Tag Archives: Stress

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October 16 – World Spine day!

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Scientists say they already know how to reduce cancer deaths by half

Scientists say they already know how to reduce cancer deaths by half

No treatment required.

In fact, it wouldn’t take any drugs at all. All we need to do is get people to follow the recommendations that doctors have been making for decades: don’t smoke, drink moderately, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly.

At least, that’s the message from a new study that looked at the lifestyles of more than 100,000 doctors and nurses in the US.

This study made it clear right up front – lifestyle alone is never going to stop all cancers. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the disease strikes totally at random, and it can happen to even the healthiest of people.

But the new study serves as a reminder that while we often focus all our money and effort on new treatments, there are already proven ways to reduce people’s risk of developing cancer.

“Even while we’re making new discoveries, that shouldn’t stop us from acting on the knowledge we already do have.”

So is the prevention issue really that cut and dry?

While the occasional study might find something random, the reality is that the vast majority of research is on the same page when it comes to risk factors for cancer – cigarettes, too much alcohol, obesity, and a lack of exercise are all bad.

Fitness and diet infographic

Fitness and diet infographic

(And that’s not to mention sun exposure, because this specific study only looked at carcinoma – which are most cancers except brain and skin cancers.)

To figure out just how much of a risk living an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle really is, Mingyang Song and Edward Giovannucci from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at data on taken from a range of long-term studies on doctors and nurses in the US.

After looking at cancer rates, they found that up to 80 percent of lung cancer could be put down to lifestyle, as well as more than one-fifth of colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and kidney cancer cases.

When they applied those rates to the rest of the US population, they found that between 41 and 63 percent of cancer cases could be preventable, as well as 59 to 67 percent of cancer deaths.

That’s a pretty huge if you consider the fact that despite countless promising new treatments, we’re still no closer to a ‘cure’ for cancer – the more we learn about the disease, the more complex we realise it is.

“These findings reinforce the predominant importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk,” the researchers write in JAMA Oncology. “Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control.”

From Science Alert.  Click here for full article.

Healthy sleep

Sleep may make you feel better, but its importance may also go beyond just boosting mood or banishing under-eye circles.

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) has just released new guidelines on sleep.

“Sleep plays a vital role in human health, yet there is a lack of sufficient guidance on promoting good sleep health,” said Sutapa Mukherjee, PhD, the chair of the committee that produced the statement, in a press release.

According to the statement, poor sleep — defined as less than six hours or more than nine hours of sleep a night — may lead to health problems. These health problems may include less efficient immunity to disease and memory loss. Consistent poor sleep may also increase the risk of death, according to the statement.

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Many people don’t know how important sleep is when it comes to health, and many people don’t get the right amount of sleep, Dr. Mukherjee and team wrote. Children and teens also need different amounts and types of sleep than adults, and many don’t get the sleep that helps them function best.

The authors noted that children need to be taught that it’s important to go to bed on time, and that they should be allowed to sleep until they wake up naturally.

The authors called for more education on sleep hygiene and noted the need for doctors to encourage proper sleep without the use of sedatives. Doctors also need to be more aware of sleep disorders, such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to Dr. Mukherjee and colleagues.

This statement was published June 15 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The American Thoracic Society funded this research.

Citations:

Science says your body needs a vacation

Did you go on vacation this year? It feels like many of us are spending more time at work than ever before, despite living in an era of unprecedented wealth. With increasingly demanding schedules, many professionals choose to skip vacations altogether. In fact, more than half of all Americans haven’t gone on holidays in the past year. At all.

But research suggests that all work and no play could be bad for your health in myriad ways – some more sneaky than others. We generally recognise that leisure is linked to better wellbeing, but what exactly does that mean?

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For starters, if you don’t take a break every year, prolonged exposure to stress could lead to heart problems. A 2012 systematic review of the relationship between long working hours and coronary heart disease revealed that people who work more than the 8-hour average day have about a 40 percent higher risk of heart disease. It’s only a correlation, but researchers speculate that there could be a causal link due to factors such as stress, lack of rest, and insufficient sleep.

It’s clear that your heart definitely needs holidays – but so does the mind. These days it’s not uncommon to bring your laptop and try to ‘squeeze in a bit of work’ even while on break, but you really should try to avoid it. Cognitive science research has shown that people are actually more creative if they let their minds wander a bit, while long hours of toiling at a desk can actually make you less sharp, particularly at an older age. Spending some time away from the workplace is therefore likely to make you more productive once you’re back.

Lying on a beach or (carefully) taking selfies at historical sites also has mental health benefits. Apart from the obvious and immediate boost in one’s mood and life satisfaction, vacationing could also decrease depression. A trend in observational studies shows that people who take more vacations are less prone to have depressive episodes – and all of this probably comes back to the reduction of stress a holiday can provide.

So how does this account for the dreaded post-vacation blues you get when your email inbox is way too full and the office microwave smells like fish all over again? Well, it doesn’t. De Bloom found the positive impact on one’s mood dissipates quickly after getting back to work. However, the health benefits are still there, so mood fluctuations alone don’t show the whole point of vacations. “It would be a bit like asking, ‘Why do we sleep despite the fact that we get tired again?'” she says.

So perhaps it’s time to check your leave balance and spend some nice quality time not working. Tell your boss it’s for health reasons.

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Stress Less

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Yoga for a Quiet Mind

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Treadmill Vs. Downward Dog

Adapted from “The Doctor Will See you Now”, See original article here.

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As popular as it has become, yoga still doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It is a serious exercise regimen and every bit as good for the heart as other forms of exercise, according to a recent analysis.

And because yoga is a lot less boring than riding a stationary bike, it may even be better than typical exercise when it comes to good heart health.

The authors of the analysis looked at 32 randomized controlled trials of how yoga affected risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.First, the researchers reviewed trials comparing people who used yoga as a form of exercise to people who did not exercise. Yoga participants had lower body mass index (BMI), blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) and cholesterol (both LDL and total) and had higher HDL (good) cholesterol.

They also had lower triglycerides and heart rate, and were more likely to lose weight during the trial. In fact, the only outcomes recorded where yoga did not lead to measurable improvements were fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin.

In trials comparing yoga’s effects to the impact of other types of aerobic exercise, such as cycling or brisk walking, the results were even simpler: there was no significant difference between yoga and other exercise.

The researchers caution that many of the trials were of rather short duration and had small numbers of participants, so it’s possible that the results of larger or longer trials might be different.

Yoga may even have an edge over traditional forms of exercise. It tends to be more acceptable to patients with physical disabilities, including people with joint pain, heart problems and the elderly. It also requires no special equipment and can be performed.

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The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

 

 

..either alone at home or as a part of a class.

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