As regular readers know, I feel strongly that smoking is an unmitigated blight on our lives. We lose over 170,000 people to it every year – just in lung cancer alone – totally preventable. To be honest, I am surprised that anyone who can read would choose to be a smoker. Nonetheless, it is so. I have a Page on it – How many ways does smoking harm you? which I recommend you check out after reading this.
I am reproducing what follows from Medical News Today because I like the way they spell out positive aspects of ceasing smoking. Jenna Fletcher wrote it.
Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. Despite this, some smokers find quitting daunting. They think it will take a very long time before seeing improvements in their health and well-being.
However, the timeline for seeing real benefits to quitting smoking is much faster than most people realize. Health benefits begin in as little as an hour after the last cigarette and continue to improve. Continue reading
Watching TV the other day, I was struck by how many ads there are for drugs to solve our health problems. We seem to think of drugs as some kind of permanent answer to problems that may only be temporary. Never mind that the list of side effects is often longer than the supposed benefits of taking the drugs in the first place.
Eat less; move more; live longer is a really simple way of living and thinking about our lives. If we put this mantra into our heads each morning, we could forget the temporary problem of weight that seems to plague most of us.
Eat good food in reasonable amounts and make sure you get some exercise every day of your life. Avoid bad habits like drinking too much alcohol and smoking. Finally, make sure you get enough sleep. Pay attention to those simple aspects of your life and you will solve a multitude of problems before they ever arise.
The following Pages have more details on these elements:
How important is a good night’s sleep?
How many ways does smoking harm you?
Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits)
I stumbled across these old ads in my web wanderings and thought they might amuse you. We had some really goofy ideas a few years back.
Are your donuts fortified with at least 25 units of B Vitamins?
Nothing like a doctor’s recommendation to guide your cigarette smoking.
It wasn’t that long ago that cigarettes permeated our lives.
No sense eating broccoli plain when you can drown it in Velveeta.
I write often about the benefits the brain gets from exercise and how we should make regular exercise a priority as much for our mental health as physical. That is a good positive target.
It turns out that WebMD also has some excellent suggestions for keeping our brains clicking on all cylinders, but they approach from the negative side. Not doing harmful things is also an important consideration in getting to old age with a fully functional brain.
Here is their list of bad habits:
Missing out on sleep. WebMD notes, “… lack of sleep may be a cause of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. It’s best to have regular sleeping hours. If you have trouble with sleep, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and electronics in the evening, and start a soothing bedtime ritual.”
I would like to interject here that my Page on How important is a good night’s sleep could be worth checking into. Continue reading
Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen; will be 77 in January. So, I have a lot of senior friends. We have all experienced ‘senior moments’ when we find our memory becoming slightly elusive. Because my family has had Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia I am particularly sensitive to any brain stuff. So I was impressed with the suggestions that Harvard brought forward regarding enhancing our memory.
The way you live, what you eat and drink, and how you treat your body can affect your memory just as much as your physical health and well-being. Here are five things you can do every day to keep both your mind and body sharp.
1. Manage your stress. The constant drumbeat of daily stresses such as deadline pressures or petty arguments can certainly distract you and affect your ability to focus and recall. But the bigger problem is an ongoing sense of anxiety — that can lead to memory impairment. If you don’t have a strategy in place for managing your stress, protecting your memory is one reason to get one. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and a “mindful” approach to living can all help.
I have posted a number of times on stress. You can find them by searching s t r e s s in the box at the right. If you want one excellent example check out: Super tools for handling stress.
You all know how strongly I feel about the dangers of smoking. I have a Page with what I consider to be chapter-and-verse on why you shouldn’t smoke – How many ways does smoking harm you?
Here is a fascinating infographic linking depression and smoking.
Since it seems smoking follows depression, you might want to check out these posts:
How bad is depression?
Vigorous exercise may help restore mental health
Can the holiday season bring on depression?
This is the yang post to yesterday’s yin which was all about the negative effects that smoking has on your body. Today the focus is on the positive. Look at all the good things that happen when a smoker quits. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.
I truly hope that none of you regular readers are still smoking. I have put up a Page on the subject – Please check it out for more reasons – How many ways does smoking harm you?
Surely one of these 50 reasons will hit home with you …
Remember, smoking damages every organ in your body.
Finally, it appears that there is some good news on the health front in regard to less people smoking.
A new study indicates that Finland’s national tobacco policies seem to be radically reducing the incidence of subarachnoid haemorrhage, the most fatal form of stroke.
Previously it was thought that in Finland approximately a thousand people suffer subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) every year – most of them adults of working age. Up to half of those afflicted die within a year. Subarachnoid haemorrhage is typically caused by a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, which leads to a sudden increase in the intracranial pressure. Smoking is a key risk factor for SAH.
