March 30, 2011 at 3:40 am Comments (0)
Smokers who have diabetes only serve to exacerbate their condition by keeping up their tobacco habit, according to a feature on Daily News and Analysis.
According to a study presented during the 241st national meeting and exposition of the American Chemical Society, nicotine is the main reason behind the persistently elevated blood sugar levels of diabetes smokers. These elevated blood sugar levels consequently results in an increased risk for serious health complications.
The study’s findings may also have implications for those diabetics who are trying to stop smoking, and are using nicotine-replacement therapy for extended periods. Xiao-Chuan Liu shared: “This is an important study. It is the first study to establish a strong link between nicotine and diabetes complications. If you’re a smoker and have diabetes, you should be concerned and make every effort to quit smoking.”
It is already considered common knowledge among doctors that smoking leads to an increased risk in complications. Smokers who are suffering from diabetes have higher levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), the blood test used to monitor long-term blood sugar levels among diabetics, when compared against those diabetics who are not smokers. The exact component in cigarettes that is responsible for this elevated levels in HbA1c, however, is not known.
The researchers hypothesized that the substance in question may be nicotine, which prompted an investigation into the effect of nicotine on HbA1c. The study looked at human blood samples, and determined that concentrations of nicotine which were similar to the concentration found in the blood of smokers could lead to increased HbA1c levels.
February 25, 2011 at 7:37 am Comments (0)
If you want to have a healthy heart, there are things that you simply should NOT do. A feature on WebMD shares what these Don’ts are.
Don’t smoke – or continue to smoke. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, as it raises one’s blood pressure, causes blood clots, and makes exercising more difficult. It is also the primary cause of premature death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.
Don’t ignore chest pain. There are people who simply find it more convenient to ignore aches and pains, but learning which ones merit attention may save your life. You can attribute chest pain after a heavy meal to your stomach trying to make a scene, but if it happens while exercising, then you should take notice. If you feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest and you’re breaking out in a sweat, then whip out your phone and call 911.
Don’t be a couch potato. It’s time to get movin’! Gregg Fonarow, MD, spokesperson for the American Heart Association, and associate chief of the division of cardiology at UCLA, shared: “Being sedentary increases heart risks. Physical activity simply translates to living longer.” It’s never too late to start exercising. And you can have the best of both worlds: set up a treadmill or exercise bike in front of the TV, and you can still catch your favorite shows while getting the exercise you need.
Don’t eat like there’s no tomorrow. As in most things, eating should be done in moderation. Obesity and being overweight are risk factors for heart disease, so it may be a good time as any to start eating sensibly and aim for a healthy and balanced diet, consisting of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
September 13, 2010 at 5:07 am Comments (0)
Information in several of our previous posts share health issues and diseases that a smoker may be susceptible to. There are, however, more obvious manifestations of smoking that can be readily observed: changes in one’s physical appearance brought about by one’s smoking habit. A feature on WebMD shares what these changes are.
While everyone gets old sometime, smoking can undoubtedly hasten the aging process, at least when it comes to one’s appearance. WebMD shared several twin photos; one twin is a smoker, one is not. The physical differences between the features of these identical twins are noticeable, with the smoker looking way older than the non-smoker.
Tobacco by-products wreak havoc in a person’s system, and the harm that it does inside the body can also trigger undesirable changes in one’s appearance. Bahman Guyuron, M.D. of Case Western Reserve University shared that one visible sign that is typical of a smoker is loose skin under the eyes. Dermatologist Jonette Keri, M.D. of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine shared another manifestation – poor skin tone, which may have been brought about by the fact that smoking takes away oxygen and nutrients from the skin.
Another effect that smoking can do – due to the more than 4,000 chemicals that are present in tobacco smoke – is the destruction of collagen and elastin in the skin. These fibers give skin strength and elasticity; their destruction results in sagging skin and deeper wrinkles.
A smoking habit also takes a toll on one’s teeth; aside from the more obvious yellowing of the teeth, smokers are prone to develop gum disease, bad breath, and other problems related to oral hygiene.
Miami Health Screening
September 9, 2010 at 6:09 am Comments (0)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spoke about smoking rates in the United States in a news conference on Tuesday, according to a feature on the Los Angeles Times.
While there was a continuous decline in smoking rates over a forty-year period, there was no noticeable change in smoking rates in the United States over the last five years; the agency reported that one in five Americans smoke regularly.
