Precision Medicine, Gluten, Carbohydrates and Gynecology
Newer tests may guide access to optimal nutrition, better medical prescriptions, more frequent screening or imaging. The rapidly evolving field of monoclonal antibody therapy and even gene therapy may soon offer advances in gynecology that were unimaginable a few years ago. At the present time there is insufficient evidence to choose such therapies. Especially in families where particular diseases have been more frequent in first and second-degree relatives, we desire to lower our individual risks and to offer children interventions that help prevent such inheritable diseases. Diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure all of which increase risk for heart disease and stroke, are well defined. But dementia and other inflammation-related disorders, such as arthritis, are less well understood in terms of proof of prevention. Common sense risk-reduction strategies can begin at any age; the earlier the better. Dr. Pollycove encourages active engagement in behaviors that we know reduce disease risk and looks forward to deriving helpful strategies that are particular to your individual concerns.
Ample data do exist to encourage women of all ages to reduce carbohydrate load, exercise vigorously (increase heart rate and cause perspiration for 20 minutes daily) and seek lower glycemic index foods. The international epidemic of adult onset diabetes is hugely driven by living longer than ever before, being too inactive and including high carbohydrate loads that have become “typical” daily consumer patterns. These personal choices have become increasingly clear and all ages of women find that reducing carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pasta, rice, corn, grains such as oats, barley, buckwheat) allows them to succeed in healthy weight management with greater ease. Gluten free foods have higher “glycemic index” than the wheat-based breads and pastas. This is because rice and corn are among the highest glycemic index foods. The proliferation of “Gluten Free” labels on all sorts of foods (including soft drinks! And pickles!) is further evidence of a food industry that misleads consumers. Gluten free and low carbohydrate means basically increasing green veggies and the lower glycemic fruits. (NIH.gov has a huge list of glycemic index of foods)
Further motivation to pay attention to the “Paleo diet” craze comes from what we know about inflammation. High carbohydrate loads increase inflammation in all parts of our bodies. This is in part due to the pro-inflammatory effects of fat that accumulates inside our belly cavity—intra-abdominal fat. Most of us have heard about the “apple body type versus the pear-shaped women.” Apple body shapes store more fat in our mid-section as compared to women with bigger hips and relatively small waists. In addition to body mass index, or BMI, waist-hip ratios have become a new easy measurement for assessing our risk for developing diabetes and heart disease. On US government NIH web sites you can look up your BMI and waist hip ratio as they indicate your risk for a wide variety of disorders. Sometimes this reassures that your weight issues are cosmetic and not negatively impacting your health. But when the numbers indicate increased risk, it is something with which to get help and feel empowered to make healthy changes. Dr. Pollycove enjoys these personal health issues “that begin at the grocery store, with on-line food shopping and often end up at restaurants.” Becoming well informed is the first step to making health-enhancing changes. And with a little encouragement it can be easier than you might expect.