Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Still Smoking? Here Are Some Things You May Not Have Thought About.

You already know that quitting smoking has enormous health benefits. You would have to be from another planet to not know that and if you're reading this I'm going to assume you're from Earth.

Maybe there are some things you haven't thought about though. Certainly you've heard that smoking greatly increases your chance for heart attack, stroke, and lung cancer. But have you given consideration to what that really means?

Have you ever known anyone personally who's had a stroke? Have you seen how they live? Problems with paralysis, speech, walking, concentrating, and more. Have you thought about how different your life would be if one side of your body was paralyzed and you couldn't say what you wanted to say? Not to mention, with many stroke victims these are permanent effects, not temporary.

Have you thought about not being able to get on your computer? Some types of strokes can render your brain's ability to connect with your fingers on the keyboard useless. It's the same connection as inability to talk normally. It affects the same part of the brain that does writing and typing. You can't even write out a message.

What about other things you like to do? Well whether it's going to a kids' Little League game or college football game or a party or maybe just a walk in a park or on a beach, you may not be able to do it. You could find being extremely difficult or even impossible to do even simple things like walking into a restaurant.

And that's just a stroke. Ever known anyone that's had a mid to severe heart attack? It knocks them on their butts and with some it's permanent. A heart attack can cut off vital blood flows to various organs. If this happens for anything but a short amount of time, a heart attack victim can end up with permanent damage to their kidney, liver, and other organs. Not to mention that the heart itself is damaged and to what extent determines your future which may affect your energy levels, breathing, and much, much more.

We're human beings and that means we have a tendency to bury these types of cold hard facts in the far reaches of our minds. But every smoker has to face them at some time or another.

The big question is this: If you don't die early then are you prepared to live on with the consequences of your actions now? Are you ready to possibly live a life as described above?

As if those are not good enough reasons to stop smoking then also be sure to take these under consideration:

- Your blood pressure will drop within the first hour. Smokers typically have higher BP.
- In the same day your oxygen levels increase. This gives you more energy, increases blood flow, helps heart rate.
- Your chance of a heart attack starts to decrease within 2 days, how cool is that?
- In 3-4 days your bronchial tubes will ease and open up and you'll experience even more energy and vigor.

- In an average of 6 months your breathing problems will get better, you'll cough and wheeze less and your lung capacity will increase by 10-15%.
- In 12 months you'll have a 50% less chance of a heart attack
- Your chance of having a stroke drops to that of a non-smoker after 5 years
- Within 10 years your chance of lung cancer returns to a level of non-smokers have.
- Your chance of having a heart attack will return to what someone who doesn't smoke has after 15 years.

And we haven't even talked about the cost: If you smoke one pack a day at $5 a pack (more in many states/cities)  then you spend $150 a month. That's $1,800 a year! What could you do with an extra $1,800? And if you're a 2-person household of smokers then how much would an extra $3,600 a year help you?

No matter what method you use to quit smoking, just do it. And remember to not get discouraged. Statistically, people aren’t successful until their 2nd or 3rd try. Don't give up! If you slip, take note as to what happened. Learn from it. Address it. And then get back on your horse.

Monday, November 19, 2012

5 Ways to Get Better Sleep Tonight

It's one thing to fall asleep; it's another to stay asleep all night and even another to enjoy a full night of peaceful, restorative sleep that gives your body and mind an appropriate setting to repair, recharge and renew.

Too many Americans don't get enough sleep and when they do, it's often interrupted by constant tossing and turning. That's bad news from a health perspective, both in the short and long term. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, "a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality [death]."

Suffice it to say that sleep is a big deal, which makes ensuring you get enough sleep of prime importance. Here are five ways you can get better sleep tonight and every night thereafter:

1. Wind down: Transition from your busy, hectic day at least an hour before bed so you're not up half the night. Stress and sleep are bad partners, to say the least, so your pre-sleep routine should emphasize calmness and relaxation. Take a bath or shower, listen to soft music or meditate – whatever it takes for you to leave your stress-filled day behind you (at least until morning).

2. Exercise early: Physical activity has plentiful health benefits, but if you work out before bed, it can make sleep difficult. On the other hand, exercising first thing in the morning will make sleeping at night easier because your body will be fatigued after a long day. Exercising right before bed can leave you amped up, sore and/or unable to settle in for a long, relaxing night's rest.

3. Shut the fridge: Put police tape around the fridge after dinner and you'll likely get better sleep because your inability to pursue late-night eating (cheating) will let your body relax and doze off. The premise is simple, if you think about it: The body is a factory, processing and burning food all day. If the factory doesn't close for the evening, it keeps on processing – and you stay awake while it does. Try eating a cheeseburger and fries an hour before bed; your eyes may feel sleepy, but your stomach will stay wide awake – and so will you.

4. Timing is everything: Ever heard of a circadian rhythm? As sleep goes, it's our body's internal "clock" and it runs on a 24-hour schedule. To maximize restorative sleep, regulate your internal clock by going to sleep and waking up at around the same time every night and morning, respectively. It might be difficult to go to sleep on a regular schedule because of various factors, but you can usually control when you wake up – it's just a matter of willing yourself out of bed.

5. Don't push it: One of the worst habits of chronically poor sleepers is the tendency to push it; to stay up longer than the body is willing. Sometimes that's unavoidable, but too often Americans spend hour after late-night hour glued to the television (or these days, the computer), fighting off sleep and suffering the consequences. When the body says rest, listen and go to bed. You'll be thankful you did.

If you‘re having difficulty sleeping because of stiffness or soreness, it may be time for a chiropractic adjustment.  Call our office at 303-463-0722 to set up an appointment today!