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Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute complications can include diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, or death. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes.

Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. There are three main types of diabetes mellitus:

  • Type 1 DM results from the pancreas’s failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”. The cause is unknown.
  • Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop. This form was previously referred to as “non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”. The most common cause is excessive body weight and not enough exercise.
  • Gestational diabetes is the third main form and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels.

Prevention and treatment involve maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical exercise, a normal body weight, and avoiding use of tobacco. Control of blood pressure and maintaining proper foot care are important for people with the disease. Type 1 DM must be managed with insulin injections. Type 2 DM may be treated with medications with or without insulin. Insulin and some oral medications can cause low blood sugar. Weight loss surgery in those with obesity is sometimes an effective measure in those with type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the birth of the baby.

Low blood sugar is common in persons with type 1 and type 2 DM. Most cases are mild and are not considered medical emergencies. Effects can range from feelings of unease, sweating, trembling, and increased appetite in mild cases to more serious issues such as confusion, changes in behavior such as aggressiveness, seizures, unconsciousness, and (rarely) permanent brain damage or death in severe cases. Moderate hypoglycemia may easily be mistaken for drunkenness; rapid breathing and sweating, cold, pale skin are characteristic of hypoglycemia but not definitive. Mild to moderate cases are self-treated by eating or drinking something high in sugar. Severe cases can lead to unconsciousness and must be treated with intravenous glucose or injections with glucagon.

People (usually with type 1 DM) may also experience episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis, a metabolic disturbance characterized by nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, the smell of acetone on the breath, deep breathing known as Kussmaul breathing, and in severe cases a decreased level of consciousness.

A rare but equally severe possibility is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, which is more common in type 2 DM and is mainly the result of dehydration.

Diabetes mellitus is classified into four broad categories: type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes, and “other specific types”. The “other specific types” are a collection of a few dozen individual causes. Diabetes is a more variable disease than once thought and people may have combinations of forms. The term “diabetes”, without qualification, usually refers to diabetes mellitus.

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is characterized by loss of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreatic islets, leading to insulin deficiency. This type can be further classified as immune-mediated or idiopathic. The majority of type 1 diabetes is of the immune-mediated nature, in which a T cell-mediated autoimmune attack leads to the loss of beta cells and thus insulin.[33] It causes approximately 10% of diabetes mellitus cases in North America and Europe. Most affected people are otherwise healthy and of a healthy weight when onset occurs. Sensitivity and responsiveness to insulin are usually normal, especially in the early stages. Type 1 diabetes can affect children or adults, but was traditionally termed “juvenile diabetes” because a majority of these diabetes cases were in children.

Type 2

Type 2 DM is characterized by insulin resistance, which may be combined with relatively reduced insulin secretion. The defective responsiveness of body tissues to insulin is believed to involve the insulin receptor. However, the specific defects are not known. Diabetes mellitus cases due to a known defect are classified separately. Type 2 DM is the most common type of diabetes mellitus.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) resembles type 2 DM in several respects, involving a combination of relatively inadequate insulin secretion and responsiveness. It occurs in about 2–10% of all pregnancies and may improve or disappear after delivery. However, after pregnancy approximately 5–10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to have diabetes mellitus, most commonly type 2. Gestational diabetes is fully treatable, but requires careful medical supervision throughout the pregnancy. Management may include dietary changes, blood glucose monitoring, and in some cases, insulin may be required.

Maturity onset diabetes of the young

Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) is an autosomal dominant inherited form of diabetes, due to one of several single-gene mutations causing defects in insulin production. It is significantly less common than the three main types. The name of this disease refers to early hypotheses as to its nature. Being due to a defective gene, this disease varies in age at presentation and in severity according to the specific gene defect; thus there are at least 13 subtypes of MODY. People with MODY often can control it without using insulin.

Benefits of Coffee for Health

Coffee is actually very healthy.

It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health.

The studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases.

1. Coffee Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter

Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. This is because it contains a stimulant called caffeine, which is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world . After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Bottom Line: Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.

2. Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat

There’s a good reason for that… caffeine is one of the very few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning. However, it is possible that these effects will diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.

Bottom Line: Several studies show that caffeine can increase fat burning in the body and boost the metabolic rate.

3. The Caffeine Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance

Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, causing it to send signals to the fat cells to break down body fat. But caffeine also increases Epinephrine (Adrenaline) levels in the blood. Because of this, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about a half an hour before you head to the gym.

Bottom Line: Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from the fat tissues. It also leads to significant improvements in physical performance.

4. There Are Essential Nutrients in Coffee

Coffee is more than just black water. Many of the nutrients in the coffee beans do make it into the final drink.

A single cup of coffee contains:

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA.
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA.
  • Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA.

