References


About Changing Brand

If this causes a panic reaction, ask yourself "what am I being loyal to?"

Answers might be:

  • but no other brand tastes as good...
  • but I don't LIKE any other cigarettes...
  • I can't...
  • I don't want to...
  • I've smoked these for X years...
  • other brands make me cough...

What most smokers find is that by module 4 they detest the taste and smell of cigarettes. If they decide to "cheat" and "try my old brand just once more, for old times sake," they ALWAYS find it tastes awful!

Ask yourself WHY you are loyal to that brand. Is it part of your "image?" Do you unconsciously think of yourself as "the Camel man" or the tough guy who rides off into the sunset?

Have you been brainwashed by the best advertising in the world? Does your subconscious mind think that by smoking THAT cigarette you will be rich, famous, go on skiing holidays, own a yacht...

See The Insider - Visit ASH

This tells the true story of the brilliantly clever manipulations the tobacco companies use to get you hooked.

Look at what we consider the best smoking site in the world - www.ash.org.uk. and begin to develop a healthy respect for yourself.

It may be that you are loyal to people who will NEVER be there for you. They will not send you roses, or stand by your sick-bed. Sure they would like you to stay alive - but mainly so that you can go on buying their product.

Let's be honest with ourselves - there is absolutely no justification for loyalty to a cigarette brand!

About the Promise

I you say a thing often and earnestly enough, it becomes the truth.

Choose the person you care about most in this world - it could be yourself! Realise that is the one who would have to look after you were you to become sick. Stopping smoking is the greatest gift you can give that person, the gift of YOUR health and well-being.

Imagine you are looking that person in the eyes. Sincerely make the promise that "I will stop smoking on..." and create a picture in your mind that excites you - of yourself well, strong, free, triumphant.

Repeat the Promise - aloud - many times a day. The more feeling, enthusiasm you can put into it, the better. It is no use just muttering the words: IT MAKES NO IMPRESSION ON YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND.

Self Hypnosis

It could be called the first exercise in self-hypnosis, or making a new belief, even harnessing the power of your own mind. Whatever it's called, many of our successful stop-smokers have found it the most powerful tool in the toolbox. Along comes that often-repeated cut-off day and...you just find yourself stopping!

Repeat it as you drive - aloud, with enthusiasm. Repeat it as you shower, bath, garden, walk, run, exercise. You are programming your own powerful subconscious mind - and it will listen to what you want!

Acid Indigestion Treatment

Acid Reflux Disease

There is a range of treatment options for acid reflux disease and associated symptoms. It's best to talk to your doctor about which treatment might work best for you.

Antacids are available without a prescription (over-the-counter, or "OTC") and are used primarily for heartburn. Typically, they can provide limited, short-term relief. If you are experiencing heartburn two or more days a week, even though you've tried some over-the-counter treatments and changed your diet, it may be a sign of something more serious, and you should talk to your doctor.

H2 blockers are available over-the-counter and by prescription. They get their name from the way they block one particular stimulus of acid production. H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid that is produced in the stomach, but not as much as proton pump inhibitors. If you continue to suffer from heartburn while you are taking an H2 blocker, you should see your doctor. Your doctor may develop a different treatment plan.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are available by prescription. PPIs block the final stage of acid production. They are very effective and can relieve symptoms in most people who have acid reflux disease.

Prevacid is a proton pump inhibitor. It decreases the production of stomach acid by blocking many of the tiny pumps responsible for acid production. Taking one Prevacid a day can relieve the burning feeling for up to 24 hours and heal the damage to the esophagus. For many people, continuing treatment with Prevacid, if prescribed, can stop the damage from coming back. Your results may vary.

Surgery

Some people with acid reflux disease may need surgery if they have complications or haven't responded well to medical treatment. The standard surgical procedure is called fundoplication. The upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the LES to strengthen the sphincter and reduce acid reflux. This improves the natural barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, which helps prevent acid from backing up. Surgery is generally considered only after all other treatment options have proved to be unsuccessful.

Acid Reflux - GERD

Acid indigestion or "Heartburn" is a common complaint among smokers, and even more common in smoking cessation. Notethat the FIRST question asked in diagnosis is about "Smoking History." This condition, if present, needs to be treated by a doctor.

From Judith Shannon Lynch, MS, MA, APRN, FAANP, 01/06/2003:

GERD is a common health problem, affecting approximately 40% of American adults, men and women equally, at least once per month.

Daily symptoms may occur in up to 10% of those affected. GERD is also found commonly in children and is the number-one reason for referral to pediatric gastroenterologists. The prevalence of GERD also increases in the elderly.Untreated cases of GERD may lead to esophageal complications, such as esophagitis, ulceration, stricture, hemorrhage, and Barrett's esophagus, a condition that puts the patient at higher risk for GI malignancy.

Definition

GERD is generally defined as persistent symptoms or tissue damage resulting from the retrograde movement of gastric contents into the esophagus. It is the most common disease affecting the esophagus and the most frequent reason for antacid consumption.

Pathophysiology

Reflux episodes in GERD are often described as a failure of gastroesophageal defense mechanisms to prevent the retrograde flow of irritating gastric contents into the esophagus.

These defense mechanisms include:

  • Lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and esophageal clearance resulting in:
  • Low basal LES pressure
  • Transient inappropriate LES relaxation
  • Abnormal esophageal mucosal resistance
  • Ineffective esophageal clearance
  • Gastroparesis with delayed gastric emptying

Reflux in a sleeping patient often results in prolonged esophageal exposure to acid because 2 key clearance mechanisms (peristalsis and gravity) are impaired.

The following classic symptoms are generally well known:

  • Burning pain in the epigastric area which may radiate into oropharynx
  • Sour taste in mouth
  • Frequent belching and/or flatulence
  • Dysphagia
  • Early satiety
  • Regurgitation of gastric contents

Patients with the following extraesophageal symptoms do not usually complain of the usual symptoms described above and are classified as "atypical":

Ear, nose, and throat:

  • Hoarseness
  • CoughGlobus sensation
  • Persistent pharyngitis
  • Otitis media
  • Laryngitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Vocal cord granulomas
  • Laryngeal cancer

Pulmonary

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Miscellaneous

  • Noncardiac chest pain
  • Dental erosion
  • Sleep apnea

Because these symptoms do not fall into the traditional classification of GERD and because there are often no reflux complaints, this syndrome has become known as "silent" reflux.

Laryngeal Manifestations

Reflux laryngitis is the most common ear, nose, and throat (ENT) manifestation of GERD. Now known as esophageal-laryngeal reflux (EPR), it is associated with:

  • Hoarseness
  • Voice fatigue
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Excessive mucous production which the patient often identifies as postnasal drip
  • Chronic cough
  • Dysphagia
  • Globus sensation (a generalized feeling of fullness in throat often found in patients with comorbid anxiety syndromes including posttraumatic stress disorders)

Patient Evaluation

Because the differential diagnosis of hoarseness is long, a careful history must be taken. The following areas must be investigated:

  • Smoking history
  • Voice history
  • Occupation: singers, teachers, actors, and public speakers often overuse or misuse their voices
  • Complete/partial voice loss
  • Upper respiratory infection frequency
  • Cough
  • Vomiting, especially without nausea
  • Nasal allergy symptoms, especially postnasal drip
  • Reflux history (often negative)
  • Physical examination in primary care will often reveal few positive findings.
  • There may be some erythema in the posterior pharyngeal wall. Throat culture should be done to rule out bacterial pharyngitis.

Diagnostic Testing

  1. Endoscopy and barium swallow
    Patients with EPR have a low prevalence of endoscopic esophagitis.[8] Decisions to perform endoscopy and barium swallow must be based on other indications for the procedure, such as screening for Barrett's esophagus in patients with a chronic history of heartburn symptoms.
  2. Pharyngeal pH monitoring Pharyngeal pH monitoring is the optimal test, yet results can be confusing. False-positives may be found due to: Probe placement causing acid reflux secondary to irritationIngestion of acid-producing foods, such as orange juice and tomato products
  3. Laryngoscopy
    Otolaryngology specialists, upon referral from primary care, can perform a laryngoscopy examination with a flexible scope. This exam is quickly done (about 1-2 minutes) and is only mildly uncomfortable to the patient (some excessive eye tearing may occur). The patient is prepared with a nasal decongestant and a topical anesthetic. The scope is then passed through the nose into the oropharynx, where magnification allows the nasopharynx, the vocal cords, and the soft tissue surrounding the vocal cords to be examined. In EPR, these findings are common:
    Laryngeal edema
    Edema of the posterior third of the vocal cords
    Erythema of the soft tissues surrounding the vocal cordsIn severe cases, ulceration or polyp formation on vocal cordsOnce laryngoscopy has revealed findings of EPR, traditional therapy for GERD may be instituted.

Conclusion

GERD is a common health problem across thelifespan. It carries long-term complications if left untreated. The NP must be alert to the extraesophageal manifestations of GERD and, afterinitial evaluation, should promptly refer pertinent cases of chronichoarseness with/without sore throat for ENT evaluation. Once diagnosisis firm, the patient can return to the NP for maintenance therapy orcan be comanaged with an ENT specialist.

Acid excretion - Ethnic differences

Department of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA.

Purpose:

To test our hypothesis that differences in urinary calcium excretion among blacks and whites may be secondary to ethnic variations in acid (H(+)) metabolism and to prove that increases in titratable acid excretion would be found among individuals predisposed to the development of stress fractures.

