February 2009 News Tips

Note to media: To reach the media contacts for any of these health news tips, call the 
Office of News and Publications at 214-648-3404.


Women must be aware when it comes to matters of the heart

Heart disease is the No.1 killer of women in the U.S., claiming nearly twice as many lives as all forms of cancer.

“There are many theories as to why women have a higher mortality rate from heart disease,” says Dr. Elizabeth Holper, associate professor of internal medicine at
UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Research has demonstrated that patients who know the status of their risk factors, including cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and who control these risks, do better in the long term.”

Other ways women can reduce their risk of heart disease include quitting smoking, lowering the amount of saturated fat in their diets and exercising — even as little as 30 minutes a day.

“Most of all, talk with your doctor about your risk,” says Dr. Holper, an interventional cardiologist. “It should be a top priority.”

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/heartlungvascular to learn more about heart/lung/vascular clinical services at UT Southwestern.

Media Contact: Katherine Morales

February is American Heart Month. National Donor Day is Feb. 14.


Be ever-so-sweet on cherries

Cherries are good for much more than making cherry pie or dipping in chocolate. The latest super fruit may also reduce factors associated with heart disease and diabetes.

Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says the fruit’s fiery hue is a cue to its anti-oxidant and health benefits.

“Cherries are particularly high in quercetin (pronounced kwur-si-ten), a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory compound,” she says. “While apples are the top source of quercertin in the typical American diet, gram for gram, cherries pack just as much of this valuable nutrient.”

Fresh cherries or apples have about 3 milligrams of quercetin per 7-ounce serving. Because processing actually serves to concentrate quercetin, there’s about twice the amount of the compound in juices and other processed offerings.

As cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice form, they’re easy to incorporate into your daily diet, Ms. Sandon says.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear


Social warning: Where there is smoke, there are health dangers

You don’t have to be a pack-a-day smoker to increase your odds of illness. Even the occasional cigarette can pose a danger to your health, researchers say.

“The decline in smoking rates in this country represents a tremendous public health success story,” says cardiologist Dr. Jarett Berry, an assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Nevertheless, the growing rates of casual or social smoking among younger adults are particularly concerning. Research has shown consistently that even an occasional cigarette raises your risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer.”

Some health risks include higher cancer rates, lung disease and heart disease.

Even people who work in places where they are exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of disease.

The best way to improve your health is to steer clear of cigarettes completely and to minimize exposure to cigarette smoke.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/heartlungvascular to learn more about heart/lung/vascular clinical services at UT Southwestern.

Media Contact: Katherine Morales


Trendy colon cleaners may do more harm than good

Think special diets, pills, powders or enemas are needed to rid the body and colon of toxins? UT Southwestern Medical Center experts say think again.

“The lining of the gut regenerates about every seven days, so you probably don’t need colon cleansers,” says Dr. Anne Larson, associate professor of internal medicine at
UT Southwestern.

Not only are colon cleansers unnecessary, they could imbalance the body’s fluids and lead to dehydration, salt depletion and low blood pressure. Long-term dangers include anemia, malnutrition, heart failure and damaging the colon wall. Using unclean enema equipment could lead to infection.

So what is one to do if worried about a buildup of toxins because of constipation?

“Stick with what’s proven to be safe,” Dr. Larson says. “Drink plenty of water and eat food high in fiber such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/digestive to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for digestive diseases.

Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

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