less commonly does the same for vitamin D, folate and calcium. Continue reading

What your Legs Say about your Heart Health

WASHINGTON – When it comes to heart health, you shouldn’t ignore your legs, say experts.

The Vascular Disease Foundation and its P.A.D. Coalition are urging people to listen to the legs and be alert to the signs of peripheral arterial disease, or P.A.D.

P.A.D. occurs when arteries in the legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits, reducing blood flow to the legs. This can result in leg muscle pain when walking, disability, amputation, and poor quality of life.

If you have blocked arteries somewhere in the body, you are likely to have them elsewhere.

Thus, P.A.D. is a red flag that other arteries, including those in the heart, are likely affected-increasing the risk of a heart disease, heart attack and even death.

People with P.A.D. may have one or more of the following symptoms: ‘Claudicating’ – fatigue, heaviness, tiredness or cramping in the leg muscles (calf, thigh or buttocks) that occurs during activity such as walking and goes away with rest.

Foot or toe pains at rest that often disturbs sleep kin wounds or ulcers on the feet or toes that are slow to heal (or that do not heal for 8 to 12 weeks).

“Often, people think leg discomfort or slow healing sores are just a part of aging, yet they can be signs of a serious disease. Through early detection and proper treatment, we can reduce the devastating consequences of P.A.D. and improve the nation’s cardiovascular health,” said Joseph Caporusso of the P.A.D. Coalition.

Low Vitamin C Levels Related to Vascular Disease

BEVERLY HILLS – In the most recent issue of Circulation, investigators have reported that low blood levels of vitamin C were found in patients with particularly severe cases of peripheral vascular disease.

Peripheral vascular disease is a form of atherosclerosis associated most commonly with blockages in the arteries supplying the legs.  These patients have, among other symptoms, pain and cramping in their leg muscles with exertion.  In this study, researchers compared vitamin C levels in patients with peripheral vascular disease to levels in patients without this condition.  They found that those who had vascular disease had vitamin C levels that were only half as high as patients without disease.

While investigators postulate that the antioxidant effects of vitamin C may help prevent peripheral vascular disease, their study only demonstrates an association, and not a cause-and-effect relationship between low vitamin C levels and vascular disease.