Review Category : Health

Gallup: Mississippi Is Most Obese State for Second Straight Year

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For the second year in a row, Mississippi had the highest obesity rate in the U.S. in 2014, the latest Gallup Healthways Well Being Index shows.

The state’s obesity rate was 35.2 percent last year — nearly unchanged from 35.4 percent in 2013. That’s well above the national rate of 27.7 percent.

In second place was West Virginia at 34.3 percent followed by Louisiana at 33.2 percent. Arkansas (33 percent), Oklahoma (32.6 percent), Alabama (32.1 percent), Kentucky (31.5 percent), Indiana (31.4 percent), Iowa (31.1 percent) and Missouri (30.9 percent) rounded out the top 10 states with the highest obesity rates.

On the flip side, Hawaii had the lowest rate at 19 percent. The rest of the top 10 states with the lowest obesity rates are as follows: Colorado (20.3 percent), Montana (23.5 percent), California (23.9 percent), Massachusetts (24 percent), Idaho (24.2 percent), South Dakota (24.6 percent), New York (24.7 percent), Minnesota (24.8 percent) and Connecticut (24.9 percent).

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Gallup: Mississippi Is Most Obese State for Second Straight Year

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For the second year in a row, Mississippi had the highest obesity rate in the U.S. in 2014, the latest Gallup Healthways Well Being Index shows.

The state’s obesity rate was 35.2 percent last year — nearly unchanged from 35.4 percent in 2013. That’s well above the national rate of 27.7 percent.

In second place was West Virginia at 34.3 percent followed by Louisiana at 33.2 percent. Arkansas (33 percent), Oklahoma (32.6 percent), Alabama (32.1 percent), Kentucky (31.5 percent), Indiana (31.4 percent), Iowa (31.1 percent) and Missouri (30.9 percent) rounded out the top 10 states with the highest obesity rates.

On the flip side, Hawaii had the lowest rate at 19 percent. The rest of the top 10 states with the lowest obesity rates are as follows: Colorado (20.3 percent), Montana (23.5 percent), California (23.9 percent), Massachusetts (24 percent), Idaho (24.2 percent), South Dakota (24.6 percent), New York (24.7 percent), Minnesota (24.8 percent) and Connecticut (24.9 percent).

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Jessica Alba Admits She Hates Working Out

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Jessica Alba rocks a sexy bikini on the latest cover of Shape magazine but admits her fit physique doesn’t come easy.

“I’m not going to lie. Working out sucks,” she told the June issue. “Which is why I love taking classes, because I’m surrounded by other people and that keeps me motivated and accountable.”

The 34-year-old actress-turned-entrepreneur said she likes to mix up her workout.

“I have to break a sweat or I don’t feel like I’ve gotten anything done,” she said. “These days, I do power yoga with light weights in a 105 degree room, so it’s a mix of hot yoga and strength training. I also spin. The key for me is good music, like 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Beyoncé.”

If she only has 30 minutes, Alba said, “I’ll do a series of burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, planks, and a few sun salutations.”

Alba’s road to fitness began more than a decade ago, while filming the Dark Angel series.

“I attribute my athletic body to the martial arts, gymnastics, dance, and strength training I did while filming Dark Angel,” she told Shape. “That’s made me strong and really set the bar.”

But it wasn’t until having her children that she felt comfortable with her body.

“I wasn’t truly confident about my body until I had my daughters, Honor, 7, and Haven, 3. I felt more comfortable in my own skin after they were born,” she said. “Plus, if I want them to be happy with their bodies, I need to walk the walk.”

But this active mom and Honest Company founder has also found ways to be still.

“When I need to zone out and quiet my mind, I listen to a meditation podcast from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center [marc.ucla.edu],” she said. “Each one is literally just three minutes long, so I can go into a bathroom stall or do it in my car. But I’m really intrigued by Transcendental Meditation. Everyone I know who does TM has this inner peace and a glow. I want that.”

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Receding Texas Floodwaters Can Leave Behind Health Hazards

photoquest7/iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — Despite receding floodwaters in Texas and Oklahoma, dangers can persist as residents begin the process of cleaning up the mess left behind.

At least three people were killed in Texas and many more injured as floodwaters hit the state Monday night.

