Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Quitting Smoking

Certainly, quitting smoking is highly beneficial to the smoker as well as the society as a whole, considering the health and socio-economic burden which smoking place on the individual smoker and the society at large.
Quitting smoking is, however, acknowledged to be a difficult process. Even after years of not smoking, a number of ex-smokers still have occasional cravings for cigarettes. People who keep trying, however, have a fifty-fifty chance of finally quitting. In any case, the attempts to quit are never a waste of time, since the amount of smoking is reduced during these periods. The smoker is up against a lot of obstacles to quitting.
Methods for Quitting Smoking
At this time the most effective methods for quitting is a combination of nicotine replacement products and an anti-depressant medication (where available), bolstered by counseling.
Plain Withdrawal Method: After a year only about 4% of smokers who quit without any outside help succeed. Nevertheless, most people try to quit alone and may have reported activities that can help the process of withdrawal. The primary obstacle in trying to quit alone is making the behavioural changes necessary to eliminate the habits associated with smoking. Excellent books, tapes, and manuals are available and are strongly recommended to help people who want to quit without other assistance.
Nicotine Replacement: Nicotine replacement products provide low does of nicotine that do not contain the contaminants found in smoke. They are proving to be twice as helpful as other standard quitting methods. Replacement products include nicotine patches, gums, nasal sprays, and inhalers. Nicotine replacement helps prevent weight gain while it is being used but people are still at higher risk for gaining weight when they stop all nicotine.
Side Effects of Nicotine Replacement: Side effects of any nicotine replacement product may include headaches, nausea, and other gastrointestinal problems. People often experience sleeplessness in the first few days, particularly with the patch, but the insomnia usually possess. Patients using very high doses are more likely to experience symptoms, and reducing the dose can prevent them.

Outside Support
People who have such outside help have the best record for quitting, with success rates of between 25% and 35%. (Those who are counseled and use nicotine replacement and antidepressant Zyban have the best chance). According to recent research the two most successful behavioral interventions are supportive care by a clinician, or training in problem solving or coping.

Anti-Smoking Mouthwash: A newly invented mouth rinse shows potential as an effective smoking deterrent. The rinse makes cigarettes taste terrible for five to eight hours after use. Anecdotal evidence indicates that it is quite effective in helping people quit smoking, but the product is still under investigation and not yet available.
Social Pressure (Denormalization): An effective overall current method for reducing smoking is the concept of denormalization. Essentially, this is the processes of making eh smoker fell that what he is doing is abnormal it is best instituted by laws and local regulations making smoking inaccessible in public places raising prices, and putting stricter limitations on cigarette advertising. It needs be emphasized, however, that even if smokers have all the public and professional support available, quitting is still a solitary and difficult process. It requires mostly the individual’s will of the mind.
Tips for Quitting
Below are some pragmatic tips that can assist with quitting smoking. For those desirous of achieving this goal, it is the resilience and self-determination that matter most.
Decide on a specific quit date: For some people, choosing a particular date to quit is helpful when no or low stress is anticipated for at least the first three days afterward. If smokers lose their nerve on the chosen day they must not get discouraged but should simply choose another one as soon as possible.
Let the body and mind heal during withdrawal: Retreat from the work when cravings become over-whelming, take naps, warm baths or showers, meditate, read novels. Assist the body in getting rid of nicotine, drink plenty of water, eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grants, and fiber-rich foods. Carrots, apples, and celery are good munching food. When cravings occur, hold your breath as long as possible or take a few deep rhythmic breaths. Use meditation or relaxation and deep breathing exercises. In fact, taking deep breaths when the urge to smoke occurs in a good stopgap measure.
Get family and friends involved: Tell all your friends and family that you’ve already quit so you’ll be embarrassed if they catch you smoking. Pay a family member or friend if they catch you smoking. The amount should be large enough to be a deterrent, but not too large as to be ridiculous. If your partner smokes, try and persuade him or her to quit or at the very least not to smoke, around you and others.
Exercise: An enjoyable exercise program is a great asset. Studies continue to show that smokers who exercise, vigorously if possible, can greatly increases their risk for weight gain. Moe the muscles when craving occurs. Dance, run, walk jump up and down, stretch, do push-ups. Yoga is an excellent exercise program for quitting.
Maintain a healthy diet: Eat plenty of fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables. This is also a useful way of satisfying oral cravings without adding many calories. Drink plenty of water and healthy beverages. Weight gain is a problem in quitting. One study reported that a low calorie diet during withdrawal and for the first few weeks helped women prevent weight gain and improved abstinence significantly compared to those on a normal diet, even when subjects went off this diet later on.

