Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dealing With Withdrawal Symptoms While Quitting Smoking

Nowadays, there are a lot of stop smoking aids available to the smoking population. One of the most commonly used product is the prescription medication Zyban. Zyban was derived from an antidepressant medication which has been proven to reduce a person's craving to smoke. But because it doesn't make use of nicotine, smokers are likely to still experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms until the drug fully takes effect.

Smokers may experience common withdrawal symptoms such as headaches or nausea, or manifest cold-like symptoms while trying to ditch the habit. The problem with withdrawal symptoms is that they can be so discomforting that it can discourage a smoker from continuing to quit smoking. It is often because of this that they light up again to relieve themselves of the discomfort. Learning to deal with the withdrawal symptoms while in the process of quitting the habit may help smokers fulfill their goals of becoming smoke-free.

Coping techniques need not be so complicated, here are some examples of simple ways to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms:

  • If you feel the need to smoke, delay the urge. Cravings are only said to last for around three to five minutes and then they pass.
  • Drinking water when you feel a nicotine craving come on is said to help stave off the urge.
  • Look for a way to distract yourself from the craving. Ask a friend to accompany you to a walk in the park, anything to take your mind out of the strong urge to smoke.
  • Take a breather. Take a moment to close your eyes and take ten slow, deep breaths. Not only will you be able to pass off the craving, you'll also be feeling relaxed afterwards.
  • Talk it off. You don't have to avail of the service of a psychotherapist to let your feelings out. Call a friend or a loved one and tell them how you feel about what you're doing and what you're going through.

Understand that the withdrawal symptoms you're going through and the nicotine cravings you feel are all part of the quitting process. This is your body asking for the harmful substance in cigarettes that it has gotten used to. By knowing simple and easy ways to endure the withdrawal symptoms and the cravings, you strengthen your resolve in quitting your smoking habit and take one step closer to being completely smoke-free.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Role of Vitamin D

People with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of having breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other illnesses. While studies do not prove that lack of vitamin D causes disease, or that vitamin D supplements would lower the risk, still, it pays to know its benefits in our over-all health and wellness.

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions, such as to regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system.

According to The Vitamin D Council, a scientist-led group promoting vitamin D deficiency awareness, vitamin D might be found helpful in treating or preventing autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, hyperparathyroidism, high blood pressure, flu, neuromuscular diseases, and osteoporosis. However, there have been no definitive clinical trials.

The role of vitamin D in the life cycle of human cells is so important that our body is able to produce it by itself. However, this is only possible after sufficient exposure to sunlight. Allowing five to 30 minutes of sun exposure to the face, legs, or back, minus the sunscreen, for at least twice a week should be enough to give you all the vitamin D that is necessary.

On the other hand, too much direct sun exposure can expose you to potentially dangerous levels of cancer-causing UV radiation. That is why experts recommend getting vitamin D from foods or from supplements.

Unfortunately, there are very few foods that contain vitamin D, which includes cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines canned in oil, milk (regardless of whether it’s whole, nonfat, or reduced fat), egg yolks, beef or calf liver, cheese.

Surprisingly, almost all milk brands in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D. The same with many brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

Vitamin D comes in different forms. Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight. Supplements are made from the fat of lambs’ wool. Other supplements contain vitamin D2 or calciferol, which is derived from irradiated fungus.

WebMD nutritionist Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, recommends using the D3 form for those taking vitamin D supplements.

Resource Box : Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why Do People Get Holiday Blues?

Everybody is aware of the term holiday blues. In fact, it is quite a common experience, especially during the longest holiday of the year - the Christmas season - and is quite the contrary of what the holiday spirit's supposed to be.

Holiday blues come in different intensity. It can range from mild and short-term sadness, to serious clinical depression. Why do people get holiday blues, you might ask? Here are some of the common reasons:

1. Loneliness. This is commonly the case for people who are spending the holiday season away from family and friends. People who work overseas and cannot go home for the season often fall into deep thoughts of how their families and loved-ones are spending the holiday together while he's away.

2. Recollection of past holidays. For some people, memories of past holidays can greatly affect the mood of the current season. For people who are hitting a rough spot, a recollection of a past happy holiday can be very difficult to bear.

3. Failed tradition keeping. For people who are so used to spending their holidays the same way for as long as they could remember may feel a bit depressed if something changes in the way they celebrate the holidays.