Methods:

We administered 8 g NH(4)Cl acutely to 11 black and 18 white healthy volunteers and measured urinary sodium, calcium, and acid excretions. We measured the Na(+)/H(+) antiporter activity using acid-loaded platelets as surrogate markers for this exchanger expressed in renal epithelial cells. We also compared differences in titratable acid excretion among a cohort of subjects with, and without, a history of stress fracture.

Results:

NH(4)Cl-induced increases in titratable urinary acid correlated with changes in the renal excretion of calcium and sodium, and stimulated acid excretion correlated with basal acid loss. Despite comparable changes in plasma pH, whites, when compared to blacks, had much greater basal acid excretion and NH(4)Cl-induced acid excretion. Whites also had much greater baseline calcium excretion rates when compared to blacks. Following acid loading, whites continued to exhibit greater calcium excretion rates than blacks. Acid loading significantly decreased sodium excretion in whites but not in blacks. Blacks also had significantly attenuated Na(+)/H(+) exchange activity. In a cohort of resting, athletic students, we found enhanced basal H(+) and phosphate excretion among subjects who experienced stress fractures during their rigorous physical training when compared to those individuals who did not.

Conclusion:

Blacks may have a greater endogenous buffering capacity than whites, or the reported ethnic differences in sodium and calcium excretion rates between blacks and whites may be secondary to racial variations in renal H(+) excretion. We conclude that both ethnic differences in bone mineralization and bone integrity in athletes are mediated by heritable differences in titratable acid excretion.

Acid Reflux Disease and your Daily Diet

For people diagnosed with acid reflux disease - whether you're feeling symptoms right now or not - managing your condition will probably mean permanent changes to your diet.

Talk to your doctor about diet changes that you will be able to follow long-term. Learn about the kinds of foods that bother you. Everyone is different and the foods that affect you may not affect someone else.

Changes to your diet should be made sensibly. The object is not to feel deprived, but to avoid those types of foods that cause your acid reflux disease to act up. Some of the more common foods and beverages associated with heartburn and acid reflux disease are:

  • Fried and fatty foods
  • Spicy and heavily seasoned foods
  • Onions
  • Orange juice and tomato juice
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint and spearmint

If you're not sure which foods and beverages trigger your acid reflux disease, start keeping a journal. Whenever you feel irritation, write down what you've been eating. Keep the notepad someplace consistent (such as on your refrigerator); that way, you can compile a list of foods and beverages to watch out for.

Acidity Increases Rate of Nicotene Metabolism - and Craving for more Nicotene!

Our bodies constantly struggle to maintain a proper pH level, due mainly to our lifestyles. The majority of us are acidic. Common causes of acidity are stress, a diet high in red meat, dairy products, caffeine, refined foods, soft drinks, alcohol, certain medication food allergies, ageing and lack of minerals in our diet.

The cause of more than 150 diseases, most of them attributed to old age, can be traced back to an acidic body. This include diseases such as cancer, allergies, osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. In fact, all organisms causing disease can only live in an acidic, low oxygen environment. An alkaline pH ensures a body that can build and repair itself. When the pH level is acidic, the body is torn down and vulnerable to all types of diseases. If you are acidic, you can't be healthy.

A simple saliva test with litmus paper will tell you what the pH of your saliva is. Anything below seven is acidic. You might also experience symptoms of acidity: constant fatigue, joint and muscle pain, heartburn or just getting every bug that goes around. Your digestion is affected by acidity, leading to constipation, diarrhoea and a slow metabolism.

The main element used to combat an acidic environment is calcium. Calcium is used for 179 functions in the body, way more than just building healthy bones and teeth. If the body gets enough calcium (at least 600mg per day) it can maintain a balance of around 7.3pH. A change in diet is also necessary, cutting down on high protein foods and cutting out processed foods. Add more fruit and vegetables, particularly green, leafy ones. Regular exercise, such as a short walk every day, also helps.

Antioxidant delight

Health conscious tea drinkers will be delighted to know that an exciting new product has taken the tea market by storm. Freshpak Honeybush contains the patented added antioxidant Aspalathos - an extract of polyphenols derived from rooibos, which strengthen and protects the immune system.

Research has shown that antioxidants help reduce the degenerative effects of lifestyle diseases, which are so prevalent in modern society. Honeybush naturally combats free radicals and is free of caffeine, preservatives and colourants. Honeybush is renowned for its sweet, aromatic flavour, and the leaves, stems and flowers are used to create an infusion. Honeybush is one of South Africa's natural treasures, originating from the indigenous Cyclopia plant, which grows wild in the Cape.

Parental Smoking linked with ADHD

Exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, according to an international study.

The findings were based on a systematic literature search on the evidence linking common lifestyle factors during pregnancy, such as tobacco, alcohol and caffeine use, maternal psychological stress, and the development of ADHD...

Dr Karen Linnet, from Aarhus University Hospital in Skejby, Denmark in collaboration with researchers from Sweden, Finland and the UK examined whether prenatal exposure to these four substances increases the risk of ADHD in humans...

Although many studies had methodological problems, the evidence was strongest for a link between ADHD and prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke.

Source: The American Journal of Psychiatry, June 2003

The Adult With ADD/ADHD

This is an indication of how this condition could present itself, and if you have no problem with these possible symptoms then you have no disorder.

Memory/focus Misplacing things such as keys, important papers, phone numbers etc on a regular basis. Forgetful of appointments, chores, daily tasks: "I know there was something I was supposed to do!" or beginning a task and not completing it You start weeding the garden, answer the phone, see the mail arrived, inspect it, decide to cook some muffins for tea, leave gardening tools outside, begin another new projects, and only half complete them.

  • Inattention
    Do your friends and partners complain you never listen? People often say they told you something and you don't remember.
  • Procrastination
    You keep putting off something you'd really like to do, to start.
  • Time management problems
    Taking too long over a task that should be completed quickly. Always being too busy or not busy enough, alternately hurrying and dawdling, constantly being late or behind schedule.
  • Hyperactivity
    As a child you might have run around a lot, driven your folks crazy running in and out, constantly busy. Now the hyperactivity shows up in different ways: Jiggling, fidgeting, you tap your foot on the floor, doodle on anything handy, tap your pencil, click your ballpoint. Easily bored the TV is boring, the computer interests you only for a while, you try to add variety to all aspects of your life, to change things. You experiment with new food, drink, gadgets, toys, "things" that were fun for a while but are now boring.
  • Can't relax
    You just can't sit still, quickly lose interest in conversations, start to daydream, think of other things. You're restless at your desk at work, keep distracting yourself by walking around talking to people, fetching coffee, making phone calls or anything else you can do to avoid sitting still.
  • Liking for fast, dangerous activities
    Can't tolerate cricket (too slow), speed limits drive you crazy and you love speed, taking risks. Bunjie jumping, hang gliding; jumping from airplanes, racing any vehicle and other high-risk sports excite you.
  • Impulsiveness Interrupting, finishing another's statement.
    You might even reply to a question before a person has finished asking. You might interrupt half way through a person's conversation and some people think you are rude and inconsiderate. Blurting out your thoughts without thinking? Are you thought of as tactless? Do you rush into words before thinking whether your words are appropriate? Perhaps you've hurt other people's feelings with your bluntness, without meaning to do so.
  • Emotional Turmoil Anger
    Do you have a short fuse, get angry quickly? Are people wary of you? Are you one who has a low flash point and then forget to be mad while others are still fuming?
  • Frustration
    Results must be instant. If projects take too long you lose interest, and perhaps have a long history of incompletion, even failure, that further aggravates the situation.
  • Moods
    You can be unpredictable, even to yourself, happy one moment, frustrated the next; depressed the next. It can strain your relationships!
  • Low Self Esteem
    Others may think you confident but inside you doubt your worth. You may have had many previous failures, frustrations and rejections
  • Avoiding challenge
    Fear of failure may make you apprehensive of new relationships, new situations.

Nicotene and Addiction

Is nicotine addictive?

In February 2000, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) published a report on nicotine addiction which concluded that "Cigarettes are highly efficient nicotine delivery devices and are as addictive as drugs such as heroin or cocaine."

Two years earlier, the report of the (British) Government's Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) stated that: "Over the past decade there has been increasing recognition that underlying smoking behaviour and its remarkable intractability to change is addiction to the drug nicotine. Nicotine has been shown to have effects on brain dopamine systems similar to those of drugs such as heroin and cocaine".

Both the RCP and SCOTH reports confirmed the findings of the landmark review by the US Surgeon General in 1988 on nicotine which also concluded that cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting and that nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction.

Despite these authoritative reviews, there has been some debate about the extent to which the smoking habit is controlled by physiological addiction. The debate has arisen because there is no universally accepted definition of addiction although the World Health Organization has defined addiction as: "A state, psychic and sometimes also physical, resulting in the interaction between a living organism and a drug characterised by behavioural and other responses that always include a compulsion to take the drug on a continuous or periodic basis in order to experience its psychic effects, and sometimes to avoid the discomfort of its absences. Tolerance may or may not be present."

On the basis of this definition, it is possible to demonstrate a scientific basis for defining nicotine as an addictive substance.

Properties of nicotine

Nicotine is a stimulant drug, but paradoxically effects of both stimulation and relaxation may be felt. The mental and physical state of the smoker, and the situation in which smoking occurs, can influence the way in which a particular cigarette will affect psychological perceptions.

The addictive effect of nicotine is linked to its capacity to trigger the release of dopamine - a chemical in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure. However, recent research has suggested that in the long term, nicotine depresses the ability of the brain to experience pleasure.

