Archive for January 2013

Unhealthy lifestyles increases liver disease damage- CMO

High levels of drinking and obesity mean England is one of the few places in Europe seeing a major preventable disease getting worse warns the Chief Medical oOficer.Unhealthy lifestyles increases liver disease damage- CMOProf Dame Sally Davies highlighted the rise in liver-disease deaths in the under-65s – up 20% in a decade – in her annual report.

In comparison, most of the rest of Europe has seen rates fall.

She said urgent action was needed to discourage harmful lifestyles.

She said three of the major causes of liver disease – obesity, alcohol abuse and undiagnosed hepatitis infection – were all preventable.

But despite that, premature deaths from liver disease in the under-65s had jumped by a fifth since 2000 to 10 per 100,000 people.

Her study – the first volume of a Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer – focused on a whole host of diseases from cancer to dementia.

But Dame Sally said it was the liver disease figures that most shocked her the most – and showed there needed to be investment in prevention, early diagnosis and effective treatment.

“I was struck by the data on liver disease particularly,” she said.

“This is the only major cause of preventative death that is on the increase in England that is generally falling in other comparable European nations.  We must act to change this.”

The report comes after the government said earlier this year it would look to introduce a minimum price for alcohol. A consultation is expected to start soon.

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Importance of drinking during exercise

The importance of drinking during moderate as well as strenuous exercise is well known.

For everyday life and light to moderate exercise, regular consumption of water is absolutely essential.

When you exercise heavily or for a prolonged period of time, replacing what your body loses through sweat is important, as well as providing sufficient energy to allow you to continue to perform.

However, Lucozade Sport provides a source of fluid but importantly contains both carbohydrate and sodium.

The carbohydrate, along with the sodium, helps your body absorb fluid more effectively.

The carbohydrate is also a source of energy during this exercise.

Lucozade Sport, as a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink, therefore can help maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, as well as endurance exercise performance, relative to water alone.

What’s the difference between Lucozade Energy and Lucozade Sport?

Lucozade Energy is a carbonated drink and is therefore not designed for use in sport and exercise.

Lucozade Sport is a still isotonic sports drink, however it has been specially formulated to help keep you hydrated during exercise and also supply carbohydrate energy to working muscles. This helps to maximise sporting performance and endurance.

It’s important to remember Lucozade Sport is formulated to be consumed by adults who train or take part in sport.

Carbohydrates including sugars are an essential part of the drink. This is because they are designed to promote a readily available source of energy for exercising muscles.

Lucozade Sport is a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and is not the same as other carbonated soft drinks.

There is typically much less sugar in Lucozade Sport than in many soft drinks and fruit juices. You need energy and hydration during exercise and Lucozade Sport helps provide these.

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Just one daily fizzy drink linked to higher prostate cancer risk

Drinking just one fizzy drink a day could increase a man’s chance of developing prostate cancer by around 40 per cent, research suggests.Just one daily fizzy drink linked to higher prostate cancer riskMen who consumed 300ml of a sugary soft drink a day appeared to raise their odds of succumbing to faster growing forms of the disease, according to a 15 year study.

The sugar in the drinks is believed to release insulin, which feeds tumours.

The study, carried out by Swedish scientists and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tracked the health of more than 8,000 men aged 45 to 73 for an average of 15 years.

All were in good health when the study began, and were asked about what they liked to eat and drink.

Those who drank more sugary drinks were more likely to have been diagnosed with prostate cancer by the end of the study.

Isabel Drake, a researcher at Lund University, said: “Among the men who drank a lot of soft drinks, we saw an increased risk of prostate cancer of around 40 per cent.”

Large amounts of rice, pasta, cakes, biscuits and sugary breakfast cereals were also linked with a less serious form of the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and about 36,000 are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year. It accounts for a quarter of all newly diagnosed cases of cancer in men but most cases develop in those aged 70 or older.

The scientists who carried out the study said that while genetics were more important in determining the likelihood of developing prostate cancer than was the case with many other cancers, diet did seem to be important.

More research was needed to confirm the link with fizzy drinks but there were already “plenty of reasons” to cut back on them, they said.

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Eating grapefruits can trigger drug overdoses in dozens of medicines researchers warn

Millions of people taking medicines for high cholesterol, cancer and to prevent heart attacks are at risk of potentially life threatening side effects if they eat grapefruits, doctors have warned.Eating grapefruits can trigger drug overdoses in dozens of medicines researchers warnA study has listed 43 major drugs which are affected by eating grapefruits or drinking the juice and experts have warned there needs to be more awareness of the risks.

The number of drugs that interact with grapefruit increased from 17 in 2000 to 43 in 2008, researchers in Canada found.

Eating one grapefruit a day or drinking 200ml of juice was enough to trigger significant side effects in some of the patients.

