Monthly Archives: September 2016

More Informations About Sunscreen Work

Look out over many beaches this summer and the B-52s classic “Rock Lobster” may start playing in your head.

Baking potatoes, baking in the sun
Put on your nose guard, put on the lifeguard
Pass the tannin’ butter …

Despite all the warnings about skin cancer (the most common form of cancer in the United States) and the threat of wrinkles, for many people the lure of a tan is just too hard to resist.

Over the years people have gone to some crazy lengths to make sure their skin got that toasty glow, as any lifeguard can tell you. Everyday Health talked to two veteran lifeguards to find out what’s changed — and what hasn’t — on the beach.

Baby Oil and Tanning: The Bad Old Days
Anyone who was young in the 1960s and ’70s remembers the days when a bottle of baby oil and maybe a reflective blanket were regulation equipment for sun worshipers.

“I’ve seen people use baby oil, even motor oil,” says 30-year-lifeguard Pat Hendrick, marine safety captain of the Beach Safety Division in Hollywood, Fla. “I used to use Coppertone oil when I was a lifeguard in high school. Thirty years ago, we never heard of skin cancer or anything like that.”

Colby Kauffman (pictured at left), a sergeant with the Ocean City Beach Patrol in Maryland for 19 years, has similar experiences. “When I grew up, we did the baby oil, we laid out by the side of the pool,” she says. “Nobody mentioned sunblock when I first started [as a lifeguard].”

A Trend Toward Protection
Despite government reports that fewer than 40 percent of Americans bother to slap on sunscreen, these veteran lifeguards say they’ve noticed more and more beachgoers taking precautions against the burning rays.

“There are still people out there who love to get tan, but they’re putting on sunblock,” says Kauffman. “There’s a lot more hats and umbrellas, rash guards,” which cover a swimmer or surfer like a T-shirt made of bathing suit material. says Kauffman. She’s also noticed more younger children wearing protective beachgear like hats and sunglasses, something that as a mom, she applauds. “I have two daughters, and I’m harder with them than I am with myself [when it comes to sun protection]. Most of your sun damage happens before you’re 18.”

“It’s really the other extreme, people covering up and protecting themselves,” says Hendrick. He’s noticed many more visitors to his beach using pop-up tents or even regular-sized tents to shade themselves from the heat, although this isn’t ideal in terms of water safety. “We tell people, you put a pop-up tent on the shoreline, you affect our visibility. We can’t see your kids.”

Lifeguards Getting the Message
The younger generation of lifeguards are also wiser about sun protection. “Our guys are pretty health-conscious to begin with, but younger lifeguards are way more protective of their health than I was,” says Hendrick, who now makes sure to wear “the highest number SPF” he can find. Besides being issued SPF 30 sunscreen, the lifeguards on his beach serve their shifts in stations enclosed by with tinted windows. When Hendrick started, the stations were “an open box with an umbrella.”

Kauffman says her beach patrol distributes sunblock, lip protection, and zinc oxide to all of their 200 lifeguards, and they encourage the staff to get a regular checkup for any suspicious moles. She’s also careful to cover up herself. Because she’s on a four-wheeler when on duty, “I wear a visor and polarized sunglasses to protect my eyes.”

Besides the threat of cancer, Kauffman is also conscious of the wrinkle-causing potential of the sun. “We’re all going to get wrinkles, but not everyone is going to get melanoma. I definitely wear a thicker sunblock on my face than I do on my body, my hands, and my neck — the places that tend to show their age sooner.”

And the results of decades of sun worship aren’t pretty. “You see people in their 70s, obviously they’re the one that used the baby oil and the iodine when they were kids and continue to do so. They’ve got that wrinkled leathery skin,” says Hendrick. He refers to the New Jersey woman who has made headlines for being so sun-baked, some have wondered if she’s afflicted with so-called tanorexia. “Her face looked like a baseball glove,” he says.

A (Blistered) Day at the Beach
But some still take their sun worship to the extreme, determined to go home with that killer tan and impress their friends.

Tourists are “only here one day,” Kauffman says, “so they’re going to get as much sun as they can. Then you see them walking around the boardwalk and they’re bright lobster red.”

Down in Florida, Hendrick has noticed the same pattern. “What I think is crazy are people who burn ridiculously on the first day — not so much people from here, but the tourists. They really want to go home and brag to their coworkers about their tan. They put the oil on the second day, on top of the blisters. These people end up actually injured,” says Hendrick.

Advice From the Pros
When it comes to beach protection, here are some tips from the pros:

To do its job, sunscreen needs time to soak into your skin. Apply it at least 30 minutes before going to the beach. “Some people put it on at the beach, then they go in the water and it washes right off,” says Hendrick.
Even if it’s overcast with no visible sun, you still need to cover up and wear sun protection. “The UV rays are still coming through,” says Kauffman.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
And while you’re protecting yourself, don’t forget to enjoy your time in the sun. “I’m from New Jersey,” says Hendrick. “I know that Memorial Day comes, people have been locked in their houses for seven months. They come out and do whatever they can to amplify the summer months ’cause it’s a short period.”

