Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tied To Lower Drug Costs

heartdisease

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Tied to Lower Drug Costs

People with heart disease spend a lot less on medications when they take steps to lower their risk of complications by doing things like getting enough exercise, avoiding cigarettes and keeping their blood pressure in check, a U.S. study suggests.

For the study, researchers focused on adults diagnosed with the most common type of heart disease, known as atherosclerosis, which happens when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up on artery walls.

 

When these patients did as much as they could to avoid so-called modifiable risk factors for heart disease – inactivity, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and diabetes – their total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures were $1,400, the study found.

But patients who did little to modify these risk factors had total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures of $4,516, researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

 

“Individuals who are unwilling to modify their lifestyles so as to have a favorable risk factor profile would most likely resort to medications to control the risk factors,” said lead study author Dr. Joseph Salami of the Center for Health Care Advancement and Outcomes at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables.

 

“A person getting little or no exercise has a higher risk of obesity,” Salami said by email. “Someone obese is more likely to have diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.”

 

For the study, researchers examined 2012 and 2013 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a national snapshot of spending based on surveys of almost 76,000 American patients, families, doctors and employers. The total pharmaceutical costs, reported in 2013 dollars, include patients’ out-of-pocket fees like co-payments and co-insurance as well as the portion of the tab covered by insurance or other sources, Salami said.

Among the survey participants, 4,248 adults aged 40 or older had atherosclerosis, representing about 21.9 million people in the U.S. population. They were 68 years old on average, and 45 percent were women.

 

Overall, average annual drug costs for each participant were $3,432. About a third of this was for cardiovascular disease drugs and another 14 percent was spent on diabetes medicines.

 

The remaining expenditures – more than half of the total – were for non-cardiovascular disease and non-diabetes drugs and were significantly associated with the modifiable risk factors, the study team notes.

Nationwide, this adds up to annual drug spending of $71.6 billion for patients with atherosclerosis, researchers estimated.

 

One limitation of the study is that it might overestimate expenditures because it’s possible some people prescribed medications for heart disease might be taking them for other reasons, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on the type of insurance patients’ had or for individual characteristics of patients, doctors or pharmacists that might influence drug costs.

 

Costs should be considered in the context of how well treatments work, and the study doesn’t address this, noted Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“In some cases, the benefit that patients get from these non-pharmacologic therapies may be much more substantial than the benefit that drug therapy can offer,” Kesselheim said by email. “In other cases, the drug might be more helpful.”

The study also isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that people will spend less on drugs when they make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of heart disease, said Julie Schmittdiel of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland.

 

“It does suggest there is promise that addressing modifiable health behaviors will reduce costs,” Schmittdiel, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

 

Knowing this might help motivate some patients to make changes, said Stacie Dusetzina, a pharmacy researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“I think many of us realize how hard these risk factors are to modify,” Dusetzina said by email. “But having incentives that include feeling better and saving money may help with motivation.”

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived:   Jane Blakemore

Dr A Sullivan

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Opioid’s Surpass Cigarette Smoking

opiod

 

Opioid Addiction Now Surpasses Smoking

 

It’s time to face the facts. America has a very serious drug addiction problem, and it stems from overprescription of painkillers. According to a recent report by the U.S. surgeon general, more Americans now use prescription opioids than smoke cigarettes.1

 

Substance abuse in general has also eclipsed cancer in terms of prevalence. Addiction to opioids and heroin is costing the U.S. more than $193 billion each year. Alcohol abuse is costing another $249 billion. In total, the cost of substance abuse far exceeds the cost of diabetes, which is also at a record high.