Although this may not seem like a big deal, most people are drinking more than one cup per day. If you drink 3-4, then these amounts quickly add up.

Bottom Line: Coffee contains several important nutrients, including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.

5. Coffee May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a gigantic health problem, currently afflicting about 300 million people worldwide.

It is characterized by elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin.

For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Bottom Line: Several observational studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of getting type II diabetes, a serious disease that currently afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.

6. Coffee May Protect You From Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide. This disease usually affects people over 65 years of age. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s. However, there are several things you can do to prevent the disease from showing up in the first place. This includes the usual suspects like eating healthy and exercising, but drinking coffee may be incredibly effective as well.

Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, which is a leading cause of dementia worldwide.

7. Caffeine May Lower The Risk of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, right after Alzheimer’s. It is caused by death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Same as with Alzheimer’s, there is no known cure, which makes it that much more important to focus on prevention.

Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have up to a 60% lower risk of getting Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder.

8. Coffee Appears to Have Protective Effects on The Liver

The liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions in the body. Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and others. Many of these diseases can lead to a condition called cirrhosis, in which the liver has been largely replaced by scar tissue.

Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing cirrhosis, which can be caused by several diseases that affect the liver.

9. Coffee Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier

Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. It is incredibly common and about 4.1% of people in the U.S. currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.

Bottom Line: Coffee appears to lower the risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce the risk of suicide.

10. Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Some Types of Cancer

Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death and is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer… liver cancer and colorectal cancer. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth.

Bottom Line: Liver and colorectal cancer are the 3rd and 4th leading causes of cancer death worldwide. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of both.

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables are important part of healthy eating and provide a source of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid) and vitamins A, E and C. Options like broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and garlic provide additional benefits, making them a superfood! Potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.

Folate (folic acid) helps the body form healthy red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and spina bifida during fetal development. Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables has been linked to improved health, and for good reason. Veggies and fruits (both fresh and frozen) are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which have been shown to protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They are also low in calories, making them a great choice for your waistline. Choosing a colorful assortment vegetables is best, as different benefits exist in the different color spectrum. The orange pigment found in carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, for example, contain the antioxidant beta-carotene. The deep red pigment found in tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which is linked with prostate health.

And for some great news, here are two food groups where you can eat a large portion and not have to worry about weight gain. (Just watch your portion of starchy veggies such as corn and potatoes.) While all fruits and vegetables are healthy, below are several pointers on some nutrition powerhouses.

Vegetables

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and part of the Brassica family, which also includes kale, collards, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, turnips, and cauliflower. Members of the Brassica family are rich in phytochemicals, known to have antioxidant properties. Broccoli is a true nutrition powerhouse: It is chock full of vitamin C, the mineral calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. It is also rich in sulforaphane, a health-promoting compound that can fight cancer.

Carrots are a good source of fiber, which helps to maintain bowel health, lower blood cholesterol, and aid in weight maintenance. The orange pigment found in carrots are due to the antioxidant beta-carotene, also found in other deep orange foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, papaya, and cantaloupe. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and helps to maintain healthy eyes, support your immune system, keep your skin healthy, and protect against certain cancers.

Spinach is available year-round in grocery stores around the country, offering a readily-available source of many vitamins and minerals. Spinach contains the minerals iron and potassium, as well as vitamins A, K, C, and the B-vitamin folate. Spinach also contains phytochemicals that may boost your immune system and flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that may be preventative against certain cancers.

Sweet Potatoes are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene and are also full of fiber, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, and the mineral potassium. They are especially nutritious when eaten with the skin on, and contrary to a popular dieting myth, they are not fattening!

Beets contain healthy doses of iron, the B-vitamin folate, and fiber. Red beets offer betacyanin, a plant pigment which may protect against colon cancer.

Fruits

Fruits contain mostly sugars and fibers, such as pectin, that are extensively fermented in the large intestine. Certain fruits, especially apples and pears, are concentrated in fructose. Fruits are also recommended as a source of vitamin C and potassium. Traditionally, fruits, as foodstuffs were available for a limited time and, when ripe, were sometimes difficult to collect and transport. When ripe, they have a short period of acceptability before senescence intervenes. Thus, many fruits consumed in today’s world are processed, frozen, canned, or dried.

Cantaloupe. This member of the melon family is rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, a plant-based vitamin A precursor that helps with eye health, among other conditions. It is also rich in the mineral potassium, which may help lower blood pressure and the risk for stroke. And, it is terrific if you are watching your waist — a one-cup serving contains a mere 50 calories.

Watermelon, which is especially terrific this time of year, offers a juicy, sweet taste and a high water content, while packing in the antioxidants lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, and the minerals potassium and magnesium.

Citrus fruits, including oranges and grapefruits, provide a significant source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium, as well as fiber. Pink grapefruits are particularly rich in the antioxidant lycopene. Eating these fruits whole yields more nutrients than drinking the juice.

Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which may help raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). They are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E.

Grapes. Consuming grapes may reduce the risk of blood clots, lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and prevent damage to the heart’s blood vessels, aiding in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure. Antioxidants called flavonoids may even increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind). The resveratrol found in the skins of red grapes may interfere with cancer development. Eating the whole fruit instead of consuming the juice contains the added benefit of fiber.

Kiwifruit, with its brilliant green inside, is packed with vitamin C and fiber.

Healthy Tips:

It is best to eat your fruits and vegetables from whole foods. Popping a pill — such as taking a beta-carotene supplement — does not do the trick. Fresh and frozen vegetables offer a combination of many health benefits that you will not find in a pill.

Nutrients

Food sources of the nutrients in bold can be found in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Click on the nutrient name to link to the food sources table.

  • Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, or cholesterol.)
  • Potassium rich nutrientsVegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
  • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, winter squash, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas.
  • Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
  • Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy should consume adequate folate, including folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
  • Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
  • Vitamin E helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from cell oxidation.
  • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.

Benefits Yoga for Health

The benefits of yoga provide both instant gratification and lasting transformation. In the fitness world, both are extremely important. Too much time with too few results can be incredibly discouraging, and monotonous routines week after week can lead to stagnation. Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health.

YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE

Most yoga studios and local gyms offer yoga classes that are open to all generations and fitness levels. It’s exciting to enter a room full of young teens, athletes, middle-aged moms, older gentlemen, and even fitness buffs and body builders. Everyone can feel accepted and included and, unlike other sports or classes that focus on niche clients, yoga tends to offer open arms. Whether you like to say “Om” or you can’t stand the word “yogi”; whether you are 92, 53, or even 12, yoga can help you.

YOGA ENCOURAGES OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Yoga is not just about working out, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to find stillness in a world consumed with chaos. Peace and tranquility achieved through focused training appeals to everyone.

Yoga’s deep breathing and meditation practices help foster an inner shift from to-do lists, kids and spouse’s needs, financial concerns, and relationship struggles to something a little bit bigger than the issues you face. Yoga helps relieve stress and declutters the mind, helping you to become more focused.

STRENGTH TRAINING AND FLEXIBILITY

Yoga’s focus on strength training and flexibility is an incredible benefit to your body. The postures are meant to strengthen your body from the inside out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good, too. Each of the yoga poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder, and neck pain.

The digestive system gets back on track when the stretching in yoga is coupled with a healthy, organic diet, which can relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and acid reflux. Another one of the benefits of yoga is that stretching and holding postures also causes muscles to lengthen, which gives the body a longer, leaner look.

Here’s a list of some of the most beneficial aspects of power yoga:

  • It increases endurance, strength, and flexibility.
  • Mental endurance and physical stamina are tested through holding postures for extended breaths.
  • Arm and shoulder strength is increased as you use your own body weight for resistance.
  • Lats, traps, and other back muscles begin to support the spine better than before.
  • Abdominals and obliques are refined and toned through building core muscles.
  • Posture begins to correct itself over time.
  • Hip flexors are stretched and strengthened.
  • Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves are strengthened.

Yoga increases flexibility and reduces stress, but the practice can do more than help you twist your body into pretzel shapes and find inner peace. These hidden benefits will help you in the kitchen, office and bedroom — and will give you five new reasons to show off your yoga skills (plus recommended poses for each one!).

1. Boost Immunity

Strike a Pose: Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
This sequence of eight poses performed in a row can be found in almost any yoga class. It creates great circulation and tone, plus sweat, says Bleier.

2. Ease Migraines

Strike a Pose: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart on the floor. With your hands resting on the floor, begin to press down into your legs and draw your hips toward the sky. The key, Bleier says, is to keep your shoulders in line with the base of your neck, moving the back of the shoulders together so the shoulder blades are close. Lift your chest towards your chin and your chin away from your chest, so the upper trapezius muscles flow away from the head.

3. Boost Sexual Performance

Strike a Pose: Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Sit with your feet together and your knees bent and reaching toward the floor. Slowly fold over your feet while trying to bring your knees closer to the ground while moving the groin back and engaging the pelvic floor muscles. “It’s a great hip opener, plus the pelvic floor engagement tones the muscles for orgasm,” says Bleier.

4. Sleep Better

Strike a Pose: Corpse Pose (Savasana) with Diaphragmatic Breathing
Savasana is the final pose in a yoga class and is meant to restore the body. Lay on your back with your legs slightly apart and your arms extended at your side and your hands on your belly. Inhale and exhale through your nose, follow the breath and feel the belly rise and fall under your hands. The breath, muscles, and mind should be completely relaxed.

