Friday, May 24, 2013

Avocado Unwrapped

The fruit that most people try to avoid because of its bad reputation, but truth behold—there are many hidden health benefits and nutritional value to the avocados which are listed below, that drive you to change your opinion on this green treat. 
Yes, Avocados do hold a large fat content. Depending on the size of the avocado, avocadoes are made up of about 200-300 calories each.  (Source: 3fatchicks)
Healthy fat—Avocados contain “oleic acid”, a monounsaturated fat that could help lower cholesterol. (Source: Pyroenergen)
In fact, noticeable health improvements were displayed after a study was performed on patients with high cholesterol. Each patient was restricted to a week-long avocado diet. As a result, each patient showed a decrease in their cholesterol count. Also, oleic acid has been found to help prevent breast cancer because of its ability to prevent the growth of cancerous cells. (Source:  greenparenthood)

Kurriosity tip: Don’t eat an entire avocado at once!

Avocados also ensure a good amount of Potassium. Potassium will balance your electrolytes directed to lead to healthier nerves and muscles. Potassium also helps regulate blood pressure and prevent circulatory disease.  
The antioxidants that are in avocado allow your immune system to become stronger. Antioxidants also can help slow down the aging process, as well as neutralize the free radicals that can cause poor eyesight.
If you are pregnant—the vitamin B6 inside the fruit can help get reduce morning sickness. Also, the high folate content allows expecting mothers to acquire the healthy amount they need healthy fetal development. (Source: 3fatchicks)
Avocados are good for the mouth! Avocados help prevent bad breath.
In conclusion, contrary to what you may have heard before—avocado consumption is in fact a great source of vitamins and can positively affect your bodies’ wants and needs!  

Type 2 Diabetes Progresses Faster in Kids

Type 2 diabetes is more aggressive in children than adults, with signs of serious complications seen just a few years after diagnosis, new research finds. 
"Based on the latest results, it seems like type 2 is progressing more rapidly in children," said Dr. Jane Chiang, senior vice president of medical affairs and community information for the American Diabetes Association. "Complications are appearing faster, and it appears to be at a more significant rate than we see in adults."
The results are alarming, Chiang and other experts said. "If these children continue to progress this rapidly, we could see many of the consequences of type 2 diabetes at a much younger age, like kidney disease and heart disease," she said.
The findings are from an ongoing study of treatment options for type 2 diabetes in children and teens.
Researchers are using data from the same study group to assess factors related to the disease in youth, such as complications.
People with type 2 diabetes have higher than normal blood sugar levels because their body doesn‘t make or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert food into energy. Being overweight is the most significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The number of U.S. children with type 2 disease -- usually seen in adults over 40 -- is sizable and growing, experts say.
The study included nearly 700 children with type 2 diabetes who were between 10 and 17 years old at the outset and had had the disease for eight months on average. Type 2 diabetes is rarely seen in children younger than 10, Chiang said. All the participants had a body-mass index (an estimate of body fat based on a ratio of weight to height) at or above the 85th percentile, which is considered overweight.
The children received diabetes education and were randomized to receive one of three treatments: the drug metformin, metformin plus intensive lifestyle changes or metformin plus rosiglitazone (brand name Avandia).
At the start of the study, about 12 percent of participants had high blood pressure (hypertension). Four years later, about 34 percent had high blood pressure, and the risk was highest for males and those who were heavier, according to the report, which was published online May 23 in a special issue of the journal Diabetes Care.
Initial signs of kidney disease, called microalbuminuria, almost tripled in four years -- from 6.3 percent of the children to almost 17 percent, the study found.
Other highlights:
  • Destruction of beta cells -- the cells that produce insulin -- in children and teens occurred at a rate almost four times higher than in adults.
  • Metformin and rosiglitazone improved insulin sensitivity for the first six months of treatment. There was no change in insulin sensitivity for the patients who took metformin and made lifestyle changes, and there was a decrease in insulin sensitivity for youth on metformin alone. In adults, metformin generally improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Children and teens with higher blood sugar levels had the poorest outcomes on oral medications, and needed to begin using insulin sooner.
  • Over three years, the percentage of youth who needed medication to lower their LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol) increased from 4.5 percent to 10.7 percent. Lifestyle interventions didn‘t appear to help lower LDL cholesterol, although they did help lower the levels of triglycerides, another type of blood fat.
  • Eye damage occurred at a rate similar to adults. About five years after diagnosis, 13.7 percent of the youths had nonproliferative retinopathy, a condition that blocks blood vessels in the eyes.
"The rapid progression of hypertension and kidney disease was surprising," said Dr. Jane Lynch, the lead author of the hypertension and kidney disease part of the study.
"We really felt like we were on top of these kids as far as treatments, and they still progressed," said Lynch, a professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Lynch said the hormones of puberty, which cause insulin resistance, are likely a main reason for this accelerated progression. Researchers don‘t know what will happen once the teens are out of puberty.
"We don‘t know what the progression rates will be," Lynch said. "But we do know that the ages for kidney transplants have been dropping."
Prevention of type 2 diabetes in children is essential, the experts said. "We need to focus on creating good habits rather than trying to reverse bad habits," Lynch said. "The time to start talking is during pregnancy, and it needs to continue in schools."
Chiang agreed that there needs to be a huge push toward educating people about the prevention of diabetes and obesity. "Not all people will be able to prevent diabetes, but there are steps we can take in the right direction, like teaching healthy eating and the importance of physical activity," she said.
More information
Learn more about preventing diabetes in children from the American Diabetes Association.
Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