 

Opiates such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and morphine are also killing more Americans than car crashes.2 In 2014, more than 49,700 Americans died from opioid or heroin overdoses while 32,675 died in car accidents. According to the surgeon general’s report, in 2015:

 

27 million Americans took opioids

More than 66 million (nearly 25 percent of the total adolescent and adult population) reported binge drinking at some point in the previous month

 

In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general’s report on the health effects of smoking helped reshape the general attitude toward tobacco use. Surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, hopes his call to action on drug addiction and substance abuse will have a similar impact. As noted in a recent NPR interview with Murthy:3

 

“We now know from solid data that substance abuse disorders don’t discriminate. They affect the rich and the poor, all socioeconomic groups and ethnic groups. They affect people in urban areas and rural ones. Far more people than we realize are affected …

 

For far too long people have thought about substance abuse disorders as a disease of choice, a character flaw or a moral failing. We underestimated how exposure to addictive substances can lead to full blown addiction.

 

Opioids are a good example. Now we understand that these disorders actually change the circuitry in your brain … That tells us that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, and we need to treat it with the same urgency and compassion that we do with any other illness.”

 

According to the report, every dollar invested in treatment saves $4 in healthcare costs and lost productivity, and another $7 in reduced criminal justice costs. Murthy’s plan to address the addiction epidemic involves policy makers, regulators, scientists, families, schools and local communities.

 

This amounts to another American bailout, this time taxpayers will be footing the bill for a pharmaceutical induced epidemic – paying the same medical system that caused the problem for the antidote.

 

A Brief History on Heroin

 

Heroin was initially introduced by Bayer Co. in 1898. It was hailed as a “wonder drug,” commonly used to treat pain and cough. Addiction rates grew once it was discovered that its effects were amplified when injected. As reported by CNN in an article covering the history of opioids:4

 

“In 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act imposed a tax on those making, importing or selling any derivative of opium or coca leaves. By the 1920s, doctors were aware of the highly addictive nature of opioids and tried to avoid treating patients with them.

 

Heroin became illegal in 1924 … By the mid- and late-1970s, when Percocet and Vicodin came on the market, doctors had long been taught to avoid prescribing highly addictive opioids to patients.

 

But an 11-line letter printed in the New England Journal of Medicine [NEJM] in January 1980 pushed back on the popular thought that using opioids to treat chronic pain was risky.

 

In it, Jane Porter and Dr. Hershel Jick mentioned their analysis of 11,882 patients who were treated with narcotics. They wrote that ‘the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.'”

 

Prescription opioids had been increasingly prescribed to patients with terminal illnesses, but prescription patterns took a radical turn in the mid-1990s, when opioids became the focus of a campaign aimed at increasing prescriptions to non-terminal patients with pain.

 

The Birth of OxyContin

 

Purdue Pharma started selling OxyContin in 1996. Two years later, the company produced a promotion video that was distributed to 15,000 doctor’s offices across the U.S. In the video, a doctor is featured saying:

 

“The rate of addiction among pain patients who are treated by doctors is less than 1 percent. They don’t wear out; they go on working; they do not have serious medical side effects. So, these drugs, which I repeat, are our best, strongest pain medications, should be used much more than they are for patients in pain.”

 

Doctors apparently took notice, because a year later, opioid prescriptions had skyrocketed by an astounding 11 million. As noted in the video above, for many years, medical students were taught that if a patient is in serious pain, opioid painkillers will not have an addictive effect.

 

Not only does this defy logic, but this notion has also been scientifically proven FALSE. These drugs are addictive whether you’re in pain or not, and the claim that less than 1 percent of pain patients develop an addiction to them was based on misinterpretation of Jick’s limited data.

 

As one doctor admits, the campaign was aimed at destigmatizing the use of opioids, and in so doing, they often “left evidence behind.” Pain has such an adverse impact on quality of life, doctors owed it to their patients to be more aggressive in the treatment of pain, the rationale went. As a result of this biased “education campaign,” prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers rose by 600 percent in one decade, laying the groundwork for today’s drug addiction epidemic.

 

Many Drug Addicts Got Their Start After a Minor Injury

 

As described in the BBC News video at the top of this article, many of today’s addicts became hooked after receiving a prescription for an opioid following a relatively minor injury. Their injury healed, but the subsequent addiction is now ruining their lives, and the lives of their families.

