KRON 4 | Is Your Marriage Making You Fat?

In a study of 43 couples, researchers showed a connection between marital stress and poor food choices. Here’s why your marriage can affect your appetite and your eating patterns.

The Marital Study

Forty-three couples having various BMI’s (healthy weight, overweight, and very overweight) were selected to participate in this study.  These couples frequently had hostile exchanges which generally involved certain topics.

The couples agreed to participate for two days (each 9 1/2 hours long). They ate a meal together and tried to resolve one or more conflicts in their marriage. Hormones were tested at four different times of the day — once before the meal and three times after it — at 2, 4, and 7 hours after.

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What the Marital Arguments Produced

Researchers at the University of Delaware and Ohio State University College of Medicine observed a strong correlation in healthy weight and overweight subjects, but it was not seen in couples who were heavier (having a BMI of 30 or higher).

They found that hostile marital arguments caused a surge in ghrelin — the “I’m hungry” hormone only in the healthy weight and overweight couples. Known as the appetite increaser, ghrelin is primarily released in the stomach and signals your brain when it’s time to eat.

The appetite hormone, leptin, was also monitored, but levels did not rise. Leptin inhibits hunger, that is, it tells your brain you’ve had enough to eat.

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Couples crave ‘comfort food’ when they argue.

Food to Ease Discomfort  

As ghrelin levels rose, distressed partners (both husband and wife) sought food that was typically higher in fat, sugar and/or salt — typically poorer quality food, but what many might consider “comfort food”.

NOTE: Arguments or underlying hostility do not cause hunger or poor food choices, but there is a pretty significant link between the two. 

Typical Comfort Foods for Women   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Is Your Marriage Making You Fat?”

KRON 4 | Skin Cancer Kills — Don’t Let It Get You

One third of U.S. adults are getting sunburned each year which raises their risk of skin cancer. Getting just one sunburn every two years can triple your risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. I was diagnosed with skin cancer in August 2013. For my story, click here.

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Three Major Types of Skin Cancer

  • Melanoma (most aggressive and deadly) — Men are more likely to DIE of melanoma than women. 
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – Most common
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – 2nd most that

Researchers believe that men are more vulnerable to melanoma than women due to the differences in their skin. Men tend to have thicker skin with less fat beneath it and it contains more proteins (collagen and elastin). These are the fibers that give skin their youthful appearance as they provide firmness and keep it tight. Perhaps why some men seem to age more gracefully than women?

A man’s skin is more prone to melanoma than a woman’s skin.

But here’s the bad news… researchers are correlating these skin differences to being more likely to be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. A study conducted in the Netherlands found that men’s skin reacted more intensely to UV rays than did women’s skin. A separate study reached the same conclusion.

How My Cancer Saved My Husband’s Life

Cancer of the skin is the most common of all types of cancer. I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma five years ago (August 2013) and have not had any recurrences or new lesions. Here’s what happened to me: Why I’m Now a Statistic.

When I was diagnosed, it shocked my family because beginning in my mid-20’s, I became a sunscreen fanatic (a.k.a. the Sunscreen Police). After my diagnosis, I cunningly managed to get my husband to make an appointment for his first skin cancer screening. As a competitive swimmer in his youth and a ‘sunscreen resistor’, if I could have cancer, he was also at risk.

As a result, my husband was diagnosed with MELANOMA. Fortunately, because his cancer was caught early (Stage 0), the cells were only found in the outer layer of his skin. To put this in perspective, melanoma at Stage 3 has spread to the lymph nodes. Melanoma is an aggressive, fast-growing, deadly form of cancer. It can grow rapidly within WEEKS! You must be diligent and act fast.

What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)?

  • Basal cell carcinoma accounts for 8 out of 10 skin cancers and usually develops on areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, face and neck, but they can occur anywhere. 
  • It affects people of all ages.
  • Grows slowly and it’s very rare for basal cell carcinoma to spread to nearby lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body. 
  • It is malignant because BCC invades and causes significant destruction of surrounding tissues and bone as it goes deep beneath the skin and can be disfiguring.
  • Over 50% of the people diagnosed with one basal cell cancer will develop a new skin cancer within five years.