The CDC also talked about how more than half of children are exposed to second-hand smoke, and revealed that measurable levels of toxic chemicals are found in the blood stream of almost everyone who live with a smoker (98 percent). CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said: “If you smoke and have children, don’t kid yourself. Your smoke is harming your children.” As for cigarettes that are being marketed as less harmful, he had this to say: “All cigarettes kill equally, and we know that light and low-tar cigarettes are no less likely to kill you.”
Other statistics include the fact that smoking is the number 1 cause of preventable deaths in the country, and that almost half a million – 446,000 – Americans die of diseases related to smoking. Smoking is also related to gender, educational levels, and race; for instance, it was determined that more men than women smoked. Smoking was also found to be more prevalent among those who do not have college degrees.
Still, the CDC shared a bit of good news, mainly regarding the progress that has been made by some states in the fight against smoking. Utah and California are the states that have the lowest smoking rates.
Los Angeles Drug Screening
April 16, 2010 at 5:04 am Comment (1)
A new government report indicates that people struggling with depression are more likely to smoke heavily than those who are not suffering from depression, according to a feature on Medical News Today. The report was published on April 14 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005 – 2008.
Depression, however, does not cause smoking; neither is it the other way around. But what it does show is that there is a link between smoking and depression, especially among people aged 20 and older in the United States.
The key findings in the report include the fact that 43 percent of adults who had depression were smokers as opposed to 22 percent who were not suffering from depression. Adults who are suffering from depression, even if experiencing only mild symptoms, are more likely to start smoking than those who are not. Conversely, among those who would like to quit smoking, smokers who are not suffering from depression are more likely to be successful at their attempts to quit compared to those who were suffering from depression.
The percentage of smokers is also found to be directly proportional to the severity of depression being experienced, as the percentage went up as the severity increased. There are also more smokers who are also suffering from depression who smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day, compared to those who do not have depression.
Hence, the report concluded that there is a need to create special smoking cessation programs to help smokers suffering from depression to kick the habit.
March 23, 2010 at 11:18 am Comments (8)
It relies on electricity, batteries and liquid nicotine instead of matches, fire and tobacco and is starting to creep up in various areas as an alternative to regular cigarettes but is it really healthier than regular cigarettes? While the industry that makes them touts their healthier qualities the e-cigarette may not be all that it’s made out to be. The federal government is troubled by tests showing that some contain cancer-causing chemicals as a result the FDA wants to regulate e-cigarettes as a drug-delivery device, similar to how nicotine gum, lozenges and patches are handled now. Because the devices are sold in flavors such as apple and vanilla the same concerns about children being targeted (as with flavored cigarettes) is also raised.
“This is presented to a young person as an essentially harmless product,” said Michael Levy, a compliance division director with the FDA. “We are concerned about the chronic use of these products and what effect that might have on consumers without having been shown that they are, in fact, safe.”
The FDA was blocked from this sort regulation for the e-cigarette however when a judge ruled that the government could not stop e-cigarettes from being imported on grounds that they are a drug-delivery device. Many of the same laws that block smoking of regular cigarettes don’t affect the e-cigarette because there is no combustion involved in its use.
Originally started in China the e-cigarette has been on the market for about 5 years and is becoming more and more popular in the US. These smoke free cigarettes use a rechargeable battery that looks like the long end of a cigarette with a red light on the tip that looks as if it’s burning. The gadget turns liquid nicotine into a vapor that smokers inhale, just as with a regular cigarette.
Starter kits run between $70 and $180, but smokers pay the equivalent of $2 a pack, compared with $6 to $10 for a pack for regular cigarettes. It’s already a $100 million industry, with at least 3 million users in the U.S.
March 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm Comments (0)
Having a cup or more of green tea a day could help prevent the risk of developing cancer (especially in those who have no risk factors for the disease)for smokers according to a new study.
”The antioxidants may inhibit tumor growth,” I-Hsin Lin, a master’s degree student at Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan who presented her findings at the American Association of Cancer Research — International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer meeting in Coronado, Calif.
This protective effect was especially evident in a group of smokers who had specific genotypes that have been linked to cancer risk in other studies. Lin’s team evaluated 170 patients who had lung cancer and 340 healthy patients. These patients were asked to describe their smoking habits, green tea drinking habits, and other lifestyle factors on the last five years. Genotyping was also done with the participants to see if they had any of the genotypes found to be associated with cancer risk in other cancer studies. These include IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), IGF2, and IGFBP3.
