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Pot Leads the List

Illicit drug use is a substantial cause of mortality and morbidity.

Tracking the use of illegal drugs is a challenge because of their illegality, but researchers from Australia estimate that 149 to 271 million people around the world use them. Pot (cannabis) is the most widely used. This study did not include hallucinogens, inhalants, anabolic steriods or ecstasy. For perspective, the WHO has estimated that illegal drug use causes 250,000 deaths annually, compared with 2.25 million due to alcohol and over 5 million caused by tobacco.

PositiveTip: For health and safety avoid all illegal drugs, along with the more popular legal ones such as alcohol and tobacco!

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Declining Fitness Increases Risks

Fitness alone curbs all-cause and CVD deaths.

Middle-aged men who maintained or increased their fitness over 11 years experienced 30% and 40% reductions, respectively, in cardiovascular disease deaths and all-cause mortality--even without losing weight. When fitness declined during the study period, risk of dying increased.

PositiveTip: What are you doing to stay fit? Make at least 30 minutes of physical activity a part of your life every day.

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High Blood Pressure in College Freshmen Predicts Later Risk

Harvard freshman with pre-hypertension had higher risk in later life.

Men enrolling at Harvard between 1914 and 1952 who reported elevated systolic blood pressure their freshman year experienced a 20% greater risk for coronary heart disease later in life. Those diagnosed with hypertension in middle age had twice the risk of coronary deaths and stroke compared to those with normal blood pressures.

PositiveTip: Have you had your blood pressure checked recently? Get it taken even if you are young!

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Insomnia And Short Sleep Increases Risk Of Death In Men

Insomnia increases death rates in men four fold.

The Penn State Cohort Study of over 741 men followed for 14 years finds that men suffering from insomnia and sleeping less than 6 hours nightly had 4 times the risk of dying than men that had normal sleep. A trend of insomnia and short sleep coexisting with diabetes and/or hypertension brings with it increased risk of over 7 fold. In women their was no increase in deaths associated with insomnia or short sleep.

PositiveTip: If you suffer from insomnia do not ignore it. Set regular sleep/wake times, exercise daily at least 30 minutes, avoid caffeinated beverages, and skip late, large meals.

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Obesity Increases Risk of H1N1 Virus

Obesity increases susceptible and mortality to H1N1 virus.

In the 2009 H1N1 pandemic medical science recognized that obesity increased the risk of contracting the virus. Tests on vaccinated obese individuals showed immunecell function at only 70% compared to normal weight individuals. Death rates in obese and morbidly obese H1N1 patients were 3 and 7.6 times the rate of normal weight patients. Research in obese mice showed a 25% mortality rate compared to zero in lean mice with similar immune deficiencies as found in humans.

Up with Potassium, Down with Sodium

Sodium chloride and potassium chloride are both simple salts but they have profoundly different effects in the body. In the blood stream, sodium is high (135 mg/dl) and potassium is low (4 mg/dl) but the opposite is true inside cells where potassium is high and sodium is low.

Both sodium and potassium are diet essentials, but in the United States we get far more sodium than we need and barely enough potassium.This causes a significant increase in deaths from heart disease.

The U.S. Government just published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine examining the ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet and the impact on several diseases and death, in more than 12,000 people who were followed for 15 years. During this time there were 2270 deaths.

Dietary Fiber and the Risk of Dying

Dietary fiber comes in the indigestible parts of plants. These pass through the human digestive system unchanged. Fiber has beneficial effects on our health by reducing the risk of heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes.

A new study provides evidence that the overall impact of fiber brings a reduced mortality rate. The less fiber you eat the more likely you are to die.

This fiber analysis was performed on the NIH (National Institutes of Health)-AARP Diet and Health Study that included 388,122 adults over the age of 50. In the 9 years of follow-up, there were 31,456 deaths. People who consumed the most fiber were 22 percent less likely to die than those who ate the least amount of fiber.

You Can't Eat Too Many Fruits and Vegetables

Impact of Fruits and Vegetables on Heart Disease

Studies that focus on huge numbers of the population are an important scientific tool. When you enroll hundreds of thousands of participants and track them for several years, you collect a mountain of data.

The results of large studies covering large geographic areas can be generalized to the entire population. Their findings represent the truth about the topic that was researched. The conclusions can’t be challenged.

Sleeping Pills and Nerve Pills Increase the Risk of Dying

Pills, pills, pills!There are many mental, physical, and spiritual reasons why people get prescriptions for pills to help them sleep or to cope with anxiety. It isn't surprising that those who feel they need sleeping pills have higher death rates than healthy people.

But the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry published a recent study finding that pills for sleep and anxiety impart their own independent risk of dying.

Obese Men Die Young

A Danish study reported at the International Congress on Obesity, suggests that men who are obese by age 20 die eight years earlier on average than non-obese men. The unique feature of this study was that the subjects were followed from their teens until age 80.Man measuring belly.

The study started with over 5000 military men. Deaths among the 1,930 obese men were contrasted with deaths among a random sample of 3,601 non-obese males. Body mass index (BMI) was measured at the average ages of 20, 35 and 46 years.