My Treatment

The Mohs technique was used to remove my cancer because it was on my nose and this surgery could retain as much healthy tissue as possible. Mohs is appropriate where there are limited underlying layers of skin tissue. It is the best treatment for therapeutic and cosmetic results. Here’s more on my Mohs surgery. On the other hand, my husband’s melanoma (which was on his arm and visually quite small) was surgically removed with a very wide excision.

Skin Cancer Prevention 

Don’t brush off any changes on your skin as “nothing”. Protect yourself and your children.

1. Limit ultraviolet (UV) exposure. Whether you’re 8 or 80, have fair or dark skin, you need sunscreen if you’ll be out in the sun for LONGER THAN A FEW MINUTES. UVA rays age cells and can damage cells’ DNA. UVB rays can directly damage DNA and are a more potent cause of sunburns and skin cancer. To protect yourself, follow the “Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap” catch phrase.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Skin Cancer Kills — Don’t Let It Get You”

KRON 4 | Smell Test to Detect Brain Disease

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A simple smell test could provide a quick and inexpensive way to identify those at high risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez on “KRON 4 Morning News Weekend” is a willing test subject for the Alzheimer’s peanut butter test.

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Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s disease or a related form or dementia, but only 1 in 4 people with the disease is diagnosed.

Smell Test Protocol

Testing for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can be time-consuming, costly and invasive. In contrast, this University of Florida study used a simple peanut butter test:

  1. Patient: Closed his/her eyes and mouth. Then blocked one nostril.
  2. Clinician: Opened the peanut butter container (one tablespoon).
  3. Clinician: Held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally.
  4. Clinician: Moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor.
  5. Clinician: Recorded the distance.
  6. After 90 seconds, the procedure was repeated on the other nostril.

Left-Right Asymmetry

  • peanut butter_dollarphotoclub_40526513_600x400The study revealed dramatic differences between the left and right nostril in patients with early stage Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In patients with other kinds of dementia, there were either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.
  • When smelling the peanut butter, the left nostril in the Alzheimer’s patients could not detect the smell of the peanut butter until it was an average of 10 centimeters (about 4 inches) closer to the nose than the right nostril had detected the smell. *A normally functioning olfactory nerve can detect odors at about 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) from the test agent.

*  See your physician if you lose your sense of smell. *

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Validated Five-Item Test for Dementia

orange-03_croppedIn University of Chicago Medical Center study, nearly 3,000 adults, aged 57 to 85, had to identify five odors (peppermint, fish, orange, rose, and leather). During a five-year follow-up, those that could not identify at least four out of the five odors were found to be more than twice as likely to develop dementia.

 * The smell test marks someone who needs closer monitoring and further testing. *

Scratch-and-Sniff Test for Parkinson’s Disease

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KRON 4 | Payoffs from Losing Just Five Pounds

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If you resolved to lose weight at the beginning of the year, but haven’t reached your goal, here’s some good news. You really don’t have to lose that much weight to reap huge health benefits.

How Losing Just Five Pounds Boosts Your Health

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Lower Blood Pressure

  • The American Heart Association says if you are overweight, losing as little as five pounds may help lower blood pressure.
  • Lowering blood pressure reduces risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and kidney failure.
  • The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says for every 20 pounds you lose, you can drop systolic pressure 5-20 points. That is, drop a pound, drop a point.

Improve Urinary Incontinence (UI)

Simbolo toilette, bagno uomo e donnaLosing weight reduces risk factors for many medical conditions, especially heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Now, there’s a new benefit that can be added to the long list of health benefits: reduced urinary incontinence (involuntary urination). About 25 million Americans have urinary incontinence and about 25% are men. About half of U.S. women over age 65 leak.

