Smoking

Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? It is also one of the most preventable.  Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart disease, having regular check-ups and working with your physician to manage your health are all integral aspects of saving lives from this often silent killer.  FEBRUARY IS HEART HEALTH MONTH.  Make a difference in your community by spreading the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encouraging those around you to have their hearts check and commit to heart-healthy lives. The following article is from www.theheartfoundation.org  and includes information on common risk factors of heart disease and how to reduce your risk. Share it with your friends and family and help spread awareness this heart health month!

 

How to Reduce Your Risk

  1. Choose a Heart Healthy Lifestyle.
    • Engage in regular moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week.
    • Adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and transfats and high in unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, etc.) like the Mediterranean Diet.
    • Maintain a normal body weight with caloric adjustment.
    • Take fish oil supplements.
    • Avoid smoking and recreational drug use.
    • Imbibe no more than ½ to 1 alcoholic beverage per day.                                                                  

Know and review your risk factors with a trusted physician.

  1. Your physician may recommend medications to control cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.
  2. High-risk individuals should consider taking a daily aspirin.
  3. Avoid hormone replacement unless you have severe menopausal symptoms.
  4. In selected cases, it may be necessary to conduct non-invasive or even invasive tests to determine the nature and severity of the heart disease.
  5. Sometimes angioplasty/stenting or even bypass surgery may be needed if you have severe and symptomatic arterial blockage.
  6. Learn CPR.
  7. And as Dr. P.K. Shah always recommends, CHOOSE YOUR PARENTS WISELY!

 

Common Risk Factors for Heart Disease

 

Age
Heart disease can occur at any age. However, four out of five people who die from coronary heart disease are aged 65 or older. The risk of stroke doubles with each decade after the age of 55.

 

Gender
Men and women are equally at risk for heart disease, but women tend to get coronary artery disease an average of 10 years later than men. The risk for women increases as they approach menopause and continues to rise as they get older. Death rates from heart disease and stroke for women are twice as high as those for all forms of cancer.

 

Family History (Heredity)
Presence of heart disease in a parent or sibling, especially at a young age, increases your risk of developing heart disease.

 

Smoking
Smokers are twice as likely to suffer heart attacks as non-smokers, and they are more likely to die as a result. Smoking is also linked to increased risk of stroke.  The nicotine and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke damages the cardiovascular system. Passive smoking may also be a danger. 46 million Americans (25 million men and 21 million women) smoke.  Women who smoke and take the oral contraceptive pill are at particularly high risk of heart disease and stroke.

 

Cholesterol
The higher the blood cholesterol level, the higher the risk of coronary heart disease, particularly if it is combined with any of the other risk factors. Diet is one cause of high cholesterol – others are age, sex and family history. High levels (over 100 mg/dl) of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or “bad cholesterol”, are dangerous, and low levels (under 40 mg/dl in men and under 55 mg/dl in women) of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good cholesterol”, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. High levels (over 150 mg/dl) of triglycerides (another type of fat), in some, may also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.Nearly 40 million Americans have high cholesterol levels.

 

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (over 140/90 mmHg and over 130/80 mmHg in diabetics) increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and kidney damage. When combined with obesity, smoking, high cholesterol or diabetes, the risk increases several times. High blood pressure can be a problem in women who are pregnant or are taking high-dose types of oral contraceptive pill. 72 million Americans over age 20 have high blood pressure.

 

Physical Inactivity
Failure to exercise (walking or doing other moderate activities for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week) can contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease as physical activity helps control weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes and, in some cases, can help lower blood pressure.

 

Obesity
People who are overweight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have none of the other risk factors. Excess weight causes extra strain on the heart; influences blood pressure, cholesterol and levels of other blood fats – including triglycerides; and increases the risk of developing diabetes. 66% of Americans over age 20 are obese.

 

Alcohol
Small amount of regular alcohol consumption (1/2 to 1 drink per day for women and 1-2 drinks per day for men) can reduce risk of heart disease. However, drinking an average of more than one drink a day for women or more than two drinks a day for men increases the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the effect on blood pressure, weight and levels of triglycerides – a type of fat carried in the blood. Binge drinking is particularly dangerous.