Remember, says Kauffman, “A tan is a ‘healthy look,’ but it’s not a healthy way of life.”

Learn More About Family History of Disease

Does your family history of disease include heart disease or other hereditary diseases? Find out how knowing your family history can be a clue to your own risk of disease.

Your family history of disease is your family medical tree. If you have a close relative with diabetes, your own diabetes risk may go up. Heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure also tend to run in families, and some hereditary diseases can be passed down from parent to child through a defective gene.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, although most people realize that knowing their family history of disease is important, only about one-third of Americans have gathered and recorded their family’s health history.

9 Surprising Things That Can Make You Sick

“Some examples of why family history is important and how doctors use it are colon and breast cancer,” says Elizabeth Lo, MD, a family care physician at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. “Someone with a strong family history of breast or colon cancer may be screened earlier and more frequently for these diseases.”

A family history of disease may be used to:

Determine your risk for certain diseases
Start early treatment or prevention for diseases that run in your family
Determine whether you should get certain genetic tests for hereditary diseases
Let you know if you are at risk for passing a disease to your children
“Family disease history may indicate the need for genetic testing and counseling,” says Dr. Lo. “A woman with a family history of breast cancer may be tested for certain genes that help doctors predict breast cancer risk and the best treatment.”

Creating Your Family Medical Tree

The National Institutes of Health recommends getting a family history of disease going back at least three generations. You should include your grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins on both sides of your family. If you have children, include them, too.

“It is important to go back a few generations on both sides of the family because a young parent or even a young grandparent may not be old enough to have developed a potentially hereditary disease such as cancer or dementia yet,” explains Lo.

Your family historyof disease is influenced by a lot more than genes that may transmit hereditary diseases. Families also share other important factors such as lifestyles, diet, and environmental exposures that can cause a disease to run in your family. Common diseases to look for and chart include:

Heart disease
High blood pressure
Mental illness
Some less common hereditary diseases include sickle-cell anemia, hemophilia, and cystic fibrosis.

Tips for Gathering Your Family History of Disease

The easiest way to get your family history of disease is to talk about it with various relatives and write it down. Find out about their own health history and ask them about the health histories of family members who have passed away. Include diseases and medical conditions, age of diagnosis, and the cause and age at death.

Here are some other tips that may help:

Take advantage of family gatherings to gather information.
Use family documents such as old letters or saved obituaries.
Use public records such as death certificates.
If you are adopted, ask your adoptive parents if they received medical records from the adoption agency, and contact health and social service agencies that may be able to help you track down your biological parents.
It’s important to remember that having a family history of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes does not mean you will have that disease. It does, however, increase your heart disease, cancer, or diabetes risk. Knowing that ahead of time gives you a chance to screen, prevent, and treat these diseases earlier.

A Sneak Peek Inside the Human Body

“Some people have a detailed knowledge of their family medical history, and others have hardly thought about it. This information is important for everyone,” says Lo. “Using an Internet tool that helps you record and keep a record of your family history is a great idea.”

Tips to Stop Smoking Today

If you’re determined to quit smoking, good for you. But don’t make it any harder on yourself than necessary by going cold turkey on your own — here’s help.

The American Cancer Society reports that about half of all smokers die from an illness related to smoking. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention, men who smoke typically cut their life short by 13.2 years, and for women it’s 14.5 years. Smoking-related illness can also impact your quality of life. Why wait to quit?

Quit Smoking: Reasons to Stop Today

You know smoking is a health risk. Here are the health problems it contributes to:

Cancer. Besides lung cancer, you can develop cancer of the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, and stomach, and some forms of leukemia.
Lung diseases. Pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, are also brought on by smoking. 3.
Stroke, heart attack, and blood vessel diseases. You’re twice as likely to die from a heart attack if you smoke. You’re also at risk for peripheral vascular disease, the narrowing of your blood vessels. 4.
Blindness. Smokers have a greater risk of developing macular degeneration, which causes most cases of blindness.
Also, women over 35 who smoke and use birth control pills have a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots in their legs. Female smokers also have a greater risk of miscarriage and having low birth-weight babies.

Quit Smoking: What’s Your “Pack Years” Number?

One way to determine your risk of getting a smoking-related disease is by calculating your pack years. Multiply the number of packs you smoke per day by the number of years you have smoked. For example, if you smoke 30 cigarettes a day (1.5 packs) for three years, that’s 4.5 pack years. The more pack years you have, the greater the health risk.

But once you quit smoking, the numbers start to change in your favor.

Just 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your blood pressure and heart rate drop.
In 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your body is back to normal.
In 2 weeks to 3 months, your lung function increases.
In 1 to 9 months, your smoker’s cough and shortness of breath decrease.
In 1 year, your increased risk of heart disease is half of what it was when you smoked.
In 5 years, your stroke risk declines to that of a non-smoker.
In 10 years, your chances of dying from lung cancer are cut in half.
In 15 years, your risk of heart disease is on a par with somebody who doesn’t smoke.
Quit Smoking: Personal and Social Benefits

Besides the health benefits, quitting means your breath, hair, and clothes will smell better. The taste of food and smell of flowers will delight you. And, you won’t feel the social implications, worrying about when and where it’ll be okay to light up.