 

Many, including young people, have also died as a result. As noted by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently.”5 According to Frieden, studies show that addiction affects about 26 percent of those using opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. Worse, 1 in 550 patients on opioid therapy die from opioid-related causes within 2.5 years of their first prescription!

 

In addition to that, most studies investigating long-term use of opioids have lasted a mere six weeks or less, and those that lasted longer have, by and large, found “consistently poor results.” Several of them found that opioid use worsened pain over time and led to decreased functioning — an effect thought to be related to increased pain perception.

 

How Revolving Door Policy Allowed Drug Addiction to Spiral Out of Control

 

I’ve written about the dangers of the revolving door policy that allows regulators to be hired by industry and vice versa on numerous occasions. In this case, former Drug ­Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials hired by the drug industry fought for lenience and a “soft approach” to the burgeoning drug addiction problem.

 

They succeeded, thereby allowing the problem to grow more or less unrestrained, despite official promises to the contrary. As revealed in a Washington Post exposé:6

 

“A decade ago, the [DEA] launched an aggressive campaign to curb a rising opioid epidemic … The DEA began to target wholesale companies that distributed hundreds of millions of highly addictive pills to the corrupt pharmacies and pill mills that illegally sold the drugs for street use.

 

Leading the campaign was the agency’s Office of Diversion Control, whose investigators around the country began filing civil cases against the distributors, issuing orders to immediately suspend the flow of drugs and generating large fines.

 

But the industry fought back. Former DEA and Justice Department officials hired by drug companies began pressing for a softer approach. In early 2012, the deputy attorney general summoned the DEA’s diversion chief to an unusual meeting over a case against two major drug companies. ‘That meeting was to chastise me for going after industry, and that’s all that meeting was about,’ recalled Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who ran the diversion office …

 

[O]fficials at DEA headquarters began delaying and blocking enforcement actions, and the number of cases plummeted … The judge who reviews the DEA diversion office’s civil caseload noted the plunge. ‘There can be little doubt that the level of administrative Diversion enforcement remains stunningly low for a national program,’ Chief Administrative Law Judge John J. Mulrooney II wrote in a June 2014 quarterly report …”

 

Even DEA Officials Suspected Foul Play

 

In 2013, DEA lawyers also began insisting on increasingly higher standards of proof before moving cases forward. This included proof of intent — a factor that is very difficult to prove and typically only required in criminal cases. In 2011, 131 cases were filed against distributors, manufacturers, pharmacies and doctors involved in the illegal distribution of opioids. In 2014, that number dropped to 40.

 

In that same time frame, the number of “immediate suspension orders” dropped from 65 to nine. The suspension order allows the agency to freeze shipments of narcotics, effective immediately. Many DEA officials began suspecting Clifford Lee Reeves II, the lawyer in charge of approving their cases, of secretly working for the drug industry.

 

“We all had a feeling that someone put him there to purposely stonewall these cases,” Frank Younker, a former DEA supervisor in the Cincinnati field office told The Washington Post. Younker retired two years ago after three decades with the DEA. Kathy Chaney, a DEA group supervisor in Columbus, Ohio said:

 

“We got so frustrated, I finally told my group, ‘We’re not going to send any cases up to headquarters.’ In 25 years, I had never seen anything like it. It was one of the reasons I left. Morale was terrible. I couldn’t get anything done. It was almost like being invisible … We were all very dedicated, and we were all deeply disappointed that the program was being manipulated this way.”

 

Chaney’s own mother died from an accidental Percocet overdose in 1979. She became addicted after receiving the drug following a car accident. Her mother’s death was one of the reasons Chaney joined the DEA in the first place.

 

As these comments reveal, there are many good, solid workers out there, fighting to protect public health, yet corporations have been allowed to infiltrate key positions and manipulate from the top down, preventing any real progress that might harm the industry’s bottom line. This is exactly why it’s so important to combat this transfer of officials between government agencies and the industries they’re supposed to investigate and police.

