Healthy life style foundation (part II)

In this second part of Healthy life style tool foundation, you may enjoy reading the three remaining major healthy life tools (physical exercise, mental health avoiding toxic and alcohol) for a better life style.   

3. Mental Health

 Healthy living involves more than physical health, it also includes emotional or mental health. The following are some ways people can support their mental health and well-being.


·  Get enough sleep daily; the CDC recommends the following by age group (naps inclusive); 12-18 hours from birth to 2 months, 14-15 hours from 3-11 months of age, 12-18 hours for 1-3 years of age, 11-13 hours for 3-5 years of age, 10-11 hours for 5-10 years of age, eight and a half to nine and a half hours for 10-17 years of age and those 18 and above need seven to nine hours of sleep . Elderly people need about seven to nine hours but do not sleep as deeply and may awaken at night or wake early, so naps (like kids need) allow them to accumulate the total of seven to nine hours of sleep.

· Take a walk and reflect on what you see and hear at least several times per week.

· Try something new and often (eat a new food, try a different route to work, go to a new museum display).

· Do some mind exercises (read, do a puzzle occasionally during the week).

· Try to focus on a process intensely and complete a segment of it over one to several hours, then take a break and do something relaxing (walk, exercise, short nap).

· Plan to spend some time talking with other people about different subjects.

· Try to make some leisure time to do some things that interest you every week (hobby, sport).

· Learn ways to say "no" when something occurs that you do not want to do or be involved with.

· Have fun (go on a trip with someone you love, go shopping, go fishing; do not let vacation time slip away).

·  Let yourself be pleased with your achievements, both big and small (develop contentment).

·   Have a network of friends; those with strong social support systems lead healthier lives.

· Seek help and advice early if you feel depressed, have suicidal thoughts, or consider harming yourself or others.

· People taking medicine for mental-health problems should not stop taking these medications, no matter how "well" they feel, until they have discussed their situation with their prescribing doctor(s).

Avoidance behavior is another key to healthy living. Below are described some of the major items to avoid if a person is seeking a healthy lifestyle.

4. Avoid Tobacco use 

Tobacco use is the most important preventable illness and cause of death in the U.S., according to the National cancer Institute (NCI). Tobacco use was estimated to be the cause of 443,000 deaths in 2010 in the U.S.


 ·  Stop smoking tobacco; start to stop today (it takes about 15 years of nonsmoking behavior to achieve a "normal" risk level for heart disease for those that smoke).

·  Stop using chewing tobacco to avoid oral cancers.

Adverse consequences of tobacco use:

· Tobacco use causes cancers of the lung, mouth, lip, tongue, esophagus, kidney, and bladder. It also further increases the risk of bladder cancer in subjects occupationally exposed to certain organic chemicals found in the textile, leather, rubber, dye, paint, and other organic chemical industries, and further increases the risk of lung cancer among subjects exposed to asbestos.

· Tobacco use causes atherosclerotic  arterial disease (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) that can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and lack of blood flow to the lower extremities. It also further increases the risk of heart attacks among subjects with elevated cholesterol, uncontrolled hypertension, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.

· Tobacco use causes chronic lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and causes pneumonia  in those with chronic lung disease. The CDC, in 2011, estimates that 90% of deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) are due to smoking.

· Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to deliver babies with low birth weight.

· Secondhand smoke can cause middle-ear infections (Otitis media), coughing, wheezing, bronchitis and pneumonia in babies, and aggravate asthma in children. Secondhand smoke (sometimes referred to as passive smoking ) can also cause lung cancer.

Comments and recommendations (tips):

· Quitting smoking is difficult to accomplish; tobacco contains nicotine, which is addictive. Some smokers can quit "cold turkey," but for most, quitting smoking requires a serious life-long commitment and an average of six quitting attempts before success.

· Quitting smoking efforts may include behavior modification, counseling, use of nicotine chewing gum ( Nicorette Gum), nicotine skin patches (Transderm Nicotine), or oral medications such as bupropion (Zyban). 

5. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption 

Adverse consequence of excessive alcohol consumption 

· Chronic, excess alcohol  consumption is the major cause of liver cirrhosis in the U.S.

 · Liver cirrhosis can cause internal hemorrhage, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, easy bleeding and bruising, muscle wasting, mental confusion, infections, and in advanced cases, coma, and kidney failure. 

· Liver cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.

· Alcohol accounts for 40%-50% of deaths from automobile accidents in the U.S.

· Alcohol use is a significant cause of injury and death from home accidents, drowning, and burns.

Comments and recommendations (tips):

There are many treatments for alcoholism.  But the crucial first step to recovery is for the individual to admit there is a problem and make a commitment to address the alcoholism issue. Psychologists and related professionals have developed programs to help individuals better handle emotional stresses and avoid behaviors that can lead to excess drinking. Support and understanding from family members are often critical for sustained recovery. Medication can be useful for the prevention of relapses and for withdrawal symptoms following acute or prolonged intoxication.

Avoid high risk sexual behavior 

High-risk sexual behavior can lead to the acquisition of sexually transmitted illnesses such as gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes or HIV infection. High-risk sexual behavior is also known to spread human papilloma virus infection, which can lead to cervical cancer in women and other anogenital cancers in both men and women. High-risk sexual behaviors include the following:

· Multiple sex partners

· Sex partners with a history of the following:

· Intravenous drug use

· Venereal disease (sexually transmitted diseases and STDs) 

Adverse consequences of high-risk sexual behavior:

· Transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes)

· Transmission of Hepititus B (50% of hepetitus B infections are due to sexual transmission) and, in rare instances, Hepatitis C 

· Transmission of human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause gential warts and anogenital carcinomas, most commonly cancer of the uterine cervix

· Unplanned pregnancy  

Recommendations (tips):

· Avoid unprotected sex (sex without barriers such as a condom) outside an established, committed, monogamous relationship.

· If you plan to have sex and are unsure of your partner's health status, use a condom.

Additional tips for healthy living

Although there are many other risky behaviors that may impede an otherwise healthy lifestyle (for example, working with toxic or radioactive materials, drug addiction, travel to areas with unusual endemic diseases), these are too numerous to cover in this general article. 




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