4. Lost loved ones. We all know that holidays are best spent with families and friends. However, for people who have lost loved ones, the holidays can also serve as a reminder of the void the loss of their loved ones have made in their life.

5. Financial matters. The holidays are, undeniably, a time for gift-giving. Unfortunately there are people who cannot afford to spend money on such things. Worries of making enough to make ends meet or the ability (or inability) to give little tokens to loved ones can be saddening.

Although it is true that the holiday season is a time for fun and relaxation, parties and gatherings, you can't escape the reality that not all things can be forgotten - pain, responsibilities, bills, etc. But no matter how much worries of suffering you may be feeling, what matters is that you still keep your thoughts grounded and not go overboard to the point of developing clinical depression.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boosting Your Energy Against Unexplained Fatigue

When you experience fatigue, that all-out energy-drain feeling that no matter how enticing the new blockbuster movie or how fabulous the on-going shoe sale is, nothing succeeds in psyching yourself up to go.

In some cases, there are no classic signs of exhaustion, say aching muscles or getting tired due to overwork, and yet, there is a lack of enthusiasm to get into the activities you used to love doing. There is lack of concentration, a growing impatience, and an increasing level of frustration when confronted with even the simplest of challenges that come your way.

When fatigue interferes with your desire to workout, something is definitely wrong. Check your eating habits. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day is much better than skipping a meal, say lunch, and then eat a big dinner. Starving yourself affects your brain and leads to fatigue. However, eating too much at once slows your metabolism and makes you feel sloppy. On the other hand, eating frequently keeps your blood sugar level constant and maintains your energy level up. High-protein and high-fiber foods such as nuts and fruit are a good snack to give yourself a boost.

When you still find yourself too sluggard to move, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency. According to New York University nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, this mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including breaking down glucose into energy. “So when levels are even a little low, energy can drop,” said Heller.

The Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. conducted a study on women with magnesium deficiencies and found that the participants had higher heart rates and required more oxygen to do physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored. Heller said that in essence, when the body is working harder, over time, it can leave you feeling depleted.

To make sure that you're getting the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men, Heller gave the following suggestions:

Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews to your daily diet. Increase your intake of whole grains, particularly bran cereal. Eat more fish, especially halibut.

Resource Box: Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Fishy Advisory

Fish and shellfish are important to a heart-healthy and over-all healthy diet. However, when it comes to pregnancy and young children, a safety concern arises due to the mercury content found in fish.

Because mercury in fish could put an unborn, newborn, or young child at risk, Robert Goyer, MD, professor emeritus and chairman of pathology at University of Western Ontario, advises women, especially those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, to be cautious “because their unborn fetus is very sensitive to toxicity from mercury.”

Goyer, who participated in a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study evaluating the credibility of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mercury studies, said that they came up with the same results the EPA did.
“We don’t know which stage of fetal development is more critical -- whether it’s the third trimester or the moment of conception, or if it’s continuous exposure to mercury during pregnancy. But all this has been factored together in the EPA/FDA advisory,” said Goyer.

Last year, EPA and FDA issued a joint statement citing the health benefits of fish:

“Fish and shellfish contain high quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and children's proper growth and development. Thus, women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits,” said the EPA/FDA.

However, since mercury may have damaging effects to an unborn child or a young child’s brain development, “it may be prudent to modify your diet if you are: planning to become pregnant; pregnant; nursing; or a young child,” added the EPA/FDA statement.

The following EPA/FDA advisory is addressed especially to pregnant women, young women who may become pregnant, or women who are nursing:

  • Do not eat fish that contain high levels of mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.

  • Eat up to 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish varieties that are lower in mercury, including shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. (An average can of tuna is 6 ounces.)

  • Buy canned tuna carefully. Light tuna has less mercury than albacore (“white”) tuna. However, up to 6 ounces equivalent to one average meal of albacore tuna per week is safe.

  • Check local fish advisories. In the absence of advice, eat up to 6 ounces per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.

  • Apply these guidelines to young children: They can eat these low-mercury fish and shellfish. However, feed children smaller portions.

  • Frozen fish sticks and fast-food fish sandwiches are commonly made from fish that are low in mercury.

  • Tuna steaks generally contain higher levels of mercury than canned light tuna.
Resource Box: Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are You Adding Stress to Your Life?

