Healthy your Life


one heart

The worst in the business world is the situation of no decision.



Change for Life

eat well, move more, life longer

Welcome Heart


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quitting Smoking: Why to Quit and How to Get Help

What health problems are caused by smoking? 
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes a person’s overall health. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.
Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, lung disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), hip fractures, and cataracts. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and other airway infections. A pregnant smoker is at higher risk of having her baby born too early and with an abnormally low weight. A woman who smokes during or after pregnancy increases her infant’s risk of death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Millions of Americans have health problems caused by smoking. Cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke cause an estimated average of 438,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. Of these premature deaths, about 40 percent are from cancer, 35 percent are from heart disease and stroke, and 25 percent are from lung disease. Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in this country.
Regardless of their age, smokers can substantially reduce their risk of disease, including cancer, by quitting. Excerpted from text by the National Cancer Institute (NCI,, part of the National Institutes of Health, August 17, 2007.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Does tobacco smoke contain harmful chemicals?

Does tobacco smoke contain harmful chemicals?
Yes. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Breathing even a little tobacco smoke can be harmful. Of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful. The toxic chemicals found in smoke include hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), formaldehyde (used as an embalming fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), and toluene (found in paint thinners). Of the 250 known harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, more than 50 have been found to cause cancer. These chemicals include the following:
• Arsenic (a heavy metal toxin)
• Benzene (a chemical found in gasoline)
• Beryllium (a toxic metal)
• Cadmium (a metal used in batteries)
• Chromium (a metallic element)
• Ethylene oxide (a chemical used to sterilize medical devices)
• Nickel (a metallic element)
• Polonium-210 (a chemical element that gives off radiation)
• Vinyl chloride (a toxic substance used in plastics manufacture)
What are the immediate benefits of quitting smoking?
The immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial. Heart rate and blood pressure, which were abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal. Within a few hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline. (Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas found in cigarette smoke, reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.) Within a few weeks, people who quit smoking have improved circulation, don’t produce as much phlegm, and don’t cough or wheeze as often. Within several months of quitting, people can expect significant improvements in lung function.
What are the long-term benefits of quitting smoking?
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases, such as heart disease and lung disease, caused by smoking. People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness.
Quitting Smoking: Why to Quit and How to Get Help
Studies have shown that quitting at about age 30 reduces the chance of dying from smoking-related diseases by more than 90 percent. People who quit at about age 50 reduce their risk of dying pre- maturely by 50 percent compared with those who continue to smoke. Even people who quit at about age 60 or older live longer than those who continue to smoke.
How can I help someone I know quit smoking?
It’s understandable to be concerned about someone you know who currently smokes. It’s important to find out if this person wants to quit smoking. Most smokers say they want to quit. If they don’t want to quit, try to find out why. Here are some things you can do to help:
• Express things in terms of your own concern about the smoker’s health (“I’m worried about . . .”).
• Acknowledge that the smoker may get something out of smoking and may find it difficult to quit.
• Be encouraging and express your faith that the smoker can quit for good.
• Suggest a specific action, such as calling a smoking quitline, for help in quitting smoking.
• Ask the smoker for ways you can provide support.
Here are two things you should not do:
• Don’t send quit smoking materials to smokers unless they ask for them.
• Don’t criticize, nag, or remind the smoker about past failures.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Alcohol and Heart Disease: Learning Healthier Behaviors