 

19 Non-Drug Solutions for Pain Relief

 

In October, comedian John Oliver took aim at the burgeoning drug epidemic,7 noting the roots of the problem: narcotic pain killers, and more importantly, drug companies that falsely claimed they were non-addictive and safe to use for virtually all kinds of pain. Well, the jig is now up, and such claims can no longer be made. It’s extremely important to be fully aware of the addictive potential of opioid drugs, and to seriously weigh your need for them.

 

There are many other ways to address pain. Below are 19 suggestions. Clearly, there are times when pain is so severe that a narcotic pain reliever may be warranted. But even in those instances, the options that follow may allow you to at least reduce the amount you take, or the frequency at which you need to take them. If you are in pain that is bearable, please try these options first, before resorting to prescription painkillers of any kind.

 

Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars from your diet

 

Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels and decrease insulin and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.

Take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat

 

My personal favorite is krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, by manipulating prostaglandins.)

Optimize your production of vitamin D  As we have said before, always consult your healthcare provider or call us and we will help you, because vitamin D must be taken with other vitamins, and never by inself.

 

Optimize your vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.

Medical cannabis

 

Medical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic. Its medicinal qualities are due to high amounts (up to 20 percent) of cannabidiol (CBD), medicinal terpenes and flavonoids.

 

Varieties of cannabis exist that are very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes you feel “stoned” — and high in medicinal CBD. Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states. You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.8

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

 

EFT is a drug-free approach for pain management of all kinds. EFT borrows from the principles of acupuncture in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system. It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, and negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain.

 

By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture points with your fingertips, you rebalance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain.

 

Among volunteers who had never meditated before, those who attended four 20-minute classes to learn a meditation technique called focused attention (a form of mindfulness meditation), experienced significant pain relief — a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness.9

 

 

K-Laser, Class 4 Laser Therapy

 

If you suffer pain from an injury, arthritis or other inflammation-based pain, I’d strongly encourage you to try out K-Laser therapy. It can be an excellent choice for many painful conditions, including acute injuries. By addressing the underlying cause of the pain, you will no longer need to rely on painkillers.

 

K-Laser is a class 4 infrared laser therapy treatment that helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation and enhance tissue healing — both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments or even bones. The infrared wavelengths used in the K-Laser allow for targeting specific areas of your body and can penetrate deeply into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip.

Chiropractic

 

Many studies have confirmed that chiropractic management is much safer and less expensive than allopathic medical treatments, especially when used for pain such as low back pain.

 

Qualified chiropractic, osteopathic and naturopathic physicians are reliable, as they have received extensive training in the management of musculoskeletal disorders during their course of graduate healthcare training, which lasts between four to six years. These health experts have comprehensive training in musculoskeletal management.

Acupuncture

 

Research has discovered a “clear and robust” effect of acupuncture in the treatment of back, neck and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis and headaches.

Physical therapy

 

Physical therapy has been shown to be as good as surgery for painful conditions such as torn cartilage and arthritis.

Massage

 

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Pain Medicine included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, fibromyalgia pain and spinal cord pain.10

 

The review revealed that massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all. When compared to other pain treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial and had few side effects. In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy also improved anxiety and health-related quality of life.

Astaxanthin

 

Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required and you may need 8 milligrams (mg) or more per day to achieve this benefit.

Ginger

 

This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.

Curcumin

 

In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 milligrams (mg) of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.11

Boswellia

 

Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Bromelain

 

This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple, including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.

Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO)

 

This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mildly annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.

Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils

 

These contain the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.

Cayenne Cream

 

Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.

Methods such as yoga, Foundation Training, acupuncture, exercise, meditation, hot and cold packs and mind-body techniques can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.

Grounding

 

Walking barefoot on the earth may also provide a certain measure of pain relief by combating inflammation.

 

I would like to add that if you have taken opioids for a length of time, or your parents have, then you may have chemical bending DNA, and many problems have been passed down in your family.