 

Drug Abuse
The use of certain drugs, particularly cocaine and amphetamines, has been linked to heart disease and stroke.  Cocaine can cause abnormal heartbeat which can be fatal while heroin and opiates can cause lung failure. Injecting drugs can cause an infection of the heart or blood vessels.

 

Diabetes
The condition seriously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even if glucose levels are under control. More than 80% of diabetes sufferers die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.

 

Previous Medical History
People who have had a previous heart attack or stroke are more likely than others to suffer further events.

 

Stress, Depression, Anger/Hostility
Stress, depression, and negative emotions have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Source: http://www.theheartfoundation.org/heart-disease-facts/reducing-your-risk

Smokers’ Skin May Age Faster, Study of Twins Shows

Smokers' Skin May Age Faster, Study of Twins Shows

Smokers' Skin May Age Faster, Study of Twins Shows

 

Smokers’ Skin May Age Faster, Study of Twins Shows

 

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Smokers are likely to get bags under their eyes and wrinkles around their lips earlier than non-smokers, according to a new study of identical twins.

Judges who didn’t know which twin smoked said the smoker looked older 57 percent of the time. That pattern held when both twins were smokers but one had smoked for many years longer than the other.

“Smoking makes you look old. That’s all there is to it,” Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi said.

“Besides lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes, just one more good reason to stop smoking is that it’s definitely making you look a lot older,” she said.

Tanzi is a dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and George Washington University Medical Center. She was not involved in the new study but said it confirms what she and others see in practice.

The findings are based on standardized photos of 79 pairs of identical twins taken at the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio.

Dr. Bahman Guyuron from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland and his colleagues showed the photos to three trained judges, then asked them to grade each person’s wrinkles and age-related facial features.

The twins were in their late 40s, on average. About three-quarters of them were women.

Forty-five sets of twins included one smoker and one non-smoker. Smokers tended to have more wrinkles and other signs of face aging. But the differences were often small.

For instance, on a 0-to-3 scale, where 0 means no wrinkles and 3 is severe wrinkles, upper eyelids were rated at 1.56 among smokers and 1.51 among non-smokers. Jowls were rated at 1.0 among smokers and 0.93 among non-smokers, on average.

 

There was no difference in assessments of crow’s feet or forehead wrinkles based on smoking.

Other factors related to skin aging like sunscreen use, alcohol drinking and stress at work were similar among smoking and non-smoking twins, the researchers noted.

Of the remaining 34 twin pairs, one twin had smoked for an average of 13 years longer than the other.

Twins who had smoked for more years had more pronounced bags under their eyes and more wrinkles around their lower lips, according to findings published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

“It really just kind of confirms a lot of stuff that most people believed,” said Dr. Alan Boyd. He is a dermatologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and wasn’t part of the study team.

“I can usually spot a smoker from across the room because of some of their facial skin changes,” Boyd said.

Still, he said the study adds another layer of evidence by putting numbers on the effect of smoking on different parts of the face.

The researchers didn’t take into account how many cigarettes people smoked each day. And although weight was similar between smokers and non-smokers, they didn’t know if differences in fat distribution affected facial appearance.

Tanzi said toxins from smoking can speed up the breakdown of collagen, protein fibers that support skin and help it stick together. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen going to the skin, she said.

In addition, having a regular source of heat close to the face may play a role in skin aging, according to Boyd.

“The effects are cumulative. So you can benefit from stopping smoking at any time,” Tanzi added. But, “You want to be careful, because some of those changes may be permanent.”

Facial creams and plastic surgery are options for people whose skin has been damaged by smoking, Guyuron said. But he said the goal of releasing the findings was to give people another reason never to start.

“We are hoping that by again emphasizing the harms that come from smoking we can dissuade individuals from smoking … knowing how much it may damage their skin,” he said.

 

Original Post:  Foxnews.com

 

 

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