Key Facts Women Need To Know About Heart Disease

Heart disease is a monster killer in this country. So much so that every single minute, a woman dies from heart disease somewhere in the United States. Those numbers are alarming and outrageous. Especially considering there are many preventative measures that can be taken to thwart this terrible and deadly disease. As the number one killer of women, one in three deaths per year are caused by heart disease.

Women, due to their biological makeup, experience a very unique set of circumstances with this disease compared to men. There are specific risk factors that women generally suffer from at a greater rate. Things like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, migraine headaches, early onset menopause and autoimmune conditions. Despite it being the leading cause of death amongst women, so many still aren’t aware of how pervasive and ubiquitous it is. Dr. Holly Andersen and Jennifer Haythe are providing additional facts about the disease they hope will shed necessary light on it.

Leading Cause Of Death Among Women

Women are at a greater risk of developing heart disease than men. Over 45 percent of women are currently not aware that it is the leading cause of death amongst women in the U.S. Women, who often experience a myriad of symptoms that they may relate to stress, are less likely to call 911 when they are experiencing heart attack symptoms. Another aspect that confuses some is that the symptoms women experience when suffering from a heart attack are completely different than what men experience.

For instance, over 40 percent of women say they didn’t even experience chest pain when they had a heart attack. Instead they experienced nausea, palpitations, shortness of breath, jaw discomfort and incredible fatigue. Heart health is also rarely assessed in younger women. While over 70 percent of women do get annual checkups, less than 40 percent have their heart health accessed.

The heart is typically something that younger women don’t even think about as they assume heart attacks and heart disease only affect those over a certain age. Depending on lifestyle choices, hereditary markers, and stress levels, heart disease can become an issue much earlier than they may think.

During pregnancy, women suffer from hypertension more often than any other acquired medical condition. Congenital heart disease is a preexisting condition that is the most common. Many women don’t get the same type of care, treatment or medicine in the aftermath of a heart attack. This lessens likelihood of survival as every single second counts during a heart attack. Women are also less likely to be referred to a cardiovascular health rehabilitation facility after a heart attack.

Heart Disease Statistics

The information and statistics are staggering. Heart disease is a major issue in this country and so many aren’t even aware of its insane prevalence. Just last year, the heart disease death rates increased for the first time since 1993. The rates of death in young women who suffer from heart disease have been increasing since 2000.

One aspect that we must account for is the decline in healthy dietary choices many make. Bad cholesterol readings are through the roof as diets aren’t as healthful and heart healthy as they could be. This is why it’s imperative to understand the differences between bad and good cholesterol. Heart disease will only become more deadly and debilitating if we don’t have the information to combat it.

 

Foot Pain May Stem From Knee Or Hip

The body is essentially a working bundle of organisms, bones, marrow and intricacies that are all interrelated in one way or another. One thing that isn’t as widely explained or understood is how certain parts of the body inform and directly affect others. So when you experience a pain, sometimes the cause of that pain isn’t necessarily on or near that part of the body. Sometimes it’s caused by something a bit further away. This is what researchers were interested in finding out about in reference to foot pain or pain that exists in the lower extremities.

Some people assume that foot pain is a direct result of things like shoe wear, specific amounts of walking, being on the feet all day, or uneven distribution of weight that is often a result of bad posture. While these can all certainly be contributing factors to foot pain, there is another cause that isn’t adequately given proper consideration.

The Kinetic Chain

Researchers at Harvard Medical School looked into this issue and found that there is actually quite a bit of correlation between foot pain and the health of the knees and hips. What the study found was that a patient who is complaining of foot pain should also be asked about any corresponding knee or hip pain. This should also be phrased in a way that includes the past six to 12 months as a barometer for either type of pain.

It’s incredibly important for medical practitioners to conduct a complete and exhaustive physical examination and ask about pertinent medical history. There are so many connections that are made within the body that we don’t even properly consider. Studying the interactions between the foot and the knee, as well as the foot and the hip, helps to bring necessary semblance to the kinetic chain – which is something many people are largely unfamiliar with. The kinetic chain is the notion that the body’s segments and joints affect one another implicitly in the way that movement occurs.

One researcher explained: “The foot is the first part of the body that makes contact with the ground. Its primary function is a shock absorber. If the shock-absorbing capability of the foot is somehow altered or minimized, it’s going to affect other body parts. The foot is also the foundation of the body. If the foundation is not sound, it could have a deleterious effect on the joints above the foot and ankle, namely the knee and the hip.”

This study took data from previously gathered information in 2002 and 2008. With this type of framework, they were able to have a broad range of content as it would have been difficult organizing that amount of foot pain sufferers from scratch. Those filled out a questionnaire that contemplated different levels and degrees of foot pain along with severity experienced. There was also inquires requiring any type of stiffness, pain or aching of the hip or knee.

