health problems

  1. Feds finally own up to statin risks

    Not long ago, those of us who pointed out that cholesterol meds can actually cause diabetes and other serious health problems were dismissed as alarmists.

    Statins, we were told, are so safe they should be given to practically everyone – with some "experts" even pushing to give them out with every Big Mac. (That might sound like something I made up for an easy laugh – but believe it or not, it's actually true.)

    Well, maybe now the push to give everyone statins will start to slow a bit: The FDA has finally admitted that all those side effects the drug industry and its paid--for experts once brushed off are actually very real.

    And now, they want the labels of these meds changed to reflect the increased risk of diabetes, confusion, memory loss, and serious muscle pain.

    The feds say those side effects can hit anyone at anytime. They can strike after a single day on these meds...or they can come on after years of taking them without incident.

    And they can happen to everyone across all age groups.

    So who's the alarmist now?

    Of course, I can't help but find it a little suspicious that this warning comes only after every Big Pharma statin except for one – Crestor – lost its patent protection, with Lipitor going generic just a few months ago.

    It's almost as if the feds were giving their drug company friends a chance to maximize profits before issuing the same warning those of us in natural health delivered years ago.

    But even worse than the risks and the delayed warning is the fact that no one ever needed these meds in the first place.

    In many cases, people taking statins don't even have a cholesterol problem since mainstream LDL targets are set unrealistically low. And even when cholesterol does shoot up to high levels, taking a drug to "cure" it is akin to Homer Simpson putting a piece of tape over the "check engine" light on his car.

    Super high cholesterol is a warning that something's wrong – and lowering it without fixing the underlying issue won't make you healthier any more than that piece of tape will fix Homer's engine.

    If your own levels start climbing too high for comfort, work on lifestyle changes first. Cutting out sugars and sticking to fresh foods will almost always bring cholesterol to where it needs to be.

    If they're still high, don't visit a statin-slinging mainstream doc. Visit a naturopathic physician who can find and fix the real cause without meds.

    And for one easy way to lower your cholesterol naturally, keep reading.

  2. Speed and strength now can predict health risks later

    You probably don't spend much time at all thinking about how fast you walk or how strong your grip is.

    But maybe you should -- because a new study shows how these basic tests could help predict serious health problems years down the road.

    Researchers from the Boston Medical Center measured the grip strength, walking speeds and cognitive function of more than 2,400 people with an average age of 62, and then tracked them for an average of 11 years.

    They found that the slowest-walking volunteers who were middle aged at the start of the study were 50 percent more likely to face dementia 11 years later than faster walkers.

    Slower walkers also had less overall brain volume -- another dementia warning sign -- and did worse on memory, language and decision-making tests, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

    That should be enough to make you want to pick up the pace as you walk -- and while you're at it, you might want to work on a firmer handshake, too: The study also found that people with a stronger grip at the age of 65 had a 42 percent lower risk of a stroke or mini stroke than those with weaker grips.

    That strong grip was also linked to larger brain volume and better performance on some cognitive tests.

    It's not the first study to link the telltale signs of frailty to poor health. One study from just a few months back found that people who walk the slowest have a much higher risk of an early death. Other studies have found that slower walkers are more likely to face heart attacks and other heart-related problems.

    It's not the walk or grip itself that's causing any of this, of course. These conditions are often the subtle early warning signs of physical or neurological problems -- and it might not always be obvious even to yourself when you've lost a step or two or let loose on your grip.

    But if you find yourself lagging behind your friends or you don't quite feel the power you used to, don't ignore it. Get yourself checked out now so you don't have to face these other problems later.

  3. Literacy can save your life

    It's about how they understand -- or fail to understand -- information about their own health, and researchers say those who suffer from "health illiteracy" are more likely suffer from actual health problems and are even at risk for an early death.

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