Those in the study who didn’t drink tea had a more than 5 times greater risk of developing lung cancer compared to those who had at least a cup of green tea each day. Those smokers who weren’t green tea drinkers had that risk factor increased by as much as 13 times over the smokers who did have green tea daily. Among those that had the protective genotype the difference was even greater. Green tea drinkers who didn’t have a genotype seen as susceptible had a 66% reduced risk in lung cancer over those who were susceptible. Heavy smokers had an even higher risk.
According to the findings the best way to avoid lung cancer is to stop smoking but green tea does appear to reduce risk. As many as 23% of U.S. adults are smokers.
January 28, 2010 at 10:01 am Comments (0)
There are many ways that smokers have tried to quit smoking over the year from cold turkey to counseling and using patches or gum. Currently Nabi Biopharmaceuticals company is creating a vaccine for people who want to quit successfully. In the late stages of testing its experimental vaccine, called NicVax Nabi has taken a big step toward its goal by striking a deal with GlaxoSmithKline. According to the agreement GlaxoSmithKline will pay the cost of developing and marketing the vaccine if Nabi successfully completes the Phase 3 trials the company now has underway.
Nabi’s drug is a step in a new direction. For many years breaking a smoker’s dependence on nicotine has been based on declining doses of the substance in an effort to gradually wean smokers out of their dependence. NicVax shuts down nicotine’s ability to access the brain. Smokers may light up a cigarette while on the drug, but they won’t feel any of the stimulating effects they usually get from nicotine. It makes the immune system create antibodies that then bond with the nicotine molecule if it enters the bloodstream. The molecule is then too large to pass along to the brain. Essentially the vaccine makes the body immune to nicotine.
This should stop smokers from smoking because they can’t get the buzz that normally comes from smoking. The antibodies created by the drug also remain in the system for a long time so there’s a much lower risk of that smoker going back to cigarette use than with other treatments. Normally it takes a smoker as many as 7 or 8 times to quit, if the drug is successful it could be on the first try for many smokers.
January 23, 2010 at 3:13 am Comments (4)
It is already a widely accepted fact that smoking can be a risk factor for developing lung cancer – although it does not necessarily follow that the disease can be developed exclusively by those who smoke. And for a smoker who already has the disease, it is understandable to think that there is no need to quit – after all, what’s done is done, I’m already sick, so why quit now?
According to a feature on WebMD, it is never too late to kick the habit. A smoker who is diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer stands to double their survival over five years if he or she decides to quit smoking.
There is medical evidence to support that despite the fact that damage begins with a person’s first puff of cigarette, the body begins to repair this damage the moment a smoker quits. On the other hand, continued smoking is said to influence the behavior of lung tumors – although there has been no significant evidence, at least until now, to support that quitting after being diagnosed with lung cancer can have any impact whatsoever to a patient’s survival.
That has now been established by researchers at the University of Birmingham in England, who reviewed the results of ten studies that looked into how quitting after being diagnosed with lung cancer affected the prognosis of a patient. Basically, what they found out is that those who continued to smoke after being diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer had a higher risk of succumbing to the disease than those who quit.
November 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm Comments (0)
According to recent research even a single cigarette can harden the arteries of the person smoking, even in the very young and healthy. In fact any amount of smoking can and will do major harm to the lungs, arteries and heart. Once that damage has been done it can’t truly be undone, meaning that the curiosity and peer pressure of the teenage years could end up making that person pay for it in the end.
Those between the ages of 18 and 30 who smoked a single cigarette had a 25% greater stiffness in the arteries after treadmill exercise than those who hadn’t. As arteries harden it puts more stress on the heart making it have to work harder to pump blood through arteries. According to this research even a small and inconsistent smoking habit can cause significant health problems for the smoker. This hardening of the arteries lessens the body’s ability to deal with stresses like running and going up and down stairs.
While researchers know that this change is there they’re not sure if the change will consistently remain over time. Even if the smoking of in the past and was limited it will put you at higher risk of developing diseases that can be potentially life threatening later in life. Next the research group intends to do a study into the effects of smoking cessation, whether or not those who quit smoking might be able to regain some use of their lungs lost while smoking.