There was correlation between foot pain and same-side knee and hip pain. Those who experienced issues, pain or discomfort in their right foot, may have also experienced the same things in their right knee or right hip. There is much to be said for how a person that is experiencing this type of pain adjusts and modifies their movement in order to alleviate some of the pain. This causes misalignment and often exacerbates the problem.

Back Stiffness May Actually Be Something Else

Back pain and stiffness is one of the most commonly felt discomforts amongst many adults. Whether it’s from sleeping on a bad mattress, having poor posture or an injury, back stiffness is a pretty ubiquitously experienced ailment. But what if that stiffness isn’t actually what it appears or feels to be? A new report states that this very common occurrence that feels like back tightness or stiffness may be something else entirely.

A researcher in South Australia stated that the correlation between actual back stiffness and what people perceive to be back stiffness is often very different. When the stiffness of a particular part of the back is gauged, it’s not often reported as such by testing options. Tasha Stanton, the lead author and researcher, suggested that maybe the feeling of stiffness is just a protective construct that is created by the nervous system. It could very likely be the body’s way of protecting itself from additional strain or injury.

Understanding The Issues

Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, so back pain is obviously something that affects countless people. This is also why something that may seem as simple and common, such as the presence of back pain, should be taken seriously so that it doesn’t further escalate and become something that is almost impossible to manage. Another issue that doctors and researchers have found when it comes to the experience of back stiffness is that words are incredibly important. Sometimes when they are used incorrectly, it makes the diagnosis and treatment process that much more difficult.

Pain is a very misunderstood entity. While the presence of doctors and chiropractors can be helpful in managing the different types of pain you may be experiencing, getting to the root cause and understanding how everyday stressors and triggers may exacerbate the issue is incredibly important. If certain measures are taken early enough, then the complete decline of the muscles may not be as drastic.

Procedures such as physical therapy are also helpful when there is any type of back or neck pain that is readily experienced. There is an obvious issue with pain killers in this country, and in various parts of the world, so relying on popping pills will undoubtedly lead to more trouble than relief. Obviously if the pain is unbearable, there are less potent, non-habit-forming drugs that can be used.

Finding The Real Problem

A descriptive word such as “stiff” can be used to describe anything. It can be used to describe dull pain, a hurt muscle, a random ache, the result of sleeping on a mattress wrong, and a whole host of other causes. These aren’t necessarily all the same thing nor are they all as serious as one another. This is why using that word to describe what’s going on in your back isn’t necessarily helpful.

Ascertain the problem as completely as you possibly can. Figure out when the sensation started and try to get to a point where you can describe exactly what it feels like as accurately as possible. It could be the difference between it becoming a long-standing problem that completely compromises your quality of life and ability to work and it being treatable. Learn how to properly describe and manage your back pain. Saying something is “stiff” may actually just mask the problem.

The Importance Of Accuracy In Nail Fungus Diagnosis

All types of fungal infection can be distressing for sufferers. When any type of nail fungus occurs, it can be a complicated or often misinterpreted issue. When sandal season looms, this is one of the more common issues that the feet can endure. Often times, the usual reaction is to hide the feet and cover the toes with some type of polish, or even a generic anti-fungal nail treatment. However, it’s crucial that a proper diagnosis from a board-certified dermatologist is made before taking any type of treatment measures.

A board-certified dermatologist Shari Lipper, MD, PhD states, “Although nail fungus is the most common nail disorder that dermatologists treat, not every nail problem is caused by fungus, and there are several other conditions that may look similar, including nail psoriasis and nail trauma.” She sees this type of misstep often and wants individuals to know that treating something as a fungus, that may not be, can actually make the condition much worse.

It’s also imperative not to ignore specific signs that may present themselves. When symptoms go unchecked, the fungus can potentially spread and worsen to the point of causing serious pain or issues. It is a huge misconception that nail fungus only exists as an aesthetic or cosmetic issue. It can be very serious and interfere with your foot’s overall function.

Signs And Symptoms

There are many signs that come with the presence of nail fungus. One of the predominate ones is the lifting of the nail away from the skin. Any type of discoloration of the nail can also be a huge indicator that there is a fungus problem. The two colors most often seen in nail fungus cases are white or yellow. Nails that are plagued with fungus can also show other signs of becoming thick and hard and may be impossible to cut. Another sign of fungus can exist in the complete opposite realm as nail thinning which leads to the splitting or crumbling of the nail.

If you start to notice any type of inconsistent or peculiar nail symptoms, it’s best to schedule an appointment to see a dermatologist right away. This is even more crucial if you have any type of underlying conditions that can potentially affect feet such as poor circulation, a weakened immune system or diabetes.

