Medical notes this week…

Cancer survivors have a higher risk of heart disease and other illnesses, so they should probably grab every advantage they can in maintaining their health. But a new study shows that doctors often hold back advice on healthy lifestyles from them. The study in the journal Cancer shows that only about a quarter of oncologists and 10 percent of specialists offer advice on things like weight loss and smoking cessation to cancer survivors. Some doctors worry that lifestyle advice would overwhelm patients, or that weight loss advice will  make patients stop taking their medication.

High triglycerides in the blood are a major risk factor for heart disease, and a new study shows that prescription omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce them. The study in the journal Circulation finds that prescription omega-3’s can cut triglycerides by 20 to 30 percent. However, the study looked only at prescription omega-3’s. Researchers say even though a lot of people take over-the-counter fish oil for heart health, for now, if triglycerides are a problem, don’t try to treat it yourself. 

And finally, a new study shows that being optimistic is one of the best things you can do for your lifespan. The study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that the most optimistic men and women have a lifespan that’s 11 to 15 percent longer than the least optimistic people. Optimism also increases the odds of living to age 85 by 50 to 70 percent. 

“A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that the most optimistic men and women have a lifespan that’s 11 to 15 percent longer than the least optimistic people.”


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