A lot of people complain about the stress caused by their career, family, and social life. But most do not realize that a lot, if not all, of the stress they experience are actually self-inflicted. So the next time you feel like venting your frustrations or complaining about the stresses in your life, take a step back and see if you are guilty of the following factors that contribute to self-inflicted stress:

Being a Type A person

People with Type A personalities are generally identified as being a perfectionist who is strict and rigid with other people, but most of all, with themselves. Being a Type A person means that you are extremely competitive and obsessed with work. But most of all, you are extremely conscious of time and are aggressive. You often get frustrated while waiting in line, interrupt others often, walk or talk at a rapid pace, and are always painfully aware of the time and how little of it you have to spare. You are also prone to impatience, rudeness, and being easily upset over small things. Aside from straining your relationships with the people you work and live with, all that rushing and competition are bound to add stress to your life.


More than seeing the glass as half-empty, pessimism refers to a wider world view or way of thinking that disables you to see things as they really are and attribute to them negative things. As such, you undermine your belief in yourself, suffer from poorer health outcomes, have fewer positive life events, and experience negative consequences. These repercussions of pessimism can cause and add more stress to your already stressful life.

Negative Self Talk

A lot of people resort to self talk for a number of things. Whether it is to talk themselves into doing or not doing something, work out a problem in their heads, or give themselves a boost, a lot of people find talking and listening to their inner voices useful. If you are one of these people who indulge in self talk, take a moment to listen to what your inner voice is saying. It might be telling you about things that are not really there in the first place like attributing malevolent intent to your boss's praise about your work or your cousin's willingness to house-sit for you in a pinch. Negative self-talk will cause you to miss out on opportunities and benefits while increasing your stress by driving you to worry about non-existent problems.

Poor Interpersonal Skills

Do you feel that other people are just hindrances to achieving your goal? Or do you find it difficult to relate to other people? Poor interpersonal skills can strain your relationship with your family, friends, and colleagues. This can cause additional emotional burden and stress.

If you find yourself guilty of these factors, it may be time to get your stress in check lest you risk suffering from the following effects of stress:

  • Excess weight or obesity. People who are stressed often seek comfort in food and are unmindful of the healthy choices. Even if you can easily buy weight loss drugs online, they will be of no use if you make unhealthy food choices and lack exercise.
  • Chronic diseases. A lot of chronic diseases and disorders like heart problems and depression are rooted in stress.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Handling Schizophrenic Episodes Smartly

Schizophrenia affects just a percent of the American population. But given how large the population is, the number of patients is quite significant. People who suffer from it are often branded as crazy or insane because they seem to live in a world where reality and perception are distorted. Movies that depict the condition shows the disorder in a funny and crazy light – but patients and their caregivers will attest, there is nothing fun about having the disorder.

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that causes imbalances in the brain chemicals. As a result, people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may have difficulty in recognizing what is real from those that are make believe. Disembodied voices, nonexistent malevolent intents, and imagined plots are all part and parcel of a schizophrenic existence. As a result, people with schizophrenia often withdraw from society, feel extreme agitation, and are always afraid. It is a difficult situation to live with, but aside from the patients, there are other persons who suffer from schizophrenia like the caregivers.

If you are living with a schizophrenic, it is inevitable that you will find yourself on the receiving end of a schizophrenic episode. Aside from keep a stock of cheap Geodon and Abilify from an online pharmacy, here are some tips on handling schizophrenic episodes smartly:

1.Be aware of pre-episode symptoms and signs.

It is rare for a schizophrenic person to go suddenly ballistic. Often, the patient will exhibit some signs that there is an impending episode before the crisis actually occurs. Some signs to watch out for include sleeplessness, suspiciousness, ritualistic preoccupation with certain objects or situations, and unpredictable outbursts. If the patient has stopped taking medications, gently suggest a visit to the doctor.

2.Stay calm and do nothing to increase the patient's agitation.

Your objective is to keep the person as calm as possible and this will not be helped by screaming or shouting. Remember that during an episode, the patient is in an alternate reality where anything is possible. The light fixtures may be talking to him or there are snakes slithering on the floor. It is likely that the patient will act out his hallucination by stamping around or trying to shatter the light fixtures. Instead of panicking and attempting to stop him, talk to the patient in a calm voice and play along with his hallucination. For example, climb a desk if you have to “avoid the snakes.” If you are alone, call someone to stay with you until professional help arrives.

