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Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine June 2013
As We See It  

Dangerous Misconceptions

By William Faloon
William Faloon
William Faloon

I’ll never forget a call I received from the coroner’s office in 1981 questioning how a 17-year-old boy could have died of colon cancer. The county Medical Examiner stated to me that this was “impossible.

I told the Medical Examiner that while I had never heard of anyone this young dying of colon cancer, this is what the records reflected. The Medical Examiner insisted on talking to the treating physician. A few hours later, the Medical Examiner called me back apologizing for his error.

Recent studies now show increasing rates of colon cancer in young adults—higher than anyone had ever expected.1-4 The reason so many of these young people die is their doctors do not consider colon cancer as a cause of their symptoms and thus fail to initiate timely diagnosis and treatment.1,3

Move forward to year 2013, and physicians continue to wallow in a sea of unawareness when it comes to understanding common diseases. The tragic result is failure to implement changes that would prevent adverse outcomes for millions of Americans every year.

One critical mission of Life Extension® is to break down barriers of medical ignorance that cause humans to senselessly suffer and die.

Heart Attacks Kill More Women than Men

Heart Attacks Kill More Women than Men  

Heart disease is often thought of as a problem that primarily affects men. The reality since 1984 is that more women die from heart disease than men.5

According to a prominent Los Angeles heart surgeon, the most common way a woman presents with heart disease is dead on arrival at the hospital.

Women often downplay their symptoms and wait longer before going to the emergency room. Women also present with different symptoms than men, causing doctors to overlook many cases of heart disease.

Women historically receive less aggressive heart disease prevention and treatment. As a result, when women are finally diagnosed, they usually have more advanced heart disease and their prognosis is poorer.

Startling Statistics

Right now, more than 1 in 3 female adults in the United States has some form of cardiovascular disease.6

Cardiovascular disease of all forms killed 419,730 women in 2008, while all forms of cancer combined caused 270,210 female deaths that year.6

While women justifiably fear breast cancer (in recent years, it has killed more than 40,000 females a year), cardiovascular disease claims the lives of more than ten times more women.6

Women over age 40 are diligently having mammograms in an attempt to detect breast cancer at an early curable stage. Most are overlooking important blood tests that can be used to slash far more prevalent cardiovascular risk factors.

Not only do blood test results enable women to prevent heart attack and stroke, they also reveal correctable factors that can reduce cancer risk.

Mammograms only detect the presence of lesions that may be malignant. Comprehensive blood tests, on the other hand, enable women to protect themselves against virtually every disease associated with aging...including breast cancer in some instances!

Blood Markers of Impending Heart Attack and Stroke

cardiovascular system  

Almost half of all American women have blood cholesterol levels over 200 mg/dL,7 yet only the minority knows this.

Similar to men, women with elevated LDL,8-10 glucose,11-14 triglycerides,15-18and C-reactive protein,19-22 (and low HDL)23-27 have sharply higher vascular disease risks. Some studies show that high glucose and triglyceride blood levels in women create a greater vascular impact than in men.25,28-31

Heart disease accounts for more than a third of all female deaths in the United States,7 yet the vast majority do not know what their cardiovascular disease blood markers are. The consequence of this misconception is that heart failure and stroke are leading causes of disability and death of American women.

Females over age 35-40 should have comprehensive blood tests annually to identify proven heart attack/stroke risk factors and take corrective actions when any marker is out of optimal range.

DHEA Blood Levels and Coronary Deaths

A number of studies associate low DHEA blood levels with higher rates of endothelial dysfunction and heart attack.33-35

In 2010, a study showed that women with the lowest DHEA more than doubled their rate of dying from coronary artery disease compared to women with higher DHEA blood levels.36

This six-year study showed more than twice as many women with low DHEA died from all-causes compared to women with higher DHEA blood readings.