Causes and Cures for UI

  • Gravity, aging tissue, and hormonal changes all contribute to urinary incontinence.
  • Increased pressure on the bladder during pregnancy and as well a weakened or stretched pelvic floor from childbirth can cause incontinence.
  • Losing five pounds can reduce the stress on the pelvic floor and reduce incontinence significantly.
  • A UCSF study of over 338 women (average age of 53), those who lost an average of just three pounds reported 28% fewer urinary incontinence episodes. Those that lost 17 pounds had 47% fewer episodes. These outcomes improved quality of life measures. The study strongly suggests weight loss decreases incontinence episodes, and a reduction of intra-abdominal pressure (due to central obesity, i.e., belly fat) on the bladder and pelvic floor is possibly why.

Weight loss is an effective, nonsurgical, and noninvasive treatment and should be considered a first line therapy for incontinence. Incontinence drugs have side effects (e.g., dry mouth, dry skin, dry eyes, constipation, upset stomach), and it has been reported that 50% of women discontinue drug treatment within one year because of the side effects.

Improve and Prevent Arthritis Symptoms

  • Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
  • When you carry extra pounds it puts huge pressure on your joints and puts you at risk of osteoarthritis (degenerative “wear and tear arthritis”).
  • In knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, the protective space between the bones decreases. The deterioration of the “shock absorber” can result in bone rubbing on bone, pain, stiffness, loss of movement in the affected joint, and painful bone spurs.
  • Wake Forest University conducted an 18-month diet and exercise study on sedentary, overweight, older adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. They concluded that for each pound of weight lost, each knee bears four pounds less pressure per step.

Amount of Knee Pressure When Walking

Senior woman power walking on a Gulf Coast beach.

  • If you lose five pounds, you reduce 20 pounds of pressure bearing down on each knee which can lessen pain.
  • When walking one mile (assuming 2,000 strides per mile), a five-pound loss in weight would be a reduction of more than 40,000 pounds of accumulated pressure on each knee.
  • Walking on an incline, walking up/down stairs, squatting, and jogging significantly reduce pressure on each knee even more.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Aim for losing a little weight versus a lot. It’s less daunting and the scientific evidence is clear. You’ll receive the health payoffs long before you drop large amounts of weight.

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KRON 4 | Why Heart Attacks are the #1 Killer of Women

VIDEO: Did you know that winter is prime heart attack season and heart attacks are the No. 1 killer of women? February is American Heart Month and marks the time to raise awareness about heart disease and how you can prevent it. Over 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year — that’s one in every four deaths. Weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez on “KRON 4 Morning News Weekend” and I cover a topic that EVERY woman needs to know. Please pass it on to your beloved females.

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  • Stay warm if you’re an older adult. Wear layers. The elderly are especially at risk because they have less body fat and a diminished ability to sense temperature. Wind, rain, and snow also steal body heat.
  • Be wary of snow shoveling especially if you’re not a regular exerciser, have heart disease, or have a chronic medical condition. Snow can be HEAVY. Shoveling is a vigorous activity and can put strain on your heart.
  • Woman wearing scarfCover your mouth and nose. Wearing a scarf allows the air to naturally get warmed before it enters your body, and thus, won’t be such a shock to your heart and lungs. (This is especially critical for the elderly, people with heart disease risk factors or have a cardiac history.)
  • Drink water — not alcohol. Water is an insulator and retains body heat.
  • Flu can cause inflammation of vital organs and result in multiple organ failure.
    • Inflammation may cause the plaque inside blood vessels to crack, rupture, and dislodge which could result in a blockage within an artery.
    • When you have the flu, the heart may need to work harder to pump blood through the lungs (which are inflamed from the infection), thus increasing the stress place on the heart.
    • Myocarditis, the inflammation and destruction of the heart muscle tissue, can be caused by the flu and lead to rapid heart failure.

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  • Circulation study showed that 43% of women do NOT experience acute chest pain at all during a heart attack which is a hallmark sign in men.

Major Symptoms in Women During a Heart Attack   

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