3.Forgo authoritative approaches.

Most often than not, patients feel that they cannot control what is going on when they are undergoing an episode. Instead of compounding this feeling by giving authoritative orders to calm down and go with the medical team, opt for a gentle approach. Talk in a calm and soothing voice and try to get the patient to go along voluntarily with the medical team. When necessary, play along with the hallucination (i.e. telling him that the medical team will get rid of the snakes and both of you need to stay somewhere safe).

As the patient's caregiver or companion, your goal is to help give him a semblance of control over the situation – a feeling he is often deprived of due to his paranoia and imagined fears. By being prepared and handling the situation calmly, you can help the patient get medical help without accident on his and your part.

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Tell If Your Loved One Has Paranoid Personality Disorder

If you are in the position of being close to a person with Paranoid Personality Disorder, trying to understand his/her obnoxious and oftentimes repulsive behavior can be really challenging. Because of their self-centeredness, they are not liable to put themselves in other people's shoes. They have a one-track and one-sided mind that allows them to see and consider only their own point of view. It is this kind of attitude that makes others avoid them.

You might think that they are aware of what they are doing. But the truth is, because it is a disorder, they are oblivious to it. Pathetically, they are helpless to deal with their situation. It comes naturally to them. Being burdened with Paranoid Personality Disorder, makes them very suspicious to the point that they become self-centered and distrustful of almost everyone including their own loved ones. This condition is more common among men than in women, and it usually manifests itself during early adulthood. Thus, this period could be considered as akin to the age of anxiety for them. For you to tell if your loved one could be struck by Paranoid Personality Disorder, read on. Recognizing the symptoms early will allow a sufferer to seek help as soon as possible, giving him/her tools to cope with this distressing condition.

Ever Suspicious

A person with Paranoid Personality Disorder is unable to trust anyone. They are always on the defensive, feeling as if they are surrounded and overwhelmed by threats everywhere they go. To confirm their suspicions, they are always in search of proof, and whether or not this could be seen as one, they would only adhere to what they want to think and believe. They cannot shake off their fears regardless of evidence to disprove it. For married sufferers, this fear could develop into a senseless jealousy.

Overly Sensitive

Since people with Paranoid Personality Disorder are always on their guard, expect them to be too sensitive about things for fear of potential harm on their part. This makes them very defensive and belligerent. Even if they are the ones to blame, they could never ever accept that they are at fault. They would always react in this manner whether the flak hurled at them is big or small. On the contrary, they are overly critical of other people, and has a strong inclination to blow matters out of proportion.

Distant and Unemotional

Aside from being belligerent and staunch, sufferers are emotionally detached and distant from other people especially their loved ones. They shy away from any form of intimacy and are prone to putting up a cold, aloof front. Even if their point of view hardly makes sense, they still see themselves as correct because they uphold themselves to be logical and objective-minded individuals. Their naturally cold nature keeps them from admitting that they are in need of help. More often than not, these people are just regarded as eccentric personalities. The tendency for those who live with them is just to broaden their understanding and tolerate their annoying tendencies.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Defend Yourself Against the Effects of Second-Hand Smoke

No matter how health conscious you are, if you are exposed to the deadly fume that is second-hand smoke, then you are not exempted from its deadly effects. Smoking does not only threaten the health of smokers themselves, but also those people who inhale their smoke. For this reason, it is perfectly understandable why some non-smokers get miffed when people near them smoke.

Although they could sometimes come across as offensive in their approach when they reprimand or tell smokers about their discomfort, non-smokers actually have every right to do so, for their health is also endangered. On the part of smokers who still persist with their deadly habit, regardless of having been informed of the bad effects of smoking, they should learn to be considerate of others. Since we all thrive in the same atmosphere and smoking is air-borne, it is impossible for others not to inhale the harmful fumes they inhale and puff out.

Smoking bans in certain public places and even cities are especially helpful. This works for the good of everyone concerned whether they are smokers or non-smokers. But since this is not implemented in some locations, there is a possibility that we still would inhale second-hand smoke in other places. So if the smokers (who are often inconsiderate in their actions) would not be deterred from their habit even at the expense of others, it is up to non-smokers to do some serious moves to defend themselves against the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

  • Impose a smoking ban within the premises of your own home. Do not provide ashtrays, so as not to encourage smoking. Aside from this, ask members of your family and visitors not to smoke while they are inside the house. Even if the windows are open, it does not provide enough ventilation to disperse or move the harmful fumes out of your home. Using your air conditioner would not do much either. It could clear the smoke, but it literally has no effect or whatsoever in obliterating the deadly particles or keep the from circulating in your home's atmosphere.

