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A recent study found most adults gain weight on vacation and fail to take it off when they return home.  Increased caloric intake from alcohol was found to be one of the main contributing factors.

A recent study found most adults gain weight on vacation and fail to take it off when they return home. Increased caloric intake from alcohol was found to be one of the main contributing factors.

Vacation weight gain

Gaining a little weight on vacation can add up to a lot of extra weight over time, results of a small study suggest.

At the University of Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, faculty member Jamie Cooper did a study involving about 120 adults [average age 32] who went on vacations lasting from one to three weeks. Comparing participants’ weight prior to their trips to their weight one week and again six weeks post-travel, she found that more than 60 percent gained weight while away, with the average weight gain amounting to slightly less than a pound.

“If you’re only gaining a pound or two a year and you gained three-quarters of that on a one- to three-week vacation, that’s a pretty substantial weight gain during a short period of time,” Cooper said. “One of the challenges people face is unless you’re diligent about weighing yourself before and after vacation, usually you’re not going to notice a pound of weight gain. People don’t realize it’s happening, and that’s why they don’t lose weight after a vacation.”

Cooper found that while on vacation, participants tended to increase their activity levels but on average, they doubled their normal consumption of calories from alcoholic beverages.

‘Mind Your Risks’

A new campaign from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is aiming to raise awareness of the potential role of high blood pressure in the development of dementia.

The NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) has launched “Mind Your Risks,” a public education campaign about how controlling risk factors for stroke in middle age – especially high blood pressure – may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in later life.

According to the campaign website, while many people with hypertension are aware of their increased risk for stroke and heart attack, they are not motivated to get their blood pressure under control. A goal of the campaign is to inform people that new studies have linked high blood pressure at ages 45-65 to increased risk of dementia, too, meaning that uncontrolled high blood pressure is even riskier than previously believed.

To learn what steps can be taken to manage the risks of stroke, heart disease and likely dementia later in life, visit www.mindyourrisks.nih.gov.

Women and heart attacks

The American Heart Association has issued its first scientific statement on heart attacks in women, emphasizing that compared to men, women frequently have different underlying causes of heart attacks and perhaps different symptoms.

According to the statement, blockages in the main arteries can cause heart attacks in both sexes, but the way blockages form a clot can differ, with women sometimes having less severe blockages that do not require stents but still can lead to a heart attack.

Additionally, high blood pressure and diabetes – both risk factors for heart attack – increase the risk of heart attack more severely in women than in men.

For everyone, chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack, but women are more likely than men to have symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. For more information about women and heart disease, visit the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women website, www.goredforwomen.org.

A large-scale study has linked eating more fiber in high school and young adulthood with reduced breast cancer risk.

A large-scale study has linked eating more fiber in high school and young adulthood with reduced breast cancer risk.

Early breast cancer prevention

Eating more fiber during high school and young adulthood might reduce the risk of breast cancer, a recent study suggests.

Using data on more than 40,000 women enrolled in the ongoing Nurses Health Study II, researchers observed a significant decrease in the incidence of breast cancer among those who reported eating about 28 grams of fiber daily during high school, compared to those who ate, on average, less than 15 grams of fiber per day.

Study authors said a diet high in fiber might reduce breast cancer risk by decreasing estrogen levels in the blood.

The study, “Dietary Fiber Intake in Young Adults and Breast Cancer Risk,” was published in the March issue of Pediatrics, an American Academy of Pediatrics journal.

Prediabetes awareness

More than one in three Americans have prediabetes – a condition characterized by higher than normal blood glucose levels that often leads to type 2 diabetes – but nearly 90 percent of them do not even know they have it, according to the American Medical Association [AMA].

To raise awareness and help those with prediabetes learn how to prevent type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association, AMA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] have launched an advertising campaign.

The advertisements encourage people to learn their prediabetes risk by taking a short test online at www.DoIHavePrediabetes.org, the ad campaign website.

“Knowing that you have prediabetes is just the first step in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes,” said Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., AMA president-elect. “As soon as someone discovers they may be at risk of prediabetes, they should talk with their physician about further testing to confirm their diagnosis and discuss the necessary lifestyle changes needed to help prevent type 2 diabetes.”

Type 2 diabetes can cause heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and the need for lower extremity amputations. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

Cranberry cure?

Each year, millions of Americans [mostly women] experience urinary tract infections [UTIs], and many aim to treat their symptoms by drinking cranberry juice.

According to Timothy Boone, M.D., a urologist at Texas A&M Health Science Center, the “cranberry cure” – for the most part – is an old wives’ tale.

“Cranberry juice, especially the juice concentrates you find at the grocery store, will not treat a UTI or bladder infection,” Boone said. “It can offer more hydration and possibly wash bacteria from your body more effectively, but the active ingredient in cranberry is long gone by the time it reaches your bladder.”

That “active ingredient” can block bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall and causing a UTI; however, it is not present in cranberry juice – only in cranberry capsules.

Increased urge to urinate, pain with urination, pelvic pain or blood in urine all are symptoms of a UTI, which usually requires treatment with an antibiotic.

On the calendar 

WomenHeart of St. Charles County, a support group devoted to advancing women’s heart health through advocacy, community education and patient support, meets from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 and on the second Thursday of each month at the Barnes-Jewish Cardiology Center (Hospital Entrance B), 10 Hospital Drive in St. Peters. A meet-and-greet precedes the meeting at 6 p.m. For more information, call 916-9398, or visit www.womenheart.org.

• • •

“Matter of Balance” is from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesdays from March 15-May 3 at the Spencer Road Library, 427 Spencer Road in St. Peters. OASIS community health facilitators present the eight-session, discussion-based program in which participants learn factors that can lead to a fall and practical tips to remain on their feet. Improved flexibility and range of motion with stretches and light movements are introduced in the third class. Participants receive a book, and light refreshments are provided. The fee is $10 per participant. Registration is required. Call 928-9355, or visit www.bjcstcharlescounty.org.

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