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Health Capsules: July 25

Grilled meats linked to high blood pressure

For most people – non-vegetarians, that is – grilling delicious burgers, hot dogs, chicken and other meats outside is synonymous with summer. But those at risk for high blood pressure may want to note a new study which links regular consumption of grilled meat to long-term blood pressure increases. 

The research, conducted by a team at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, looked at more than 100,000 participants in three different long-term studies who ate at least two servings of beef, poultry or fish each week. They analyzed detailed information provided by the participants about how they cooked their meats, including their frequency of outdoor grilling, and compared those cooking methods with the later development of high blood pressure. None of the participants had high blood pressure when they enrolled, but more than 37,000 of them developed the condition during an average follow-up period of 12-16 years.

The analysis found that, for the participants who regularly ate meat, the risk of developing high blood pressure was:

• 17 percent higher in those who grilled, broiled, or roasted beef, chicken or fish more than 15 times per month, compared with less than four times a month;

• 15 percent higher in those who preferred their meats well-done, compared with those who preferred rarer meats;

• 17 percent higher in those estimated to have consumed the highest levels of heterocyclic aromatic amines [HAAs] – chemicals formed when meat protein is charred or exposed to high temperatures – compared to those with the lowest HAA intake.

“The chemicals produced by cooking meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance in animal studies, and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure,” said Gang Liu, Ph.D., lead author of the study. 

Liu added, however, that this study identifies a trend but does not definitively prove cause and effect. “Our findings suggest that it may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure if you don’t eat these foods cooked well done and avoid the use of open-flame and/or high-temperature cooking methods, including grilling/barbequing and broiling,” he said.

The research was presented in March at the American Heart Association’s 2018 Epidemiology and Prevention – Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions.

Cosmetic procedures not just for women anymore

Botox treatments are up dramatically among men – as are other plastic and cosmetic procedures.

New statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that improving their appearance through plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures is becoming a much higher priority among U.S men. In fact, more than 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men in 2017 alone. The top five surgical cosmetic procedures for men, in order of popularity, were liposuction, blepharoplasty [cosmetic eyelid surgery], breast reduction, tummy tuck and facelift.

Among younger men, body contouring procedures have risen significantly in popularity, with procedures such as breast reduction [up by 30 percent over the past five years], liposuction [up 23 percent] and tummy tucks [up 12 percent] showing the biggest increases. By contrast, older men are showing a higher preference for minimally invasive procedures to help them look younger from the neck up – nearly 100,000 men had injections of facial fillers in 2017, up nearly 100 percent since 2000, with Botox quadrupling in popularity. 

“Some people call it the ‘executive edge’ because a lot of patients report that they want to look younger to continue to compete in the workplace,” said Dr. Jeffrey Janis, the society’s president. 

Other cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures which ranked in the top 10 among men included neck lifts, rhinoplasties [“nose jobs”], chin and pectoral implants, and hair transplants. 

Local hospitals receive Women’s Choice Awards

Two St. Charles County hospitals recently were named Women’s Choice Award winners for 2018 by WomenCertified Inc., a national advocate for female consumers. The organization recognized Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital along with SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake Saint Louis on its list of America’s Best Hospitals.

Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital was named among the nation’s best for overall Patient Experience, and both hospitals were recognized as Best Stroke Centers. The Women’s Choice Award identifies the nation’s leading healthcare institutions based on accreditations, clinical excellence, female patient satisfaction and what women say they want from a hospital experience.

On the calendar

The O’Fallon Fire Protection District offers a Community CPR class on Wednesday, Aug. 15 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Fire Station 3, 600 Laura Hill Road in O’Fallon. Registrants who successfully pass this class will be issued a Heartsaver CPR-AED card through the American Heart Association that is valid for two years. Attendance is free for district residents and $25 for non-residents. Children ages 12-17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. To sign up, complete and return the registration form available online at ofallonfire.org/forms; call (636) 272-3493 with questions.

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BJC offers free Know Your Numbers health screenings on Friday, Aug. 17 from 9-11 a.m. at the Middendorf-Kredell Branch Library, 2750 Hwy. K in O’Fallon, in Room A. These screening tests for adults will include lung function check and blood pressure checks, cholesterol lipid panel and glucose measurements, body composition analysis and body mass index [BMI]. Participants should fast for at least 10 hours prior to screening. Appointments must be made online at bjcstcharlescounty.org/Events.

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St. Louis Children’s Hospital sponsors a Staying Home Alone course on Wednesday, Aug. 22 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Spencer Road Branch Library, 427 Spencer Road in St. Peters. This class, designed for parents and children to attend together, will help determine a child’s readiness to stay home alone and help prepare them for this experience. The fee is $25 per family. Call (636) 344-5437 to register.

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