I listened earlier this year to a piece on NPR’s Talk of the Nation called “Kicking The Cigarette Habit A Global Challenge” (punctuation theirs). I have some experience in this area, and on the off chance that it’s helpful to some struggling tobacco user, I thought I’d relate my own story of quitting the cancer stick several decades ago.
My family history is rife with tobacco casualties. Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles have succumbed to lung cancer, and my father smoked four packs a day when I was young. He eventually had no choice but to stop smoking during a month-long hospital stay, and to his credit, he never started again.
Keep reading — One Way to Beat the Tobacco Monkey
Before the current child-obesity epidemic got started, Americans under 25 years old were, to a great degree, almost effortlessly fit. Mind you, we were more likely to down a six-pack than to sport one on our torsos. But that was a benefit of youth; we could consume what we wanted, eschew exercise, stay up late, and as long as we stayed out of trouble, chances were that we’d still be in decent shape.
Then we turned 30, and everything started to change. The difference was subtle at first, but it accelerated. Weight gain, rising blood pressure, weaker muscles, brittle bones, all were inevitable if we did nothing about it. I went from being thin to, as my mother kindly put it, “stocky.”
Losing weight is a daunting prospect for the typical deskbound adult. As we get older, even the healthiest among us have to go out of their way to eat right (but not too much) and exercise if they want to maintain a decent level of health and fitness. The trick, in my view, is to integrate the right behavior into one’s lifestyle, so it doesn’t seem like such a sacrifice.
Keep reading — Losing Weight: Yes We Can
Too much of a good thing will quickly become a very bad thing, if we don’t put a stop to it.
Antibiotic medications (the most famous example being penicillin) are prescribed by doctors as an effective way to combat infections by killing harmful bacterial organisms in our bodies. Antibacterial household products (like hand soap) offer a topical way to achieve the same result with surface bacteria on the skin. But both can produce a higher risk of future infections.
Keep reading — Antibiotics: A Double-Edged Sword
Have you ever had an experience that you couldn’t remember a short while later, or the next day? I don’t mean anything mystical or abstract, but an actual failure of memory. (I don’t include dreams, because I’m not awake for them, and besides, they’re not real.)
This recently happened to me for the first time. It was unnerving.
Keep reading — If Memory Doesn’t Serve. . .
I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in the early 2000’s. Among other things, my doctor prescribed a blood pressure medication, and told me to cut my sodium intake. (Yes, and exercise too. I’m still working on that.) Excess sodium contributes to high blood pressure, and it can also increase the likelihood of some debilitating medical conditions. Although I significantly modified my diet, I still eat plenty of good food and I don’t feel deprived, but my blood pressure numbers are now well within the normal range.
Keep reading — Too Much Sodium