5. Fight Food Cravings

Strike a Pose: Meditation
Sit or lay in any comfortable position and bring attention to the natural breath moving in and out through your nose. Next, bring attention to the triangular area around the tip of your nose and upper lip, paying attention to your breath hitting this space as you exhale, the temperature of your breath, and which nostril you’re breathing through. Try this for two minutes, working up to five or more. “The key is to try and be still and focus just on the breath,” Bleier says. “No moving, no reacting, just stay present.”

Health Food

Health food is food considered beneficial to human health and a healthy diet required for human nutrition. No human being is the same as any other, and different dietary practices can be considered healthy by different people.

Foods marketed as “healthy” may be natural foods, organic foods, whole foods, and sometimes vegetarian or dietary supplements. Such products are sold in health food stores or in the health/organic sections of supermarkets.

What does ‘healthy eating’ actually mean? To begin with, it’s important to understand that healthy eating is different from dieting. It doesn’t aim to reduce a significant amount of weight in a short space of time, instead it aims to make you feel great, energised and above all, healthier.

Healthy eating incorporates three main ideas:

  • eating a balanced diet
  • having a healthy attitude towards food
  • understanding the environmental impact of your diet.

The following fact-sheet provides a wealth of information for kick-starting a positive eating regime. Consulting a nutritionist will ensure that this lifestyle change is safe, right for your personal needs, easy to maintain, and enjoyable.

Diets aren’t necessarily a healthy option – they can lead to dramatic weight-loss, but because they are only short-term fixes, weight often creeps back on after the diet is finished. Also, some fad diets have zero scientific proof that they work and can make you feel unwell.

Avoiding fad diets

Weight-loss diets often promise to help you lose weight in a short space of time but can be damaging for your health. Here are some reasons why you should try to avoid these ‘fad diets’ and start eating a balanced diet.

  • Some diets can make you feel unwell

Crash diets often portray weight-loss as a quick, achievable process by considerably reducing the amount of calories you consume. Due to these diets being unbalanced, you might start feeling ill and in some cases it may lead to long-term health issues.

  • Excluding certain food types can be dangerous

Some diets cut out certain food groups altogether such as dairy products, fish, wheat or meat. This can prevent you from gaining certain nutrients that help your body function properly.

If you suspect you have an allergy or intolerance to a certain food group, consult a doctor/dietitian for an official diagnosis.

  • Detox diets might not work

Detox diets often lead to weight-loss because they cut out certain food types, such as dairy products or wheat, and focus on eating a restricted range of foods. These types of diets are not healthy for the long-term because they restrict your nutrient intake, so you may miss out on essential vitamins and minerals, which can be detrimental to your health.

Healthy eating tips

  • Base meals on starchy foods

According to the NHS, you should aim for starchy foods to make up 30% of your meals. Starchy foods include pasta, potatoes, bread and cereal. Whole grain varieties of starchy foods offer more fibre and can help you feel fuller for longer. The fibre in whole grains also helps feed the health-promoting bacteria in your gut and may help prevent constipation and bloating. Whole grains also benefit from having more vitamins and minerals in them which are vital for energy production and overall good health.

  • Eat plenty of fish

Fish is a great source of protein and contains essential vitamins and minerals. It’s been advised to eat it twice a week, with at least one portion being oily fish such as fresh salmon or mackerel. These types of fish are rich in omega-3 fats that can be very beneficial to your health.

  • Get your five a day

You should aim to eat at least five different varieties of fruit and vegetables a day. This is much easier than you think. To start, try swapping your mid-morning biscuit for a banana and palmful of nuts and snacking on hummus with carrot/cucumber batons in the evening – it’s easier than you think! Take a look at our five a day fact sheet for more tips.

  • Cut down on sugar and saturated fats

We do need a certain amount of fat in our diet, but we should keep an eye on how much we are consuming and the type of fats we are eating. As well as consuming a small amount of saturated fat, found in meat and dairy, it is also important to consume unsaturated fats in foods such as avocados, oily fish and vegetable oils to make sure you are eating a mix of fats necessary for good health. When consuming meat, try to get the lean cuts and remove any visible fat. When cooking, try steaming or stir-frying your vegetables quickly with a smaller amount of oil to retain more of the goodness. Making stews with meat, in addition to grilling meats, is also a healthy option, as you do not burn the fats in a casserole.

  • Avoid too much salt

Approximately three-quarters of the salt we eat is in the food we buy from the supermarket. As well as reducing the amount of salt you add to your meals at the table, you should also consider the amount of salt already added to pre-packaged foods like bread, soups and sauces. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which can lead to a stroke or developing heart disease.