Truth About Weight Loss

Getting fit is your life. Your fitness level determines your health, your energy level and your capacity for accomplishing tasks requiring physical exertions. A very simple activity likes walking up the staircase, which some people do with great difficulty (panting and gasping for air) and even a pleasurable activity like sex require some level of fitness.
Plenty cases of sudden death where people complain of mild headache and drop dead before getting medical attention or people dieing of heart attack while having sex, could be attributed to poor fitness.
The Would Health Organization (WHO) describes fitness/health as the energy and potential for survival, performance, and achievement in physical, mental, and social domains. The better the health or fitness level of an individual, the stronger and more enduring are the structures and functions of various organs and the more accurate, faultless, and stable are their regulations at rest and when challenged by internal or environmental factors. So, fitness is holistic-physical, mental and spiritual.

Physical Activity and Fitness
To be physically fit, we must engage in a great deal of physical activity. God carefully and beautifully designed and fitted man with the skeletal system, comprising of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons for performing a wide range of movements. When we do not engage the body to make the movements it was designed to make, the body begins to rot and all manner of sickness begin to develop.
The technological revolution which brought about the development of faster, easier, modern ways of movements and transportations-bicycle, motorcycle, cars, airplanes, speed boats, ocean liners, space craft has, unfortunately, contributed in denying many people the use of their limbs.
Products of technology are beneficial to modern man but some dire consequences could result when some technological products are unwisely used. For example, the use of cars and lifts in buildings has made many people sedentary and lazy! One of the major consequences of inactivity is obesity. And its health implications are devastating.
What Constitutes Physical Activity?
Many people believe that they have to go to a gym five times a week to be fit and if they can’t find the time to do that, they can’t do anything. That’s not true. Yes, it is good to go to a gym if you can afford one. You can even have your own personal gym in your home and hire a personal trainer. Most fitness-conscious people and celebrities like super models, musicians and movie stars have their personal trainers.
At the first meeting of the International Physical Activity Network, in Berlin in April 1999, the concept of physical activity was define in line with the research evidence of Health Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA). The following working definition was adopted for the development of the physical activity: “Physical activity consists of bodily movements produced by the skeletal muscle contraction that increase energy expenditure above the basal level. Physical activity manifests itself in work or education, transport, domestic chores and recreation and its key characteristics are frequency intensity, duration and continuation”. This definition makes it clear that not only leisure-time sports and exercise are included, but also common lifestyle activities that are carried out a work (e.g. physical labour), at home (e.g. house work, gardening) and as transport (e.g. walking, cycling). The current general recommendation for health-enhancing physical activity calls for a total of half an hour of moderate intensity activity on most days of the week.
The point is that you can keep fit by making simple life-style changes. Sedentary executives who hardly exercise should use the staircase rather than the elevator; you can sometimes personally wash your cars on Saturday morning, help out in cleaning the home and do your gardening. In these days of fuel shortage, save yourself from unnecessary stress park that car and do some brisk waling if where you are going is within a 30 minutes radius. Take change of your domestic chores. Give your househelp a break. Do some of your laundry yourself. To do your shopping, park that car distance away from your destination and walk briskly. Carry some load on your arms, it will go a long way to firm up that Christian mother hand’ (turkey arm).
All this helpful to keep fit but not sufficient to register any significant weight loss more work is required to lose weight. And weight loss is case, if your are determined to achieve it. I believe you noted the four ingredients that make for an effective physical activity - Frequency, intensity, Duration and Continuation.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Erectile Dysfunction: Highly Linked to Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus when not well monitored has the potential of getting quickly complicated for the sufferer. A number of such complications can be seen in the eyes as cataract formation, as nerve tissue problem loss of sensation (neuropathy) and blood vessels related problem (vasculopathy) among others.

However, among all the known complications of diabetes, the one that could be most depressing and psychologically depressing is when it started to take it’s low on the erectable penile organ in males, manifesting as erectile dysfunction.

‘Erectile Dysfunction’ (popularly coded as ED) has now come to replace the phrase ‘Male Impotence’ in medical science due to a better understanding of the subject over the years. The change of nomenclature from ‘Impotence’ to ‘erectile dysfunction’ becomes necessary, since we now know that most affected men can soon conveniently become ‘Potent’ again sexually in the face of the many treatment options that are now available to treat this potentially depressing condition.

