Last of three parts
If you smoke, you owe it to yourself to quit. And I believe you have an obligation to try to help others to quit. You can place this column and the two previous columns on bulletin boards and refrigerators. I recommend giving them to a smoker you love.
Here are some more matters to consider concerning tobacco.
Cigarette smokers die younger than nonsmokers. Smoking shortens lives by about 14 years.
Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Tobacco use causes 443,000 deaths each year.
Second of three parts
If you smoke, you owe it to yourself to quit. And I believe you have an obligation to try to help others to quit. I’m doing my part with this three-part series of columns. No scolding or exaggerated scare tactics. I’m giving you just the facts.
You can stick these columns on bulletin boards and refrigerators. I recommend giving them to a smoker you love.
Here are more facts:
(First Of Three Parts)
During my research on many health topics I have been amazed repeatedly by how pervasive the effects of smoking are on the body.
I quit smoking cigarettes in 1969, five years after the U.S. Surgeon General’s first report said that smoking causes lung cancer. I was convinced the report was accurate when it came out, but it took me five years to develop the willpower to give up my Marlboros. At the time, I didn’t realize that smoking could harm you in so many more ways.
Q. The report on the blood tests for my annual physical included “C-Reactive Protein, Cardiac.” What is this?
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is made by the liver. Elevated CRP in your blood indicates that you have inflammation or a bacterial infection. CRP levels do not always change with a viral infection.
The CRP in a healthy person is usually less than 10 milligrams per liter (mg-L). Most infections and inflammations produce CRP levels more than 100 mg-L.
Q. Is it my imagination or does my husband’s snoring get worse if he’s been drinking?
I’d have to listen to him snoring to give you an answer to that one. But I can tell you that drinking can intensify snoring.
As you fall asleep, your tongue, throat and the roof of your mouth relax. If they relax too much, they may partially block the flow of air to your lungs. Then the tissue at the back of your mouth vibrates, creating the sound of logs being sawed. As the airway narrows, the vibration intensifies and the snoring gets louder. Here are some causes:
Q. I heard that Botox can help if you have shaky hands. Is that true?
“Shaky hands” is a symptom of “essential tremor,” which is the most common movement disorder. The medical community calls it “essential” because it isn’t linked to other diseases.
Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injections, popular for ironing wrinkles, is used to treat muscle spasms and tremors caused by diseases such as multiple sclerosis and neurological conditions such as muscle spasms of the neck, shoulders and face.
Second of two parts
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in blood. You need it to produce cell membranes, protect nerves and make hormones.
The body can make all the cholesterol it needs. Most cholesterol is made by your liver. You also get cholesterol from foods such as meat, eggs and dairy products. Too much cholesterol is dangerous because cholesterol can lead to blockages in your blood vessels.
First of two parts
Q. My doctor told me my cholesterol and triglycerides are elevated. I have a vague idea what cholesterol is but I’m clueless about tyglycerides. What are they?
Triglycerides are a fat in your blood. They are important to maintaining good health. However, if your triglycerides get out of control, you can put your heart at risk. People with high triglycerides usually have lower HDL (good) cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Q. I’m presuming there actually was someone named Heimlich who gave his name to the maneuver for helping people who are choking. Am I right?
Yes, there actually is a Heimlich. In 1974, Henry J. Heimlich, MD, published findings on what became the Heimlich Maneuver. Since then, the method has saved more than 100,000 people in the United States alone.
I met Heimlich and worked with a team on the initial program to educate the public about the maneuver. A day after our group learned the technique, one of my co-workers saved a boy who was choking on an ice cube.
Q. I’ve been seeing lots of references about “restless legs syndrome.” I’ve never heard of this condition. Is it rare?
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) affects about one in 10 adults in North America and Europe. RLS is found in men and women but can begin in children. The percentage of people with RLS increases with age. Seniors experience symptoms longer and more frequently.
Many researchers believe that RLS is under-reported. Victims of RLS are often diagnosed as suffering from insomnia, depression or a disorder of the nerves, muscles or skeleton.