Effects of Smoking on Your Health

Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly the substance is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant which have been rolled into a small square of rice paper to create a small, round cylinder called a “cigarette”. Smoking is primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreational drug use because the combustion of the dried plant leaves vaporizes and delivers active substances into the lungs where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and reach bodily tissue. In the case of cigarette smoking these substances are contained in a mixture of aerosol particles and gasses and include the pharmacologically active alkaloid nicotine; the vaporization creates heated aerosol and gas to form that allows inhalation and deep penetration into the lungs where absorption into the bloodstream of the active substances occurs. In some cultures, smoking is also carried out as a part of various rituals, where participants use it to help induce trance-like states that, they believe, can lead them to “spiritual enlightenment”.

Smoking is one of the most common forms of recreational drug use. Tobacco smoking is the most popular form, being practiced by over one billion people globally, of whom the majority are in the developing countries.[2] Less common drugs for smoking include cannabis and opium. Some of the substances are classified as hard narcotics, like heroin, but the use of these is very limited as they are usually not commercially available. Cigarettes are primarily industrially manufactured but also can be hand-rolled from loose tobacco and rolling paper. Other smoking implements include pipes, cigars, bidis, hookahs, and bongs.

The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease. Smoking compromises the immune system, making smokers more likely to have respiratory infections.

Smoking also causes several autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also play a role in periodic flare-ups of signs and symptoms of autoimmune diseases. Smoking doubles your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking has recently been linked to type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes. Smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Additionally, the more cigarettes an individual smokes, the higher the risk for diabetes. Recent studies show a direct relationship between tobacco use and decreased bone density. Smoking is one of many factors—including weight, alcohol consumption, and activity level—that increase your risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which bones weaken and become more likely to fracture.

In addition, smoking from an early age puts women at even higher risk for osteoporosis. Smoking lowers the level of the hormone estrogen in your body, which can cause you to go through menopause earlier, boosting your risk for osteoporosis.

The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood cells and damage the function of your heart. This damage increases your risk for:

  • Atherosclerosis, a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in your arteries
  • Aneurysms, which are bulging blood vessels that can burst and cause death
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes:
    • Coronary heart disease (CHD), narrow or blocked arteries around the heart
    • Heart attack and damage to your arteries
    • Heart-related chest pain
    • High blood pressure
  • Coronary Heart disease, where platelets—components in the blood—stick together along with proteins for form clots which can then get stuck in the plaque in the walls of arteries and cause heart attacks
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs
  • Stroke, which is sudden death of brain cells caused by blood clots or bleeding

Breathing tobacco smoke can even change your blood chemistry and damage your blood vessels. As you inhale smoke, cells that line your body’s blood vessels react to its chemicals. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up and your blood vessels thicken and narrow.

Every cigarette you smoke damages your breathing and scars your lungs. Smoking causes:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disease that gets worse over time and causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms
  • Emphysema, a condition in which the walls between the air sacs in your lungs lose their ability to stretch and shrink back. Your lung tissue is destroyed, making it difficult or impossible to breathe.
  • Chronic bronchitis, which causes swelling of the lining of your bronchial tubes. When this happens, less air flows to and from your lungs.
  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Tuberculosis

People with asthma can suffer severe attacks when around cigarette smoke.

All cigarettes are harmful, including menthol cigarettes. Many smokers think menthol cigarettes are less harmful, but there is no evidence that menthol cigarettes are safer than other cigarettes. Like other cigarettes, menthol cigarettes harm nearly every organ in the body and cause many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases. Menthol cigarettes, like other cigarettes, also negatively impact male and female fertility and are harmful to pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Some research shows that menthol cigarettes may be more addictive than non-menthol cigarettes. More research is needed to understand how addiction differs between menthol and non-menthol cigarette use.

Cigar and pipe smoke, like cigarette smoke, contains toxic and cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and non-smokers. Cigar and pipe smoking causes:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Laryngeal (voice box) cancer
  • Lip cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Tongue cancer

If you smoke cigars daily, you are at increased risk for developing heart disease and lung diseases such as emphysema.

Benefits of Water

Did you know that your body weight is approximately 60 percent water? Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. The amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors, including the climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems.

Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it also keeps the tissues in your body moist. You know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? Keeping your body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and the brain. In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.

Digestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber. With the help of water, this fiber dissolves easily and benefits your bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.

Your body loses fluids when you engage in vigorous exercise, sweat in high heat, or come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. If you’re losing fluids for any of these reasons, it’s important to increase your fluid intake so that you can restore your body’s natural hydration levels. Your doctor may also recommend that you drink more fluids to help treat other health conditions, like bladder infections and urinary tract stones. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you may want to consult with your physician about your fluid intake because your body will be using more fluids than usual, especially if you’re breastfeeding.