The diagnostic process that a dermatologist will employ to confirm it is nail fungus can vary. Sometimes it is as simple as a test run that will show if any type of fungus is present. Depending on the severity of the fungus, the doctor will then prescribe topical or oral medications. For the more serious bouts of nail fungus, oral medication can sometimes be the best route. For those who ignore their issue and don’t get proper treatment, the fungus can get so bad that topical treatments don’t work well to completely kill the fungi.

Oral medications take anywhere from six weeks to three months to completely eradicate the toenail fungus. Topical options can take much longer than that. This is because the oral medications work from the inside out while topical medication can only work by properly penetrating the issue. There is also the option of laser procedures, however, this method is typically only used to improve the cosmetic outlay of the nail.

Track Hydration With Low-Cost Sensor

Many are aware of the importance of proper water intake. Hydration is one of the things that fluctuates throughout the day and can be deeply impacted by body weight, activity, food consumption and more. While dehydration can lead to things such as chapped lips, dry skin and constipation, there are other more serious issues that can result in a lack of proper hydration. Finding a way to constantly keep track of your own personal levels of hydration can be difficult. Making sure you are consuming an adequate amount of water is a good step, however tracking that isn’t always ideal.

Researchers at North Carolina State University introduced a device that is low cost, wearable and wireless that can detect the amount of hydration within the body based on the skin. These can be worn either as a chest or wrist patch and serve a huge purpose to prevent things like severe dehydration, heat stroke and other complications when the body doesn’t properly consume or retain enough water. The device is lightweight, easy to wear and incredibly stretchable. It’s perfect for people who are constantly on the go and who are always active. The patch’s ability to detect dehydration before it becomes an issue is one of its preeminent functions.

Gauging Proper Hydration

The reason this patch was created, according to the professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, is because “it’s difficult to measure a person’s hydrations quantitatively, which is relevant for everyone from military personnel to athletes to firefighters, who are at risk of health problems related to heat stress when training or in the field.” Proper hydration is integral to so many and we didn’t have a way to properly gauge that until the advent of this patch.

The patch is able to use technological precursors that allow the tracking of hydration in real time. The sensors are continually tracking and monitoring the hydration levels of the skin and when they get too low an alert sounds. This type of technology can be the difference between really protecting an individual’s health when they are working in hot conditions. It can even be used to help improve the athletic performance of an athlete as they emit and lose water more readily than someone with a more sedentary lifestyle.

The patch contains two electrodes that are comprised of elastic polymer composite with small conductive silver nanowires. Due to the way that the skin’s electric properties change, based on how hydrated the skin is, the skin is a perfect way to test levels of hydration.

After the patch was created, it was tested in a lab using specialty artificial skin with a wide range of hydration levels. The tests were found to be incredibly accurate and it was also discovered that the patches themselves were not negatively impacted by ambient humidity. The manner in which the sensors adhere to the skin is both comfortable and effective as it won’t randomly fall off.

There was also an additional type of product that was developed that resembles a wristwatch for those who don’t prefer the functionality of a patch. This is great for athletes and those who want to track their hydration levels at certain times of the day, typically when they are the most physically active. The overall cost to make the sensor? Only one dollar. It’s incredibly affordable to produce.

Air Filters With Soy Capture More Toxic Chemicals

The amount of toxins in the air is sometimes something that we don’t give proper thought to. Due to the fact that we can’t see them, particles in the air contain harmful entities such as free radicals, pollutants, and a whole host of other harmful things the naked eye cannot see. While technology has given us the benefits of air filters, which help to clean the air and provide a more balanced atmosphere, some air filters are superior to others.

In a recent study, researchers found that filters that are soy based actually can capture more toxic chemicals than ones that aren’t. Toxins in the air such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be better filtered out when they come into contact with a filter made from soy-based products. What makes these discoveries even more exciting is that soy is natural and incredibly friendly to the environment. No need to use air filters that have additives that may make the problem worse.

Why They Are Effective

Researchers at Washington State University actually developed the filters themselves with the idea of making air filters more effective in general. The inability for some air filters to detect harmful air pollutants was an issue that they successfully took to task and eliminated by dabbling in product creation. Engineers at the university both designed and tested the components of the bio-based filter and the results were impressive, to say the least. One of the reasons these particular air filters are so effective is because of how soy protein works. Not only is the protein itself inexpensive, natural and biodegradable but does a better job at apprehending air toxins.

The quality of the air does a number on our health profile. As such, the particles that exist in the air, which we often cannot see, contribute steadfastly to increased rates of lung cancer, heart disease and asthma. This is something that environmental activists talk about often. While they continually worry about the state of the planet and the earth as a whole, the way the air takes on the toxins of so many specific situations is problematic and should be addressed. While standard air purifiers target small particles in the air such as soot, exhaust and smoke, they don’t deal with other common issues that hang in the air.