Technically speaking, the World Health Organization defined erectile dysfunction (ED) as “the consistent or recurrent inability of a man to attain and/or maintain a penile erection sufficient for sexual performance”.

An obvious fact, however, is that Erectile dysfunction is quite common but it is also largely treatable. Although, this fact is not open to many, who secretly nurse their problem and find it difficult to share this openly with their love ones, and has also developed a great inertia to even open up to their doctors. This development will further complicate the problem, which seldom lead to depression and sometimes to the extreme, leading to cases of suicide and attempted suicide.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Before the last 20 years or so, the prevailing view about ED was that it was almost always a psychological problem, and needed to be treated through sex therapy or marital counseling. Things have change a great deal in the past decade. With the development of new medical treatments for ED, and with better understanding of some of the medical causes of ED, the focus has shifted to the medical office.

Today, experts estimate the about 85% ED has an underlying medical cause. That doesn’t mean that the couple’s relationship is unimportant in their sex life. It just means that there are effective treatments available for the medical problems that may contribute to ED.

Some experts believe that up to 80% of all ED cases may be due to physical (organic) conditions, with psychological factors accounting for the remaining 20%. In many cases, however, both factors are involved. Below are some of the risk factors or causes of ED.

Diabetes As A Major Culprit

A better understanding of the management of erectile dysfunction flows from the fact that we now have more insight into the events that normally take place in men in the course of having an erection.

The simple anatomy and physiology is that for a man to have an erection, he must have an intact penis, which is made up of spongy tubes with potential to get filled up with blood when stimulated sexually this then lead to the turgidity of erection.

Meanwhile, this event is mainly controlled by the nervous system including the brain. The implication of this is that any disease condition that has the potential of affecting the blood vessels and the nervous tissue is invariably likely to affect the erectile process.

A major common culprit here is Diabetes mellitus, a disease condition that leads to excess sugar (in form of glucose) in the blood, which is due to inadequate or ineffectual insulin the chemical produce in the pancreas blood sugar.

It is known that the persistence of excess sugar in the blood soon damage nerve tissues and blood vessel, thus manifesting as the major complications of diabetes mellitus. And these two events eventually affect the erectile process in most men that have diabetes.

Apart from diabetes, other underlying medical problems that cause erectile dysfunction include hypertension, heart disease and prostate surgery ED also occurs frequently in men who also have clinical depression or are taking antidepressant medication.

Lifestyle factors can also be important, as smoking, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to the problem. Men who exercised regularly are less likely to develop Erectile Dysfunction.

Physical (Organic) Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction

For emphasis, the following entities are further outlined as potential causes of erectile dysfunction in the male.

  1. Vascular Disease: this includes arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart disease or stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol all affect blood flowing in and out of the penis. Vascular disease is the most common physical cause of ED.
  2. Diabetes: This chronic condition can cause nerve damage (neuropathy) and damage to the blood vessels that supply the penis. As an emphasis, two out of three man with diabetes can develop ED.
  3. Nerve Diseases: Neurological conditions include spinal cord injury, multiple scleroses and nerve degeneration due to diabetes or alcoholism.
  4. Hormonal Problems: Low levels of the male hormone testosterone can result in ED. This must, however be approached cautiously with an expert guiding the interpretation of the test results.
  5. Surgery: Surgery for colon, rectal or prostate cancer and even radiation therapy in the pelvic area can damage nerves and blood vessels, which may result in ED.
  6. Trauma: That is physical impact injury.

Side Effects Of Medications

There’s a long use of prescription medications and over-the- counter medications that have the potential side effect of ED. If you observe problems with erectile function after starting a new medication. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about possible side effects of the medication and possible alternatives and solution.

Lifestyle Factors

  1. Alcohol: Having drinking may immediately reduce your ability to have a strong erection. Long-term excessive drinking can cause nerve and liver damage and normal imbalance.
  2. Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of exercise can lead to ED.
  3. Smoking: Men who smoke have a greater chance of developing ED than men who don’t use tobacco according to a clinical study.

Psychological Causes

These can occur alone or combination with one or more of the physical causes of ED.

  • Performance Anxiety: When a man is anxious about his sexual performance, his erectile function can be affected.
  • Stress: Stress can affect sexual performance.
  • Depression: Men with erectile dysfunction can have some degree of depression and men with depression have ED.
  • Relationship Problems: Tensions with your sexual partner whether related to sexual issues or others such as female, family issue etc can negatively affect sexual function. It is difficult to hate and to love at the same time.