Weekly health news roundup: Diverticulitis, HDL, age-related macular degeneration, diverticulosis, and night blindness

By: Bel Marra Health | Cholesterol | Sunday, August 14, 2016 - 10:00 AM

diverticulitis Stomach painIf you were too busy watching the Olympics this week, you may have missed some of our news articles . No worries, we present our top articles again in our weekly health news roundup. This week, we discuss diverticulitis, HDL cholesterol, age-related macular degeneration, diverticulosis, and night blindness.

Diverticulitis signs, symptoms, and complications

Diverticulitis is a condition onset by infection or rupture of diverticula, which are bulges forming in the lower part of the large intestine or colon. The risk of developing diverticula is usually higher for people over 40. Diverticula themselves do not cause many problems, but once the condition progresses into diverticulitis, it can be quite severe, leading to pain, nausea, and changes to bowels.

Mild diverticulitis can be easily treated with a proper diet. However, in cases of recurring and severe diverticulitis, surgery may be required.

Weak spots along the bottom of the large intestine can prompt the formation of diverticula. When pressure is added, bulges form. These bulges, or pouches, may protrude through the colon wall. When they burst or get infected, this marks the diagnosis of diverticulitis. It is worth noting that diverticula themselves do not necessarily create symptoms. Continue reading…

HDL protection against heart disease risk depends on the levels of triglycerides and LDL: Study

HDL protection against heart disease risk depends on the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, according to research findings. It is well known that having higher levels of HDL cholesterol can keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of heart disease, but the study suggests that protective properties of HDL cholesterol do not work in isolation, but rather depend on other factors, namely, the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. If these are not within a normal range, even high levels of HDL (which overall is a good thing) may not necessarily protect against heart disease.

The study looked at 25 years worth of data. Senior author Michael Miller said, “There’s no question that HDL does have a protective role, as we also confirm in the study, but HDL has been hyped-up. HDL really should be viewed as a third priority, with LDL on top and TG [triglycerides] second. Nobody has really looked at an isolated low and isolated high HDL, and whether or not other factors, such as triglycerides and LDL, make a difference in the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The researchers found that HDL was not uniformly predictive of heart disease. Triglycerides and LDL modified the incidence of cardiovascular disease in both low and high HDL levels. Compared to isolated low HDL, heart disease risk was still 30 to 60 percent with a higher presence of high LDL, triglycerides, or both, and high HDL was not associated with a reduced risk of heart disease if triglycerides and LDL were over 100 mg/dL. Continue reading…

Age-related macular degeneration risk is higher in adults whose eyes adjust to the dark slowly

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) risk is higher in adults whose eyes adjust to darkness slowly, according to research findings. Your eyes’ ability to adjust to the dark after bright light is called dark adaptation. Researchers believe the time it takes for you to adjust to darkness offers some insight into your AMD risk.

The research uncovered that individuals with the slowest dark adaptation response had the greatest risk of developing AMD. The researchers consider dark adaptation measurement instrumental in tracking AMD progression as well as assessing the effectiveness of medications.

Vision is one of the five senses, enabling us to see the world and function in it safely. Over time, vision loss may occur, complicating one’s ability to see. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss in America. Roughly 1.8 million Americans are estimated to have AMD, according to the Centers of Disease Control.

Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that progresses with age. It begins to affect people over the age of 40 by hindering sharp and central vision. Central vision is used for activities such as reading and driving. When central vision begins to deteriorate it can make daily tasks quite difficult.

AMD affects the macula, the central part of the retina, which allows us to see the fine details. AMD can come in two forms: wet and dry. Continue reading…

Diverticulitis risk lower with higher vitamin D serum levels in diverticulosis patients: Study

Diverticulitis risk is lower with higher vitamin D serum levels in diverticulosis patients. The findings come from researchers at Harvard who uncovered why some diverticulosis patients go on to develop diverticulitis while others do not.

Roughly 50 percent of those over the age of 60 have diverticulosis, and the rate of cases has been steadily increasing over the last 100 years. A study by Perry AF et al suggested, “A high-fiber diet and increased frequency of bowel movements are associated with greater, rather than lower, prevalence of diverticulosis.” The Perry AD et al study included over 2,000 participants.

The researchers found that diverticulitis cases were more prevalent during the winter months and less prevalent in the summer. Dr. Lillias Maguire and senior author Prof. Andrew Chan decided to examine the role of vitamin D in both diverticulitis and diverticulosis patients. They looked at over 9,000 patients with uncomplicated diverticulosis and 922 diverticulitis patients who required hospitalization.

The researchers concluded, “In summary, we show that higher pre-diagnostic serum 25(OH)D levels are associated with a lower risk of requiring hospitalization for diverticulitis. Taken together with prior studies showing an inverse association of 25(OH)D and risk of colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, these results highlight the potential importance of vitamin D in the maintenance of colonic health. Additional studies in cohorts with more detailed information on potential confounders of this association are warranted.” Continue reading…

Night blindness (nyctalopia) causes and symptoms

Night blindness – also known as nyctalopia – does not actually imply you’re blind, but rather it means that seeing at night is becoming increasingly difficult. Nyctolopia is not limited to the night time only and can also be experienced during the day in a dim-lit room.

Normally, our eyes are supposed to adjust to the changes in light exposure fairly quickly. This allows for a smooth transition without any complications. Those affected by night blindness either need too much time to adjust or can’t do properly. This increases the risk of injury and other complications, as one’s vision becomes impaired in the absence of adequate lighting. Continue reading…

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