Why Soy Based?

Depending on things such as population and specific materials used, the presence of hazardous, gaseous molecules is more prevalent in certain parts of the globe. Things like sulfur dioxide and other volatile compounds can be disastrous to the air and then the body by way of ingesting. While typical air filters are often made with micron-sized fibers from plastics, these entities have a hard time capturing gaseous materials and molecules. The study found that soy can actually capture almost all of air pollutants because of that specific soy protein. Due to the large number of functional chemical groups that are present in soy, pollutants that pass on the molecular level can still be caught.

In addition to the filters that are predominately soy based, the researchers also helped to craft a gelatin filter based from cellulose which helps to keep the overall costs down. Things like disposable paper towel and other paper products have helped keep the cost of the production of such products low. The state of the air impacts our health and our planet; clearing it in a natural way is of paramount importance.

How To Eat Right For The Brightest Of Smiles

Most of our beauty goals might feature many of the latest trends in fitness and fashion. But we often neglect a simple fact that nothing is more attractive than a bright smile with perfect pearly whites.

The good news is that you don’t need to struggle hard for achieving a flawless sparkling smile. Just knowing what to eat and what not to eat and making relevant changes in your diet can immensely improve the color and health of your teeth.

Tooth enamel is the topmost layer and comes in direct contact with the food and fluid particles. The key is to avoid foods and fluids with chromogens, tannins and acids. Chormogens are compounds with strong pigments which cling to the enamel. Tannins are plant-based compounds which help the stain stick to your teeth. And, acids cause enamel erosion which makes it easy for the stains to set in.

Here’s how you can eat right for the brightest of smiles:

  • Berries no doubt are packed with antioxidants. However, their deep hues come from chromogens – one of the main culprits which stain your teeth and make your smile dull. So after eating these super foods, remember to rinse your teeth.

 

  • Apart from your daily dose of energy, coffee and tea also give you spotted and yellow teeth. Both of them contain tannins. While coffee might contain very less amount of tannins, it is very acidic. If you cannot ditch these beverages completely, avoid excess consumption and always rinse your teeth afterwards.

 

  • Eliminate sports drinks from your list of health beverages. Most of the sports drinks when consumed in excess may weaken and damage the tooth enamel because of their composition which is a mix of preservatives and acidic components.

 

  • The calorie-packed sodas and sweets are also rich in acids which damage your pearly whites and increase the risk of teeth discoloration. And yes, diet soda is also a no-no if you want to keep your teeth healthy and white. Instead, make plain drinking water your best friend.

 

  • Even wine can stain your teeth. If possible, pair a handful of nuts such as almonds with wine. Chewing nuts creates saliva which can combat plague and reduce the chances of teeth discoloration. You can also limit your intake of such drinks.

 

  • Choose foods like strawberries, cheese, nuts. They offer a natural defense and help keep your teeth white. For e.g., cheese is rich in calcium, phosphorous and protein which safeguards your teeth from the damage caused by acid-rich foods.

Moderate consumption of acid-rich foods, regular brushing and flossing will also help you maintain healthy pearly whites. Also, rather than depending on over-the-counter teeth whitening products, consult a dentist who will help you maintain a healthy and sparkling smile for years to come.

Author Bio:

A dental marketer at Michael G. Long DDS and a believer in holistic health, Grace Clark lives by the rule that health and happiness go hand in hand. She writes on various topics focusing on dental and oral hygiene, healthy living and holistic health. When she’s not working or blogging, she enjoys spending her time with her family and volunteering at the local youth centers where she educates children about the importance of health and fitness.

Stress Really Does Kill

Stress has a very bad rap and for good reason. It’s not enjoyable, adds unnecessary strain to the body and mind, and is also linked to many different ailments. That age-old adage “stress kills” is actually closer to the truth than some realize. In fact, in a recent study conducted in Montreal, Canada, there was a direct link made between specific types of cancer and work-related stress over the period of a man’s working lifetime.

This is not only incredibly concerning but this also gives credence to the inferences that stress doesn’t have any positive effects and what’s more, has very negative implications. The study found that men who are exposed to prolonged amounts of stress in a work environment have an increased risk of developing colon, lung, rectal and stomach cancers. This study was a real milestone in the medical world because it was the first of its kind to really isolate and study this particular phenomenon that so many have heard about.

Who’s At Risk?

The findings found specific markers that link stress to cancers because of the various stresses that men feel and go through over the course of their careers. If an average career is multiple decades, it stands to reason that there would be a very real correlation and connection between how hard they work, long hours, deadlines, and/or financial stresses brought on by factors related to the job. The observable links showed that men who have been exposed to anywhere from 15 to 30 years of work-related stress, and in specific cases even more than that, have increased risk.

