Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Risk of Heart Failure Rises with Prediabetes

Prediabetes is associated with cardiovascular disease, kidney problems and, of course, diabetes. Prediabetes is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. And diabetes is highly associated with heart failure (HF). In fact, one report indicated that the risk of heart failure in persons with diabetes is about double the risk compared to those with normoglycaemia. However, there remains doubt as to whether prediabetes raises the risk of heart failure. So, one study was done to determine if there is a relationship between prediabetes and HF, such that those with prediabetes are at a higher risk of HF.

The study was a meta-analysis consisting of 15 studies. The studies included 9,827,430 individuals. The researchers used definitions of prediabetes established by  the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Expert Committee (IEC). For their definitions, the organizations used glucose-measurement ranges for impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and elevated HbA1c.

The researchers determined that when an individual had prediabetes as defined by the above mentioned organizations, there was an increased risk of heart failure when compared with normoglycaemia. The researchers concluded that “Prediabetes is associated with an increased risk of HF. Future studies are needed to evaluate effective treatments for prediabetes to prevent the development and progression of HF.” And since the National Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Change Program (National DPP LCP) can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes, it may be prudent to determine if the program can delay or prevent HF.

A follow-on study based on the original Diabetes Prevention Program study has shown that participation in the study did lower blood pressure. Perhaps, collecting blood pressure measurements and other cardiovascular data in DPP clinical settings could lead to a tweaking of the DPP program that could cause a delay or prevent HF in program participants.


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Friday, September 24, 2021

Flaxseed, C-Reactive Protein and Central Obesity

"Flaxseeds are a good source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids." And flaxseed may be beneficial in other ways. One study has shown that flaxseed consumption may aid in reducing the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. And another study has shown that flaxseed consumption may also aid in the reduction of central obesity.

According to one of the studies mentioned above, CRP is related to inflammation or swelling of the arteries. And this swelling is associated with cardiovascular problems. In the study, which was a Harvard  women's study consisting of 18,000 subjects, researchers noticed that CRP appeared to be more indicative of cardiovascular risk than cholesterol levels. In fact, a high CRP level could increase the risk of cardiovascular problems by a factor of three.

And flaxseed, which contains a large amount of dietary fiber, has been shown to lower the levels of CRP in the blood. In one study, consisting of 27 men who had cardiovascular risk factors, there was a decrease in CRP after the men were given flaxseed. The researchers indicated that "a decrease in inflammatory markers (CRP and TNF-alpha) was observed after flaxseed intake." The researchers suggested "that flaxseed added to a weight loss diet could be an important nutritional strategy to reduce inflammation markers..."

Furthermore, flaxseed added to a diet may reduce central obesity. In a 12 week flaxseed study, 60 overweight and obese women were randomized into two groups. Both groups were put on a balanced diet. However, the control group consumed 30 g/day of milled rice, while the treatment group consumed 30 g/day of milled flaxseed. At the end of the 12 week intervention, the researchers found that "there was [a] significantly higher reduction rate in waist circumference (WC) and waist to hip ratio (WHR) ... in the flaxseed consuming group compared to the control group."

Healthcare providers often look for ways to enable a person to improve his or her health through diet. Using flaxseed as part of a healthy diet may be a way to do that. Therefore, the use of flaxseed may be something healthcare providers might want to consider.
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