The take-home lesson from this and similar studies is for aging humans to know their DHEA blood levels and take the appropriate DHEA dose to achieve youthful levels shown to protect against mortality.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome…An Underdiagnosed Problem

Some women suffer excess accumulation of body fat caused not by overeating, but from a disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome that is characterized by out-of-balance hormones.37,38

The drug that can be highly effective in treating this hormone imbalance is metformin. It reduces excess insulin39-43 and testosterone levels,39,40,44 while helping women shed fat pounds.39,45

In one study, 22 morbidly obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome were treated with metformin. After 24 weeks, they lost an average of 6% of their body weight (18 pounds). In the same study, women who continued on metformin after one year maintained their weight loss while those who stopped regained 50% of their weight.46

Those suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome have higher rates of diabetes,47-52 coronary blockage,47,52-56 and metabolic syndrome.47,54,57-59

For women suffering from frank polycystic ovary syndrome, or just too much insulin-testosterone, low-cost blood tests can identify the underlying problem and enable a physician to properly prescribe metformin and other therapies to safely induce weight loss and reduce cardiovascular risks.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

The most common heart attack symptom in women is pain, pressure, or discomfort in the chest. But in women, it’s not always severe or the most prominent symptom. Over 40% of women suffering a heart attack may not even experience chest pains (angina).32 Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as the following:28

  • Neck, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

Men are more likely to experience classic signs/symptoms of coronary heart disease like crushing left-sided chest pain that radiates to the left arm or jaw. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to report shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, and palpitations.

This may be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries, but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart—a condition called small vessel heart disease or microvascular disease.28

Many women tend to show up in emergency rooms after much heart damage has already occurred because their symptoms are not those typically associated with a heart attack.

Blood Glucose and Cancer Risk

Those with higher glucose and insulin suffer greater rates of all cancers.60,61

Gestational diabetes is a temporary state of glucose intolerance associated with pregnancy. Its long- term effect in women, however, is a 7-fold increase in pancreatic cancer.62

A 13.5-year study showed that women in the highest glucose quartile were 63% more likely to develop breast cancer.63 Another study that included 33,293 women measured fasting and post-load glucose and found those in the highest ranges were 75% more likely to develop cancer.64

Diabetics have higher cancer risks. One analysis of diabetic women showed a 22% increased breast cancer risk, but even those with impaired glucose metabolism develop breast cancer with greater frequency.65 The researcher who conducted this study concluded that increased cancer risk occurred even when glucose levels were “below the diagnostic threshold for diabetes.

Keeping glucose in the low ranges protects against cardiovascular disease, helps shed fat pounds, and reduces cancer risk.

Cancer Patients Especially Vulnerable to High Glucose

The impact of elevated blood glucose on cancer patients is devastating.

The body responds to higher glucose levels by secreting more insulin (which promotes tumor growth). A study of 1,695 non-diabetic men and women found that, of the participants that developed cancer, there was a 37% increase in all-cause mortality for those in the highest quartile of fasting insulin.75

A study of newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer patients showed a 69% increased risk of all-cause mortality when fasting glucose was over 126 mg/dL.76

An interesting analysis was done on diabetic and non-diabetic breast cancer patients. There was no difference in overall survival between the two groups, but elevated glucose in either group was associated with poorer outcomes and an elevated risk of death.77 This study supports previous findings that high blood glucose is associated with poor response to breast cancer treatment.78-84

In a decade-long study of 3,003 breast cancer survivors, risk of all-cause mortality was twice as high in women with a hemoglobin A1c reading greater than 7% compared to women with less than 6.5%.79 Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test that measures average glucose levels over the previous approximately three months.

These findings together support the role of a healthy diet and lifestyle in the overall treatment of cancer.

Since people often make too much glucose in their liver (gluconeogenesis), even those who avoid glucose-spiking carbohydrates and starches need to take additional steps to keep their glucose/insulin levels low. The drug metformin85,86 and nutritional supplement green coffee bean extract87,88 inhibit glucose production in the liver, thus lowering blood glucose to safer ranges.

Cancer patients should insist on regular blood tests to check their fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and after-meal glucose.

