Wellness Database: Smoking
Smoking cigarettes is one of the very worst things a person can do to their health and wellness. Smoking dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and many types of cancer including cancer of the lungs and throat. Smokers suffer from increased oxidative stress and require additional antioxidants to neutralize free radicals. Smoking can cause erectile dysfunction, increases stress levels, inhibits quality sleep, and leads to the development of a variety of diseases.
Smoking Reduces The Body’s Reserve of Antioxidants
Summary: This study investigated the differing negative effect of smoking on the body's reserve antioxidants and cholesterol metabolism in men versus women, using Coenzyme Q(10) (CoQ(10)) as a biomarker for systemic oxidative stress and cholesterol levels. Subjects were cigarette smokers (n=55; females=25, males=30) and non-smokers (n=51; females=25, males=26,) 21 to 45 years, with no history of alcohol abuse or chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or obesity. Coenzyme Q(10) plasma concentrations, fasting plasma glucose and lipid levels were determined. Authors observed that CoQ(10) concentrations were more decreased in smokers, especially in females, than in non-smokers, that female smokers exhibited more of a decrease in plasma concentrations of total cholesterol and atherogenic ratios than male counterparts. Both males and females showed increased plasma triglyceride concentrations. Results suggest that adverse effects of smoking on body reserve of antioxidants and cholesterol metabolism are greater in females than in males.
Fruit and Vegetable Supplements Reduce Oxidative Stress in Smokers
Summary: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 101 apparently healthy heavy smokers (smoking more than 20 cigarettes/day for more than 10 years, median age: 47 years, range 41-57 years; 54 male), 3 months of supplementation with either a fruit and vegetable mixed juice powder or a fruit, vegetable and berry mixed juice powder was found to be associated with a significant decrease in total cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol, and fMDA levels, along with a slight increase in bMDA concentrations, and a significant decrease in Oxy-I. The authors conclude, "Intervention with both nutraceutical formulations resulted in improvement in some oxidative alterations attributed to long-term cigarette smoking."
Dr. Andrew Myers: Healthy Vision
Our eyes are incredible organs that provide us detailed information about the world around us. For anyone, the loss of vision can be a crippling concern.
When we think about vision loss, the most common cause is known as macular degeneration. The macula is the area of the eye where images are focused. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe visual loss in the United States in persons fifty-five years or older. Nearly 150,000 Americans are legally blind from age-related macular degeneration with 20,000 new cases occurring each year.
The most common risk factors for macular degeneration are aging, smoking, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and high blood pressure. All of these risk factors are believed to contribute to decreased blood and oxygen supply to the eye (specifically the retina) which leads to increased damage to the macula. The degeneration of the macula is the result of free radical damage, similar to the damage that occurs in the formation of cataracts.
As with many health concerns that progress as we age, macular degeneration can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because exposure to free radicals is a major factor in macular degeneration, avoiding or quitting smoking is of the utmost importance. High blood pressure and the progression of heart disease is also a major risk factor, so practicing heart healthy habits is critical.
Here are some simple tips to maintaining healthy vision:
- Get regular eye exams. Per recommendations from the American Optometric Association, if you have no risk factors for vision loss, schedule eye exams every two to three years until age 40, every two years between ages 40 and 60, and annually after age 60. If you have diabetes, family history of eye problems, or are African-American, you may need more frequent vision exams. People of African-American descent are at greater risk for glaucoma.
- Wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Worn consistently, these sunglasses can block ultraviolet and other rays that contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration. Sunglasses are especially important when near snow or water, which intensify the sun’s harmful rays.
- Eat healthy food. Snack on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins that can prevent eye disease. Green leafy veggies such as kale, collard and mustard greens and spinach contain lutein and carotenes, which help to protect from macular degeneration. Fresh blueberries are a rich source of proanthocyanadins, an antioxidant pigment that is protective to the macula.
- Don’t smoke. If you do, try to quit. Smoking can injure the eyes in many ways, increasing the risk of optic nerve damage, cataracts, macular degeneration and other disorders.
- Give your eyes a break. Any activity that requires your eyes to focus for a long time can keep you from blinking enough. Prevent eye strain on the road by stopping and resting your eyes or giving them a drink of artificial tears if they are fatigued or irritated. Make sure to drink plenty of water – dehydration has a significant effect on your eyes.
- Keep fit. Maintaining a healthy body contributes to eye health. Regular exercise increases circulation and lowers blood pressure, which can decrease the risk of eye diseases. Seeing your primary care physician yearly can help rule out systemic problems such as heart disease and diabetes, both of which affect the eyes.
- Supplement your diet. Adding a daily multivitamin in addition to a lutein supplement can provide additional nutritional resources for promoting eye health. A number of very good research studies have demonstrated the importance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients, like lutein in protecting and enhancing vision.