Thus, smokers need greater amounts of the drug to achieve the same levels of satisfaction. Smoking is therefore a form of self-medication: further smoking alleviates the withdrawal symptoms which set in soon after the effects of nicotine wear off.

Difficulty in quitting

Possibly one of the strongest indicators of the effect of nicotine is the discrepancy between the desire to quit and quitting success rates. Surveys have shown that the majority of smokers (around 70-80 per cent or more) want to stop smoking yet the successful quit rate remains very low.

Twenty per cent or less of those who embark on a course of treatment succeed in abstaining for as long as a year, while only around 3 per cent succeed in quitting using willpower alone.

Most smokers take several attempts to quit before they finally succeed. The power of addiction is also demonstrated by the fact that some smokers are reluctant to stop smoking even after undergoing surgery for smoking-induced diseases.

Around forty per cent of those who have had a laryngectomy try smoking soon afterwards, while about 50 per cent of lung cancer patients resume smoking after undergoing surgery.

Other measures of dependence

There are a number of markers which can measure dependence on a substance. A key factor is the degree of compulsion to take the drug experienced by the user. Most smokers smoke on a daily basis. In Britain, the average self-reported consumption of cigarettes is 14 per day. Fewer than 1 in 20 smokers smoke less frequently than daily.

Other indicators of dependence include the time from waking to first cigarette. Among smokers of all ages, 15 per cent light up within five minutes of waking, while almost half of all smokers (46 per cent) smoke within the first half hour of the day.

Few smokers believe that they could manage to go without smoking for a whole day, with only 16 per cent believing that it would be very easy while 33 per cent think that it would be very difficult to do so.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms

Another marker for addiction is the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms following cessation of drug use. For smokers, typical physical symptoms following cessation or reduction of nicotine intake include craving for nicotine, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, sleep disturbances, decreased heart rate, and increased appetite or weight gain.

The fact that these symptoms can be attributed to nicotine, rather than behavioural aspects of tobacco use is shown by the finding that withdrawal symptoms are relieved by nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches, etc.) but not by a placebo (i.e. products that do not contain nicotine).

Genetic Influence

Recent research suggests that certain smokers may be predisposed to nicotine addiction through the effects of a gene responsible for metabolising nicotine.

Scientists have found that non-smokers are twice as likely to carry a mutation in a gene that helps to rid the body of nicotine. In addition, smokers who carry mutations in the gene, (known as CYP2A6) are likely to smoke less because nicotine is not rapidly removed from the brain and bloodstream.

By contrast, smokers with the efficient version of the gene will tend to smoke more heavily to compensate for nicotine being removed more rapidly.

Tobacco industry recognition of the importance of nicotine

Tobacco industry documents dating from the 1960s have shown that tobacco companies recognised that the main reason that people continue smoking is nicotine addiction. A lawyer acting for Brown and Williamson said: "Nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug."

Publicly, however, tobacco companies denied that nicotine was addictive, because such an admission would have undermined their stance that smoking is a matter of personal choice. As the US Tobacco Institute put it in 1980: "We can't defend continued smoking as 'free choice' if the person was 'addicted'".

The industry was also quick to realise that selling an addictive product is good for business: as a British American Tabacco (BAT) memo said in 1979, "We also think that consideration should be given to the hypothesis that the high profits additionally associated with the tobacco industry are directly related to the fact that the customer is dependent on the product.".

In March 1997, Liggett Group, the smallest of the five major US tobacco companies, became the first to admit that smoking is addictive as part of a deal to settle legal claims against the company. More recently the tobacco companies have tried to cast doubt over the meaning of addiction by comparing smoking with other common pursuits such as shopping or eating chocolate.

Adrenalin

Symptoms of adrenalin rush induced by smoking (epinephrine in USA)

Excess:

  • Racing heart
  • Irregular heart-beat
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety (pain)
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Cold hands/feet
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Back and neck pain
  • Teeth grinding
  • Headaches - migraine
  • Stomach pains
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excess urination (diuretic)

Opportunistic Diseases Associated with Aids

AIDS and Lung Disease

As HIV develops into full-blown AIDS and ravages a patient's immune system, that person's defenses against a range of illnesses declines. An AIDS patient can die of many conditions. Chief among them are lung infections and malignancies. The most important is pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP).

Next in line is tuberculosis. However, this order is reversed in Africa. Other lung ailments that can be fatal to AIDS patients are Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), a condition caused by a bacterium very similar to the one that causes tuberculosis, and fungal infections that may attack the lungs as well as the whole body. AIDS also predisposes to a variety of other lung infections from bacteria and molds.

DO NOT SMOKE!

Protect yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat a nutrition-ally balanced diet, do not smoke, and reduce your expo-sure to any known.

AIDS & Lung Diseases - (American Lung Association)

What are the Lung Diseases Connected with AIDS?

  • PCP
  • Tuberculosis
  • Mycobacterium Avium Complex
  • Fungal Infections
  • Viral Pneumonia
  • Bacterial Pnuemonia
  • Other Forms of Lung Disease
  • How Can These Infections Be Prevented?

Almost any kind of infection is a possible lung disease risk in the presence of HIV. In addition, several types of lung disease are included in the list of AIDS indicator diseases. This means that an individual who is HIV positive and who has one of those diseases is considered to have AIDS.

The forms of lung disease that are included in the list of AIDS indicators are Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, cytomegalovirus, mycobacterium avium complex, mycobacterium kansasii, pulmonary tuberculosis, and recurrent bacterial pneumonia. In addition, it appears that the AIDS virus itself can cause a form of chronic lung disease.

The major AIDS-related infections that are potentially preventable and/or treatable:

Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP)

Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) is caused by an unusual fungus. PCP is the first sign of illness in more than half of all persons with AIDS, and perhaps 80 percent (four out of five) will develop it sooner or later without proper preventive treatment. However, it can be successfully treated in many cases. While it may recur a few months later, treatment can help to prevent or delay its recurrence.

Initial treatment for PCP is often an antibiotic combination, trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ), usually given intravenously (IV) for two to three weeks. Another drug used to treat PCP is called pentamidine.

TMP-SMZ is also used for prophylactic (preventive) treatment, and pentamidine given by an aerosol spray appears useful for that purpose, too.

Additional drugs are being explored, with the goal of finding treatments that are at least as effective as those now in use, and that have minimal side effects.

PCP is not thought to be contagious.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Many Americans, perhaps, according to recent estimates, as many as 10 million, have latent TB infection: they are not sick, but they are carrying the bacterium (as shown by a positive reaction to the TB skin test). They may have acquired the TB infection much earlier in life.

Such waiting-to-attack infection can become definite illness when a person's defences are weakened by HIV.

Health authorities recommend an annual TB skin test called a tuberculin test for all persons who are HIV positive. If the test is positive, a chest X-ray and complete physical exam are in order. But a negative test does not rule out TB disease in an HIV patient.

Also, additional tests, which can include another tuberculin skin test, a chest X-ray, and a complete physical exam, may be requested of people with a negative skin test reaction who are HIV infected. Damage to the immune system, such as that caused by AIDS, can result in a falsely negative TB skin test result even when TB infection is present.

Preventive treatment with isoniazid is essential for someone who has tested positive for both HIV and the TB bacteria. Health authorities recommend at least twelve months of preventive therapy for HIV infected individuals.

In persons with HIV infection, tuberculosis sometimes affects other parts of the body, not just the lungs; these may include bones, joints, the gastrointestinal tract, and other areas. People who are HIV positive should therefore be alert for unusual symptoms anywhere.

TB is treated with a combination of antibacterial drugs on a schedule that may continue for nine months or longer; among the most widely used drugs are isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide. TB is contagious while the disease is untreated, but the typical patient becomes noninfectious very rapidly after beginning treatment, within several days to a few weeks.

Recently there has been an increase in the number of cases of TB that are resistant to one or more drugs. Multidrug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB) first develops when a patient with TB does not complete his or her full drug therapy.

If a patient who is being treated for TB stops taking their medicine or is inadequately treated, and gets sick again with TB, the TB bacteria may not be affected by the drugs previously used to treat the illness. The bacteria have become "resistant to" those drugs.

MDR-TB can also be transmitted to other individuals in the same way that tuberculosis is transmitted. MDR-TB cases are especially hard to treat because the physician has a limited range of drugs that can be used. MDR-TB is especially dangerous for individuals who are HIV infected.

Mycobacterium Avium Complex

Mycobacterium avium complex is caused by an organism closely related to the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. It is widely distributed in the environment and very rarely causes illness; in combination with HIV, it may cause lung disease along with inflamed lymph nodes ("swollen glands") and infection in other parts of the body.

There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of Mycobacterium avium complex.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections may affect various parts of the body, including the lungs. These infections include:

  • Histoplasmosis
  • Aspergillosis
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Candidiasis
  • and others

The fungi that cause these diseases are generally widespread, but some are found only in particular geographic areas.

There are a number of antifungal drugs, both established and experimental, that may be effective against one or more of these disease-causing organisms. They include:

  • Amphotericin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Flucytosine
  • Fluconazole
  • and others

Most fungal infections of the lungs cannot be transmitted from one person to another.

Viral Pneumonias

Viral pneumonias, like most viral infections, are not easy to treat under any circumstances. The most prominent causes of viral pneumonia in persons with immune-system deficiencies are members of the virus group called herpes virus, especially herpes simplex and Cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Herpes simplex infection is treatable with antiviral drugs. CMV pneumonia has thus far proved stubbornly resistant to treatment. These viruses, although contagious, are frequently carried by individuals without any illness.