Information was also compiled regarding the most stressful professions. Some of the top professions that carry a high amount of stress with them are mechanic foreman, firefighter, railway-equipment repair worker, aerospace engineer, and industrial engineer. It is obvious that each person is different and that their level of experienced stress, coupled with how they handle stress, are also determining factors – as are genetic and biological precursors.

The study also found that the level of stress is not necessarily predicated on time constraints and increased work load. There are various factors that determine specific levels of stress. Work environment, anxious temperament, financial problems, customer service, sales commissions, dangerous work conditions and job insecurity are some of the things that may negatively impact an individual’s stress levels.

“One of the biggest flaws in previous cancer studies is that none of them assessed work-related stress over a full working lifetime, making it impossible to determine how the duration of exposure to work-related stress affects cancer development,” one of the author’s of the study explained. “Our study shows the importance of measuring stress at different points in an individual’s working life.”

This makes total sense as so much of life and health do not exist in a vacuum. There are various factors that are often ignored or improperly considred as not applicable when they could be a predominant causing force. The question is now raised whether the chronic psychological stress needs to actually be viewed as a public health issue. With the results of this study as fuel, it’s looking more and more likely. Adequately dealing with stress and having necessary and effective coping mechanisms are essential.

Anti-Depressant Medication May Complicate Ear Ringing

Though it’s not often talked about, there are millions of people who suffer from something called tinnitus. This is the intermittent or constant ringing or buzzing in the ears. Depending on how serious the affliction is, it can be passed off as mild irritation for some to something that causes unending and severe anxiety for others. This constant sensation of sound was something that OHSU scientists find can be worsened in the presence of a popular antidepressant component containing serotonin.

Serotonin is an important neuromodulator in the brain and it can cause specific activity in the dorsal cochlear nucleus which is where the sensory experience of tinnitus occurs. Because of this correlation, researchers wanted to dig deeper to find out if maybe the influx of antidepressant use and cases of reported tinnitus were related. They found that certain neurons otherwise known as fusiform cells in this part of the brain become more active and even hypersensitive to stimuli when in the presence of serotonin.

The Findings

During the research study, the connection became clear when those particular neurons kept firing off on all cylinders and their activity went sky high. These findings actually implicate a common type of antidepressants which have something called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. These components can alleviate moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression by elevating the levels of serotonin in the brain. Now serotonin also exists naturally in the brain and can be replicated by experiencing forms of euphoria, joy or even relaxation.

When the compound is introduced to the brain, it acts as a neurotransmitter which is thought to help regulate and balance one’s mood. So it seems that everything has a price and even if you may feel marginally better mood-wise, ringing ears doesn’t seem like a good tradeoff – especially because the research suggests that these elevated levels of serotonin can only make tinnitus much worse. This phenomenon is defined as the chronic perception of sound when an external or internal acoustic source does not exist. So the ear will involuntarily make that distinction and a noise will be noticeable to the sufferer.

This can obviously be a very irritating and maddening thing to have to deal with. It’s a common issue that many people actually face but because it’s so vastly misunderstood, many people don’t talk about it at length. “If you’re a physician treating a patient for depression who also has hearing loss or tinnitus, you may want to be careful about prescribing a drug that compounds their feelings of anxiety,” explained a researcher. That seems like good advice as proceeding to prescribe the medicine seems counter intuitive if it will only make the anxiety felt by the patient much worse.

A researcher by the name of Zheng-Quan Tang, Ph.S, and a postdoctoral fellow, also made the distinction that this has been long documented yet not correlated. When reviewing many of the scientific documents regarding the literature of these conditions, there was a noticeable increase in tinnitus as soon as patients began taking SSRIs. So this makes the correlation even more obvious for those who weren’t paying close enough attention. Generally when you start exhibiting symptoms and differences after you’ve started taking a medication, the medication is largely, if not exclusively, to blame.

Incredible Health Benefits Of Pequi Oil

The pequi is a fruit that many haven’t even heard of. It is indigenous to Brazil and those who are familiar with its abilities sing its praises. Some even think that the fruit has magical powers. Considered one of the rarest found fruits, it’s very popular amongst those who can get their hands on it. Now there is a better way with the oil. There have been studies conducted about the effectiveness of pequi oil and there are some key reasons why it’s such a big hit. Here are some of the ways in which pequi oil can be effectively used.

Levels Out Blood Pressure

Whether you have an issue with blood pressure that is too high or too low, this oil will help bring it back into a healthy balance. High blood pressure puts a lot of unnecessary stress and tension on your heart and other parts of your body. Having blood pressure that is too high has been linked to the onset of many health issues such as heart disease and stroke. The minerals and vitamins within pequi oil, namely the potassium, helps to ease the blood vessels which aid in the proper functioning of your blood stream. Normal blood pressure ranges are vital for living a productive, healthy life.

