Category Archives: Health

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
Diabetes
Stroke
Dementia
Mental illness
Osteoporosis
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.

Let’s Learn About Gum Disease

Swollen, bleeding gums can impact your overall health. If you think you’ve got gingivitis and have been ducking the dentist, make that phone call before it leads to tooth loss.

If your gums are red and swollen or bleed frequently, you may have gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. This chronic inflammation begins when bacteria irritate and invade your gums. Left untreated, gum disease can ultimately cause tooth loss and other health problems as well.

Gum Disease: Who’s at Risk

Older adults, tobacco users, and people who earn a lower income are at higher risk of having gum disease. Nearly 9 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have periodontal disease, and 5 percent of those have moderate or severe cases.

Fortunately, better oral hygiene and regular dental care have resulted in lower rates of gum disease over the last 35 years, but there’s still room for improvement.

Gum Disease: To What Degree

There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the less severe form, and though it often causes red, swollen gums, there is typically minimal pain or discomfort. Gingivitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene since bacteria thrive on food particles lodged in between teeth after meals. The good news is that gingivitis can often be reversed by professional dental treatment and good dental care at home.

If untreated, however, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. This occurs when bacteria invades tissue below the gum line, leading to chronic swelling and inflammation. Severe inflammation can cause the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Pockets of infection may develop as well, further compromising healthy gum and dental tissue.

There are a number of different types of periodontitis, including:

Aggressive periodontitis. This involves rapid gum and tooth destruction and tends to run in families.
Chronic periodontitis. The most common type, chronic periodontitis gradually causes gum instability, eventual tooth loss, and infection.
Necrotizing periodontal disease. In this severe form of gum disease, the gums, supporting ligaments in the mouth, and the upper part of your jawbone are destroyed. This type of gum disease is more likely in people who have underlying conditions such as profound malnutrition and immune system disorders, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Gum Disease: The Dangers Beyond Your Mouth

Taking good care of your teeth may be even more important than protecting a beautiful smile. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum inflammation has been liked to serious inflammatory conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. One large study recently showed that the risk of developing cancer was increased by a small, but notable, degree among men with periodontal disease, even in those who were non-smokers.

Gum Disease: When to Get Treatment

Anytime you notice an area of your gums that is sore or swollen and doesn’t get better within two weeks, see your dentist. You may need to see a gum specialist, or periodontist, if:

You’re at high risk for gingivitis or periodontitis, which your dentist can help you determine. Factors contributing to your risk of gum disease include your age, your overall health, your smoking history, and whether or not family members have gum disease.
You have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, osteoporosis, or are considering becoming pregnant.
A family member has gingivitis or periodontitis.

Gum Disease: Think Prevention

Even if you don’t have a family history of gum disease or other risk factors, you should take concrete steps to help prevent gingivitis and periodontitis:

Brush and floss daily.
Have your teeth cleaned by a dental professional at least twice a year.
If you have persistent problems with your gums — including bleeding, redness, swelling, loose teeth, a change in your ability to chew, or a change in how your dentures fit — ask your dentist to refer you to a gum specialist.
Additionally, be certain to make your dentist aware of all of your medications (including vitamins and herbal supplements) as well as any changes in your general health.

While protecting your smile is obviously important for its own sake, keep in mind that good oral hygiene may also help protect and enhance your overall health.

Some Informations About Red Meat

If you eat a lot of fatty and processed red meat, you may be setting the stage for a variety of medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease, even cancer. Here’s the 411 on what to avoid and what to eat in moderation.

Red Meat: The Health Risks

Fatty red meat is high in saturated fats, which tend to raise the “bad” cholesterol in the blood, otherwise known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk for coronary heart disease.

Fatty cuts of beef, ground beef (especially if less than 85 percent lean), lamb, pork, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon are all culprits. Deli meats, too, can contain high levels of fat. In addition to being linked to an increased risk of heart disease, eating large amounts of fatty red meat increases your overall calorie intake, possibly leading to excess weight and obesity.

Red Meat: Cancer Research

A recent study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that if your diet includes a lot of red meat and processed meat (like salami, bacon, or deli meats), rather than non-processed white meat (skinless chicken and turkey), you may have a shortened life span because of the link to heart disease and cancer. The study specifically noted that people who ate the most red meat increased their risk of death by more than 30 percent compared to those who ate the least. This included death from heart disease and cancer.