Bacterial Pneumonias

Bacterial pneumonias do occur in the general population, whether or not people are infected with HIV, but HIV definitely raises the risk of contracting them. The chief causes are the bacteria Hemophilus influenzae, which has no connection with the better known "flu" (the viral illness influenza); the pneumococcus Streptococcus pneumoniae; and a few other bacteria, including Legionella pneumophila (which causes the pneumonia known as Legionnaires disease).

There are well-established antibiotic treatments for bacterial pneumonias.

Other Forms Of Lung Disease

Other forms of lung disease affecting people with AIDS do not easily fall in any of the above categories. Some, like Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS), are primarily diseases found in other parts of the body but which have manifestations in the lungs.

KS is a cancer complicating HIV infection and although it can involve a variety of areas of the body, approximately a third of KS cases involve the lungs. So far there has been little success in treating KS.

Lymphoma is another type of cancer which is manifest in the lungs and especially in the lymph nodes near the lungs.

Nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis, which causes inflammation of the lungs and an increase in difficulty in breathing is another lung disease affecting some people with AIDS. The inflammation caused by interstitial pneumonitis is not as severe as that seen in PCP and generally stabilizes without treatment.

How can these infections be prevented?

It would be misleading to say that there are ways a person who is HIV positive can be sure of avoiding these diseases; no such promise can be made. But if you are HIV positive, there are steps you can take that may help.

Some are sensible precautions everyone interested in preserving and improving health should take; others are more special. Among them:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet: good nutrition plays an important part in resisting disease;
  • Exercise in moderation, to the extent that you can;
  • Be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, as well as against viral influenza, which can sometimes lead to pneumonia. (Public-health authorities recommend that children with AIDS or positive HIV tests should receive all the standard childhood vaccines, except that they should be given injected polio vaccine instead of the oral type);
  • Faithfully follow any medical advice you have received, whether for treatment or for disease prevention. If you have questions about medications or other matters, ask your doctor;
  • Avoid anything that may damage your lungs or your health generally and thus weaken your body's defenses against infection. Most substances known as "recreational drugs," including alcohol and cigarettes as well as illegal drugs, can and do cause some damage;
  • Let your doctor know if you have been tested and are HIV positive;
  • If you are HIV positive, get a TB skin test. Your doctor may suggest periodic chest x-rays. Follow your doctor's advice about preventive therapy for TB;
  • Be Alert For Lung Disease!

Watch for the symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweating, especially at night
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in breathing

If they arise, or if in doubt, see a physician without delay!

Note:Treatments and medications mentioned here are intended as examples only. Your care must be individualized by your physician.

For more information about AIDS and HIV, contact your local health department.

Alcohol and Cigarettes Go Together - The Double Whammy

Many smokers enjoy smoking with their drinks, and many ex-smokers blame a relapse on a trip to the pub. Scientists at Howard University in Washington DC say they think they know why.

Both alcohol and nicotine stimulate the brain to release a chemical called dopamine, which plays an important role in feelings of pleasure and reward. Researchers have found that when the two drugs are taken together, the amount of dopamine released is much greater than would be expected simply from their cumulative effect.

Extra hit

The alcohol-nicotine cocktail seems to deliver an extra hit, over and above that of the drugs themselves, which adds to the pleasure a person derives from a drink or a cigarette - making the addictive effect much harder to break. "The findings suggest that part of the reason why people drink and smoke at the same time is to increase their pleasure" said Yousef Tizabi, who led the research. The "calming effect" is not of emotionally, but also of the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal.

One hour intervals

Meanwhile, Daniel McGehee at the University of Chicago and his team of researchers has discovered that cravings for nicotine - and hence for a dopamine "hit" - resurface at hourly intervals. One lungful of air swamps brain cells with the reward chemical dopamine. But within seconds the same cells become desensitized to nicotine. So it isn't clear why smokers enjoy a while cigarette.

Nicotine influences brain circuits that find tune the dopamine release. In particular, a hit of dopamine switches off receptors for about an hour. The researchers at University of Chicago believe that a chemical that stops this circuit rebounding coulee quash the craving and act as an aid to giving up. "You'd effectively disconnect smoking from the good feeling," said Mr. McGehee.

Chain smokers defy the one hour rule

Chain smokers defy the one-hour rule. For them, the act of smoking itself becomes addictive, says David Balfour who studies nicotine addiction at the University of Dundee in the UK.

Remedies

Find something else to counteract acidity i.e. Rennies, colchesin, pawpaw juice.

Tips for delay periods (from ex-smokers)

Other methods to help in the alcohol/cigarette delay period:

  • Concoct a non-alcoholic "special" with all the trimmings - a rock shandy, or invented cocktail with pineapple, umbrella, olives, straws...
  • Drink soda with lemon
  • Breathe
  • Take a walk outside
  • Legal snacks
  • Cruditees with dip (chips too fattening)
  • VR's
  • Repeat a positive affirmation like "I used to do that and I now choose to be free"

How to get that buzz without the nicotene or alcohol

NB: the question now becomes how to increase the dopamine release, the double whammy, without smoking! The methods taught in this program are:

  • Delightful thoughts (quickest)
  • Delightful smells
  • Certain foods
  • Breathing
  • Exercise (not easy while drinking)

Alcohol and St. John's Wort

Scientists believe they may have found a herbal treatment to curb excessive drinking. An extract of the yellow flowers of St. John's Wort, a herb used for centuries to treat melancholia, cut by half the amount of alcohol consumed by a group of heavy drinkers.

The heavy drinkers were rats, selectively bred for their liking for the hard stuff. Researchers from the University of North Carolina who carried out the experiments, plan next to test it on human alcoholics.

Dr. Amir Rezvani, research associate professor of psychiatry at the university's school of medicine, said, "We don't know yet whether the compound will work in human alcoholics, but we are optimistic."

"Since it is a herb, it should have no side effects or fewer side effects that synthetic drugs. One of the major problems with alcoholics is that they don't like to take medications that have side effects. St. John's wort might be different in that it would just reduce their desire for alcohol."

Dr. Rezvani decided to investigate the herb because depression and alcoholism were thought to have a strong biological link. "If it worked for depression, then it might just have a beneficial effect on alcoholism," he said. "many people think the link may be a deficiency of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain."

The findings were presented at a meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in Hilton Head, South Carolina, (January 2003).

The researchers compared the behaviour of rats that were given the extract and another group that was not. All were offered a choice between alcohol and water.

Over a 24-hour period the rats treated with the herbal extract drank half as much alcohol as the untreated animals.

Note:St. John's Wort is an important ingredient in the Smokenders "Happy Drops" stop smoking aid.

Allergies

Allergies? Or, Non-allergic Rhinitis?

On May 22, 2003 MSNBC published a lengthy article, which says that people who think they are suffering from allergies, may in fact have another condition known as non-allergic rhinitis. The article describes the distinction between allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, and warns that people may be misidentifying these ailments and thereby taking the wrong medications to treat them.

The article explains how to tell the two conditions apart: "while patients with allergies usually experience some sort of itching of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, skin or roof of mouth, non-allergic rhinitis patients do not."

It also points to other differences such as the timing of symptoms and the way in which they are triggered. According to the article, the best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to have an allergy skin test.

Anger

Many smokers use cigarettes as a "smokescreen" to suppress degrees of anger - irritation, annoyance, rage. Emotions always have a cause, and an important part of stopping smoking is to identify the cause and deal with it in a constructive way, instead of avoiding it.

When smoking stops, so does the "smokescreen" and a wonderful "window" appears through which to view what is really there, what needed to be hidden (or hidden from).

The roots of anger are often found in fear; anger can be used as a defence mechanism. Finding the fear behind the anger can completely diffuse the anger!

Angry Young Men Face Heart Risks

Men who become angry in response to stress are more likely to develop heart disease and suffer heart attacks earlier in life than their calmer counterparts, according to researchers.

Dr. Patricia P. Chang and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine studied a group of over 1000 men followed for 32-48 years and examined their incidence of premature heart disease compared with anger responses to stress during early adult life. Men who were classified as having the highest level of anger reported experiencing expressed or concealed anger, irritability, and participation in gripe sessions in a questionnaire they filled out as young adults.

Over the years, the incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, was monitored in the group. Early, or premature, heart disease was defined as occurring before the age of 55. This study, published in the April 2002 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, revealed that the group with highest levels of anger in response to stress were more than three times as likely to develop premature heart disease when compared with their less angry colleagues and over six times more likely to have a heart attack by age 55.

This study is unique in that it shows that anger reactions as young adults can affect not only the incidence, but also the timing, of heart disease development. Anger is known to stimulate the release of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine which are part of the body's "fight or flight" response to acute stress or threats.

These hormones increase heart rate and blood pressure and contract blood vessels, all of which can reduce blood flow to the heart. If you tend to respond with high levels of anger in day-to-day situations, you can take steps to reduce your health risks from this potentially dangerous emotion.

Learning effective anger management strategies, through counseling, books, or tapes can help you redirect that energy you are wasting on anger in more positive directions.

Anxiety

There is no purpose generalising about anxiety - or any other emotion. We have to regard a being as a whole and consider all physical, mental and emotional aspects.

A person may suffer from GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) or clinical depression and need professional treatment. The labels we humans give to emotional states are seldom accurate, however "anxiety" could mean fear, worry, concern, or any variation on these themes. The person needs first to identify "what is making me anxious" (or who) and then deal with the issue instead of the label. It is a skill we work on in the program.

