Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Thank You Every Day Heroes

You know how I feel – the firefighters and the police risk their lives every day to keep us safe. And you know I love I Can Has Cheezburger.com – so this is the best of both those worlds:

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

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November 12, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Character, Humor | 5 Comments

Alternatives to Statin Drugs

I found this article through Google News at US News and World Report.

I know statins work – many of my friends testify to their having lowered cholesterol through use of statins. But doesn’t it make you nervous that most of the tests proving their efficacy are done by the very drug-merchants who are selling them? For me, it is that way with most medications. I watch people lining up their pills, lowering their blood pressure, lowering their cholesterol, and it makes me very nervous.

My father stayed alive using cortisone. He tried to get off cortisone, but his body was so addicted to it that every time he tried, he suffered horrible pain. By the end of his life, you could barely touch him without injuring his skin, thinned by many years of cortisone usage. We pay a price for the drugs we take – I want to know the price – and the alternatives – before I choose a pill I have to take every day for the rest of my life.

6 Ways to Reduce Inflammation—Without a Statin or a Heart Test
By Deborah Kotz
Posted November 11, 2008
There’s been a lot of hoopla this week over research showing that the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes in those with normal cholesterol but high levels of inflammation—measured by a marker called C-reactive protein, or CRP. The Jupiter study, which involved nearly 18,000 people and appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that people taking the statin Crestor for two to five years cut their risk of having a heart attack or stroke by 50 percent during that period. They also had a lower risk of bypass surgeries and angioplasties.

Experts predict that as a result of the study, many millions of seemingly healthy people will be screened for inflammation using a blood test called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and that millions of them will be put on statins to combat inflammation. While statins certainly are lifesaving for those with high cholesterol or established heart disease, their benefits are more modest for those at fairly low risk of heart disease: About 0.72 percent of the statin takers in the trial had a heart attack or stroke compared with 1.5 percent of those taking placebos.

So, some experts say, if you have high CRP but are otherwise healthy, “go slow,” and consider all the benefits and risks of statins before you decide to take them. Where that hs-CRP screening test might come in handy is to spur you to make lifestyle changes that will naturally lower excess inflammation—and your heart disease risk. Try these six measures:

1. Stop smoking. Smoking hardens the arteries and could send CRP levels surging. But research shows you can reverse all the damaging effects to your arteries within 10 years of quitting. (For help quitting, you can click here.)

2. Think olive oil, fish, and nuts. Researchers have shown that overweight folks who stick with a Mediterranean-style diet—based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil—can lower their levels of inflammation. “An anti-inflammatory diet is about reducing saturated fat and trans fats and eating more foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid—like flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil—and omega-3 fats, which fight inflammation,” says Evangeline Lausier, a staff physician at Duke Integrative Medicine. On the flip side, scientists have shown that the typical American fast-food diet increases heart attack risk by 30 percent. (Here’s the latest on four healthful diets and on 11 easy ways to load up on omega-3s.)

3. Get active. No one wants to exercise, but it’s a great way to lower inflammation without any side effects associated with medications. An ideal amount? Not too much (which raises inflammation) and not too little. Aim for five days a week of steady exercise (brisk walking, swimming, biking) for 30 to 45 minutes. (You can read up on how to make your workout quick and sweaty.)

4. Shrink your waist size. Take a tape measure and measure your waist, right around the point of your bellybutton. If you’re a woman with a waist measurement of over 35 inches or a man with a waist of over 40 inches, you probably have high inflammation. Whittling a few inches off the waist by reducing your portions and increasing activity can go a long way toward solving that problem. (Here’s a dietary technique that might help you lose weight.)

5. Get enough sleep. A new study out this week shows that elderly people with high blood pressure who sleep less than 7.5 hours a night have dramatically elevated chances of having a stroke or heart attack or suffering sudden cardiac death. Other research has shown that too little sleep (less than six hours) or too much (more than eight hours) results in more inflammation. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says most adults need between seven and eight hours of shut-eye a night. (Not convinced? Consider these 10 reasons not to skimp on sleep.)

6. Reduce stress. High levels of stress hormones can lead to the release of excess inflammatory chemicals, so try each day to pencil in 15 minutes of relaxation—deep breathing, meditation, or a bubble bath that lets you leave the world behind.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Aging, Diet / Weight Loss, Exercise, Family Issues, Food, Health Issues, Social Issues | 2 Comments

Premarital Testing Made Compulsory in Kuwait

From today’s Al Watan

MPs make premarital tests compulsory
KUWAIT: The National Assembly passed a new law on Tuesday that makes preـmarital medical checks compulsory.

The first article of the law stipulates that wouldـbe couples have to undergo medical tests to verify they are free from contagious or hereditary diseases.

In they are free of the diseases outlined in a decree by the minister of health they will get a medical certificate that proves their marriage is safe.

The document is valid for six months only, according to the provisions of the new law.

The second article bans the endorsement of a marriage by any concerned authorities without a valid medical certificate.

If the medical report shows that the possible marriage is unsafe and the wouldـbe couple still insists on getting married, the marriage officer must get a written notice from the couple stating that they are aware of the risks and want to pursue the affair.

The third article of the law stipulates that the minister of health should issue executive statutes for the new legislation which includes the type of medical tests required and the relevant procedures within three months of the new law”s publication in the official gazette.

The fourth article pertains to the privacy of all the information contained in the medical report and stipulates a punishment of up to one year in prison and up to 1,000 Kuwaiti dinars as a fine on anyone who might violate the privacy of such information.

The fifth article stipulates either or both punishments of up to oneـyear in prison and up to KD 1,000 fine on the marriage officer should he violate the provisions of the second article. ـKUNA

Last updated on Wednesday 12/11/2008

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Kuwait Sunrise November 12 2008

Yesterday had to be one of the loveliest days I have spent in Kuwait – driving down the highway, car full of friends, wind blowing in our hair – what a great day. It looks to me like we have another beautiful day coming:

0012nov08

At 0630 it was only 59° F / 15°C, which I also see is close to the high temperature expected in Seattle. Whoa! Get out the sweaters!
00w12nov08

Goooood Monring, Q8!

November 12, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 4 Comments