U.S. Teen Birth Rate Plummets

Teen birth rates in the United States are dropping sharply, especially among Hispanic teens, according to a new government report.
Overall, the rate of birth among teens aged 15 to 19 dropped by nearly one half from 1991 to 2011 -- from about 62 births for every 1,000 teens to 31 births for every 1,000.
From 2007 to 2011, the most recent time period studied, rates fell 25 percent, from 41.5 to about 31.
During that time, rates fell at least 30 percent in seven states, and Arizona and Utah each saw a 35 percent drop, said Brady Hamilton, a statistician at the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and a co-author of the report, which was released Thursday.
All but two states -- North Dakota and West Virginia -- reported drops of at least 15 percent, the researchers found. They tracked live births, not pregnancies.
"It‘s good news," Hamilton said. "But it shows there is still much that needs to be examined and done."
When Hamilton‘s team looked at birth rates by ethnicity, the decline was steepest for Hispanics, with drops averaging 34 percent overall during the 2007 to 2011 period. In the past, Hispanic teens had a higher birth rate: In 2007, for instance, their rate was 21 percent higher than that of black teens. By 2011, the rate for Hispanic teens was just 4 percent higher.
In the most recent period studied, birth rates for black teens declined 24 percent, while white teens showed a 20 percent drop.
"There are still areas where teen births are high and that needs to be examined in greater detail," Hamilton said. State policymakers, for instance, could use the information to address changes to their education programs.
The largest declines typically were found in the Southeast, Mountain and Pacific states, as well as the upper Midwest.
The study did not get into the reasons for the decline. However, experts attribute the declines to strong teen-pregnancy-prevention messages, increased use of birth control with the first sexual experience and the use of dual contraceptive methods, such as condoms plus the pill.

The report is a reason to cheer but not to think the problem is solved, said one expert not involved in the study. The new finding "underscores the remarkable progress this nation has made," said Bill Albert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.
 As good as the progress is, Albert said, it‘s important to realize that "our rates are still higher than in other countries."

For instance, the teen birth rate in Japan is 4.9 per 1,000, according to United Nations data from 2009 to 2010. In the Netherlands, it‘s 5.3 -- about six times lower than in the United States.

Albert believes many factors explain the decline in teen birth rates. "These rates have been driven down by the magic combination of less sex and more contraception," Albert said. More teens are delaying sex, he said, persuaded by sex education or parents, and more are using birth control.

The peer effect plays a role, he said. When teens hear that their friends are delaying sex or using birth control, it influences them.

Then there is the "MTV effect." Programs that depict teen moms show the difficulties of pregnancy and parenthood, Albert said.

"They really do show the challenges of early pregnancy and parenthood," he said. His organization has commissioned surveys to ask teens what they think of these shows. "The overwhelming majority say these shows are sobering, not salacious," he said.

Efforts to reduce teen births must continue, Albert said, or rates will surely go up again.

More information
To take the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Quiz, go to the National Organization to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.