Withdrawal of the drug nicotine is often interpreted as Anxiety. Take Happy Drops 1 and 2 to support you while learning new skills.

See separate entries relating to emotions, and also:

  • Neural Pathways
  • Dopamine/Serotonin
  • Brain Chemicals

Asthma Starts in the Womb

Baby Teeth May Hold Clues for Childhood Asthma

On July 10, 2003 BBC News reported on a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol and Kings College London, which found that the top two front teeth in children may hold clues as to why some children develop asthma. According to the article, these sets of teeth begin to develop while babies are in the womb, which means they can indicate how well a child was nourished before birth.

The researchers believe that if a baby does not get enough iron and selenium while in the womb, it has an increased risk of developing asthma. According to the article, almost 12,000 teeth have been collected as part of the "Children of the 90s study." It also says that further research confirming these preliminary findings could result in recommendations for women to take supplements during pregnancy to prevent their children from developing asthma.

Back Pain and Smoking

1337 physicians (graduates from John Hopkins University) were followed for more than 50 years, between 1948 and 1964), seeking information about lower back pain. For years it was suspected that there was a link between smoking and back pain, but what it was exactly had not been tested.

"We had the medical records and answers from self-reported questionnaires over a long period of time (53 years for the oldest patients) and were able to desermine if the risk factors, such as smoking or high cholesterod, preceded the development of the disease years later" said Nicholas U. Ahn, Chief Resident of the Orthopedic Surgery Department at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

"To prove a causative association from a long-term study is very powerful because one can show that the cause occurred before the ffect as opposed to the other way around" Dr. Ahn explained.

Smoking history, hypertension and coronary artery disease (all risk factors for atherosclerosis), as well as high blood cholesterol levels, were found to be associated with development of lower back pain.

The findings support the idea that atherosclerosis causes lower back pain and degenerative disorder of the spine. It would appear that injury in lower back pain is connected to damaged vascular structures of discs and joints.

The study concluded that development of lower back pain was significantly associated with smoking history and hypertension, and development of lumbar spondylosis was associated with smoking history, hypertension and high cholesterol".

Binge eating disorder

Stress can worsen this relatively common condition.

Up to two million American suffer from the most recently described eating disorder, known as Binge Eating Disorder, and psychological stress may actually precipitate episodes of binge eating in those affected.

Described by doctors more recently than the eating disorders Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder is likely the most common of all eating disorders, affecting approximately 2% of adults in the US, or 1 - 2 million people. Persons suffering from this condition have recurrent episodes of binge eating, which is characterized by:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food
  • Eating rapidly
  • Feeling "out of control" when eating
  • Eating whether or not one feels hungry
  • Eating alone or attempting to hide the amount of food consumed
  • Continuing to eat even when one is full
  • Feeling ashamed of the eating episodes

Unlike the condition known as Bulimia Nervosa, the binge eating episodes in Binge Eating Disorder are not followed by so-called "purging" behaviors such as induced vomiting, fasting, strenuous exercise, or laxative and diuretic abuse. Most people with Binge Eating Disorder are overweight or obese, but the condition also occurs in individuals of normal weight. Whites and African Americans are affected in roughly equal proportions, and the condition is slightly more common in women than in men (three women are affected for every two men).

The cause of Binge Eating Disorder is unknown. As with other eating disorders, certain psychological factors may predispose individuals to its development, including dysfunctional relationships with family members or others, personality traits such as low self-esteem, or feelings of helplessness. Up to 50% of persons with Binge Eating Disorder have experienced depression at some point in their lives. Sufferers from Binge Eating Disorder report that binge eating episodes are often brought on by mood changes and states such as anger, sadness, worry, and boredom. Psychological stress can also trigger binge eating episodes, and impulsive behavior is a common personality trait in persons with this condition. The role of dieting in the development of Binge Eating Disorder is unknown.

In addition to the negative psychological effects of Binge Eating Disorder, affected persons are at increased risk for obesity and its associated health problems including increased incidence of diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, and musculoskeletal pain and injuries. Overall health is also compromised by the poor nutritional status of binge eaters - although large amounts of food are consumed, binge eating generally involves foods high in fat and sugar and low in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin deficiencies can result, further impairing overall health and ability to fight infections and other bodily stresses.

There is help for persons suffering from Binge Eating Disorder. Individual or group psychotherapy by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker who specializes in eating disorders can help identify and correct binge eating triggers and patterns. The form of therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) seeks to change unhealthy eating habits by examining the specific emotions and thoughts that lead to a binge eating response and altering these patterns to produce healthy behavioral responses to moods and thoughts.

For some people, psychotherapy aimed at improvement of relationships or self-esteem can also help. Drug therapy with antidepressant medications has also been of value in some persons with Binge Eating Disorder.

Blood Vessels - Arteries Damaged by Smoking

Many people continue to smoke, thinking they can give up if and when signs of damage become obvious. Now there is new research which shows that smoking causes serious damage from very early in life.

The study was based on ten years of research funded by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which is part of the US National Institutes of Health.

The research involved more than 1400 men and women aged 15 to 34 who had an autopsy performed within 48 hours of death from accident, murder or suicide. Pathologists examined the large blood vessels of these young and women for atherosclerosis, and took blood to measure levels of cholesterol and thiocyanate, which is a marker for cigarette smoking.

They found that those who smoked had more early signs of atherosclerosis in the aorta, which is the main blood vessel in the abdomen. Atherosclerosis leads to heart disease, strokes and other forms of vascular disease.

It is never too late to quit smoking. At the same time, it is never too early for cigarettes to be causing damage. It all starts with the first cigarette.

Osteoporosis and Smoking

Cigarette smoking was first identified as a risk factor for osteoporosis more than 20 years ago. Studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between tobacco use and decreased bone density, although not all studies have supported this discovery. Significant bone loss has been found in postmenopausal women with prolonged smoking exposure. In addition, a relationship between cigarette smoking and low bone density in adolescence and early adulthood has been identified.

Estrogen and smoking

In an arm of the Framingham study, Kiel and colleagues found that smoking use did not increase hip fracture risk in women. Importantly, the study also concluded that while estrogen replacement protected women from fracture, this protective effect was eliminated in women on estrogen replacement who smoked. Kiel's results support an anti-estrogenic effect of cigarette smoking that is consistent with the conclusions of other researchers. For example, smokers are less likely to develop uterine cancer, fibrocystic disease and fibroadenoma. Each of these conditions is believed to be related to estrogenic stimulation. Other reports have suggested that smokers have less effective absorption of calcium, opposite to the effect of estrogen, which is believed to enhance calcium absorption.

The anti-estrogen effect of tobacco use may help explain the increased risk for osteoporosis among female smokers. Postmenopausal smokers have lower estrogen levels than non-smokers and smokers tend to have an earlier menopause than their non-smoking counterparts. This reduction in estrogen is likely to contribute to osteoporosis and fracture risk.

Boredom

Smokers can be in the middle of an activity - say watching TV or working - and still feel what they call "bored," a state that probably includes frustration, agitation, irritation - any number of other labels. If a person has certain talents and potentials and is not using them, the result is sensed as boredom, lack of interest.

There is nobody who can remedy this situation - except the person him/herself. Smokers tend to procrastinate, to smoke "instead of" almost any kind of activity. This tendency often increases with age, until older smokers tend to have little left in their lives except their cigarettes.

The cure for boredom lies in the person using their own talents and capabilities, developing latent creativity, exploring possibilities for fun and interaction with other people. In one of the brochures issued by recreation centres, there were 15 different kinds of exercise listed and dozens of crafts, games and activities, from book binding to philosophy.

"Feel good" Brain Chemicals

The body is one big chemistry set. Every second, billions of chemical reactions are occurring in different cellular structure. The nutrients we eat are being digested first in the mouth and ending not far from the other end of the digestive tract. Absorption of these molecules occurs across sophisticated membrane layers at millions of sites along the digestive tract. These smaller molecules are then recombined into more complex nutritional components. These form other substances necessary for life, which includes immune system complexes, hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, anti-inflammatories, cortisone, painkillers, transporter cells and the like.

All of these actions and reactions are mediated via chemical processes and require combinations of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids and essential fatty acids. In addition, not only does one require all of these substances, but in order for the reactions to proceed efficiently, they need to take place in the optimum inter-cellular environment.

Very often today, in spite of eating what we may consider to be a balanced intake of nutrients, we are in a state of what I call "affluent malnourishment." In today's fast-faced, treadmill type lifestyle we often eat on the run, which affects our digestive ability. Our diets are way too high in processed and fast foods, our intake of refined sugars is excessive and the ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat (usually the wrong type) are unbalanced. We often miss meals then over-eat at night and more often than not our meals are not varied enough. Combining all of these factors places the digestive system under severe stress and quite often leads to some form of dysfunction and disease.

What does all of this mean on a practical level and how is our health affected by inappropriate nutrition?

It's a well known fact that coronary heart disease is on the increase and is in fact the leading cause of death in the USA, killing up to 481 000 people in 1995. In elevated levels of an amino acid called homocysteine (naturally produced in the liver as part of protein metabolism, but usually reconverted into non harmful amino acids+ has been clearly shown and is now well accepted as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease = especially the development of athersclerotic plaques in the arteries. There are also clear indication s that rising homocysteine levels are consistent with advancing age, accompanied by less that optimum levels of certain vitamins, especially folic acid, B6 and B12.

