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Individuals with High-Risks Often Don't Recognize Them

People with the highest number of risk factors tended to agree they need to improve.

Research in Canada found many high-risk patients do not recognize a need to change their lifestyle--especially with hypertension, diabetes, and alcohol use. The risk factors most likely to encourage change to improve health were: smoking, obesity, sedentary living, high stress and low fruit and vegetable intake. Those younger in age, female, educated and with higher household incomes were more likely to improve.

PositiveTip: If you truly value your health, you cannot live in denial of your lifestyle choices.

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Lifestyle Modifications Make Big Difference in Cancer Burden

Chance does not drive all cancer risk.

More than 28,000 healthcare professionals who met four healthy-living criteria (never or past smoking, moderate or no alcohol, BMI of 18.5-27.4, and regular physical activity) were compared with over 100,000 participants who did not meet all four criteria. Researchers estimated that 25% of cancers in women and 33% in men could have been prevented. Also, these simple health habits could prevent 48% of cancer deaths in women and 44% in men.

PositiveTip: Don't wait for new medical discoveries. Lower your risk of cancer now by choosing to live healthfully.

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Healthy Lifestyle Can Prevent MI

Healthier lifestyles can lower the risk of myocardial infarction.

Swedish investigators following 20,000 healthy men for 11 years found that each "low risk" lifestyle factor (healthy diet, no smoking, physically active, not overweight, and moderate alcohol use) was independently associated with a lower risk for myocardial infarction (MI). Those with all five healthier lifestyle factors experienced an 86% lower risk. Sadly, less than 1% of the study group followed all five of these. (NOTE: does not believe any amount of alcohol is a part of a healthy lifestyle.)

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Lifestyle Change, Not Medication for Mild Hypertention?

Is mild hypertension being overdiagnosed?

Almost 40 percent of the world's population have hypertension, and more than half are considered to be mild hypertensives. About half of these are treated with medications, even though there is only limited evidence that this reduces mortality or morbidity. Some researchers are suggesting an overemphasis on drug treatment limits the opportunities to focus on individual and population lifestyle factors.

PositiveTip: If you are hypertensive, ask your physician if lifestyle changes (i.e. physical activity, weight loss, salt reduction) might be effective for you.

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Small Intakes of Alcohol Increase Cancer Risk

Light drinking increases the risk of cancer!

More than 3.5% of all cancers are attributable to drinking alcohol, and there is convincing evidence that this increases the risk for cancer of the colon, breast, larynx, liver, esophagus and mouth. Most of this evidence came from studies of high and moderate intake of alcohol. An analytical review by Italian researchers of 222 studies involving almost 92,000 light drinkers (up to 1 drink/day) has found even this level of drinking is associated with increased risk of mouth, esophagus and breast cancer.

PositiveTip: Avoid even small amounts of alcohol to minimize your risk of cancer.

Flu Shots are Evil? Really?

Recently we published a PositiveTip dealing with how to protect yourself from influenza. Later the same day, I received a scorching email message from a very zealous, but misguided health enthusiast. I will share just a part it (without any edits): 

“There is not one ingredient in the ‘flu’ coctail of toxins that would help the immunity to protect us from ‘flu’! ‘Our’ own immune system keeps us safe/healthy... Not not not list of poisons/toxins ! ???Why???? Are you not not promoting the 10 natural laws of health reform from our creator? Ha?” 

This kind of rhetoric is saddening! It demonstrates a haughty, angry attitude rooted in misinformation and bold falsehoods. It defies current evidence-based knowledge on the topic.

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Lifestyle Change and Depression

Exercise, diet, sunlight, and good sleep useful in treatment of depression.

A randomized, controlled study by Spanish researchers has found that lifestyle modifications significantly help depression patients taking antidepressant medications. The intervention group received specific written recommendations to walk at least 1 hour per day, get exposure to sunlight for 2 hours per day, eat a healthy diet, and suggestions for good sleep hygiene. After 6 months, this group had significantly lower observed and self-rated depression than the control group.

PositiveTip: Try these simple lifestyle changes if you are feeling blue, but don't change your medications without consulting your physician.

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Lifestyle and Cancer Risk

A large portion of cancers are preventable by healthier lifestyle choices.

According to British researchers, almost 40% of cancers are due to avoidable life choices. Tobacco causes 23% of cancer cases in men and 15.6% in women. The next largest cause of cancer in men is a diet lacking in fresh fruit and vegetables, and for women, it is being overweight. The use of alcohol is also a significant cause of cancer. 

PositiveTip: To a large extent, your lifestyle choices determine your risk of cancer.

Before It's Too Late

A woman in her late sixties was recently told by her physician that she could not have her total hip replacement until she lost at least 100 pounds. According to her doctor, her morbidly obese condition would make her surgery more risky, make her recovery more hazardous, and likely negate any positive outcomes the surgeon could create with the new knee joint replacement. The problem? In her current condition, she can barely walk with a cane, so calorie-burning exercise of any type is unlikely. She has no conscious control of, or rational guidelines for, her eating habits. At her age and body size and mental attitude, she is not likely to be able to lose the weight. Is it too late for her?

Prevent Your Own Cancer

Nearly 50% of all cancer deaths can be prevented. It is reliably estimated that lifestyle and environmental factors are responsible for 42% of the cancers in the United Kingdom. What is true in the UK is likely to be true in much of the industrialized world. 

The research looked at the contribution to cancer made by tobacco, unhealthful foods in the diet, obesity, alcohol, lack of exercise, industrial exposures, radiation and several other factors that make a small contribution to cancer. 

Of the 314,000 cases of cancer in the UK in 2010, 134,000 were preventable. Tobacco caused 60,000 premature cancer deaths.There were 29,000 cancers caused by eating red meat or a lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Obesity was responsible for another 17,000 premature cancer deaths. Alcohol drinking caused 12,000 premature deaths.