Discover more from Dignity Integrative Newsletter
Why our system is failing | #15
Plus: Latest Research on Diabetes, Heart Health, and Mental Well-being
This month, our health coach, Teresa Rosa, updated her definitive article on meal-prepping and the importance of planning ahead. Definitely worth a read if you are wondering how to put this into practice!
I also published a long look at why I think the American healthcare system is falling. As I noted in the introduction:
In America today you have a higher risk of dying, lower life expectancy and yet spend more per person per year than any other country. We have failed each other and, sadly, this failure has been going on for quite some time, in some cases decades. The data is clear: the American healthcare system is failing.
America ranks poorly on a few major statistics, relative to other developed nations:
Life Expectancy – Bottom 50% (meaning worse)
Infant Mortality – Bottom 35%
Maternal Mortality – Bottom 33%
Obesity – #1
Healthcare cost per person per year - #1
What explains this? Read my post to understand better what is going on, and how we can start to turn things around.
And now, on to this month’s recommendations:
#1: Afternoon Exercise Could Halve Medication Usage for Diabetics
What time of day you move may have an impact on overall blood sugar control. In this 4-year look at 2400 participants, researchers found patients who exercise in the afternoon to be twice as likely to have stopped using diabetic medications.
Unfortunately, over 4 years their hemoglobin A1C was not significantly different. Moderate to intensive activity in the late afternoon is usually frowned upon due to its impact on sleep—but this study shows it may have a substantial effect on those with diabetes.
#2: Elderly Cognitive Function Boosted by Regular Treadmill Exercise
This is an elegant study looking at how exercise can impact older people with mild cognitive impairment. The participants underwent treadmill exercising 4 times a week for 12 weeks and then compared communication within the brain using functional MRI as well as recall of details on neurocognitive assessment.
The results showed significant improvement in multiple measures. More evidence that exercise improved cardiovascular as well as brain health.
#3: Poor Diet to Blame for 70% of Global Type 2 Diabetes Cases
Over 40 years the worldwide incidence of diabetes has increased from 100 to 500 million people. What percentage of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is due to poor diet? Around 70% according to this study conducted by the United Nations.
The largest T2D burdens were attributable to insufficient whole-grain intake (26.1% (25.0–27.1%)), excess refined rice and wheat intake (24.6% (22.3–27.2%)), and excess processed meat intake (20.3% (18.3–23.5%)).
"Our study suggests poor carbohydrate quality is a leading driver of diet-attributable type 2 diabetes globally, and with important variation by nation and over time," said Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, the trend is only predicted to continue as more of our ‘Western diet’ gets incorporated into much of the world.
#4: Coronary Artery Calcium Score: A Significant Predictor for Heart Disease Risk
Coronary artery calcium score added to a risk stratification strategy more accurately predicts long-term risk for heart disease.
Coronary artery calcium scores are becoming more important as a risk factor prediction tool. In this study of 3400 participants aged 45-79 adding a coronary calcium score moved a significant number of people into a ‘high risk’ group that would need more intensive therapy to prevent heart attacks and other complications of heart disease.
It is one of the reasons many of my patients over 50 have one as a baseline for risk assessment.
#5: Iron Deficiency Increases Risk of Mental Health Disorders, Highlights Need for Enhanced Screening
Low iron levels increase the risk of depression and mental health disorders, according to new research published in Neuroscience News.
Iron, a critical nutrient for bodily function, is also essential for mental health; deficiencies can exacerbate symptoms of mental health conditions.
Ferritin tests, assessing the body’s iron storage, are recommended for individuals with mental health conditions, providing more accurate insight than standard iron or hemoglobin tests.
Supplementation of iron has shown improvements in mood and fatigue, even in those without full-blown iron-deficiency anemia, suggesting its potential as part of an integrated mental health treatment plan. It is one of the reasons I check a ferritin level as part of the standard labs for our practice.