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Archive for July, 2010

Teen Smoking Decreases Life Expectancy by Ten Years

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

It has often been said that people who smoke are simply killing themselves slowly, but if your teen has started smoking, he or she may be facing additional risks to his or her health that the adults don’t face. Smoking is a major contributing factor in a whole host of health issues that will affect teens later in life, from osteoporosis to heart disease to cancer. Even worse, though, is that teen smoking interrupts the growth and development of your child before it is complete.

In order to help you understand the dangers of teen smoking, take a look at these statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control:

• Approximately 1,000,000 people die each year in North America from diseases related to smoking
• 90% of all smokers start smoking when they are teenagers
• More than 6,000 kids start smoking each day, and at least 2,000 of them will keep smoking – meaning almost a 1,000,000 new teen smokers each year
• Unless we begin addressing the issue of teen smoking more aggressively, it is estimated that nearly 7 million children will die prematurely because of smoking and smoking-related diseases

Teen smokers get addicted more quickly and from lower levels of nicotine than adults do. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by twelve times, but the chance of getting another form of cancer (uterine, cervical, kidney, lymphoma, leukemia) is also increased in teens who smoke. Smoking has been linked to increases in heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. More than 90% of people who die from COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease) are smokers. In fact, a person could be 100 pounds overweight and still be healthier than if a teen smoker.

There are several resources available (both public and private) to assist you with teen smoking issues. Many health insurance companies will pay for smoking cessation classes. Cigarettes are extremely addictive and it can be very difficult to quit, and your teen will need your support to kick the habit. Within just a few years of quitting, your teen’s lungs will be healthier. After ten years of not smoking, his or her risk for stroke returns to that of a non-smoker of the same age.

Teen smoking decreases life expectancy by at least ten years. It’s difficult to get teens to understand how precious those years are when they feel invincible and like they will live forever, but if you are struggling with teen smoking in your home, an anti-smoking campaign that reminds your teen of the dangers every day is absolutely critical.

Many teens begin smoking because they see their parents smoke. If you smoke in your home, your children and grandchildren are exposed not only to second hand smoke but to what has been termed third-hand smoke – the particles that are left behind in furniture, on carpet, and on the walls and contain the same carcinogens. If you smoke, it’s even more difficult to address teen smoking. Make a family effort to get healthy.

Guide to Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Stretch marks usually occur in the dermis, or elastic mid-layer of the skin. Repeated or sudden stretching of this layer causes a breakdown of the tissue, leaving behind scar tissue. Stretch marks usually occur during mid- to late pregnancy. As their name implies, Scar tissue that forms when the normal elasticity of the skin can’t keep up with the stretching required during pregnancy is called stretch marks. Stretch marks are generally due to a large and/or rapid increase in weight.

Mothers-to-be whose skin tone is good and elastic either because of heredity or because they have maintained years of healthy nutrition and positive exercise habits may go through one or more pregnancies without any striations. Others, by keeping weight gain gradual, moderate and steady may be able to minimize and possibly prevent stretch marks.

Be sure that your diet contains adequate sources of the nutrients needed for healthy skin. Remember, stretch marks can result from nutritional deficiency. Be sure to consume foods that promote skin health. Eat plenty of zinc-rich foods such as fish and nuts. Foods like carrots, milk and citrus fruits are high in vitamins C, D, and A. Choose 2-3 servings daily of protein-rich foods such as eggs. Sufficient protein is essential.

It’s important for the health of your baby and can help keep your skin supple and more unlikely to develop stretch marks. Caffeine will increase your risk of developing stretch marks. If you must drink caffeine drinks, tea or coffee, make sure your water intake matches or exceed your caffeinated drink intake.

Understand that stretch marks are caused from within, and external treatments can’t remove or prevent them. Money spent on expensive or exotic skin creams may make you feel like you’re doing something, but it won’t make the stretch marks disappear.

No cream, lotion, or oil, no matter how expensive, will prevent or alleviate stretch marks–although they may be fun for your partner to rub on the affected areas and will prevent your skin from drying out.

Even though keeping your skin soft and supple won’t prevent stretch marks, it might help minimize them and it may help you feel better about yourself. Some women find that cocoa butter helps keep the skin soft. A gentle massage with oil or cream–on your own or with the help of your mate–may be pleasurable and relaxing as well as an aid to soft, smooth skin.

After the pregnancy, when the stretch marks have faded, some women choose to visit a cosmetic or laser surgeon who may select dermabrasion or chemical peels to reduce the unsightly scars. Recent developments in laser techniques have offered hope for those who choose to have the scars permanently removed.