Another study highlighted the link between a high consumption of red and processed meat and colon cancer. High consumption of beef, lamb, or pork was described as 3 or more ounces a day for men and 2 or more ounces for women; high consumption of hot dogs, bacon, ham, sausage, or cold cuts was considered to be 1 ounce eaten five to six days a week for men, and two to three days a week for women. In this study, people who ate the most processed meat had a 50-percent greater risk of colon cancer and a 20-percent greater risk of rectal cancer as compared to those who ate the least.

Red Meat: Choosing Lean Meat

Protein, found in meat, is an important part of a healthy diet, along with carbohydrates and the right kinds of fat. The body uses protein as its building blocks for your muscles, bones, cartilage, blood, and skin. As long as it’s not your only source of protein, lean meat is the better way to enjoy red meat. Look for cuts that have no visible fat (these often include the word “loin”) or with less marbling; opt for ground beef that’s at least 90 percent lean.

In addition to lean meat cuts, other smart protein sources include:

Fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, and herring. These are high in a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids (one of the good fats) called omega-3 fatty acids. Eating these fish may reduce your risk of death from heart disease.
Seeds and nuts, like walnuts and flax. These are particularly good sources of essential fatty acids. Others, such as sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and almonds, are also good sources of vitamin E. They are all, however, very calorie-dense, so limit your portions.
Red Meat: A Better Way to Cook

To further reduce the amount of fat in cooked lean meat, opt to broil, bake, roast, or simmer, rather than fry. Then, drain and discard any fat released during cooking. Be aware that the NCI recommends avoiding overcooking meats, especially blackening or charring meats, because of evidence that there may be increased risk of some cancers from eating meat prepared this way.

Red Meat: Going Vegetarian

Some people who want to improve their nutritional intake adopt a vegetarian diet numerous studies have shown that vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.

Most vegetarian diets include little, if any, animal products. However, many plant proteins can provide enough nutrients for a healthy diet. But the sources of protein must be varied to include all the necessary nutrients. One of the biggest risks of eating a strict vegetarian diet is developing an iron deficiency. Iron is typically found in red meat and eggs, but those can be properly substituted with beans, spinach, iron-enriched products, dried fruits, and brewer’s yeast.

Whether you choose to follow a vegetarian diet or simply make wiser lean-meat choices, you’re sure to improve your overall health, lower your weight, and reduce your risk for various diseases.

Reasons Why Checkups Are Vital

Remember that old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? It more than applies to the regular doctor’s visit.

When you were little, your parents probably made sure you had an annual checkup with your doctor. But as you’ve grown older, you may have gotten out of this habit.

Health professionals stress that these regular exams are important to help identify risk factors and problems before they become serious. If diseases are caught early, treatments are usually much more effective. Ultimately, having a regular doctor’s visit will help you live a long and healthy life.

Doctor’s Visit: The Prevention Checkup

Depending on your age, sex, and family medical history, a checkup with your doctor may include:

Blood, urine, vision, and hearing tests to evaluate your overall health
Assessments of your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and weight
A discussion about your diet and exercise habits and any tobacco, drug, and alcohol use
Immunizations and booster shots
Screenings to assess your risk of developing certain diseases, including diabetes (if you already have high blood pressure or high cholesterol) and cancer
Depending on your age and sexual lifestyle, testing for STDs and possibly HIV
Starting at age 50, or younger if you have a family history, a screening test for colorectal cancer
A discussion about depression and stress to evaluate your mental health

Doctor’s Visit: Concerns for Men

For men, in addition to checking weight, high blood pressure, and other basics, your doctor’s visit may specifically include:

Starting at age 50, or younger if you have a family history, a rectal exam to check for abnormal bumps in the prostate and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer
Between the ages of 65 and 75 if you have ever smoked cigarettes, an abdominal exam to check for an enlargement in your aorta; an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a weakness in the lining of the aorta (a large blood vessel in your chest and abdomen), can develop with age and become a life-threatening problem.

Doctor’s Visit: Concerns for Women

For women, in addition to checking weight, high blood pressure, and other basics, your doctor’s visit may specifically include:

A test for cervical cancer, called a Pap smear, every one to three years
A clinical breast exam to check for any unusual lumps or bumps in your breasts
Starting at age 40 (or younger if you have a strong family history for breast cancer), a breast cancer screening with a mammogram every one to two years
Starting at age 65, a referral for a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis, the disease that causes brittle, fragile bones and typically affects older women; women with more than one risk factor for osteoporosis may start earlier
Doctor’s Visit: Preparation

It’s important for you to play an active role to get the most out of your doctor’s visit. Before your exam, review and update your family health history, be prepared to ask if you’re due for any general screenings or vaccinations, and come up with a list of questions if you have particular health concerns.