There’s no hard and fast rule, and many individuals meet their daily hydration needs by simply drinking water when they’re thirsty, according to a report on nutrient recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. In fact, most people who are in good physical health get enough fluids by drinking water and other beverages when they’re thirsty, and also by drinking a beverage with each of their meals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re not sure about your hydration level, look at your urine. If it’s clear, you’re in good shape. If it’s dark, you’re probably dehydrated.

10 big benefit of waters:

  1. Step into liquidWhether you want shinier hair, younger skin, a healthier body
    (or all three!), pure, clear water is the world’s best beauty elixir.
  2. Add shineFor years, hairdressers have been saying a cool-water rinse leaves hair glossier. Is it true? Yes! The chilly temp constricts the cuticle layer of your hair so it lies flatter; making strands smoother and more reflective.
  3. Cleanse and conditionToo much seawater can dry out your locks, but oceans are good for something—their nutrient-rich waters support marine botanicals (like sea kelp) that can cleanse, repair, and detangle strands. Try this nourishing combo:Depth Refresh Daily Shampoo  cleanses without drying, thanks to hydrating sea lettuce and red algae extract in a purified-water base.

    Rusk Deepshine Sea Kelp Conditioner  is packed with marine extracts, such as sea kelp, that strengthen and add shine. Plus, UVB absorbers help shield your hair from the sun’s damaging rays.

  4. Tame tressesSoft shower water leaves hair more manageable because there are few mineral salts (pesky molecules that can make strands rough and prone to tangles). If you have hard water (find out here), install a water-softening shower filter. It can stop your color from fading, too.
  5. Prevent damageYou probably know from firsthand experience that chlorinated or salty water can turn healthy hair into a frizzy mess. But the fix is easier than you think. “Just rinse your hair in the shower or under a hose before swimming,” says Laini Reeves, owner and creative director of Essensuals London, a salon in Los Angeles. “The strands will absorb their fill of clean water, so they won’t be able to soak up as much of the damaging water.” After your dip, coat hair with conditioner for extra protection from the sun.
  6. Make wavesEver heard of setting lotions, those old-fashioned solutions that help hair hold a curl? Well, water is truly the most natural setting lotion available. Each of your strands is made up of hydrogen bonds that separate when hair is wet, according to Jeni Thomas, PhD, a Pantene senior scientist. If you manipulate hair’s texture while wet, “the hydrogen bonds reform as it dries, holding the new shape.” Here’s how to use that little bit of chemistry to your advantage: Mist hair with water, separate it into four sections, twist each into a small bun, and secure with a pin. Blow-dry (or air-dry), then unravel for soft waves.
  7. Create a lasting styleConditioners contain ingredients like dimethicone and plant oils that smooth and detangle your strands. But that nice slippery feeling they leave behind can actually make your hair harder to style. Reeves says you can fix this problem by misting on a water-based primer, like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Depsea Moisture Foundation, after detangling but before applying styling products. “It absorbs some of the oil and rebalances the moisture level of your hair so the style you create will hold longer,” she explains.
  8. Brighten eyesA cold compress helps reduce under-eye inflammation, but you can get a similar effect with H2O. “As water evaporates from skin, the surface becomes cooler,” cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson explains, so asplash of water can de-puff temporarily.
  9. Firm your skinFor centuries, people in eastern Europe have gone to bathhouses for water therapy to detoxify and tighten their skin. The process—which involves a steam-room session to open pores, followed by a cold-pool plunge to shock skin—is easy to replicate at home, according to Eva Scrivo, a New York City-based beauty expert and host of Beauty Talk on Sirius Satellite Radio.
  10. Smooth linesWrinkles are less noticeable when skin cells are well-hydrated, according to Howard Murad, MD, author of The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger. He suggests using a moisturizer with humectants, which help attract water to skin cells.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is one that helps to maintain or improve overall health.

A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition: fluid, adequate essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories. The requirements for a healthy diet can be met from a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods. A healthy diet supports energy needs and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts. Where lack of calories is not an issue, a properly balanced diet (in addition to exercise) is also thought to be important for lowering health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

Various nutrition guides are published by medical and governmental institutions to educate the public on what they should be eating to promote health. Nutrition facts labels are also mandatory in some countries to allow consumers to choose between foods based on the components relevant to health.

For specific conditions

In addition to dietary recommendations for the general population, there are many specific diets that have primarily been developed to promote better health in specific population groups, such as people with high blood pressure (as in low sodium diets or the more specific DASH diet), or people who are overweight or obese (in weight control diets). However, some of them may have more or less evidence for beneficial effects in normal people as well.

  • Hypertension

A low sodium diet is beneficial for people with high blood pressure. A Cochrane review published in 2008 concluded that a long term (more than 4 weeks) low sodium diet has a useful effect to reduce blood pressure, both in people with hypertension and in people with normal blood pressure.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the NIH, a United States government organization) to control hypertension. A major feature of the plan is limiting intake of sodium, and it also generally encourages the consumption of nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables while lowering the consumption of red meats, sweets, and sugar. It is also “rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as protein”.

