ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
CANCER
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Chemicals in Carpets, Non-Stick Pans Tied to Thyroid Disease
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Keep Fire Safety in Mind as You Celebrate
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
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Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- All that heart-healthy advice about eating the right foods, exercising and losing weight pay off in real life for both men and women, two new studies show.

The reports, both originating at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and published in the July 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on different aspects of cardiovascular risk in two large groups: the 83,882 women in the second Nurses' Health Study, and the 20,900 men in the Physicians' Health Study I. Both arrived at the same conclusion: Do the right things, and you get measurable benefits.

Simultaneous appearance of the two reports was more or less a coincidence, said Dr. Luc Djousse, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's at Harvard Medical School, who led the men's study.

The study in men looked at the relationship between the lifetime risk of heart failure and six lifestyle factors: obesity, exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, consumption of breakfast cereals, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

"Previous studies have shown benefit from individual lifestyle factors," Djousse said. "We looked at all of these factors together."

That look found a straight-line relationship between adherence to healthy lifestyle factors and the risk of heart failure, the progressive loss of ability to pump blood that is often a prelude to death. The lifetime risk of heart failure in the 22-year study was about one in five in men who ignored the advice about all beneficial lifestyle factors and one in 10 for those who adhered to four or more of the factors.

"The one with a huge difference was adiposity," Djousse said. "The risk of heart failure was 17 percent in men who were overweight or obese, and about 11 percent in those of normal weight."

Exercise was the next most important. Heart failure occurred in 11 percent of the men who exercised five or more times a week and in 14 percent of those who did not exercise, Djousse said.

Smoking played a surprisingly small role, probably because its incidence was not high among the participants. "These were all physicians, so you would expect a smaller amount of smoking," Djousse said.

The women's study looked at the association between high blood pressure -- a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular problems -- and six lifestyle factors: obesity, exercise, alcohol intake, use of non-narcotic painkillers, adherence to a diet designed to prevent high blood pressure and intake of supplemental folic acid. All six were found to be associated with the risk of developing high blood pressure in the 14-year study, and the association was cumulative.

Women who followed advice on all six factors -- just 0.3 percent of those in the group -- had an 80 percent lower incidence of high blood pressure than those who followed none of the rules. The incidence was 72 percent lower for the 0.8 percent of the women who followed five lifestyle rules, 58 percent lower for the 1.6 percent of the women following four rules and 53 percent lower for the 3.1 percent of the women who followed three rules. As in the male group, obesity was the most important risk factor.

While the clear message of both studies is that "a healthy lifestyle prevents a number of illnesses," what is often overlooked is that the choice of a healthy lifestyle is not a purely individual decision, said Dr. Veronique L. Roger, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic, who wrote an accompanying editorial.

"There is a shared responsibility between the individual and the community," said Roger, who read off a dictionary definition of lifestyle as "a typical way of life of an individual, group or culture."

"The reality is that society has engineered physical activity out of our lives," Roger said. "And it is difficult for me to tell someone in Nebraska to follow the Mediterranean diet, which is anchored in the culture of that society."

Government interventions, such as the decision of New York and other communities, to bar smoking in restaurants and bars, can help more people achieve the healthy lifestyles described in the two reports, she said.

SOURCES: Luc Djousse, M.D., Sc.D, associate epidemiologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and associate professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Veronique L. Roger, M.D., professor, medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; July 22/29, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association