Monday, June 27, 2011

Does It Even Matter?

In 1964, the US Surgeon General wrote a report that indicated the dangers of smoking stating that the nicotine and tar found in cigarettes causes lung cancer. As a result, Congress passed an act that cigarettes should be labeled with a warning (Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act). The label showed: Cigarettes may be hazardous to your health.

Over the years the tobacco companies tried to make adjustments to the amount of nicotine and tar, improving the filters with the intentions of allaying the fears of the consumer. However, the truth is there was still a health concern. In the 1980's the companies had to place these warnings every three months on the cigarette boxes.

Since then many efforts have been made to discourage smoking. Smoking bans have reached hotels, planes, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs. Some employers even banned smoking not only in the offices but also anywhere near the office building. These attempts only infuriated the smokers but in now way did it deter them from smoking. After all they have may seen their loved ones die of lung cancer, watched the price increase of cigarettes go up to $14.50 and yet they would scrape their change together and purchase the cigarettes.

In and effort to make and impact the Food & Drug Administration launched a campaign that some may call a bit too graphic but I wonder, does it even matter?

WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.
Tobacco use can rapidly lead to the development of nicotine addiction, which in turn increases the frequency of tobacco use and prevents people from quitting. Research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.

WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
Secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers.

WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
Smoking causes lung diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction. About 90 percent of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.

WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer.
Smoking causes approximately 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths in women. Smoking also causes cancers of the bladder, cervix, esophagus, kidney, larynx, lung, mouth, throat, stomach, uterus, and acute myeloid leukemia. Nearly one-third of all cancer deaths are directly linked to smoking.

WARNING: Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
More than 140,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke in the United States are caused each year by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by 2 to 4 times.

WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillborn or premature infants, infants with low birth weight and an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

WARNING: Smoking can kill you.
More than 1,200 people a day are killed by cigarettes in the United States alone, and 50 percent of all long-term smokers are killed by smoking-related diseases. Tobacco use is the cause of death for nearly one out of every five people in the United States, which adds up to about 443,000 deaths annually.

WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20–30 percent.

WARNING: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.
Quitting at any age and at any time is beneficial. It's never too late to quit, but the sooner the better. Quitting gives your body a chance to heal the damage caused by smoking.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It Can Happen to You - A Stroke

A new interest on strokes has surged with recent passing of famed saxophonist Clarence Clemons Jr.known for his amazing sound with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The Big Man as he is also called has accompanied many other artists from Aretha Franklin, Twisted Sister, Grateful Dead, Ringo Star and most recently Lady Gaga. The news of his death was met with great sadness as fans spontaneously gathered to pay respects

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 137,000 Americans die of a stroke each year. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Everyone is at risk, however, as we get older, the chances of having a stroke increases.

As many mourn the loss of this musical icon, we must be informed about the disease and also encouraged by others who have survived.

Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen

Life Saving Information from Dr. Carolyn Brockington

A Survivor's Journey

Monday, June 13, 2011

Let the Music Play

There is so much truth to the saying "music soothes the savage beast." When you go way back to the biblical era David was summoned to play for the King. Whenever King Saul was troubled or worried the sound of music would be his source of comfort. Music elicits many emotions and each listener reacts differently.

I remember when I was a little girl, I would hear the music playing on the record player (that's what we had back then :-) and I knew if my siblings were in a good mood the music would be upbeat and all of the jams would be on. On the other hand, if someone had a fight or was at the breakup stage of their relationship, the same old sad song would play over and over again. Songs like- Let's Just Kiss and Say Goodbye, Oh Girl, Have You Seen Her? or Is This The End?

Here's a bit of terrific information that may be beneficial for you. Studies have indicated that listening to classical music has a positive effect on students. It stimulates both sides of the brain, increases the ability to retain and learn more. There was this experiment where a group of students listened to classical music before taking a test and a group who did not. Those who listened to the classical music had higher scores than those who did not listen to the music. I know some may wish that they knew about this sooner?

Listening to the words of a song may uplift the listeners spirits as they connect with the words. In fact, music therapy is used to in rehabilitation centers, elder care facilities and in hospitals. It is believed that music also has a positive impact on patients as studies have shown that hospitals who have played soft music in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units as well as the Intensive Care Units had a favorable outcome. Premature babies gained weight and were able to be released earlier than than those who did not hear any music. Likewise, ICU patients who listened to music required less dosages of their medications than those who did not have any music.

Jazz is also another form of music that tends to have a calming or soothing effect on others. Of course not all jazz but in most cases.

Some music makes you laugh, cry, sing, dance and express yourself freely to release any tension. Whether you enjoy listening to James Taylor, Vann Morrison, U2, KISS, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Bob Marley, Richard Smallwood, Michel White, The Hawkins, Prince, Kool and the Gang, Commodores, Earth, Wind and Fire, etc. it just does something to you. Consider yourself informed just Let the Music Play

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Heat Is On........

It is very important that as the summer approaches and the temperatures rise to the 90's and above, we ensure that our bodies are properly hydrated. As there are those who take special care to prepare their cars, motorcycles, SUV's, vans, etc. for the specific season, we must prioritize - first on the list our health.

How else can we enjoy all of the things we love to do?

Drink a lot of water even if you are not thirsty. We feel thirsty when we are actually depleted so a drink in advance will keep us in good standing. If exercising heavily in hot weather, aim for two to four glasses of water or 16 to 32 ounces every hour. Limit exercise or strenuous physical activity to the coolest part of the day which is early in the morning or late evening. Avoid alcohol, caffeine or lots of sugar as they will cause you to lose more fluid.

Wear loose fitting clothing that's comfortable allowing the material to breathe (cotton) and avoid dark colors as it attracts heat.

If you work or play when it is very hot, be sure that you find a shady area to cool down for a few minutes while you hydrate (drink some water).

Be sure to wear sunscreen at all times (SPF 30+). Use an umbrella, or wear a hat with a brim to keep the sun off the face and head.

Avoid long periods in the sun. Check on the elderly there are cooling centers in many communities. Call 311 to find the nearest center. Stay indoors and keep cool with a fan or keep the air condition on to 78. You can always watch a movie, your favorite TV show or read a book. Above all keep cool and hydrated.