 

Please share with family and loved ones, and please call us to help you if you suffer from this situation or any other healthcare need.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived  JM

P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

 

 

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Smoking Just One Cigarette is Deadly

smoking

Just 1 Cigarette a Day Can Be Deadly: Study

 

Think smoking just one cigarette a day is harmless? Think again, a new study says.

 

Even a single daily cigarette can raise your odds for an early death, the research showed.

 

“There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke,” said study author Maki Inoue-Choi, who’s with the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).

 

“Smoking cessation benefits all smokers, regardless of how few cigarettes they smoke,” she added in an institute news release.

 

In the study, Inoue-Choi’s team tracked data on more than 290,000 older Americans, aged 59 to 82. The investigators wanted to assess the risks of “light” smoking — defined as 10 or fewer cigarettes a day.

 

All of the smokers were asked about their smoking habits at nine different points in their lives, beginning with before they turned 15 until after they reached the age of 70.

 

Compared with people who’d never smoked, those who smoked an average of less than one cigarette a day over their lifetime still had a 64 percent higher risk of dying early. And those who smoked one to 10 cigarettes a day had an 87 percent higher risk, the findings showed.

 

It’s never too early — or too late — to quit smoking, either. The study showed that the risk of an early death was lower for former light smokers than those who remained light smokers. And the younger they were when they quit, the lower their risk, the NCI team found.

 

The researchers also looked at specific causes of death. Compared with never-smokers, the risk of death from lung cancer was nine times higher among those who smoked less than one cigarette a day over their lifetime, and 12 times higher among those who smoked one to 10 cigarettes a day.

 

In addition, those who smoked one to 10 cigarettes a day were six times more likely to die of respiratory diseases (such as emphysema), and one-and-a-half times more likely to die of heart disease compared with never-smokers.

 

Two doctors who work with smokers as patients weren’t surprised by the findings.

 

“There is simply no safe level of smoking,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Smoking cessation is imperative, but never starting to smoke is even better.”

 

Patricia Folan directs the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. She said, “My experience with low-intensity smokers is that they often don’t consider themselves ‘real’ smokers. When asked if they smoke, they will often respond that they do not.”

 

These individuals’ smoking habits often remain hidden, Folan said.

 

“Merely asking patients if they smoke may not be sufficient to elicit accurate responses to the question,” she reasoned. “Perhaps a better question would be, ‘When was the last time you smoked?’, thus providing the opportunity for patients to give a more precise answer about whether they smoke at all and how much.”

 

The study was published Dec. 5, 2016  in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

 

 

Health and Disease

Hypertension is..

garlicflower

Hypertension is blood pressure over 115.

Studies have indicated that smoking a cigarette can elevate one’s blood pressure  for half an hour.

Picture:  Garlic flower, Garlic helps lower hypertension

Health and Disease

What Happens to Your Body When You Smoke

cigarettersmoking

What Happens to Your Body When You Smoke

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 18 out of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (17.8 percent) smoke cigarettes today. This means an estimated 42.1 million adults in the United States are cigarette smokers. Even more stunning; on average, smoking causes 480,000 deaths per year in the country, which is roughly 1,300 deaths per day.1 It is expected that eight million people will die in 2030 if the current smoking rate continues.

Background of Cigarette Smoking

Smoking is said to stimulate pleasing and enjoyable emotions, and smokers claim that it helps boost their mood, alleviates minor depression and small fits of anger, improves concentration and short-term memory, and can also provide a modest sense of well-being. This is because cigarettes contain the addictive substance nicotine that stimulates dopamine in the brain, which is responsible for the “pleasurable sensations.”

However, the more you smoke, the more your nerve cells become immune to the pleasure brought on by smoking. As a result, smokers tend to increase their intake of nicotine to get that desirable feeling from smoking.2

Despite the “pleasure” that one gets from puffing a cigarette, remember this: smoking comes with devastating health effects.

If you think smoking an e-cig makes a difference, it doesn’t. Researchers actually found that a brand of e-cigarette contains more than 10 times the level of carcinogen contained in a regular cigarette. Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, both harmful toxins, were also found in the vapor produced by several types of e-cigarettes.