One last reason to stop smoking: money. At $5 and more per pack, quitting a pack a day habit will save you at least $1,825 every year.

Quit Smoking: Keys to Success

Most people who stop smoking permanently say there are four key factors that lead to success:

Making the decision to quit
Setting a date and choosing a plan
Dealing with withdrawal
Changing habits to maintain success
Sticking to these four points works: Some 45 million people have quit smoking in the United States alone. Many didn’t make it the first time around, so don’t despair if you’ve tried before. You can do it, just as they did.

Quit Smoking: The Psychological Challenge

You may be able to toss the pack and say goodbye to smoking on your own, but most people need outside help. For the mental part of ending a smoking addiction, you can tap into these resources:

Telephone counseling services are available in all states. The American Cancer Society’s Quitline tobacco cessation program will connect you with a trained counselor.
Get support from family, friends, and groups. Tell them what you’re doing and ask for moral support. You can also try Nicotine Anonymous, a support group with a long-term approach to quitting. (Watch out for gimmicky programs that promise instant results, those that push pills or injections, and programs that are extremely expensive.)
Online help is 24/7. There are great Internet resources for you, starting with Everyday Health’s Smoking Cessation Center.
Learn more about disease prevention.

Quit Smoking: The Physical Challenges

As for the physical challenges of giving up smoking, there are a variety of nicotine replacement products, ranging from gum to patches, that work by reducing your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. But they’re only meant to be used for a few months at most.

If you feel like you need help longer term, ask your doctor about medications, such as Zyban (bupropion) or Chantix (varenicline), which can reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

You also might want to check out alternative methods for quitting, such as acupuncture or herbs, but the Cancer Society reports that there is no solid scientific proof that they work.

About 4 to 7 percent of smokers successfully quit on their own, but results are much better if you put together a support plan that addresses all of the immediate side effects of stopping smoking. And the best news: Long-term motivation to stay away from tobacco will soon come from within, once you start feeling healthier and happier about this life-saving step you’ve taken.

Tips to Avoid the Obesity Epidemic

An increasing number of Americans are becoming overweight, which can lead to many serious health problems, even premature death. Here’s how to escape the epidemic.

As we continue to modernize our lifestyles — riding instead of walking, working in a cubicle instead of in a field, playing iPods instead of sports — more people are becoming overweight and, worse, obese. In fact, there are so many overweight and obese people that some public health officials now call it an epidemic, particularly because of the many resulting health problems.

Obesity: A Worldwide Problem

Around the world, more than one billion adults are overweight and about 300 million of them are obese. In the United States, 66 percent of all adults are overweight and, of those, 32 percent are obese.

Obesity levels in Japan and some African nations are below 5 percent, but they’re rising. Obesity rates in China overall are not high, but in some of that country’s larger cities, rates are up 20 percent.

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, too. The number of overweight children in the United States has doubled since 1980, and for teens, it’s tripled. And the problem with children is now a global issue as well.

Obesity: Why It’s Happening

Although your genes play a role in your body weight, there are other factors involved. In many places around the world, particularly the United States, we have plenty of nutrient-rich food to eat and easy access to fattening fast foods and sweets. Also, because of our modern lifestyles, we are not as active as we once were. The end result: We’re eating more calories than we can burn.

Being overweight or obese can cause a whole cascade of health problems, from heart disease and diabetes to stroke and even some types of cancer. These diseases can seriously impact a person’s quality of life and lead to premature death.

Obesity: How It Differs From Being Overweight

Obesity and overweight are terms used to describe a level of excess weight that’s considered unhealthy for your body size. One way to determine if you are overweight or obese is to figure out your body mass index (BMI), a calculation you make by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters (kg/m2). Don’t worry — you don’t have to do the math; you can find BMI calculators online.

Note that for adults:

A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight
A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese
When assessing teens and children, BMIs that are higher than normal weight ranges have other labels, such as “at risk of overweight” and “overweight.” Also, health professionals take into account the differences in body fat between boys and girls as well as changes in body fat at different ages.

Obesity: Finding a Solution

Getting our obesity and overweight epidemic under control will involve more than just telling everyone to go on a diet. The World Health Organization says it requires an integrated approach that includes:

Promoting healthy eating habits and encouraging exercise
Developing public policies that promote access to healthy, low-fat, high-fiber foods
Training healthcare professionals so that they can effectively support people who need to lose weight and help others avoid gaining weight
Here’s what you can do to lose weight or avoid becoming overweight or obese:

Eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
Exercise, even moderately, for at least 30 minutes a day.
Cut down your consumption of fatty and sugary foods.
Use vegetable-based oils rather than animal-based fats.
So walk a little more, eat a little less — and do what you need to do to maintain a healthy BMI.