|LOWER CHOLESTEROL FOR LIFE It's never too late to benefit from lowered cholesterol.|
A new report from the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) says reducing cholesterol-even later in life-can prolong life and dramatically reduce heart attack risk and strokes. The co-author of the report, Dr. James Cleeman, says healthy cholesterol levels contribute to quality of life.
Most first events of heart disease, such as heart attacks and angina, occur after age 65. To control cholesterol levels, the NCEP recommends eating a diet low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol; being physically active; and maintaining a healthy weight. It also recommends total cholesterol testing for adults at least once every five years.
The NCEP is coordinated by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. The report appeared in the Aug. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
SELENIUM IS KEY TO LIVER HEALTH Selenium is especially important to people with hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Low blood levels of selenium may be linked to an increased risk for liver cancer in these groups.
A Taiwan-based study, published in the Aug. 15 issue of American Journal of Epidemiology, reports the association was the most striking among cigarette smokers and subjects who had low plasma levels of key antioxidants like retinol and various carotenoids.
Researchers examined the blood selenium levels of more than 7,000 men chronically affected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or both during 1988 to 1992.
Previous studies indicate that selenium boosts immune system function and helps inhibit cancerous cell changes in liver cells exposed to known carcinogens.
AMERICANS NEED TO BOOST THEIR VITAMIN E INTAKE Americans are putting themselves at an increased risk for heart disease and cancer, the result of low blood levels of vitamin E.
Nearly 30 percent of U.S. adults have low blood levels of this nutrient, especially African-Americans, according to findings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. After adjusting for age, researchers found that 29 percent of men, 28 percent of women, 26 percent of whites, 41 percent of African-Americans, 28 percent of Mexican-Americans, and 32 percent of other participants had low vitamin E blood levels. The authors note the lowest vitamin E concentrations for African-Americans is significant because of the relatively high mortality from heart disease and cancer they experience.
The study's authors report that a vitamin E deficiency raises the risk for many chronic diseases. Among them, subjects' blood cholesterol levels tended to rise coinciding with falling vitamin E levels.
The authors examined data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, a periodic federal government poll focusing on the health of thousands of Americans. It appeared in the August issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.