The Knees Go First – and other news

by DavalosMcCormack on March 28, 2008

Living in earthquake country you become familiar with one of the early warning signs that a quake may be on the way. It’s GG, which stands for gone gatos. Gatos is Spanish for cat and apparently cats are sensitive to earthquakes, so when they sense one coming they disappear. Now we may have a similarly odd medical barometer to measure when a recession is coming; the number of people getting knee replacement surgery rises!

According to an article in Business Week, hospitals and physicians say they see an increase in demand for elective procedures, like knee replacements, whenever people are nervous about the economy and are fearful of losing their jobs and health insurance.

The Business Week article says dentists see a similar jump in the number of people coming in for gum surgery. It seems everyone is trying to get as much of their medical work done as they can, while they can, before they possibly lose their insurance coverage.

It’s not unrealistic. During the last recession at the beginning of this decade, more than one million Americans lost their health insurance. A study by the Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Center for Economic & Policy Research, says this time around that number could go above 4 million.

So if you are going to be gnashing your teeth in anxiety over your job, best do it with healthy gums.

Big Beer Belly Increases Risk of Dementia

That big belly you’ve so carefully been nurturing since college days may be more than just an indicator of too many trips to the bar and buffet counter, it may also be a sign that you are at increased risk of dementia.

A new study in the online issue of Neurology says that people in their 40s who have larger stomachs are at higher risk for dementia by the time they are in their 70s than people with smaller bellies.

That’s not all. Previous studies have shown this same group is also at increased risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It’s an indication that visceral fat, the kind that collects around your abdomen and your internal organs, is more than just bulk. It’s also having a big impact on your metabolic functions.

How many people are at risk? All you need to do is look around you on any given day to see that this is something that affects millions of Americans. Take a look in the mirror too, you might even be one of them.

Even Normal Weight Folk May Be At Risk For Heart Disease

Sorry to be the bearer of even more bad news, but just because you are normal weight and don’t have a beer belly, doesn’t mean you are off the hook.

New research from the Mayo Clinic shows that more than half of Americans who have what is considered a normal body mass index (BMI) have high percentages of body fat, and that puts them at increased risk of heart disease and other problems.

The researchers found that men who have more than 20 percent body fat, and women who have more than 30 percent, are most at risk.

This is a warning that just because you look lean, doesn’t mean your arteries are. The researchers say having high levels of circulating blood fats is one of the indicators you are at increased risk for metabolic syndrome – a condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.


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