Relieves Pain

If you’re the type of person that often has to deal with aches and pains because of your active lifestyle or if you are constantly on the go and your muscle pain is a pesky, nagging sensation you just can’t seem to quell, this oil is exactly what you need. Pequi oil is actually on the rise in use amongst athletes. It reduces muscle and joint pain because of its inherent anti-inflammation properties. Just a couple of drops, mixed in with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba, will do the trick. Rub the oil on your sore and aching joints as needed.

Moisturizer

Keeping your skin properly hydrated is one of the most important steps in skin care. Many think that cleansing is the most vital step but failing to moisturize your skin can be disastrous for your face and body. One of the first precursors to those dreaded signs of aging is dry skin. Dry skin is more susceptible to wrinkles, fine lines and even sagging. This oil is incredible at keeping the skin supple and well moisturized. A little goes a long way as you can also use it as a body moisturizer. Every inch of your skin will thrive with pequi oil.

Great For Hair

This is one of the best oils to incorporate into your hair care routine if you are looking for a way to make your hair silky, shiny and healthy. There is a fine line between hair that is greasy and hair that looks healthy and shines beautifully. Pequi oil will definitely have your hair doing the latter. Its naturally conditioning elements won’t weigh your hair down but will instead add to its radiance and luster. This oil is the perfect serum for soft, gorgeous hair.

You can purchase pequi oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

 

 

A Sedentary Lifestyle Ages You Faster

“A body at rest, stays at rest. A body in motion, stays in motion.”

A common and quite readily used phrase to promote the importance of activity and movement in everyday life, which speaks to precisely what a recent study has found. While a good portion of our society has jobs where they have to sit for hours on end, many don’t truly understand the stress and consequences on the body this type of lifestyle leads to. A new study found that too much sitting can actually increase biological aging. So not only is it not good for physical health, it could result in getting older more rapidly, leading to serious illnesses and ailments.

At the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, researchers studied elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day and have a general low level of physical activity. What they found was startling. The research showed that the cell activity in these individuals is much lower, and even biologically older, by nearly eight years compared to women who were more active and sat less during the day. In a journal published earlier this year, it was discovered that a mere 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day can help to boost women out of this detrimental and harmful bracket.

Chromosome Deterioration

One of the reasons researchers say this is an issue is due to the deterioration of necessary chromosomes that influence the aging process. When cells age, they can naturally fray and shorten. There are many different factors that can contribute to this type of outcome. One of those factors is lifestyle which is directly related to the amount of physical activity and exercise. Poor lifestyle choices can lead to further deterioration.

Things like obesity and smoking can also spur on that process as well. When these chromosomes are compromised, illnesses can also be a higher likelihood. Health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer can more easily exist and prosper in a compromised system.

“Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age,” said Aladdin Shadyab, PhD, one of the primary researchers in the study out of the medical school in San Diego. He and his team made it their mission to measure the aging biomarker as closely as they could. The study comprised of almost 1,500 women over the age of 64. Numerous questionnaires and preliminary health tests were conducted to gauge specific indicators. Sleeping hours were also tracked.

Almost immediately, it became very clear when the women were questioned about how much sitting they do during the day or how much exercise they get that their results were conclusive with similar patterns. The women who lead very active lives, who got in walks, good sleep or other various forms of exercise had a much younger age reading, regardless of biological age.

This speaks so directly and staunchly to the overarching and intense need for physical activity to aid physical mobility and even internal health. The body is all interconnected. It makes perfect sense that what you do on the outside reverts back onto the inside and vice versa. Everything we do plays a role – diet, exercise, supplements, toxic exposure, and all other lifestyle variables.

 

 

 

E-Cigs And Cigarette Smoking In The News: Several New Reports

A new study reports that a single exposure to e-cigarette (e-cig) vapor may be enough to impair vascular function, say researchers from West Virginia University. They presented their findings recently at the Cardiovascular Aging: New Frontiers and Old Friends seminar in Westminster, Colo.

The researchers studied artery diameter, the blood vessels’ ability to widen (vasodilation), and aortic stiffness in female mice after short and long-term exposure to flavored e-cig vapor. Aortic stiffness is an age-related complication in the heart’s main artery (aorta) that can be an indicator of cardiovascular disease. They found that within an hour of the five-minute e-cig exposure, the short-term group’s arteries narrowed by approximately 30 percent. Vasodilation decreased as well.