Bristel Minsker, spokeswoman for American Red Cross, said a big risk for residents is that remaining floodwater can be toxic after washing over roads and even bringing cars and other debris along.

“The Blanco River overflowed and it’s been running through the state and pushing all this debris down through the state,” said Minsker, who called the water extremely toxic.

Minsker said it’s important to keep young children and pets away from the water so they don’t ingest any of it. For people who had to wade through dirty water to get to safety, Minsker recommends immediately showering and washing clothes to get out any toxins that were washed into the water during the flood.

Minsker said residents should only return home after officials have given the all-clear and always check for downed power lines, foundation cracks or broken gas lines before entering the home.

She also said any food that comes into contact with floodwaters, even bottled water or canned goods, needs to be thrown out.

Another unexpected hazard for those returning home: wildlife.

“We’re hearing a lot of reports of snakes getting washed on to people’s property,” said Minsker, who warned that people should stay far away because the animals might be panicked or aggressive.

“They’ve been driven from their natural rural home. It’s an area they are not comfortable with,” she said.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said as residents are able to clean up more and more, there will be other issues they face including mold or dust that can exacerbate asthma or breathing problems.

“You can get mold growing up on things that you’re then trying to clear out,” Schaffner said.

Minsker of the Red Cross said it’s key for residents with a flooded home to add fans or dehumidifiers to try and keep the mold from growing and causing health problems.

Also, as mud dries it can turn into dust that affects the lungs, said Dr. Schaffner, who recommends wearing a surgical mask.

Schaffner said anyone who had a wound exposed to floodwaters should seek medical attention to see whether they should get a tetanus booster shot.

In addition to short-term problems, Schaffner said, there’s another hazard that could last long after the floodwaters recede. He said he’s concerned that standing water could mean in increase in the West Nile virus carried by mosquitoes, especially as summer approaches.

“All this floodwater is going to leave puddles and pockets of water that will be great breeding grounds of mosquitoes,” Schaffner said. “If there are a lot of mosquitoes, more mosquitoes will bit birds and then bite people,” spreading the virus.

The Texas Department of Health has a full list of recommendations on flood safety here.

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Softball Player’s Brain Aneurysm Draws Attention to Rare Condition

California Thunder via KABC-TV(HACIENDA HEIGHTS, Calif.) — A 15-year-old California softball player is reportedly fighting for her life days after a brain aneurysm led her to collapse on the field.

Dana Housley told her coach she “felt dizzy” before collapsing on the field, according to ABC News’ Los Angeles station KABC-TV.

She was taken to Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, California, where she is on life support, according to KABC-TV. Hospital officials did not comment further on the case, citing privacy laws.

As Housley’s teammates rally with messages of support with the hashtag #PrayforDana, experts said that the teen’s case can help put the spotlight on this mysterious condition that affects an estimated 6 million Americans.

Experts are quick to point out that Housley’s activity on the softball team likely had no bearing on her developing a brain aneurysm or having it rupture.

“The biggest mystery is why they form,” Christine Buckley, the executive director of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation told ABC News.

Just two days after Housley’s hospitalization, a teen baseball player reportedly died after being hit by a baseball. In that case, the cause of death was not yet released, though his grandfather told a local newspaper that one cause may have been an underlying condition, including possibly an aneurysm.

Teens rarely develop aneurysms, but those that do often do not understand their symptoms including headache, eye pain and sometimes earache, Buckley said.

“Early detection is the key,” she said, noting that people should seek treatment at a hospital if they experience signs and symptoms.

An aneurysm develops when a weak spot develops on the wall of a brain artery, leading to a bulge. Should the weak spot rupture, the blood loss can lead devastating results, including stroke, brain injury or death.

Aneurysms can run in families and ruptured aneurysms are more associated with smoking, but no specific activity is associated with developing an aneurysm or having it rupture, Buckley said.

Dr. Nicholas Bambakidis, director of Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said brain aneurysms in teenagers and children are rare but they do occur.

“It’s a severe tremendous headache, almost always accompanied by loss of consciousness,” Bambakidis said of brain aneurysm symptoms. “Worst headache of my life. It’s not like a tension headache or a headache after a bad day.”

Bambakidis said even an outside trauma like a baseball hitting the head may not lead to rupture and that they are mostly likely to be rupture due to severe trauma that actually pierces the brain.