Alcohol and Heart Disease: Learning Healthier Behaviors
Most people don’t think of alcohol as a drug but it is. Alcohol abuse
has destroyed more lives, broken apart more families, caused more
diseases, and contributed to more auto fatalities than any other drug.
It is the major contributing factor in the growing epidemic of domes-
tic violence.
More than half of all adults drink, but, not everyone who drinks is
an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a complex psychosocial disease. Those who
drink risk becoming an alcoholic. It impairs your judgment and af-
fects the way you think, feel, and communicate.
The cause of alcoholism is unknown, but, like heart disease, there
are both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. Having an al-
coholic parent is an uncontrollable risk. You are at risk if you are
angry, lonely, or sad or have few or no friends. Those who are poor or
under great stress are also at risk for alcoholism.
Alcohol addiction has four characteristics:
1. Alcoholism carries an overwhelming urge to repeat the experience of getting high on alcohol. At times, this urge
“Alcohol and Heart Disease,” Disease/alcohol_and_heart_disease.asp. © 2007 Women’s Heart Foundation ( Reprinted with permission. Women’s Heart Foundation is the only non-governmental nonprofit organization implementing heart dis-ease prevention and wellness programs in schools and is dedicated to improving survival and quality of life. Founded June 11, 1992.
  will go beyond the strength of a person’s will to resist, no matter how much risk or harm may be involved.
2. Satisfying the urge to drink becomes the top priority in the alcoholic’s life. This urge can become stronger than sexual needs, stronger than the need to satisfy hunger, stronger even than
the need for survival.
3. The urge to get high with alcohol becomes linked to all other aspects of life. Tension, depression, anger, and excitement can all trigger the desire to take a drink.
4. No matter how long an alcoholic has been sober, he or she will always be at risk for alcohol abuse. As time passes with sobriety, the urge to drink weakens and occurs less often, but it can return with ferocious and overpowering strength at any time.
Do you wonder if drinking may be a problem for you? Take this quiz to find out.
• Do you calm yourself down with a drink when under pressure at work?
• Do you ever have hangovers?
• Do family quarrels usually occur after you have had a drink or two?
• Does your family think you drink too much?
• Have you ever injured yourself or other persons after drinking?
• Are you often on, and off, the wagon?
• Have you ever driven while intoxicated?
• Do you avoid situations where it would be difficult for you to get a drink if you wanted one?
• When giving yourself a second or third drink, do you reassure yourself that you deserve it?
• If you know that you have to drive home in an hour, do you ever have a second drink anyway?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to look carefully at how alcohol is affecting your life and your relationships with others. Discuss your concerns with your primary care doctor.
Alcohol and Heart Disease: Learning Healthier Behaviors
How much alcohol is “safe” to drink on a daily basis? For some, no amount of alcohol is safe to take in. It is highly addictive and, as tolerance level increases, control decreases.
Alcohol’s Effect on the Heart
Numerous studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption helps protect against heart disease by raising HDL ([high-density lipoprotein] good) cholesterol and reducing plaque accumulations in your arteries. Alcohol also has a mild anti-coagulating effect, keeping platelets from clumping together to form clots. Both actions can reduce risk of heart attack but exactly how alcohol influences either one still remains unclear.
On the other hand, drinking more than three drinks a day has a direct toxic effect on the heart. Heavy drinking, particularly over time, can damage the heart and lead to high blood pressure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, (enlarged and weakened heart), congestive heart failure, and stroke. Heavy drinking puts more fat into the circulation in your body, raising your triglyceride level. That’s why doctors will tell you “If you don’t drink, don’t start.” There are other, healthier ways to reduce your risk of heart disease like eating right, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight.
What’s “Moderate Drinking” for one may be legally drunk for another. By nature’s design, a woman’s body metabolizes alcohol differently so that one alcoholic beverage in a woman is equal to two in a man. Alcohol remains in a woman’s body longer than in a man’s. Also, the older you are, the less efficient the body can metabolize alcohol. Many states have revised their drunk-driving laws and 0.08 percent is considered to be intoxicated. Women, especially women of small stature, must be alert to these laws and metabolic differences when drinking, and limit their alcohol intake accordingly.
Other Medical Consequences of Alcoholism
Studies show that alcoholics have a worse outcome after under-going surgical procedures. The reasons for this are not entirely clear. Poorer outcomes may be attributed to a poorer general state of health with malnutrition and the depressant effects of alcohol. Binge drinking (consuming large amounts of alcohol infrequently, such as on weekends) places one at risk for atrial fibrillation which may also be a factor in surviving surgery. Still another factor is that heavy drinking affects the body’s ability to stop bleeding. A liver damaged by alcohol has trouble making clotting proteins. Alcohol interacts with many drugs—both prescription and non- prescription. Mixing alcohol with your medicine can lead to serious untoward effects.
Alcoholism increases risk of cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer, and cancer of the liver. Long-term heavy use of alcohol destroys the cerebellum of the brain, causing irreversible brain damage and resulting in slowed thinking, an unsteady walk, and slurred speech. Alcoholism contributes to many diseases, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, malnutrition, pancreatitis, stomach ulcer, fetal alcohol syndrome, and heart disease, just to name a few.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Twelve Steps

The Twelve  Steps
1. We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could re-store us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Learning Healthier Behaviors
Cutting back on drinking or abstaining altogether isn’t easy. If you have a physical dependence on alcohol, you most likely need medical assistance to help you to break the habit. If you feel you just drink too much as a pattern of behavior you’ve slipped into, then, here are some tips to replace drinking behaviors with more healthful ones:
When you eat out, order up a glass of water and some food.
Drink the water right away so that you are not drinking alcohol just to quench a thirst. Having food to eat will slow the absorption rate of the alcohol and keep your hands busy.
Discover new places.
Sports bars usually have other activities you can busy yourself with while socializing. You can throw darts, play a game of pool, or challenge a friend to an air hockey match. There’s lots you can do besides just sitting at a bar and drinking.
Order up a non-alcoholic drink.
If you just ask for a glass of white grape juice in a wine glass, or you get a non-alcoholic beer in a beer mug, no one is the wiser but you.
Find supportive friends.
What do you have in common with your current friends besides drinking? What would you do or talk about if you weren’t drinking? If you don’t know, then it’s time to move on.
Get involved.
Women must give up their caregiving role as their children mature and leave home. This time period is often referred to as the empty nest. Rather than allowing an empty feeling to creep in, why not give of your time and energy to a worthy cause?
Relax at home with a sparkling ginger ale or tonic water with cranberry juice.
It’s festive, fun, and refreshing.
If you or someone you care about has a drinking problem, you can obtain information from the Yellow Pages by looking under Social Service Organizations for Alcoholic Anonymous. Al-Anon and Alateen are support groups for those living with an alcoholic. Read books and talk to your family physician or minister. Alcoholism is treatable but only if the person who is drinking is willing to admit she has a problem and is willing to accept help. Alcoholism is a disease that is characterized by denial, so, while you may not be able to change the behavior of someone you love, you still need to get help for yourself because alcoholism becomes a family illness.
Note: Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. A drink, according to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is roughly 1/2 ounce of absolute alcohol, a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12- ounce bottle of beer, or 1/2 ounce distilled spirits (80 proof). Each contains about the same amount of alcohol.
1. Spence, W.R., The Medical Consequences of Alcoholism, Health Edco®, ’96.
2. DeWitt, D.E., Romaine, D.S., Guide to a Happy, Healthy Heart, Alpha Books, ’98.