During your actual doctor’s visit, don’t be shy about getting your questions answered. Also, if your doctor gives you advice about specific health issues, don’t hesitate to take notes. Time is often limited during these exams, but by coming prepared you’re sure to get the most out of your checkup.

Some Ways to Cut Your Cancer Risk

You probably already know the top cancer cause — smoking. But you may not be as familiar with all of the other six

Because of medical advances and new treatment options, many forms of cancer have become manageable chronic illnesses, like diabetes.

And other discoveries have shown that it’s possible to cut your cancer risk. From diet and lifestyle changes to avoiding toxic chemicals and too much sun exposure, simple changes can make a big difference.

Cancer Risk No. 1: Tobacco

Tobacco kills. Smoking can damage almost every organ in your body and is a known cause of at least 15 different types of cancer.

The risks for cancer aren’t limited to cigarettes. Cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and the smokelesss tobacco called snuff are all linked to cancer.

Want another reason to quit? Secondhand smoke is a cancer cause, too. Tens of thousands of people — including children — have diseases ranging from asthma and pneumonia to sudden infant death syndrome and even ear infections as a result of secondhand smoke.

Cancer Risk No. 2: Obesity

Being overweight or obese is a known cancer cause. In fact, excess weight is linked to an increased risk for developing more than a dozen types of cancer, including breast and pancreatic cancers. The American Cancer Society stresses the need to keep your weight in check by, first, eating right:

Eat a diet limited in processed and red meats and including five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Eat whole grains instead of processed grains.
Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women or two for men.

Cancer Risk No. 3: No Exercise

Diet alone usually isn’t enough to maintain a healthy body and cut your cancer risk. So, pick an activity that suits your level of fitness and get moving.

Adults should be physically active for at least 30 minutes on five or more days a week.
Children should engage in physical play for at least 60 minutes five days per week.

Cancer Risk No. 4: Sun Exposure

About one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States and most are sun related. Melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, can be fatal. You can lower your risk for skin cancer by limiting the time that you spend in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Take these additional steps:

Seek out shade, especially during the middle of the day.
Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing, specifically the kind you can’t see through when held up to a light.
Wear a hat and protect your eyes with sunglasses that have 99 percent UV absorption.
Follow these rules even on cloudy days.
Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds because they can cause the same type of skin damage as the sun.

Cancer Risk No. 5: Infection

Infections from viruses, bacteria, and parasites are a known cancer risk in up to 20 percent of all cancers. Several of those viruses are sexually transmitted, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

You can reduce your risk for getting these types of viruses by using condoms during sex. Women can reduce their risk of cancer from HPV by getting a vaccine. In fact, the American Cancer Society now recommends the HPV vaccine for girls who are nine and older.

Cancer Risk No. 6: Chemical Exposure

A variety of substances found in common products are known to be a cancer cause. Two of particular interest:

Asbestos, a fibrous substance, is found in many older buildings where it was used as insulation and as a fire-retardant; inhaling it can cause cancer. So be sure to have your home checked for asbestos before beginning any sort of renovation. Carpenters and other skilled workers who deal with remodeling older homes should investigate proper safety precautions before working in buildings that contain asbestos.
Tetrachloroethylene is a solvent used in dry cleaning. While wearing dry-cleaned clothes isn’t considered dangerous, those who work in a dry cleaning business should change clothes after work, wash work clothes regularly, and keep their food out of the work area.

Cancer Risk No. 7: Consumer Products

Antiperspirants, talcum powder, hair dye, aspartame, and some cosmetics have all been reported as possible cancer causes, often incorrectly. The truth is that there is no conclusive evidence that any of these products cause cancer. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to monitor various studies and issues periodic updates.

Tips to Avoid high risk sexual

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 papillomavirus 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 or STDs)
Adverse consequences of high-risk sexual behavior:

Transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes)
Transmission of hepatitis B (50% of hepatitis B infections are due to sexual transmission) and, in rare instances, hepatitis C
Transmission of human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause genital 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.

How to Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

h3Adverse consequences 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. The 12-step-style self-help programs, pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous, can be one effective treatment. 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.