E-cigarettes are often perceived to be less harmful than their traditional counterparts, but they could still expose the people who “vape” and those around them to harmful compounds. Long-term exposure to e-cig vapor – 20 hours per week over a period of eight months – also produced negative effects of chronic e-cig use, including aortic stiffness, which was more than twice as high as control groups exposed to normal room air. “These data indicate that e-cigs should not be considered safe and that they induce significant deleterious effects” on blood vessel function, say the authors.

Other Compounds

Just a few weeks ago, researchers reported in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology that heavy use and secondhand emissions could lead to inhaled levels of toxins that exceed set exposure limits. But under typical use, secondhand exposure would have a lower impact on health than second and third-hand cigarette smoke.

While e-cigarettes don’t produce tobacco smoke with its associated toxins, the vapors they generate contain other compounds that are potentially dangerous to human health. These include acrolein, a toxin and irritant to the eyes, skin and nasal passages; formaldehyde, which is recognized as a human carcinogen; and diacetyl, a substance that can cause respiratory problems. Hugo Destaillats and colleagues wanted to find out how much of these compounds users and others nearby might be inhaling.

Vapers’ intake of toxic compounds was modeled for scenarios in which different e-liquids were used with various vaporizers, battery power settings and vaping regimes. The study predicted that heavy users inhaling at a high rate of 250 puffs per day with devices at 3.8 to 4.8 volts would potentially inhale levels of acrolein – up to 10 milligrams per day; formaldehyde – up to 49 milligrams per day – and diacetyl – up to 0.5 milligrams per day – that exceed U.S. occupational limits of 1.3 milligrams per day, 0.1 milligrams per day and 7 micograms per day, respectively.

A model of indoor exposure also estimated that in bars where vaping is permitted, formaldehyde and acrolein levels would often exceed California reference exposure limits. In comparison to secondhand and thirdhand tobacco smoke, the researchers computed that “disability-adjusted life years” lost due to exposure to secondhand vapor would be one to two orders of magnitude lower under typical vaping use.

Hazards Of Cigarette Smoking

In June, Wake Forest Medical Center issued a press release stating that cigarette smoking presents far more health hazards than most people probably realize – inflicting damage throughout the body. The list of conditions that smoking can cause, contribute to, increase the risk of or worsen runs from high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and stroke to gum disease, arthritis and erectile dysfunction. Cigarette smoke does such diverse harm because it contains somewhere between 4,000 and 9,000 different chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic, including around 70 known to be carcinogenic.

“Some people are very health conscious even though they smoke and know a lot about the various problems associated with smoking,” said John Spangler, M.D., professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a recognized expert in tobacco use and smoking cessation. “But other people aren’t as informed, so, overall, the less publicized, more unusual effects of smoking are not well known. When you smoke, these various chemicals get into the bloodstream, are carried to all parts of the body and go right to the most susceptible cells. That’s why there’s such a wide array of negative effects from cigarettes.”

One of the main culprits is carbon monoxide, the gas produced by the incomplete burning of any material containing carbon. It reduces the ability of red blood cells to carry essential oxygen to tissues in the brain, heart and other parts of the body, which can result in problems ranging from shortness of breath to heart failure. Most of the other malevolent agents are the chemicals found in tar, the resinous matter generated by burning tobacco that builds up in the lungs.

The effects of these chemicals include inflaming the linings of blood vessels and other soft tissues, reducing the body’s ability to fight infections, slowing the healing process and causing the release of free radicals, unstable molecules that react with other molecules and produce different disorders, including cancer, in different types of cells throughout the body. There are also cancer-specific compounds in tar that directly damage cell DNA and generate tumors in the lungs and other organs, such as the pancreas, kidneys and liver.

What About Nicotine?

Surprisingly, tobacco’s best known component – nicotine – is not among its most lethal. The nicotine in cigarette smoke activates the brain circuits that regulate feelings of pleasure in the same way as other drugs, such as heroin. Nicotine levels peak within 10 seconds of inhalation but dissipate quickly, as do the associated feelings of reward, which causes the smoker to continue smoking to maintain the drug’s pleasurable effects and prevent withdrawal.

“Nicotine doesn’t cause the cancer or the emphysema,” Spangler said. “It causes the addiction. Nicotine isn’t totally harmless. It increases your blood pressure a little bit, for example, but its side effects are relatively minor and it’s generally regarded safe enough that the FDA allows it to be sold over the counter as a smoking-cessation aid. Even if you don’t inhale, the chemicals get into your body through your mouth, plus the second-hand smoke through your nose. And water pipes are not safer at all. The water cools the smoke so it doesn’t feel as irritating, but that’s all it does. The vast majority of the harmful chemicals are still in there. And there’s an incredible amount of second-hand smoke exposure with hookahs.”