Optimum sources of B6, B12 and folic acid include red meat, avocado, liver, kidneys, fish, egg yolk, wholegrain cereals, bananas, nits seeds, green leafy vegetables and brewers yeast. Reduces risk of heart disease..

Brain chemistry is another v important area where nutrients and diet play a vital role. Chemicals in the brain, more commonly known as neurotransmitters, are responsible for coordinating mood, energy levels, concentration, memory and behaviour.

Most common symptom is fatigue. Low energy. The neurochemical responsible for unexplained fatigue is dopamine, a vital and energising neurochemical produced in the brain. Dopamine also plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy libido, and one of the first signs of op imbalance may be decreased sexual appetite.

The sister neurochemical to dope is serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for inducing a feeling of relaxation, calmness, control and a good mood feeling.

Imbalanced dietary intake can dramatically affect production of these 2 - eg bread sugar ham, muffins, cereal boosts the release of the sedating brain chem. Serotonin, More appropriate for early increased energy levels would be to reduce breakfast carbs and increase protein - fat free cottage cheese, haddock, nuts and seeds, soya milk, egg whites, chicken breast.

The rationale here is that this provides higher levels of the amino acid L-tyrosine, the precursor to dopamine rather than tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin; dopamine being the energising chemical and serotonin being the sedating chemical,.

Protein at night may do the opposite and boost dopamine levels, interfering with a restful nights sleep.

Caffeine - Caffeine Buzz-O-meter

Caffeine content (mg) per product (all calculated at 500 ml, unless specified):

  • 65 Diet Coca Cola
  • 65 Red Bull
  • 1160 Hot cocoa
  • 93 Coffee, instant
  • 241 Coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte
  • 133 Coffee, filter
  • 433 Coffee, Starbucks grande
  • 500 Coffee, decaffeinated
  • 1 Tea (average strength)
  • 200 Chocolate cake (1 slice average)
  • 25 Chocolate (bittersweet) 28g (1 oz)
  • 20-35 Coca Cola classic

Coffee contains 3 stimulants, caffeine, theophylline and theobromine (both the latter remain in decaffeinated coffee).

Caffeine blocks receptors for adenosine which stops dopamine release i.e. increases dopamine and adrenalin.

1 cup a day can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, leads to irritability, heart attacks, insomnia and uneven heartbeat, also leads to:

  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Heartburn
  • Gastrointenstinal problems
  • Fibrocystic breast diseases
  • Diuresis (excess urination)
  • Birth defects
  • Contains tars, phenols, other carcinogens, pesticides and needs toxic chemicals to extract

Colas have half to quarter of the caffeine content of coffee, and contain if not sugar, aspartame, which toxically overstimulates the brain and leads to anxiety, insomnia, disordered thinking. It can cause weight gain.

http://www.dorway.com/blayenn.html

Smoking and Cancer

It is estimated that one in three people will develop cancer at some stage in their lives and that one in four will die from the disease. Cigarette smoking is an important cause of cancers of the lung, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), oesophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas. A recent review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that, in addition to these cancers, smoking is a cause of cancer of the nasal cavities and nasal sinuses, stomach liver, cervix and myeloid leukaemia.

Lung cancer

In 1999, 22% of all cancer deaths were of lung cancer, making it the most common form of cancer. Lung cancer is the cancer most commonly associated with smoking. Over 80% of all lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Female mortality rates from lung cancer are still less than half the male rates.

One in two smokers dies prematurely: of these, nearly one in four will die of lung cancer. The risk of dying from lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, although duration of smoking is the strongest determinant of lung cancer in smokers. Smokers who start when they are young are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Results of a study of ex-smokers with lung cancer found that those who started smoking before age 15 had twice as many cell mutations as those who started after age 20.

A recent study by Peto and Doll, examined the effects of prolonged cigarette smoking and prolonged cessation on mortality from lung cancer. They found that if people who have been smoking for many years stop, even well into middle age, they avoid most of their subsequent risk of lung cancer. Also, stopping smoking before middle age avoids more than 90% of the risk attributable to smoking.

Cancers of the mouth and throat

Smoking cigarettes, pipes and cigars is a risk factor for all cancers associated with the larynx, oral cavity and oesophagus. Over 90% of patients with oral cancer use tobacco by either smoking or chewing it. The risk for these cancers increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and those who smoke pipes or cigars experience a risk similar to that of cigarette smokers. "Oral cancer" includes cancers of the lip, tongue, mouth and throat.)

Heavy smokers have laryngeal cancer mortality risks 20 to 30 times greater than non-smokers. The risks associated with tobacco and alcohol multiply when exposures occur simultaneously: for those who both smoke and drink heavily, their habits are responsible for nine out of ten cases of laryngeal cancer in this category.

People who drink alcohol and smoke have a much higher risk of oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancers than those only using tobacco or alcohol. A US study revealed that among consumers of both products the risk of these cancers was increased more than 35-fold among those who smoked forty or more cigarettes a day and took more than four alcoholic drinks a day. It has been estimated that tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking account for about three quarters of all oral and pharyngeal cancers.

Oesophageal cancer

Tobacco smoking is a cause of cancer of the oesophagus (gullet) and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and duration of smoking. The risk also remains elevated many years after smoking cessation.

Bladder and kidney cancers

Tobacco smoking is the principal preventable risk factor for bladder cancer which is estimated to cause up to half the cases in men and a third in women. As for lung cancer, the risk is associated with both the dose and duration of smoking, while cessation of smoking reduces the risk. Kidney cancer has consistently been found to be more common in smokers than in non-smokers and there is now sufficient evidence to show that smoking is a risk factor for the two principal types of kidney cancer.

Pancreatic cancer

Cancer of the pancreas is a rapidly fatal disease with a five-year survival rate of only 4%. Cigarette smoking is a strong and consistent predictor of pancreatic cancer although the risk diminishes to that of a non-smoker ten years, on average, after cessation. Risk of the disease is related to consumption and duration of smoking. A multi-center study found that the relative risk rose to 2.7 in the highest intake category.

Stomach cancer

Studies have shown a consistent association between cigarette smoking and cancer of the stomach in both men and women. Risk increases with duration of smoking and number of cigarettes smoked, and decreases with increasing duration of successful quitting.

Liver cancer

Large case-control studies have demonstrated an association between smoking and risk of liver cancer. In many studies, the risk increases with duration of smoking or number of cigarettes smoked daily. Confounding from alcohol can be ruled out in the best case-control studies, by means of careful adjustment for drinking habits. As association with smoking has also been demonstrated among non-drinkers. The IARC review concludes that "there is now sufficient evidence to judge the association between tobacco smoking and liver cancer as causal".

Colorectal cancer

According to the IARC review, there is some evidence that the risk of colorectal cancer is raised among tobacco smokers. However, it is not possible to conclude that smoking is a cause of colorectal cancer. This may be due to inadequate adjustment for confounding factors which could account for some of the small increase in risk that appears to be associated with smoking.

Cervical cancer

Cancer of the cervix has been found to be associated with cigarette smoking in many case-control studies. Until recently, scientists had been unable to decide whether the relationship was causal or due to confounding factors such as the number of sexual partners. A study in Sweden investigated whether environmental factors such as smoking, nutrition and oral contraceptive use were independent risk factors for cervical cancer and found that smoking was the second most significant environmental factor after human papilloma virus (HPV). The IARC review concludes that there is now sufficient evidence to establish a causal association of squamous-cell cervical carcinoma with smoking.

Leukaemia

A study of mortality among 248,000 US veterans of whom 723 died of leukaemia during 16 years of follow-up showed a significant increase in the risk of leukaemia associated with cigarette smoking, together with a dose response relationship between risk and the amount smoked. The risk was calculated to be 1.53 for current smokers and 1.39 for ex-cigarette smokers. A 26-year follow-up provided further evidence of a weak relationship between myeloid leukaemia and cigarette smoking in men.

Breast cancer

Some studies have demonstrated a link between both active and passive smoking and breast cancer. Seven of the eight published studies examining passive smoking and breast cancer suggest an increased risk of breast cancer associated with long term passive smoke exposure among women who have never smoked. The IARC review concluded that most epidemiological studies have found no association between active smoking and breast cancer but since its publication a new study found that among women who had smoked for 40 years or longer the risk of breast cancer was 60% higher that that of women who had never smoked. Among those who smoked 20 cigarettes or more a day for 40 years, the risk rose to 83%.

Cancer and Stress

Researchers in Finland have evidence that suggests that stressful life events may increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. While stress is a known risk factor for the development of or worsening of symptoms in various medical conditions, studies about the role of lifestyle stress in the development and progression of breast cancer have been conflicting.

In this investigation, over 10,000 women from the Finnish Twin Study, a population composed of same-sex twins born in Finland, were followed for 15 years from 1982-1996. The women completed baseline health questionnaires in 1975 and follow-up questionnaires in 1981 and 1990. The questionnaires were designed to assess known breast cancer risk factors along with individual life events and stressors. During the 15-year study period, 180 cases of breast cancer occurred in the study population.

Examination of the relationship between cancer development and self-reported life events and psychological stressors revealed that accumulated life stressors in the five years before the baseline assessment was associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer during the 15 year follow-up period. Likewise, the occurrence of severe life stresses (divorce/separation, death of a spouse, or death of a close friend or relative) were all associated with a small (1.36 to 2.26 times normal rate) but significant increase in breast cancer incidence.