Remember while smoking makes you feel good for a period of time, it slowly kills your body, and is the LEADING preventable cause of death in the US.3

What Are the Side Effects of Smoking Cigarettes?

Smoking harms your body and may cause permanent damage to your health. If you’re still not convinced about its dangers, take a look at some of smoking’s side effects.

Short-Term Effects

Smokers tend to have smelly clothes and hair, bad breath, and yellow or brown teeth stains. Your physical appearance can also suffer as smoking can lead to premature wrinkles, gum and tooth loss, and sudden weight change. Stomach ulcers and weakened immune system are also possible smoking side effects you might experience.4

For young people, there is a high probability that they will continue smoking into adulthood. As a result, it will impair their lung function and growth. Teens who smoke are also 22 times more likely to use cocaine.

According to a new Australian study, female smokers may experience worse menstrual cramps than those who don’t. It is likely to happen as the amount of oxygen that travels to the uterus decreases when you smoke. Researchers say that women who started to smoke at the tender age of 13 have a 59 percent risk of having painful menstruation, while those who started to smoke at age 14 or 15 have 50 percent risk of experiencing it.5

Long-Term Effects

Many people don’t begin to feel the severe side effects of smoking until years later. Once you begin to feel the symptoms, you know damage has already been done. Some damaging side effects of smoking cigarettes include:

  • Cardiovascular health problems. Smoking poses a great danger to your heart and blood vessels. It damages the structure of your heart and the way your blood vessels work.6 Smoking increases your risk of having a heart disease by two to four times, as it causes the blood vessels in your heart to thicken and grow thinner. It makes your heart beat faster, your blood pressure rise, and causes your blood to clot. When a clot blocks the blood flow to your heart, it cannot get enough oxygen, which damages a part of your heart’s muscle or even kills it.

People who smoke have a higher risk of atherosclerosis, a disease where the plaque liquids build in the arteries. As time progresses, it will cause your arteries to harden and narrow, which will limit the flow of the oxygen-filled blood to other parts of your body.

Smoking may also lead to coronary heart disease (CHD) once the plaque liquids build up in the coronary arteries. It can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmias, or death.

Another side effect of smoking cigarettes is Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.), which happens when plaque liquids build up to the blood vessels that deliver blood to the head, organs, and limbs. Smokers who have diabetes and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having serious ailments to the heart and blood vessels. 7

  • Increased risk of stroke. Smokers have a two to four times increased risk of having a stroke than non-smokers. It happens when a clot blocks the blood from your brain or when an artery around or in your brain explodes.8
  • Respiratory problems. Our lungs are equipped with a layer of internal mucus that serves as a protective shield for foreign materials that we inhale, by wiping off these contaminants with small hairs called cilia. But with smokers, cilia cannot function properly as these tiny hairs work rather slowly. As a result, you cannot cough, sneeze, or swallow to get these toxins out of your body.9

Smoking can trigger or make an asthma attack worse.10 It may also cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In emphysema, the air sacs in your lungs eventually lose their elasticity and start to worsen. Chronic bronchitis happens when there is a swelling in the linings of your lungs and it constrains your breathing.11

  • Pregnancy complications. Pregnant women who smoke have a higher risk of preterm (early) delivery, miscarriage, or stillbirth. They may encounter Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), ectopic pregnancy, and orofacial clefts for the newborns. Women also have a great tendency of having weaker bones after menopause.12
  • Reproductive health function. Men who smoke may encounter erectile dysfunction, poor sperm quality, and sperm defects. For women, smoking may cause reduced fertility.13
  • Cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals, some of which can cause cancer. These include formaldehyde, benzene, polonium 210, and vinyl chloride.14 Even worse, smoking can cause various kinds of cancers anywhere in your body, not just in your lungs, such as: 15
Bladder Blood (acute myeloid leukemia) Cervix
Colon and rectum (colorectal) Esophagus Kidney and ureter
Larynx Liver Oropharynx
Pancreas Stomach Trachea, bronchus, and lung

Radioactive Chemical Found in Fertilizers Leads to Lung Cancer

Did you know that your body also accumulates harmful radioactive chemicals from cigarettes? These dangerous elements come from the pesticides used on tobacco fields. While it is true that smoking cigarettes can cause cancer, there is a more specific substance that is the root cause of cancer among smokers. Tobacco fields typically use calcium phosphate fertilizers, which contain polonium-210. When polonium-210 decays, it releases alpha particles that can damage human cells they come into contact with.