Long-Term Health Risks

Research has shown that all cigarettes pose the same high level of health risks, including those marketed as low-yield, natural or additive-free. Other modes of smoking tobacco – cigars, pipes, hookahs – also present serious health hazards. E-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) produce vapor, not smoke, through the heating of nicotine-infused liquid, sometimes with flavoring added.

“The liquid in e-cigarettes is generally regarded as safe,” Spangler said. “There are long-term health concerns, and we don’t yet know what those may be, but we do believe that in the short term using e-cigarettes is safer than continued cigarette smoking.” However, he noted, the contents of the liquid, flavorings and heating elements in ENDS have not been closely regulated, and examples of all three have been found to contain hazardous elements. And the batteries of some electronic cigarettes have exploded, causing severe burns.

Quitting smoking is clearly the best way to avoid health risks. And it can have almost immediate benefits. The risk of heart attack, for example, begins to decrease within 48 hours of stopping to smoke.

E-Cigs Helping Americans Quit Smoking In Higher Numbers

University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center researchers recently performed a population-level analysis of national surveys conducted from 2001 to 2015 and found that in the United States the smoking cessation rate increased for the first time in 15 years. The study suggests e-cigarettes helped users of the electronic devices to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

The annual rate of people who quit smoking has hovered around 4.5 percent for years but in the 2014-15 Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplement (CPS-TUS) survey the smoking cessation rate increased to 5.6. The 1.1 percentage point increase is statistically significant, representing approximately 350,000 additional smokers who quit in a 12-month period.

Shu-Hong Zhu, PhD, UC San Diego professor of Family Medicine and Public Health and director of the Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, and team published their findings in the British Medical Journal on July 26, 2017. Zhu attributes the increased cessation rate, in part, to national tobacco control media campaigns that began airing in 2012 and an increase in the popularity of e-cigarettes that spiked around 2014.

“Our analysis of the population survey data indicated that smokers who also used e-cigarettes were more likely to attempt to quit smoking, and more likely to succeed,” said Zhu. “Use of e-cigarettes was associated both with a higher quit rate for individuals as well as at the population level; driving an increase in the overall number of people quitting.”

Link Between E-Cigs And Smoking Cessation

Zhu and team examined the relationship between e-cigarette use and smoking cessation using data collected by the US Census CPS-TUS, a national survey of adults 18 years or older conducted to obtain information about changes in the country’s use of tobacco products. It is based on the largest representative sample of smokers and e-cigarette users available, although it is not a randomized trial.

Survey participants were asked about their use of traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes over a 12-month period. Researchers found that 65 percent of smokers who used e-cigarettes within the previous 12 months had attempted to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, compared to 40 percent of smokers who did not use e-cigarettes. Overall, 8.2 percent of smokers who used e-cigarettes successfully quit smoking traditional cigarettes, while 4.8 percent of smokers who did not use e-cigarettes were successful.

“The cessation rate among those who did not use e-cigarettes remained the same compared to previous years,” said Zhu. “These data suggest that e-cigarettes play the role of a cessation tool.”

Earlier studies have also looked at e-cigarettes as a cessation tool, and some have concluded that e-cigarette use did not aid smokers in quitting. A key finding in this analysis, said Zhu, is that in 2014-15 more people using e-cigarettes were doing so intensively. In fact, more than 70 percent of people who had successfully quit smoking recently were still using e-cigarettes daily, which may help prevent relapse, wrote researchers.

“People who use e-cigarettes are a self-selected group,” said Zhu. “They may do better with e-cigarettes because they may already be motivated to quit. It is important to look at the entire population including users and nonusers to determine if the overall cessation rate went up or down.”

This study did not address the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use. Rather, the study focused on whether e-cigarettes contributed to people’s ability to quit smoking. The survey did not provide details about the type of e-cigarettes used nor if other smoking cessation tools, such as medications or pharmacotherapy, were simultaneously used. Clinical trials have shown that pharmacotherapy does help some individuals to quit smoking. However, in the years before e-cigarette use became widespread, the rates of smoking cessation among the entire population did not change significantly despite the promotion of pharmacotherapy, according to Zhu.

This study did not investigate if the use of e-cigarettes leads people to start smoking. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report recently reported that tobacco use among youth continues to decline rapidly while e-cigarette use increased during the same time period. The UC San Diego study focused on adults. It revealed that most e-cigarette users were already smoking cigarettes. Two percent of people who reported that they have never smoked cigarettes have tried e-cigarettes at some point.

“Other interventions that occurred concurrently, such as a national campaign showing evocative ads that highlight the serious health consequences of tobacco use and state tobacco control efforts, no doubt played a role,” said Zhu. “But analysis of the CPS-TUS’ most recent data presents a strong case that e-cigarette use contributed to an increase in smoking cessation at the population level.”