  • Obesity

Weight control diets aim to maintain a controlled weight. In most cases dieting is used in combination with physical exercise to lose weight in those who are overweight or obese.

Diets to promote weight loss are divided into four categories: low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, and very low calorie. A meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials found no difference between the main diet types (low calorie, low carbohydrate, and low fat), with a 2–4 kilogram weight loss in all studies. At two years, all calorie-reduced diet types cause equal weight loss irrespective of the macronutrients emphasized.

The best source of meal planning for most Americans is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food Pyramid. The pyramid, updated in 2005, suggests that for a healthy diet each day you should eat:

  • 6 to 8 servings of grains. These include bread, cereal, rice, and pasta, and at least 3 servings should be from whole grains. A serving of bread is one slice while a serving of cereal is 1/2 (cooked) to 1 cup (ready-to-eat). A serving of rice or pasta is 1/2 cup cooked (1 ounce dry). Save fat-laden baked goods such as croissants, muffins, and donuts for an occasional treat.
  • 2 to 4 servings of fruits and 4 to 6 servings of vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, making them a great addition to your healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables also provide the fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need for your body’s systems to function at peak performance. Fruits and vegetables also will add flavor to a healthy diet. It’s best to serve them fresh, steamed, or cut up in salads. Be sure to skip the calorie-laden toppings, butter, and mayonnaise, except on occasion. A serving of raw or cooked vegetables is equal to 1/2 cup (1 cup for leafy greens); a serving of a fruit is 1/2 cup or a fresh fruit the size of a tennis ball.
  • 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose dairy products wisely. Go for fat-free or reduced-fat milk or cheeses. Substitute yogurt for sour cream in many recipes and no one will notice the difference. A serving of dairy is equal to 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1.5 to 2 ounces of cheese.
  • 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. For a healthy diet, the best ways to prepare beef, pork, veal, lamb, poultry, and fish is to bake or broil them. Look for the words “loin” or “round” in cuts of meats because they’re the leanest. Remove all visible fat or skin before cooking, and season with herbs, spices, and fat-free marinades. A serving of meat, fish, or poultry is 2 to 3 ounces. Some crossover foods such as dried beans, lentils, and peanut butter can provide protein without the animal fat and cholesterol you get from meats. A ¼ cup cooked beans or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter is equal to 1 ounce of lean meat.
  • Use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly. No diet should totally eliminate any one food group, even fats, oils, and sweets. It’s fine to include them in your diet as long as it’s on occasion and in moderation, Bickston says.

How do carcinogens cause cancer?

News articles over the past few years have implicated everything from sunlight’s ultraviolet radiation to burnt toast as potential carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances. So, should you be rushing to cut these everyday exposures out of your life? Well, it depends on the material you are talking about, and how much and how often you are in contact with it.

The first steps in the transformation of a normal cell into a cancerous cell happen at the level of the DNA, a remarkably complex foundation for our normal functions; in three billion individual nucleotides (the alphabet of DNA’s code), it encodes all the instructions required for any cell to survive.

But as cells divide and pass down their DNA, these instructions have to be re-copied each time. It’s pretty hard to make perfect copies each time (just try typing out War and Peace without making any typos.) With billions of new cells produced in an individual each day, there are a lot of opportunities for error. And when those mistakes happen in the parts of the genome that code instructions for processes like cell replication, you can end up with a cell that grows abnormally quickly.

However, when it comes down to it, many carcinogens do pose a real risk. Take smoking, for example. The most important thing you can do to decrease your risk of cancer is to quit smoking, says Susan Gapstur, vice president of the Epidemiology Research Program at the American Cancer Society. That advice is based on years of correlational studies that found increased rates of lung cancer in people who also smoked cigarettes as well as studies looking at the effects that the chemicals in cigarettes can have on cells’ DNA.

This disparity is a root cause of much of the confusion around carcinogens, some experts say. Despite what it might seem like, not everything causes cancer, says Jakob Jensen, associate dean and professor of communications at the University of Utah. From his work in cancer communications, Jensen has found that the widespread conception that carcinogens are everywhere makes people feel like it’s out of their control and that there’s nothing they can do to decrease their risk of developing cancer. But that’s not true.

Exposures to these “agents of evil” can cause some wacky changes to our cells that lead to cancer. For example, some carcinogens can directly cause genetic mutations that foster abnormal cell growth and tumors. Others don’t attack our genes directly, but trick our cells into cell division overdrive. That excess division then leads to potential genetic mutations down the road.