Research suggests that main lung damage comes from the radiation emitted by these fertilizers.16,17,18 It also showed that polonium, specifically, causes cancer in laboratory animals.19 Moreover, according to a study in 200920 the radiation that you get from smoking 1 ½ cigarette packs is tantamount to 300 chest x-ray films per year.

A 2011 report from Nicotine and Tobacco Research21 also revealed there are internal documents stating that the tobacco industry have recognized the danger brought by these radioactive chemicals. According to these papers, acid wash was found to be an effective solution in removing polonium-210 from the tobacco leaves, but the industry avoided using it as it would lessen the pleasurable effect of nicotine to smokers.

The tobacco industry will certainly not be your number one motivator in stopping you from smoking, even if they know that this may lead to your death. It is now your decision to throw away your smoking habit for good and choose a healthier lifestyle, which can add more years to your life.

What Happens When a Smoker Quits

The process of quitting requires determination and patience as it will affect you both physically and mentally, so be prepared for its withdrawal period. But nonetheless, it will greatly benefit in many ways even just minutes after quitting.

Tips on How to Quit Smoking

People who have been addicted to smoking for a long time still have hope in turning over a new leaf. I suggest that you practice these prevention techniques to help you quit smoking:22

  • Choose a Quit Day. Pick a day that is not stressful for you so that you can prepare yourself. It can be your birthday, your anniversary, or even just the first day of the month.
  • Don’t Quit Alone. Telling someone about your decision to quit can give an enormous support when you feel alone in your battle to quit.
  • Know Your Nicotine Replacement Options. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can be a great help in quitting smoking as it can help you overcome the withdrawal symptoms. It is considered safe for all smokers except for pregnant women and people with heart disease.23

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five forms of nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum, nasal spray, inhalers, and lozenges) for those who are attempting to quit. But it is still best to ask a medical professional about which form of NRT is most suitable for you.24

  • Get Smart About Your Smoking. Keeping a journal can help you track the situations that helped you up or pushed you down in your attempt to quit smoking, so you can determine how you can deal with them without reaching for a cigarette.
  • Identify Your Triggers. Make a list of all the things that you have done in the past that involves smoking. Before your quit day, prepare yourself on how you will deal with these things.
  • Change the What, Where, When and How You Smoke. Altering you habits – the time and places where you used to smoke – can help you during your attempt to quit.
  • Spring Clean. Wash and throw away everything that reminds you of smoking.
  • Get Support. It is great if you can get help from communities of former smokers or a clinic that specializes in helping those who want quit.
  • Quit Day and Beyond. You have to adjust your behavior to identify what triggers you to smoke.
  • If You’re Going to Do It, Do It! Commitment is key to be successful in your attempt to quit. It will certainly be hard but it is worth it.

Quitting smoking may be hard, but I advise you to do it as early as now. I really believe that having a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle will not only benefit you but your family as well.

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-WELL

Archived Article

Health and Disease, Lifestyle

Are Vaccines more Dangerous than Cigarettes

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If toxins in cigarettes are unsafe to INHALE, then why are toxins in vaccines supposed to be safe to INJECT?