A Finnish study published in the journal Neurology looked at changes in the incidence of subarachnoid haemorrhage over a period of 15 years (1998-2012), and these were contrasted with changes in the prevalence of smoking. The results indicated that the number of people afflicted with SAH was nearly half of the previously assumed figure and that the number was in rapid decline, a trend which was particularly apparent in younger generations. Continue reading
I ran across this infographic in my meanderings and thought it had a lot of interesting if depressing information, like the increase in diabetes in the last few decades. On the positive side, “Many chronic diseases have a root in lifestyle decisions, from obesity to smoking. And, many of these conditions can be treated or even prevented by changing behavior.”
I would really like to believe that regular readers of this blog don’t smoke. If you need any convincing about its dangers check out my Page – How damaging is smoking?
Lest we forget, smoking can also harm us by proximity. Keep your distance.
With apologies to George Thorogood, whose Bad to the Bone is a true rock classic, you really don’t want to be bad to your bones.
WebMD has produced a slideshow demonstrating things we do and don’t do that damage our bones. Our bones are as strong as cast iron yet remains as light as wood. Keep in mind that our bones are not all solid. The outside is solid surrounded by a few small canals. The inside, however, looks like a honeycomb.
The way we strengthen our bones is with weight-bearing exercise and good diet choices. As a bike rider, I am very aware of this. My regular riding is super cardio exercise, but does nothing for my bones. Not long ago, Tour de France riders, started integrating weight lifting with their workouts as they were coming down with osteoporosis.
WebMD offers eleven examples in a slide show that is worth checking out.
Here are a few examples in case you don’t have time right now. Skip that next pitcher of Margaritas. “When you’re out with friends, one more round might sound like fun. But to keep bone loss in check, you should limit the amount of alcohol you drink. No more than one drink a day for women and two for men is recommended. Alcohol can interfere with how your body absorbs calcium.”
I have written a Page about the damage smoking does and it turns out smoking damages your bones, too. “When you regularly inhale cigarette smoke, your body can’t form new healthy bone tissue as easily. The longer you smoke, the worse it gets.
Smokers have a greater chance of breaks and take longer to heal. But if you quit, you can lower these risks and improve your bone health, though it might take several years.”
See what you can do to be good to your bones.
Regardless of your age or family history, a stroke doesn’t have to be inevitable. Here are some ways to protect yourself starting today, Harvard Health Publications said.
But , what is a stroke?
A stroke is a “brain attack.” It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost, according to the National Stroke Association.
Stroke by the Numbers
• Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.
• A stroke happens every 40 seconds.
• Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
• Every 4 minutes someone dies from stroke.
• Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.
• Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S.
Age makes us more susceptible to having a stroke, as does having a mother, father, or other close relative who has had a stroke.
You can’t reverse the years or change your family history, but there are many other stroke risk factors that you can control—provided that you’re aware of them. “Knowledge is power,” says Dr. Natalia Rost, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Acute Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. “If you know that a particular risk factor is sabotaging your health and predisposing you to a higher risk of stroke, you can take steps to alleviate the effects of that risk.”
Here are seven ways to start reining in your risks today, before a stroke has the chance to strike. Continue reading
You can have high blood pressure, or hypertension, and still feel just fine, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). That’s because high blood pressure often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. But, high blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” is very common in older people and a major health problem. If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medicine, it can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems, kidney failure, and other health problems. High blood pressure can also cause shortness of breath during light physical activity or exercise. My emphasis
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries. When the doctor measures your blood pressure, the results are given in two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, is the pressure caused by your heart pushing out blood. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure when your heart fills with blood. The safest range, often called normal blood pressure, is a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic blood pressure of less than 80. This is stated as 120/80.
Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
One reason to have regular visits to the doctor is to have your blood pressure checked. The doctor will say your blood pressure is high when it measures 140/90 or higher at two or more checkups. He or she may ask you to check your blood pressure at home at different times of the day. If the pressure stays high, even when you are relaxed, the doctor may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.
The term “prehypertension” describes people whose blood pressure is slightly higher than normal—for example, the first number (systolic) is between 120 and 139, or the second number (diastolic) is between 80 and 89. Prehypertension can put you at risk for developing high blood pressure. Your doctor will probably want you to make changes in your day-to-day habits to try to lower your blood pressure.
What if Just the First Number Is High?
For older people, the first number (systolic) often is 140 or greater, but the second number (diastolic) is less than 90. This problem is called isolated systolic hypertension. It is the most common form of high blood pressure in older people and can lead to serious health problems. Isolated systolic hypertension is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but often requires more than one type of blood pressure medication. If your systolic pressure is 140 or higher, ask your doctor how you can lower it. Continue reading
Eat less; move more; live longer. I don’t know how many times I have written those words or you have read them. But, they are one of the cornerstones of this blog. You can get lots more detail throughout these pages, but check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for a good concise serving.
However, while reading Time Magazine’s Longevity Issue (Feb 22, 2016) I ran across an interesting item, namely, why do some unhealthy people live so long?
The author states, ” I don’t know how many unfiltered Chesterfields my grandfather smoked, but if you figure two packs a day for 75 years, it comes out to 1,095,000. He died on a Monday, at age 91, and he had been at work the previous Friday….”