Lung Cancer Kills Many Non-Smokers

Lung cancer kills so many cigarette smokers that many people mistakenly believe that non-smokers don’t develop it. The facts are that lung cancer kills around 24,000 non-smokers each year in the United States, making it among the top 10 most lethal cancers in the US.66 Additionally, lung cancer in people who’ve never smoked is on the rise. In the US, 17.5% of lung cancers occur in this group, and among women the figure is even higher. In some areas of the world, such as Southeast Asia, as many as 50% of female lung cancer cases are found in women that have never smoked.67

What is particularly regrettable is that many of these non-smokers are victimized by second-hand smoke, a carcinogen that I was forcibly exposed to in my early life.

The carnage caused by second-hand smoke, which adds up to millions of disabled and dead innocent Americans, is one of the great medical travesties of the past 100 years.68-71 The dangers of second-hand smoke are still not fully appreciated, as millions of children are exposed each year in the home environment while society prioritizes far less important issues.

Scientific research has shown that a blood marker of cardiovascular risk (C-reactive protein) is also elevated in lung and colon cancer patients.72-74 What is encouraging about this is that the steps people take to reduce vascular disease (such as lowering C-reactive protein) might help protect against common malignancies.

C-Reactive Protein: A New Cancer Blood Marker?

C-Reactive Protein: A New Cancer Blood Marker?  

Inflammation is an underlying cause of virtually all degenerative disorders, including vascular disease, cancer, and dementia.89-97 The C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test is a general measurement of inflammation in the body.

In a general population study, individuals with the highest CRP levels had a 1.3-fold increased risk of cancer of any type, and a 2-fold increased risk of lung cancer. Among individuals diagnosed with cancer during the study period, individuals with a high baseline CRP (over 3mg/L) had an 80% greater risk of early death compared to those with low CRP levels (<1mg/L).98

This corroborates numerous other studies showing greater cancer risk, incidence, and mortality in those with elevated CRP blood test readings.99-108

A study was done with cancer survivors to measure fatigue and other common side effects of conventional therapy. Survivors with high CRP had 1.8 times greater odds of fatigue after adjusting for all other factors. This study showed that higher ingestion of omega-6 fats relative to omega-3 fats was associated with higher C-reactive protein levels.109

A wealth of data shows that a high-sensitivity CRP blood test may become a new marker in identifying those at greater risk for developing cancer and dying from it.110-112 Ideal CRP levels in women are less than 1.0 mg/L.113 If your blood test result shows CRP readings over 1.5 mg/L, there are a number of proven ways to lower it to safer ranges.

While CRP testing is done today primarily to identify those at higher risk for stroke, heart attack, diabetes,and dementia, it may also turn out to be a useful tool in the prevention and treatment of common cancers.

Don’t Be a Victim of Deadly Misconceptions

The incidence of type II diabetes and related disorders such as obesity, vascular disease, and cancer is skyrocketing, yet comprehensive blood testing can identify underlying factors that if corrected in time, can prevent an epidemic of tragic outcomes.

Most of you reading this have been victimized by second-hand cigarette smoke, yet controlling your C-reactive protein and glucose blood levels may lower your risk of lung cancer.

So many female Life Extension members have been helped when their hormone levels are checked and balanced. Not only do they feel better when all their blood markers are restored to youthful ranges, but their risk of degenerative disease is substantively reduced.

The high cost and inconvenience of today’s broken sick-care system prevents most healthy people from having their blood thoroughly analyzed. Life Extension broke down these barriers 17 years ago by offering a broad range of blood tests for far less than what commercial labs charge.

Instead of having to make a doctor’s appointment, most of our members walk in at their convenience to a blood drawing station in their neighborhood.

Once-A-Year Blood Test Super Sale

The comprehensive Female or Male Blood Test Panels contain more specialized blood measurements than virtually any standard battery of tests. Commercial labs often charge a king’s ransom to perform ALL of these tests.

Yet, Life Extension members can order the Female or Male Blood Test Panel for only $269.

This year we were able to add the hemoglobin A1c test to the Male and Female Panels at no extra charge. The next page describes the many tests included in the comprehensive Male or Female Panels. At the discounted price of $269, these blood tests are the best investment you may ever make in your health and longevity.

If you’re reading this and are not already a Life Extension member, please join today. The huge savings on the Female and/or Male Panel more than covers the $75 membership fee.

To order your blood tests and/or join the Foundation, call 1-800-841-5433 (24 hours).

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon