Hormone Found in Humans Could Help Obesity

December 2nd, 2020

Apple sitting next to small weightsA hormone that can suppress food intake and increase the feeling of fullness in mice has shown similar results in humans, according to a new study.

New Potential Treatment

The hormone called lipocalin-2 (LCN2) could be used as a potential treatment in people with obesity whose natural signals for feeling full no longer work.

LCN2 acts as a signal for satiety after a meal, leading mice to limit their food intake by acting on the hypothalamus within the brain.

Studies in mice have shown that giving LCN2 to the animals long-term reduces their food intake and prevents weight gain, without leading to a slow-down in their metabolism.

The team first analyzed data from four different studies of people in the United States and Europe who were either normal weight, overweight or living with obesity.

The people in each study were given a meal after an overnight fast, and the amount of LCN2 in their blood before and after the meal was studied. The researchers found that in those who were normal weight there was an increase in LCN2 levels after the meal, which coincided with how satisfied they felt after eating. By contrast, in people who were overweight or had obesity LCN2 levels decreased after a meal.

Researchers said this suggests that lower levels of LCN2 may contribute to obesity and that the hormone may have potential as an obesity treatment.

The study was published in the journal “eLife”.

Healthy Weight Loss

Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or a “program”.  It is about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits. Evan a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugars.

Not sure where to start? Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Make a commitment: Making the decision to lose weight and become healthier is a big step. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself.
  2. Take stock of where you are: Consider talking to your healthcare provider. The doctor can evaluate your height, weight and explore other weight related risk factors you may have. Next, examine your current lifestyle.
  3. Set realistic goals: Focus on two to three goals at a time. Great effective goals are specific, realistic and forgiving.
  4. Identify resources for information and support: Find family members or friends who will support your weight loss efforts. Making lifestyle changes can feel easier when you have others to talk to.
  5. Continually “check in” with yourself to monitor your progress: Revisit the goals you set for yourself and evaluate your progress regularly.

Reward yourself for your successes. Recognize when you are meeting your goals and be proud of your progress.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to have a healthy life. Make the time to evaluate your diet and see if there are any healthy lifestyle changes you can make! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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A Good Night’s Sleep may Help Your Heart

November 25th, 2020

Woman sleeping in bed with cell phonePeople who regularly get a good night’s sleep may help protect themselves from heart failure, a large new study suggests.

Sleep Habits and Your Heart

The study’s research team used data on over 400,000 UK adults who took part in a long-term health study. When participants were between the ages of 37 and 73, they answered questions about their sleep routines.

Healthy sleepers reported five things:

  1. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night
  2. No snoring
  3. Rarely having trouble falling or staying asleep
  4. No daytime grogginess
  5. Being a “morning” person

Researchers gave each person a “healthy sleep score” of 0 to 5, based on the number of healthy habits they reported.

Over roughly a decade, 5,221 study participants were diagnosed with heart failure, a chronic condition where the heart muscles can no longer pump efficiently to meet the body’s needs.

Overall, the team found that people who had reported all five healthy sleep habits were 42 percent less likely to have heart failure than people who had reported none or only one.

Since good sleepers might be health conscious too, the team accounted for exercise, diet, smoking and drinking habits, as well as medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. They also factored in people’s education levels and household income. 

While the findings do not prove cause and effect, they do build on a body of research linking sleep quality to heart health. It is not that poor sleep directly causes heart failure; instead it can feed the risk factors for heart failure, through effects on stress hormones, blood pressure and heart rate.

The findings were published online in the journal “Circulation.”

Better Sleep Habits

Adopt habits that encourage better sleep:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule: Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours.
  2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink: Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution too. The stimulating effects of caffeine and nicotine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
  3. Create a restful environment: Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep.  Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens before bedtime.
  4. Limit daytime naps
  5. Include physical activity in your daily routine: Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime however.
  6. Manage worries: Try to resolve your concerns before bedtime. Jot down what is on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

Evaluating your sleep habits and improving on them, can help your overall health.

What IAA has to Say

Studies may come and studies may go, but there seems to be a consistent trend between your sleep habits and health.  Insurance Administrator of America wants you to evaluate your sleep patterns and see if there is anything you can change to give yourself a better night's sleep. Just think of IAA as your third party sandman.

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Alex Trebek Passes Away From Pancreatic Cancer

November 18th, 2020

Diagram of pancreasJeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away due to pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. Trebek had announced his diagnosis on March 6, 2019. He was the host of Jeopardy! since 1984 and appeared in more than 8,000 episodes. 

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas. The pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produce hormones that help manage your blood sugar.

The most common type of cancer that forms in the pancreas begins in the cells that line the ducts that carry digestive enzymes out of the pancreas.

Less frequently, cancer can form in the hormone-producing cells of the pancreas. 

Pancreatic cancer makes up three percent of all cancer diagnosed each year, and seven percent of cancer deaths according to the American Cancer Society.

Signs and Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer is seldom detected at its early stages when it’s most curable. This is because it often doesn’t cause symptoms until after it has spread to other organs. Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t occur until the disease is advanced. They may include:

  • Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
  • Dark colored urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Light colored stools
  • Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
  • New diagnosis of diabetes or existing diabetes that’s becoming more difficult to control
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes

The average lifetime risk of pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 64.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to know what is going on in the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

November 11th, 2020

Epilepsy Awareness Month BannerThere are 3.4 million people in the United States living with epilepsy. As November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, now is a good time to learn more about this condition.

Signs and Symptoms

Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal. At least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an epilepsy diagnosis.

Seizure symptoms can vary widely and may include:

  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety or déjà vu
  • Staring spell
  • Temporary confusion
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs

In most cases a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.

There are two different types of seizures:

  1. Focal seizures: When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of your brain, they’re called focal (partial seizures). Symptoms of focal seizures may be confused with other neurological disorders such as migraine, narcolepsy or mental illness.
  2. Generalized seizures: Seizures that appear to involve all areas of the brain are called generalized seizures.

Seizure Triggers

Certain triggers can lead to a seizure. Identify and watch for particular behaviors, environments or physical and emotional signs that precede attacks.

Some physical and emotional warning signs are:

  • Annoyance or elation several hours before the seizure
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Warning aura, this may come on as a taste or a smell. When an aura is a smell, some people are able to fight off seizures by sniffing a strong odor such as garlic or roses.  This warning allows the person to lie down in time to avoid falling.

50 million people worldwide live with epilepsy.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America encourages you to share this blog post with friends, family and colleagues. IAA wants you to make this the month you spread awareness on epilepsy.

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New Guidelines for Colon Cancer Screening

November 4th, 2020

StethoscopeScreening for colon cancer should begin at age 45, five years earlier than is currently recommended, according to draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force.

Updated Guidelines

The update was prompted by recent studies showing the rate of colorectal cancer rising in younger people. It is estimated that 10.3 percent of new colorectal cancers occur in people under age 50 and recent data suggests that 45 year olds with an average risk are getting colon cancer at rates now similar to 50 year olds.

Data shows that the risks of colorectal cancer are increasing before age 50, especially in the 45 to 49 year old age group.

Computer models suggest that about 25 colon cancer deaths are prevented for every 1,000 Americans between 50 and 75 who are screened.

The earlier start is expected to prevent at least one more death per every 1,000 screened.

The draft guidelines fall in line with recommendations issued by the American Cancer Society two years ago.

According to the draft guidelines, one quarter of adults between the ages of 50 and 75 have never had a colon cancer screening.

Signs and Symptoms

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine (colon). The colon is the final part of the digestive tract.

Colon cancer begins as noncancerous clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time these polyps can become cancerous. Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t completely empty
  • A persistent change in bowel habits
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue

Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When they appear, they’ll likely vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.

  What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be healthy! One of the best ways to do that is to keep up with preventative colonoscopies. IAA wants to help you, help yourself.

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