First, doctors were telling us that cigarettes were good for us and good for digestion. But we know better. Now, they’re telling us that vaccines are safe. Again, we know better. Still, vaccines are encouraged. Like the old saying goes, “They’ll get you coming or going.” When it comes to cigarettes, people are aware that they’re bad for health. Smoking them is discouraged. But when it comes to vaccines, many people advocate getting them and are told by medical professionals that they’re great for health. What’s the difference? Let’s take a closer look at the illogical thoughts infiltrating our society. The toxins in cigarettes are carried on the particles of tobacco into the lungs. Riding on those particles are ammonia vapors, glass fibers from the filter, cellulose acetate — a form of plastic like in photo film — aluminum and lead. Over years of smoking, the lead alone can lead to dementia. But the onset of dementia comes over time, with all kinds of muscle malfunctions, central nervous system failures, and eventually, complete memory loss. People forget who their family is and they can’t even tell you who they are. Doctors used to recommend their favorite brands of cigarettes, in prestigious medical journals in the United States less than a century ago. Oh, but people don’t recall. They often forget the news they saw just last month or last year, so they’re apt to not remember the fact that many medical professionals used to actually tout the health benefits of cigarette smoking. Now, let’s consider that yearly flu shot. Dangerous toxins exist in vaccinations — just as they do in cigarettes — yet people still wonder why their health is falling apart. After all, we’re told that vaccines are safe, right? Just like we were told cigarettes were at one time too. Doctors just can’t seem to “put their finger on it” so they scribble out chemical prescriptions that get them paid. Then people go on to experience side effects which are significantly worse than the condition being “treated.” This is medical idiocracy and it’s time everyone wakes up to this matter. After all, if toxins in cigarettes are unsafe to INHALE, then why are toxins in vaccines supposed to be safe to INJECT?

Are vaccines more dangerous than cigarettes?

Tests regarding heavy metal toxins in a variety of popular cigarette brands such as American Spirit, Marlboro, Pall Mall, Camel and Winston have been conducted by Mike Adams, science lab director of the Natural News Forensic Food Lab. No surprise here, but they all contained a significant amount of lead. Cigarette smoke provides a direct pathway into the bloodstream for the lead to wreak havoc in our bodies; it’s just one of the heavy metal toxins impeding immunity, central nervous system function and brain function. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, tests all of this and provides the public with the heavy metal concentrations down to the parts per billion (PPB). This is invaluable information for anyone trying to quit this toxic habit. But what about that other habit that doctors and Big Pharma suggest we abide by? Did you know getting two or more flu shots is a toxic habit? It’s true. Some Big Pharma giants even outright mention that getting another flu vaccine when a person has already had “previous administration of any influenza vaccine” is not advised. So really, people shouldn’t get more than one such shot in their lifetime, right? Furthermore, the flu vaccine contains 25,000 times more mercury than is legally allowed in drinking water. Then there’s aluminum and formaldehyde. Yes, formaldehyde is embalming fluid for the dead. Still, the fear of infectious disease has been propagated all over U.S. news time and again. They take extreme cases and broadcast them with scary pictures and warnings, conveniently forgetting to tell people that no reported case of anyone dying from the measles in the U.S. has occurred since 2003, yet over 100 people have died from the measles vaccine over the past 10 years. The bottom line is this: Don’t inhale, eat, or inject known toxins. Don’t put toxins on your skin either. Also, question everything. Question vaccines. Question the known carcinogens that are purposely added to them and ask yourself: how different are they, really, from the ones people are inhaling from the cigarettes they smoke?

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-WELL

Lifestyle, Rx to Wellness

Natural Compound Helps Smokers Quit

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Natural Compound Helps Smokers Quit

A study at New Zealand’s University of Auckland found that a natural, inexpensive compound called cytisine that has been used for more than 40 years in Europe to help smokers kick the habit, is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy, (NRT).

After using cytosine for 25 days, about 40 percent of people said they had not smoked compared to 31 percent of those who used NRT, and those taking cytisine were more likely to be non-smokers after 6 months.

To the brain, cytosine looks a little like nicotine, and so it works to alleviate any urges to smoke and reduces the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

If you do smoke while using cytisine it will be less satisfying – making quitting easier.

Cytisine quit smoking aids are widely available over the internet or health food stores.

If you need assistance with trying to quit smoking, we here at Health and Wellness Associates will be happy to assist.

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-WELL