The researchers confirmed these findings in studies of twin pairs in which one twin developed breast cancer and the other did not. Again, severe life stresses were associated with the incidence of breast cancer in the affected twin. Data analysis was repeated to exclude potential confounding factors such as changes in body weight, smoking, or alcohol use that often accompany stressful life events. Independent of these factors, stress alone appeared to increase the risk for development of breast cancer. Results were also adjusted to eliminate the influence of known breast cancer risk factors such as nulliparity or late age at the first term pregnancy.

This study, published in the March 2003 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, supports the hypothesis that psychological stress may in some way predispose the body to a greater risk of breast cancer development. The exact way in which stress may act to increase cancer risk is not clear. Possible explanations for the increased cancer incidence include: Stress is known to affect hormone secretion in the body, for example, with increases in the hormone cortisol seen in response to any type of stress. It might be postulated that the hormonal changes induced by the body during the stress response may increase the risk of cancer development. The known affects of stress on inhibition of the immune response could play a role in tumor causation. Stress may lead to other lifestyle alterations including dietary changes, medication use, or other practices which theoretically could explain the increased incidence of cancer.

Individual styles of coping with stress may have also led to behaviors or hormonal changes that increase cancer risk. In summary, medical experts still do not agree whether psychological stress alone can increase our risk of cancer development. This study supports the notion of some role for stress in the cancer development process, although the precise nature of this effect has not been confirmed. Further studies are needed before the relationship of stress and other psychological factors to cancer can be established. Reference Lillberg K, Verkasalo PK, Kaprio J, Teppo L,Helenius H, Koskenvuo M. Stressful life events and risk of breast cancer in 10,808 women: a cohort study. Am J Epidemiol 2003 Mar 1;157(5):415-23.

Cancer Rates

Cancer rates according to race and gender

In August 22, 2003 Reuters published an article on a recent study on cancer rates and how they are stratified according to race and gender. The article reports that the study, released by the University of Southern California, involved data collection over 25 years from more than 700,000 cancer cases in the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program.

According to the article, the study found that African American men and non-Latino white women have the highest cancer rates while stomach cancer is increasing among Koreans and Chinese. According to the article, fourteen cancer sites were studied, including breast, prostate, lungs, and liver. It says that many of these cancers are affected by lifestyle, such as smoking, eating and one's level of physical activity.

Cataracts and Smoking

According to a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 284, No. 6, August, 2000), it has long been known that smoking is an important risk factor for men developing cataracts. Cataracts occur when a clouding of the lens of the eye or its surrounding transparent membrane occurs. It then obstructs the passage of light through the lens, making for blurry vision or blindness. What has been recently discovered is that for heavy smokers, quitting smoking doesn't undo most of the damage done to the lenses of the eye during the smoking years.

Continuing to smoke continues to increase the risk of cataract development. For moderate to light smokers, stopping can decrease the risk of cataract development. For heavy smokers, the rate of cataract development is not diminished, but stopping at least does no more damage.Based on a five-year follow up study from the Physicians' Health Study I, a nationwide study of physicians' health, current smokers of 20 or more cigarettes per day, compared with people who never have smoked, have a 2-fold greater occurrence of cataracts.

After 13 years of follow-up study, it was found that out of 10,463 subjects studied, there were 2,074 cases of cataract and 1,193 cases of cataract extractions. The study also revealed that among people who smoked less than 35 cigarettes a day, someone who stopped smoking ten years ago or more will be 20% less likely to develop cataracts compared to current smokers. The same group may expect 25% less cataract extractions in comparison to current smokers.

The message is: "If you are a moderate or light smoker and quit smoking today, there is some chance that as you grow older, the odds of having smoking-induced cataracts decreases slightly." Heavy smokers produced different data. Men who smoke more than 35 cigarettes a day had the highest incidence of cataract and extraction. Smoking presents a risk of cataract that grows with each dose of cigarettes.

Men in this group who stop smoking now won't see any significant reversal of risk of cataract, but will stop increasing their risk.The mechanisms that link smoking to cataracts are fairly well known. There are two effects of smoking. One is a direct assault on the lens from chemicals inhaled. The other is an indirect effect. Antioxidant levels are reduced by cigarette smoking. So are levels of "endogenous proteolytic enzymes," which are thought to be important for removal of damaged protein from the lens.

So stopping smoking will stop the direct assault on the lens and allow these "repair enzymes" to operate effectively.Cataract is a leading cause of visual impairment in the United States and represents a major drain on health care resources. Approximately 1.35 million cataract operations are performed yearly in the United States at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion. There are many implications for people to recognize that smoking is an important, avoidable cause of age-related cataracts. So when you light up the next time, consider how much you value your eyesight and how much that cigarette is worth in comparison.

What's in a Cigarette?

Cigarette smoke is made up of several thousand different kinds of ingredients - approximately 4700. Gasses constitute over 90% of the smoke. The remained is accounted for by particles or "particulate matter" as this group is called.

Gasses

More than two dozen of the gases found in cigarette smoke are either known to be dangerous or suspected of being so. Nitrogen oxides are believes to be a factor in chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Hydrogen cyanide damages the lining of the lungs' airways. A dozen gases are implicated in cancer.

Of all the gases, however, the most harmful one is probably carbon monoxide or CO. This colourless, odourless gas makes up from one to 5% of the smoke in an average cigarette. When inhaled, it combines with the haemoglobin in the blood and crowds out oxygen that the red blood cells normally carry to all parts of the body, and can cause anaemia.

Besides reducing the amount of vital oxygen supplies available for the various tissues, carbon monoxide damages the walls of the arteries and makes them more permeable. This, in turn, leads to abnormal accumulations of fluids. It also facilitates cholesterol deposits and plaque formation which over the years clog up the blood vessels and often lead to stroke or heart attack.

Tar

Tar in cigarette smoke is not the same as the pitch-black stuff found on a road or roof-top. The word is used as a collective term: it means everything that can be removed from cigarette smoke with an extremely fine filter, except for the water and the nicotine.

Tar accounts for most of the cancer-causing agents in cigarette smoke. Among the worst are a wide range of substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's). Other include some radioactive ingredients such as polonium-210.

Besides reducing the amount of vital oxygen supplies available for various tissues, carbon monoxide damages the walls of the arteries and makes them more permeable.

This, in turn, leads to abnormal accumulations of fluids. It also facilitates cholesterol deposits and plaque formation which over the years clog up the blood vessels and often lead to stroke or heart attack.

Dangerous agents in Cigarette smoke:

  • benzo(a)pyrene
  • 5-methylchrysene
  • Benzo(j)fluoranthene
  • Benz(a)anthracene
  • Dibenz(a,j)acridine
  • Dibenz (a,h)acridine
  • Dibenzo (c,g)carbazole
  • Purene
  • Fluoranthene
  • Benzo(g,h,I)perylene
  • Other polunuclear aromatic hudrocarbons (more than 30)
  • Napthalenes
  • 1-Methylindoles
  • 9-Methylcarbazoles
  • Catechol
  • 3- & 4-Methylcatechols
  • N-Nitrosonornicotine
  • Other non-volatile nitrosamines
  • Beta-Napthylamine
  • Polonium-210
  • Nickel compounds
  • Cadmium compounds
  • Arsenic
  • Other toxic agents
  • Phenol
  • Cresols (3 compounds

Nicotine

It is one of a large group of alkaline substances called alkaloids which are found in plants; others are cocaine, morphine, strychnine, quinine and caffeine. Most have a definite drug effect on the body.

Nicotine is an oily liquid found only in the tobacco plant. In its pure state it is colourless or slightly yellow and has no odour. The moment it is exposed to light or air, however, the nicotine turns brown and begins to smell like tobacco. It has a sharp, bitter taste. It is also a poison; its lethal qualities are put to good use in agriculture, where it is used as an insecticide, and in veterinary medicine, where it is used to kill parasites.

Tobacco moke contains only a small quantity of nicotine, and smokers subconsciously avoid overdosing on nicotine because it has highly unpleasant side effect long before a dangerous level can be reached. in the blood. Nicotine is not considered the main hazard of smoking although it may contribute to the harmful effect of carbon monoxide on the heart and blood vessels and even to the formation of carcinogens in cagarette smoke. However, the real problem is its addictive nature. The nicotine is what hooks you: the gar together with the carbon monoxide and other gases in cigarette smoke are the great cripplers and killers.

Vaporisation

As soon as you light a cigarette, the nicotine starts to be vaporised in the burning interior which has a temperature of about 800 degrees Celsium (1540 F). The nicotine travels in the smoke suspended on minute particles of tar, each no larger than 0,3 to 1,0 micrometres across.

Absorption

Nicotine dissolves in water and various other liquids which co through cell membranes easily. It can be rapidly absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth, the nose, the lungs and the gastro-intestinal tract. It is also taken in through the skin; on very hot days, sweat provides an efficient means of transmission.

How much nicotine is absorbed through an membrane depends on the pH - the degree of acidity/alkalinity - of the smoke or the solution it is in The more acid the medium, the less nicotine is absorbed. The more alkaline the medium, the more nicotine is absorbed. The honeycomb interior of the lungs has a surface area of about 600 square feet, alkalinise the smoke and absorb the nicotine with efficiency.

The lungs absorb over 90% of the nicotine and the amount taken in through the mouth and the nose comes to no more than 30%.

Nicotine in the Blood

After it is absorbed through the membranes of lungs, mouth or nose, nicotine goes straight into the blood. Some is carried in the plasma and some in the blood cells. The half-life of nicotine (meaning the time it take the nicotine to fall to half the level found right after a cigarette - is about 20 to 30 minutes. Habitual smokers tend to light up every half hour or so. What this indicates is that smokers regulate the amount of nicotine in their bloodstream.