  • Push for the enforcement of a smoking ban in your office or any place of work. Inhaling second-hand smoke can cause cancer and a multitude of other illnesses. The best way to keep everybody protected is too make the entire area a smoke-free environment.

  • When it comes to visiting facilities, make sure they are smoke-free.

  • Support smoke-free establishments, and inform managers of how pleased you are for their concern to their customers and employees. Nowadays, there are a lot of restaurants and establishments that are smoke-free.

  • In the case that you are in the same place as a smoker and there is no way you could keep them from doing their deadly habit, just ascertain that you stay as far away from them as you possibly could.

  • Should your spouse or any of your relatives smoke, tell them to do it outside. Better yet, encourage them to kick the habit all together. Quit smoking.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Effects of Second-Hand Smoke

If you think you are safe from contracting smoking-related ailments because you are a non-smoker, think again. Environmental tobacco smoke or second-hand smoke poses health risks to those who are unfortunate enough to inhale it from smokers who often lead with their chins. Composed of smoke emitted from the lit end of a cigarette/cigar/pipe and that exhaled by the smokers themselves, non-smokers who are within their range are given no choice but to breathe it in since it is airborne. This repulsive smoke remains in the atmosphere for hours long after a cigarette has been put out and is likely to either generate or aggravate its perilous effects. Among these are asthma, respiratory infections, and cancer.

What makes second-smoke dangerous?

Undoubtedly, with a content of 400 chemicals, 50 of which induces cancer, second-hand smoke is toxic. In fact, inhaling it through the smoke given out by smokers is more potent than if you were the one smoking it directly. This is attributed to the fact that you are likely to inhale twice as more nicotine and five times more carbon monoxide than the smoker himself or herself.

Prolonged and frequent exposure to second-hand smoke results to an increased susceptibility to contracting lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, heart disease, stroke, and breathing problems such as coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma. People who are always exposed to housemates who are smokers have a 30% higher chance of being struck with lung cancer an/or heart disease. In fact, it only takes anywhere between 8-20 minutes for physical manifestations to surface if a person inhales second-hand smoke.

During this time, he or she is likely to experience a faster heart rate, a decrease in the amount of oxygen supplied to the brain, and narrowed blood vessels; resulting to a rise in blood pressure, thus, prompting the heart to pump harder. As for pregnant women, it ups the risk of having miscarriages and delivering babies with low birth weight.

What dangers does second-hand smoke pose to children and infants?

Studies have shown that in one out of five homes, children and infants are exposed to secondhand-smoke on a daily basis. And because their lungs are still in the developing stages, exposure to this harmful fume weighs more heavily on them than it does to adults. Infants, in particular, are the most vulnerable since their breathing has greater speed than that of adults. Aside from this, they have an increased chance of dying due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS), more commonly known as crib death. Research has revealed that infant death due to second-hand smoke is three times greater than death related to child abuse or homicide.

Second-hand smoke is perilous particularly to children stricken with asthma. Even a slight exposure to it would be sufficient enough to set off an asthma attack. And as for those who are free of it, they would eventually contract it if they frequently breathe in second-hand smoke. Stop smoking

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stroke Prevention Tips

Before, suffering from stroke means a funeral after. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within a few minutes, brain cells begin to die – and so does the person. More than a disease, stroke is really a medical emergency, one that should be given attention promptly. Without prompt medical attention, there is a higher risk of severe brain damage and complication.

While fewer people have died because of stroke in the past 20 or so years, it is still a threat. Despite effective treatments, prevention is still the best recourse when it comes to stroke. If you want to prevent stroke or lower your risks of suffering from it, here are some tips:

1.Talk to your doctor about the risks of you suffering from stroke.

Knowing your risk factors and adopting a healthy lifestyle are the best steps you can take to prevent a stroke. Talk to your doctor and get yourself checked to identify your risk factors. Risk factors like fluctuating blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and high blood pressure can be controlled if you take the right steps. Doing so will make it easier for you to practice prevention measures.

2.Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.