Elderly patients were at particular risk because they are more likely to eat grapefruit and be on the medicines that interact with it, while their bodies are less able to cope with the effects of an overdose, the researchers said.

Grapefruits and some other citrus fruits, contain specific chemicals that affects an enzyme in the gut which can lead to a greater proportion of the drug being absorbed into the body.

This can result in massive overdoses causing serious side effects ranging from hallucinations, low blood pressure, to kidney poisoning, muscle damage, high heart rate and breathing problems.

The findings were published Grapefruit-medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences? in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Some people have died following the interaction and experts said doctors and pharmacists needed to be more aware of the problem.

The study, conducted by Dr David Bailey, of the Lawson Health Research Institute, in London, Ontario, listed several examples of interactions including one patient who suffered a potentially life threatening increase in heart rate while on the heart disease drug aimodarone and drinking between one and 1.5 litres of grapefruit juice a day.

Another one atorvastatin for high cholesterol suffered serious muscle damage after drinking freshly squeezed grapefruit juice daily for five days and one who developed a blood clot while on Ethinylestradiol, a form of hormone replacement therapy for menopause symptoms who had eaten a whole grapefruit at breakfast for three days.

Popular drugs affected in this way include simvastatin, taken for high cholesterol, clopidogrel to thin the blood, Tyverb for breast cancer, domperidone for sickness and powerful painkillers Fentanyl, Oxycodone and Ketamine.

One drug, dextromethorphan, is an anti-cough preparation used in over-the-counter products and other drugs that interact with grapefruit are some antibiotics, some anti-HIV drugs, quinine that is in tonic water and has been used against malaria, heart rhythm medicines, and anti-rejection drugs used following organ transplants.

For some drugs drinking 200ml of juice daily was enough to deliver three to six times the normal dose.

Dr Bailey said: “Many of the drugs that interact with grapefruit are highly prescribed and are essential for the treatment of important or common medical conditions.

“Unless health care professionals are aware of the possibility that the adverse event they are seeing might have an origin in the recent addition of grapefruit to the patient’s diet, it is very unlikely that they will investigate it.

“In addition, the patient may not volunteer this information. Thus, we contend that there remains a lack of knowledge about this interaction in the general healthcare community.”

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Britain’s bad summer will see epidemic of vitamin D deficiency

Britain faces an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency which can cause rickets and is linked to cancer and other diseases because of the poor summer, a leading expert has warned.Britain's bad summer will see epidemic of vitamin D deficiencyProf Norman Ratcliffe, from Swansea University, said the dull summer will lead to high levels of deficiency in the sunshine vitamin.

Other experts said vitamin D deficiency was a ‘major public health concern’ and Britain was heading back to the 1920s when large numbers of children suffered bone pain and bowed legs from the effects of rickets.

The combination of a 21st Century childhood of not playing outside, being driven to school and constantly wearing high factor sunscreen will be compounded by the poor weather this summer, they said.

Most doctors have yet to ‘wake-up’ to the problem, it was argued.

Prof Ratcliffe said that because 2012 was one of the dullest summers on record, vitamin D stores have not been replenished in time for winter, when light levels in most of the UK are insufficient to make vitamin D.

Figures from the Met Office show that hours of sunshine in the summer of 2012 were 18 per cent lower than the average over the last 30 years and lower than at least any of the last ten summers.

Prof Ratcliffe said parts of northern England recorded sunshine hours in summer similar to late winter.

He said: “Unfortunately, the dull summer of 2012 will probably result in a record number of people with vitamin D deficiency.

“The situation in 2012 is probably much more serious than normal with the dull summer leading to even more people with vitamin D deficiency.

“This deficiency may be present almost continuously throughout 2012, commencing during the summer months rather than, as in previous years, in the winter and spring.

“Thus, vitamin D inadequacy may stretch over much of the period from June 2012 until the spring/summer of 2013.

“The effects of low vitamin D levels in the body are very serious as adequate levels may be necessary to prevent common cancers, heart and autoimmune diseases, rickets, osteomalacia (bone pain and muscle weakness), diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and depression.”

He said widespread fortification of foods with vitamin D and use of supplements was the only way to combat the problem, however pregnant women are not routinely informed that they should be taking vitamin D and vitamins for children under the Healthy Start programme are not promoted, Prof Clarke said.

Pregnant women, children under five, over 65s and people with dark skin are particularly vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency.

The vitamin is present in some foods but most is made by the body when exposed to sunlight and stored.

Prof Clarke said Kellogg’s have now added vitamin D to cornflakes and some other food manufacturers are beginning to talk about it.

Earlier this year Prof Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, highlighted the problem and said up to one in four people have low levels of vitamin D.

She said: “A significant proportion of people in the UK probably have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood.

“People at risk of vitamin D deficiency, including pregnant women and children under five, are already advised to take daily supplements.

“Our experts are clear – low levels of vitamin D can increase the risk of poor bone health, including rickets in young children.”

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