Supplementation With Vitamins Extends Life
Summary: In a study involving 10,837 males between the ages of 50 and 69 years who smoked at least 5 cigarettes/day at baseline, and who were followed up with past the age of 65 years, vitamin E reduced as found to be associated with a 24% reduction in mortality when subjects were 71 years of age and older, while having no such effect on those 65-70 years of age. In subjects who smoked less than a pack of cigarettes/day, and whose vitamin C intakes were higher than the median, vitamin E extended the lifespan by 2 years at the upper limit of the follow-up age span. The authors conclude, "This is the first study to strongly indicate that protection against oxidative stress can increase the life expectancy of some initially healthy population groups. Nevertheless, the lack of effect in 80% of this male cohort shows that vitamin E is no panacea for extending life expectancy."
Reference: "Vitamin E may affect the life expectancy of men, depending on dietary vitamin C intake and smoking," Hemila H, Kaprio J, Age Ageing, 2011 March; 40(2): 215-20. (Address: Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, POB 41, Helsinki FIN_00014, Finland).
Report: Preventable Chronic Diseases Are Leading Killer Worldwide
The United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) released its first ever report on non-communicable diseases. Diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity have reached global epidemic proportions and currently lead to more deaths than all other diseases combined. Three out of five deaths were caused by a chronic disease in 2008. Deaths caused by these diseases are expected to increase by 15% in the next decade - from 36 million in 2008 to 44 million in 2020. In 2030, it will cross the 50 million mark.
The study documents four critical risk factors found in 80% of Chronic Diseases. These four items will almost certainly be detrimental to your health long-term:
Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17 million people annually, followed by cancer (7.6 million), respiratory disease (4.2 million), and diabetes (1.3 million). These four groups of diseases account for around 80% of all NCD deaths, and share four common risk factors:
- tobacco use
- physical inactivity
- the harmful use of alcohol
- poor diets
Download the World Health Organization report here: http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd_report2010/en/
Smoking Cessation Improves Cholesterol Profile
The benefits of quitting smoking are very well documented. This new study shows that quitting smoking can benefit your cholesterol profile which improves cardiovascular function.
The researchers found that those who stopped smoking experienced an average rise of about 5 percent, or 2.4 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), in HDL cholesterol.
Abstainers also experienced an increase in large HDL particles, which are important for lowering heart disease risk as well, report the researchers in the American Heart Journal.
The effects were somewhat stronger in women. However, it did not appear to matter how many cigarettes were smoked at the start of the study: heavy smokers enjoyed the same HDL benefit as lighter smokers after they quit.
Quitting Smoking Eases Cancer Patient Pain
Quitting smoking improves the quality of life of people with cancer according to this new study. Smokers often believe that it helps them deal with pain but in fact it is causing pain.
Patients with cancer who continue to smoke despite their diagnosis experience greater pain severity than their counterparts who quit or who have never smoked, according to new research published in the January 2011 issue of Pain.
Not only is their pain more severe, but it interferes more with their activities of daily living, lead author Joseph W. Ditre, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Texas A & M University in College Station, told Medscape Medical News.
"Many smokers, when they get cancer, feel that smoking is one of the only pleasures they have left to them and refuse to quit," he said in an interview. "But our research suggests that quitting has definite benefits. It’s one more thing that doctors can tell their patients to help them stop smoking."
Read more: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/734934
Pregnant Women Often Deny Smoking
Smoking is one of the worst things a pregnant woman can do to herself and the child she is carrying. Smoking while pregnant commonly causes death in newborns.
Overall, about one in four women who smoke while pregnant deny it, a new study hints. The numbers could be even higher in certain groups of women, like those in their early 20s.
In the United States, smoking by moms-to-be is one of the most common preventable causes of illness and death among infants, Dr. Patricia Dietz from the division of reproductive health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues note in their report.
Tips to Quit Smoking
Smoking may be the number one killer in the world, leading to heart disease and cancer among other conditions. There is absolutely nothing good that can come from inhaling clouds of poison. Cigarettes do not relieve stress, they create it through nicotine withdrawal. Smoking costs thousands of dollars a year, even before counting in the cost of healthcare for the inevitable diseases that are created.
Check out these great tips to quit smoking cigarettes:
CDC Stats on Adult Cigarette Smoking in the United States
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths or 1 of every 5 deaths in the United States each year.
An estimated 46 million people or 20.6% of all adults (aged 18 years and older) in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is more common among men (23.1%) than women (18.3%).
Check out the latest statistics from the CDC on Adult Cigarette Smoking in the United States: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm
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Nutrients and Diet
Alpha Lipoic Acid Amino Acids Antioxidants Arginine Calcium Carnitine Carotene Chromium Picolinate Citrulline Coenzyme Q10 DHEA Fat Fiber Fruit and Vegetables Garlic Ginkgo Biloba Glucosamine Vegetarian Diet Green Tea Iron Lutein Lycopene Magnesium Mediterranean Diet Multivitamins Nitric Oxide Nuts Olives Omega 3 Fatty Acids Policosanols Polyphenols Pomegranate Probiotics Pycnogenol Red Yeast Rice Salt Saffron Selenium Soy Theanine Vitamin A Vitamin B Vitamin C Vitamin D Vitamin E Vitamin K White Tea Zinc