Quitting smoking reduces your risk of stroke. Several years after quitting, a former smoker's risk of stroke is the same as that of a nonsmoker. However, it is also wise to keep your exposure to second-hand smoke to a minimum – especially if you are a nonsmoker. Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS as second-hand smoke is more commonly known is just as dangerous as smoking itself due to the nicotine and chemicals present in it.

3.Keep a healthy weight.

Being overweight contributes to other risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Eating a balanced diet can limit your consumption of fats that can make your cholesterol levels soar. Exercising also helps you lose weight, control diabetes and reduce stress. Gradually work up to 30 minutes of activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, or bicycling on most, if not all, days of the week for a no-fail workout.

4.Reduce stress by practicing stress management techniques.

Stress can cause a temporary spike in your blood pressure, a risk factor for brain hemorrhage, or long-lasting hypertension. It can also increase your blood's tendency to clot, which may elevate your risk of stroke. Simplifying your life, exercising, and using relaxation techniques are all approaches that you can learn to reduce stress. Deep breathing, meditation, and sipping tea are just some of the most common stress reduction techniques.

5.Manage preexisting conditions.

Chronic illnesses like heart problems and diabetes increase your risks of stroke. Managing these conditions and keeping them under control can certainly help you lower stroke risks. Continue treatment for these conditions but be certain to ask your doctor if the prescription drugs you are using for these diseases are not increasing your risks for stroke.

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why Smoking Kills

Smoking is one habit that is far from easy to break. But no matter how great the difficulty is, it is imperative. You cannot continue ignoring all the warnings given to you because once you come down with an illness because of it, remember: you are not the only one who is going to be affected, but also the people closest to you.

The bad effects of smoking affects almost every organ in your body. All the possible illnesses it could generate automatically put the smokers health at high risk. Statistics have confirmed that the drawbacks of smoking to our health are accountable for an estimated 5,000,000 worldwide deaths annually.

Moreover, one out of every five deaths in the US is due to a smoking related illness. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of death in the world, outranking AIDS, drug abuse, murders, suicides, and vehicular accidents. Individuals who have been smoking throughout their entire lives have a 50% chance of dying from smoke-related illnesses, and these are likely to occur when they reach middle age. Also, it has been identified that tobacco smoking is the culprit behind an estimated 25 kinds of ailments.

Although most of us are already aware of how the effects of smoking can shorten the lifespan of an individual, not all of us are particularly aware of the nitty-gritty, morbid details surrounding these physical illnesses incurred from smoking. Here they are:

Ailments Affecting the Heart and Circulatory System

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm results from smoking.

  • A person who smokes cigarettes is twice more susceptible to having strokes.

  • Smoking cigarettes limits the arteries, which leads to a reduced circulation.

  • Individuals who smoke have a 10%percent higher chance of contracting peripheral vascular disease.


  • Individuals who smoke are more susceptible to develop cancer of the following organs: stomach, pancreas, kidney, cervix, lung, esophagus, pharynx, oral cavity, larynx, and the bladder.

  • Acute myeloid leukemia is caused by smoking.

  • It has been found out that cancers related to smoking ranks is more likely among adult African-American males than in any other race in the world.
  • 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women all resulted from smoking.
  • Research has divulged that the danger of dying from lung cancer among smokers is 23 times higher with men and 13 times more with women. This is considerably higher in comparison to non-smokers.

Respiratory Ailments and Other Illnesses

  • Smokers have a 10% higher chance of contracting and dying from chronic obstructive lung disease than non-smokers. Cigarette smoking has been identified as responsible for 90% of deaths due to chronic obstructive lung disease.
  • The bone density of post-menopausal women who smoke is considerably lower than that of women who do not smoke. In addition, women smokers are more susceptible to suffering from hip fractures as compared to those who do not smoke.
  • Smoking cigarettes is known to result to a lot of negative reproductive and early childhood effects. These include: stillbirth, low birth weight, pre-term delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Resource Box:
Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Great Skin for the Winter Season

Keeping your skin healthy during the cold winter months can be quite challenging. The steep drop in the temperature can take its toll on our skin too, causing it to lose moisture. Although there is a multitude of creams and lotions that would guarantee replenishment of lost moisture, it is still best if we try to prevent it from happening in the first place.