Does this mean that any exposure to a known carcinogen will cause you to develop cancer? The candid answer is, “It depends.” For one, our genes are under continual attack by genetic mutations, but our DNA usually does a stellar job of repairing itself. That said, though, that “repairman” skill isn’t equal among all of us. Some of us do a better job of repairing our genes than others, which means that some people are more naturally susceptible to the negative effects of a carcinogen. Furthermore, a carcinogen’s link to cancer can depend on:

  • Age and gender
  • Potency: Some carcinogens require pretty heavy exposure to be dangerous, while others are linked to cancer with just a brief exposure.
  • Exposure type: For example, were you exposed to a carcinogen one time or continually over a period of years?

A glance at the list of carcinogens might initially overwhelm you and as just one individual, you will never need to worry about all of them. Ever heard of 1,2-Dichloropropane? It’s a byproduct of making dry cleaning chemicals, so unless you work in the chemical manufacturing industry, you probably don’t have to worry about it. Many of the items listed are used in manufacturing, and some are more dangerous than the items they turn into (for example, vinyl chloride can cause liver cancer, but is safe once it is turned into solid PVC pipes, found in many homes). A number of them are actually drugs, some of which actually treat cancer itself.

Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. Initially, signs and symptoms of glioblastoma are non-specific. They may include headaches, personality changes, nausea, and symptoms similar to those of a stroke. Worsening of symptoms often is rapid. This may progress to unconsciousness.

The cause of most cases is unclear. Uncommon risk factors include genetic disorders such as neurofibromatosis and Li–Fraumeni syndrome and, previous radiation therapy. Glioblastomas represent 15% of brain tumors. They can either start from normal brain cells or develop from an existing low-grade astrocytoma. The diagnosis typically is made by a combination of CT scan, MRI scan, and tissue biopsy.

There is no clear way to prevent the disease. Typically, treatment involves surgery, after which chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used. The medication temozolomide is used frequently as part of chemotherapy. High dose steroids may be used to help reduce swelling and decrease symptoms. It is unclear whether trying to remove all or simply most of the cancer, is better.

Despite maximum treatment, the cancer usually recurs. The most common length of survival following diagnosis is 12 to 15 months, with fewer than 3% to 5% of people surviving longer than five years. Without treatment, survival is typically three months. It is the most common cancer that begins within the brain and the second most common brain tumor, after meningioma. About 3 per 100,000 people develop the disease a year. It most often begins around 64 years of age and occurs more commonly in males than females. Immunotherapy is being studied in glioblastoma with promising results.

Senator John McCain’s diagnosis of a particularly aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma (GBM), became public knowledge. But what exactly is this type of cancer, and what does it mean for the senator and other patients? A report by Roche estimates that there are around 240,000 cases of brain and nervous system tumors diagnosed worldwide per year, with GBM being the most common and the most lethal. Even in recent American history, it has claimed the lives of both Senator Edward Kennedy and Beau Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

GBM is a very aggressive form, or a Grade IV, type of brain tumor called an astrocytoma. It’s a type of glioma, a brain tumor that begin in the glial cells that surround and support neurons. Those can include anything from general neurologic symptoms, like headaches or seizures, to symptoms that stem from specific areas of the brain, like speech difficulty, weakness on one side of the body, or double vision.

O’Brien estimates that there are around 2 or 3 cases of GBM for every 100,000 people in America. It is the most common form of primary brain tumor (a cancer that begins in brain tissue) and in most cases it does not spread to any part of the body. There aren’t really any known risk factors, except for that it’s mostly found in people in their fifties, sixties, and older, and it’s slightly more common in men. Very rarely, it can be seen hereditarily in people with certain genetic syndromes such as neurofibromatosis type 1, Turcot syndrome, and Li Fraumeni syndrome.

GBM is typically diagnosed through brain imagery and then surgery. O’Brien says that if a patient experiences symptoms of a brain tumor, it’s necessary to see a physician to get the ball rolling on diagnosis through imaging. “If the brain imaging, such as an MRI, does show or is suspicious for glioblastoma, the next step is for surgery,” she says. “After the surgeon removes the tumor tissue, a pathologist evaluates it and confirms the diagnosis for glioblastoma.”

Treatment includes removing as much of the tumor as possible, and then beginning radiation and chemotherapy. As of right now, O’Brien says, there is no definitive cure for this type of tumor. So doctors focus on maintaining the patient’s quality of life by keeping the mass from growing. O’Brien says that the term remission isn’t used for GBM, and that the average survival rate post-diagnosis is less than two years. However, a 2009 study showed that around 11 percent of the subjects treated with radiotherapy along with temozolomide survived for five years.

With more research, perhaps. O’Brien says that there are a variety of other potential solutions being explored, like vaccines, viruses, and therapies called checkpoint inhibitors.