Aspirin Helps to Prevent Women's First Stroke
Physicians have long known that taking
aspirin helps to prevent a second stroke. But most studies were done
predominantly on men. Women metabolize aspirin differently.
A new 10-year study of 40,000 women
shows that, for them, aspirin statistically prevented many first
strokes. Those taking a placebo suffered 17 percent more TIAs (transient
ischemic attacks), which are warning sign of an impending stroke, and
they suffered 22 percent more strokes.
Study authors reporting in The New England Journal of
Medicine say the finding is significant, especially since a greater
proportion of women than men have strokes.
Participants in the study took 100 mg of aspirin every
other day, alternating with vitamin E.
Unfortunately, the study failed to
show that taking aspirin resulted in fewer heart attacks for women.
Study participants filled out an
annual questionnaire that enabled researchers to further investigate
those who reported a heart attack or stroke and those who died from
Any man or woman
considering aspirin therapy should consult a doctor before beginning.
The doctor must consider the risk of GI bleeding. The risk of
hemorrhagic stroke in hypertensive men and women is also considered.
Doctors say that you should remember that aspirin is a
drug, and that you should not medicate yourself.
Niacin Increases HDL Levels
It's important to have satisfactory levels of HDL,
the good kind of cholesterol, in order to keep the heart and blood
vessels healthy. Niacin appears to be very helpful in both raising HDL
levels and slowing the progression of atherosclerosis.
A study appearing in Circulation shows that after taking 1,000 mg of
niacin for one year, study subjects reached their LDL (bad cholesterol)
goal of 100 mg/dL , and they had higher levels of HDL. At the same time,
niacin slowed the progression of atherosclerosis about 68 percent.
Niacin is an inexpensive vitamin that is available without prescription.
Feed Your Brain
On days when you have to think clearly and well, be
sure to optimize the nutrients that are available to the brain during
that meeting, presentation, or test.
Sweet rolls and
coffee won't do it. They tend to make you crash after about one hour.
Your brain won't work very well.
Doctors at Harvard
Medical School recommend low-fat milk and whole-grain cereal or eggs,
toast, and jam.
Intense brain work, say nutritionists
at Yale, is not unlike running a marathon. It just happens to be
cognitive rather than physical. Your brain runs on the fuel you ingest
just like the rest of your body. For snacks, eat fruit, vegetables,
nonfat yogurt, and energy bars made from fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Brush Well For a Healthy Heart
Devoting five minutes a day to caring for your teeth
and gums is good for your smile and your heart.
American Dental Association says gram-negative bacteria that destroys
bone in periodontal disease can also damage the lining of arteries or
promote clot formation, leading to a heart attack.
Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly,
especially using new tools such as specialty picks, power brushes,
flossers, and rinses, can help eradicate harmful plaque between teeth
that can easily be missed by simple brushing.