The changes in season would have a direct effect on the condition and eventually the appearance of our skin. If skin tends to become more oily during the summer season, the opposite occurs once the colder months step in. Dry skin is particularly common during winter. Having cracked, dry skin makes it more susceptible to contracting infections. These radical differences and their effects on our skin generate a need for us to also take note of specific measures in order to ensure that we maintain the good condition of our skin regardless of the season. For this reason, dermatologists urge us to alter our skin care regimen to accommodate the demands of our skin during the harsh, cold weather. This is not only to help keep our skin healthy, but also to encourage the natural defenses of our body.

Below are some all natural skin care tips to help you keep your skin in tip-top shape despite the freezing weather.

  • As soon as the humidity inside your home falls below 60 percent, which already means the air is dry, use a humidifier. Doing so would not only keep your skin from becoming chapped and dry, but it also prevents your nasal passages from drying out.

  • No matter how freezing the temperature gets, avoid hot showers. Hot water can sap moisture from your skin, and this combined with the freezing temperature would only dry out your skin even more. Instead opt for quick lukewarm showers. When you're done, pat the skin dry with a towel and then apply a moisturizing lotion to lock in moisture. It is best if the skin is moisturized within three minutes after stepping out of the shower.

  • Use creams and lotions containing any of the following ingredients: glycerin, dimethicone, petrolatum, linoleic acids, ceramides, or mineral oil. These ensure that your skin stays moisturized during the cold weather.

  • Don't forget your lips. They too need moisture. Use lip balms with sunscreen or lipsticks packed with moisturizers and sunscreen to prevent them from becoming dry and chapped.

  • Sunblock should be a year-round skin staple especially one that shields you from UVA and UVB rays. Research has confirmed that ultraviolet rays can be specifically strong on a calm winter day. Even if if the sun is hidden behind clouds, the UV rays can still permeate and wreak damage on exposed skin.

  • If your nails are brittle, keep them moisturized well and use nail polish containing nail protein. Also, it is better if you keep your nails short. This prevents fungus from getting in.

  • Change your wet clothes and shoes as soon as you can. Eczema can result from wet clothes and shoes that come in contact with skin.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can Hypnosis Help You Quit Smoking?

After having failed at several attempts to ditch the nasty smoking habit once and for all, by now, you must have already reached the point in which you are on the verge of resigning yourself to the fact that you are doomed to have a pair of putrid lungs in the not so very distant future. Quitting smoking is never as easy as taking a walk in the park. Like many smokers before you, you have realized how frustrating it can be to keep on trying and always end up with no results. But don't lose hope. If all else fails, maybe it is high time for you to try hypnosis.

How Hypnosis Can Help

The first image that comes to mind upon mentioning the words “hypnosis” and “hypnotist” is that of someone lulling his or her subject to sleep by swinging a stopwatch hanging from a chain to and fro before the eyes of the latter. This has lent a somewhat bogus and fantastical connotation to the idea behind hypnotism. But in reality, the science behind hypnosis and its benefits are not based on quackery, magic, or sorcery. And although it is unconventional, it is still a long way off from being categorized as fantastic.
Hypnosis makes use of the advantageous effects of suggestion. Proven to be a powerful and most commonly used tool, one very good way of illustrating the method of suggestion is through advertising. Even if advertising does not directly make us of hypnosis per se, it still uses suggestion in promoting products and convincing target markets to patronize them. Hypnosis is also reliant on the same precept. But if you are to use hypnosis as a means of quitting smoking, then you have to open your mind to the fact that the power of suggestion can work on you.

Meeting Your Expectations

However, do not expect that once you undergo hypnosis, you would automatically have a radical change in your way of thinking. It has been reported that most people who have undergone hypnosis to help them kick the smoking habit occasionally experienced cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This only proves further how hard it is to stop smoking. It is a slow and tedious process requiring patience and perseverance on the part of the person involved. But this does not mean to say that hypnosis is defective. On the contrary, it could be as equally effective and at times even more effective than the other measures suggested for this particular problem. Like them, it is not an instant cure, moreover, a miracle cure that can automatically reverse a smoker's way of thinking. Nevertheless, if you are dead serious about junking this bad and lethal habit for good, then hypnosis could be one effective method that can work for you. But as with every suggested method or program, make sure that you enter armed with determination, perseverance, a willingness to change, and above all, a realistic perception that it is not perfect, thus, necessitating time and consistency to work efficiently.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.