The biggest predictor of survival is how a patient is doing when they arrive to get treatment, he said.

“How bad was the bleeding and how much damage was done to the brain when it’s bleeding?” Bambakidis said of figuring out the likelihood of a patient surviving.

Brain aneurysms are most prevalent for people between the ages of 35 to 60, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. The condition can be deadly if ruptured and approximately 15 percent of patients with a specific type of aneurysm called an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, die before reaching the hospital.

Approximately 30,000 Americans will have a brain aneurysm rupture annually and about 40 percent of these cases are fatal.

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Pair of Studies Finds More Evidence of Coffee’s Benefits

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Forget the bar. If you’re looking for love, stop at the local coffee shop because apparently caffeine puts the mojo in a cup of joe.

A small field study found men who chatted up women at cafes surrounded by the pleasant aromas of coffee and pastries were more likely to walk away with a phone number.

Researchers say caffeine stimulates blood flow and social interest.

On another note, a larger scientific study found men who drink two or three cups a day can reduce their risk of erectile dysfunction by up to 42 percent. Drinking coffee even lowered the risk for obese and hypertensive men but not for diabetics.

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Anti-Wrinkler Botox May Do More Than Paralyze

pyotr021/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Since 2002, doctors have used Botox to paralyze the facial muscles underneath wrinkles, but it may be doing more than simply stopping these muscle movements – it may make the skin more youthfully elastic.

Researchers backed by Allergan, the company that makes Botox, studied the effects of Botox injections on 43 women in a study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

The skin at the treatment site then tended to exhibit more elasticity, which wore off after two to three months, disappearing completely by four months.

Researchers say it might explain why doctors have noticed in the past that patients tend to exhibit a progressive reduction in wrinkle levels with repeated treatments.

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Sandra Lee Is Going Home From the Hospital

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Sandra Lee is leaving the hospital on Monday

The lifestyle guru, who underwent a double mastectomy last week, will return home with her partner, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and her sister Kimber, according to her team.

“Today is an exciting day! Sandra is going home to Lilly Pond with her sister Kimber and Governor Cuomo,” read an update on her Facebook page. “She is most excited to sleep in her own bed — and see [her birds] Phoenix and Halo when she wakes up!”

Lee, 48, revealed earlier this month that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in March. Prior to the mastectomy, she’d had a lumpectomy. Her doctor also recommended daily radiation for six to eight weeks.

“It beats up your body, and it beats you up emotionally,” she said during an appearance on Good Morning America. “[But] I wasn’t going let it rob me from one day of happiness.”

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Memorial Day Weekend a Perfect Storm for Allergies

ajkkafe/iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) — If you’re allergic to tree and grass pollen, Memorial Day is probably not your favorite holiday.

It’s the time of year when the spring tree pollen end up overlapping with the summer grass pollen, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. David Lang, an allergist at the Cleveland Clinic, said many people experience this allergy “double whammy.”

“If you’re allergic to both tree and grass – it’s kind of a double-hit. And Memorial Day is the peak of the grass pollen season,” he said.

Tree pollen is the primary allergen across the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and New England during the month of May, while grasses typically start flowering towards the end of May in the north.

The combination of tree and grass pollen can make for a miserable Memorial Day for people with allergies.

Dr. Lang said the best defense is to have a pollen plan, which should include the combination of non-sedating antihistamine and intranasal steroids.

““Frequently we recommend that our patients use both of those – the intranasal steroids and the antihistamines, together, and that’s usually a pretty good one-two combination for reducing the level of symptoms,” Lang said.

Another tip is staying indoors with the air conditioning to provide relief, according to Lang.

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Researchers: Depression Linked to Increased Risk of Death in Heart Failure Patients

janulla/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers presented a study at a conference on Heart Failure Saturday, indicating that depression was linked to a five-fold increase in risk of death in heart failure patients.

According to a press release for the event, researchers followed patients for a year following hospitalization for heart failure. Those patients who suffered from moderate or severe depression were found to be five times as likely to die in the year after they were discharged from the hospital.

Depression is not uncommon in heart disease patients or patients who have undergone cardiac surgery.

More research would be needed to determine how to treat depression in cardiac patients.

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