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Oakland Spine News

Dr. Brad’s Weekly Health Update: Air pollution & high blood pressure, new opioids risks & more

A diet rich in healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts, isn’t likely to cause weight gain

A diet rich in healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts, isn’t likely to cause weight gain.

A recent study tracked more than 7,400 adults who followed one of three meal plans: an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil; an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet rich in nuts; or a low-fat diet intended to avoid all dietary fat. After five years, researchers found that a low-fat diet did not result in more weight loss, but instead resulted in a greater likelihood of increased waist circumference, which is a risk factor for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Researchers stated that dietary guidelines should be revised to remove arbitrary limits on fat consumption and drop warnings about healthy, high-fat foods like nuts, phenolic-rich vegetable oils, and yogurt. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, June 2016

Air pollution can cause high blood pressure.

A review of 17 studies from around the world has found a link between dangerous blood pressure and air pollutants, such as vehicle exhaust, coal burning fumes, and airborne dirt or dust. The review suggests that just a few days of increased air pollution can lead to more emergency hospital visits due to temporary spikes in blood pressure. Similarly, those living with constant high levels of air pollution over long periods of time may end up with chronically high blood pressure – a key risk factor for stroke and heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide. Hypertension, May 2016

Consuming more than five sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages on a weekly basis may increase the risk for a heart attack.

Researchers measured the coronary artery calcium levels of over 22,000 men and found those who consumed more than five sugary soft drinks per week were 70% more likely to have plaque build-up in their arteries, which is an early indicator for coronary heart disease. American Heart Journal, July 2016

Workaholics may be more prone to mental health issues than individuals with a greater work-life balance.

Researchers surveyed nearly 16,500 working adults and found that 8% qualified as workaholics. Of those, one-third appeared to have ADHD, compared with 13% among the non-workaholics. Additionally, 26% showed signs of obsessive compulsive disorder versus 9% of those with better work-life balance. The study also found that about three times as many workaholics were deemed to have anxiety and/or depression. Lead author Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen adds, “Taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychiatric issues.” PLOS ONE, May 2016

Opioid painkillers raise deadly heart risks.

The dangers of overdose among patients prescribed opioid painkillers are well established. Now, a new study has found unexpected heart risks associated with opioid use. The study analyzed 23,000 patients who had been prescribed a long-acting opioid medication and found that patients who were prescribed an opioid had a 64% greater risk of early death when compared with patients who were given an alternative pain medication. The study notes that the increased risk may be due to the onset of breathing difficulties during sleep followed by heart rhythm irregularities and other cardiovascular complications. Researchers concur with the Centers for Disease Control that opioids should be used only as a last resort. Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2016

Our mission is to help our patients to live longer, healthier, happier, pain-free lives.

Yours in health,

Dr. Brad Butler, DC