Nicotine arrives in the brain in approximately 7.5 seconds via the lungs. The hit is slower through membranes of mouth and nose and a nicotine injection would take about 13.5 seconds. The smoker gets a strong jolt with each puff, similar to the fast kick addicts get from mainlining other drugs.

Nicotine Metabolism

Most of the nicotine taken in is rapidly metabolised in the body. The liver does most of the job, the lungs and kidneys the rest. Organs that do not metabolise nicotine are adrenals glands, brain, diaphragm, stomach, spleen and small intestine.

Nicotine Excretion

This happens through sweat, saliva, and urine (as well as mother's milk). When urine is acidic with a pH of 5.5 or less, it carries out virtually all of the unmetabolised nicotine. This may be as high as one fourth to one half of the nicotine originally taken into the body. In a solution as acid as this, nicotine has the form of a salt; because of this, it cannot be reabsorbed by the kidneys or the bladder.

If urine is alkaline, most of the unmetabolised nicotine is taken back into the blood exactly as it is.

So the more acid the urine, the faster you get rid of nicotine. The ore alkaline the urine, the slower you get rid of it.

Effects of Nicotine

It is one of the most powerful of all known drugs. one or two drops on your tongue would kill you in 30 seconds. The nicotine in a cigar would be fatal if injected in one dose.

The way nicotine affects the organs of the body - every one of them - seems to stem from its action in the brain and nervous system. One of the most intriguing effect is that they are often paradoxical: the effect of one dos at one spot can be quite different from another dose at another spot. A low, short dose may stimulate whereas a long-lasting high dose may depress or even paralyse.

Chemicals in tobaco (Short)

Cigarettes are made of more than tar, tobacco and nicotine. More than 600 additives can legally be added to tobacco products.

These include:

  • Coffee extract
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa
  • Menthol
  • Caramel
  • Chlorophyll
  • Ammonia
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Etc.

Many appear simply to add flavour, but others have more sinister effects. For example, cocoa when burned in a cigarette produces bromide gas that dilates the airways of the lung, and increases the body's ability to absorb nicotine.

It is suspected of enabling the smoker to inhale more easily, deeply by numbing the throat. This can lead to permanent scarring.

Techniques employed by tobacco companies (additives) include:

  • Ammonia compounds are added, which speed the delivery of nicotine to smokers by raising the alkalinity of tobacco smoke. These compounds also distort the measurement of tar in cigarettes, giving lower readings than would actually be inhaled by the smoker.
  • Acetaldehyde and pyridine are added among other chemicals, that act to strengthen nicotine's impact on the brain and central nervous system.

Cholesterol and Smoking

Smoking has a number of harmful effects on the cholesterol in your body:

  • It reduces HDL ("good") cholesterol and;
  • In all likelihood changes LDL ("bad") cholesterol into a form that builds up deposits on the walls of the coronary arteries.

Smoking and arterial disease

Smoking tends to increase blood cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the ratio of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) tends to be lower in smokers compared to non-smokers. Cigarette smokers also have raised levels of fibrinogen (a protein which causes blood to clot) and platelets (also involved in the formation of blood clots) which make the blood more sticky. Carbon monoxide attaches itself to haemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood cells) much more easily than oxygen does. This reduces the amount of oxygen available to the tissues.

All these factors make smokers more at risk of developing various forms of atherosclerotic disease. As the atherosclerotic process progresses, blood flows less easily through rigid and narrowed arteries and the blood is more likely to form a thrombosis (clot). This sudden blockage of an artery may lead to a fatal heart attack, a stroke or gangrene of the leg.

  • See also back pain and smoking
  • Heart disease circulation blood blood vessels coronary heart disease

Coca Cola

Uses for Coca Cola (to illustrate the strength of its ingredients):

  • In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coca Cola in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.
  • You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coca Cola and it will be gone in two days.
  • To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca Cola into the toilet bowl and let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coca Cola removes stains from vitreous china.
  • To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of aluminum foil dipped in Coca Cola.
  • To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
  • To loosen a rusted bolt: Apply a cloth soaked in Coca Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.
  • To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coca Cola for sumptuous brown gravy.
  • To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coca Cola into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca Cola will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.

For your information

The active ingredient in Coca Cola is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.

To carry Coca Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous Material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.

The distributors of Coca Cola have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!

Now the question is, would YOU like a glass of water or Coca Cola?

"Cold Turkey"

This means stopping completely, all at once. It has a high failure rate, because the smoker has not been prepared physically, emotionally or mentally for a huge life change.

The body is a complex chemical "factory" in which billions of chemical reactions take place every second. There are 4700 chemicals in cigarette smoke, and their abrupt withdrawal plays havoc with the body's delicate balance. The body has been trying to handle 400 poisons and 63 carcinogens (often for years) and the withdrawal symptoms can be frightening and even dangerous. Some of complications can include heart palpitations, arrhythmias, double vision, anxiety attacks, blood sugar fluctuations (dangerous for diabetics), digestive upsets and pain, dry mouth, ringing in the ears, panic, irritability, rage, confusion and depression.

Dependence on cigarettes affects every aspect of the human being, who may not realise the power of smoking's influences on brain, mind and emotions as well as body - none of which can in fact be separated. To regain control, the smoker needs to be carefully prepared in every way. This is why Smokenders is a step-by-step process, during which nicotine consumption and emotional dependence are reduced slowly, while skills are being learned to handle life without a "smokescreen."

Some people manage to stop this way - usually those with a low degree of dependence, determined by an individual's unique brain chemical balance as well as emotional factors. Motivation is another important aspect: pregnant women, for example, have a huge reason to stop, and those who have suffered a heart attack or threatened amputation.

"Cold turkeys" often fight "cravings" for many years after stopping, because they have not learned the secrets of how to unhook them.

For those of us who are deeply addicted, emotionally and physically, "cold turkey" is a poor choice. It is disheartening to hear of smokers who "just stopped," and wise to remember they were probably lucky enough to have inherited particular brain chemistry.

Headaches, Insomnia, Tightness of the Chest, Constipation

It is futile to generalise or to isolate specific conditions as these are medical conditions doubtless inter-related with other conditions of the individual. From a layman's point of view, detoxification and/or removal of stimulants such as coffee can cause headaches (as can emotions); insomnia can be experienced when stopping smoking because of increased oxygen in the bloodstream due to reduction in the intake of carbon monoxide (or depression, worry etc); the fight-or-flight reaction to smoking expands the air passages and when smoking is reduced the person misses the effects and calls it "tightness of the chest ." Constipation can result from changes in the digestion, acid-alkaline balance and even because some smokers use cigarettes to "move the bowels." All the above can be caused or aggravated by emotional conditions - which can be caused by physical conditions - which can be caused by thoughts - and so on.

Withdrawal of 4700 noxious chemicals disturbs the delicate balance of your body: the literally billions of chemical processes taking place minute by minute. There is not one system in the body not disturbed by this process - hormone system, reproductive system, endocrine system, nervous system - every organ, cell and tissue you have.

We developed Happy Drops and Happy Caps to support the magnificent mechanism of your body while it recovers from years of abuse. Give it time! Help it along!

See under separate entries:

  • Acid/alkaline balance
  • Blood sugar
  • All the organs and systems (digestive system, brain, nervous system etc)
  • Exercise
  • Breathing
  • Water

Cortisol: The "Stress Hormone"

This critical hormone is released in response to stress.

The hormone cortisol, which is released in the body during stressed or agitated states, has gained widespread attention as the so-called "stress hormone." But this hormone is more than a simple marker of stress levels- it is necessary for the functioning of almost every part of the body. Excesses or deficiencies of this crucial hormone are also lead to various physical symptoms and disease states.

Background

Cortisol is a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands, which are small glands adjacent to the kidneys. Among its important functions in the body include roles in the regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular function as well as regulation of the body's use of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Cortisol secretion increases in response to any stress in the body, whether physical (such as illness, trauma, surgery, or temperature extremes) or psychological. When cortisol is secreted, it causes a breakdown of muscle protein, leading to release of amino acids (the "building blocks" of protein) into the bloodstream. These amino acids are then used by the liver to synthesize glucose for energy, in a process called gluconeogenesis. This process raises the blood sugar level so the brain will have more glucose for energy. At the same time the other tissues of the body decrease their use of glucose as fuel. Cortisol also leads to the release of so-called fatty acids, an energy source from fat cells, for use by the muscles. Taken together, these energy-directing processes prepare the individual to deal with stressors and insure that the brain receives adequate energy sources.

The body possesses an elaborate feedback system for controlling cortisol secretion and regulating the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream. The pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain, makes and secretes a hormone known as adrenocorticotrophin, or ACTH. Secretion of ACTH signals the adrenal glands to increase cortisol production and secretion. The pituitary, in turn, receives signals from the hypothalamus of the brain in the form of the hormone CRH, or corticotropin-releasing hormone, which signals the pituitary to release ACTH. Almost immediately after a stressful event, the levels of the regulatory hormones ACTH and CRH increase, causing an immediate rise in cortisol levels. When cortisol is present in adequate (or excess) amounts, a negative feedback system operates on the pituitary gland and hypothalamus which alerts these areas to reduce the output of ACTH and CRH, respectively, in order to reduce cortisol secretion when adequate levels are present.

Measurement of Cortisol Levels

The body's level of cortisol in the bloodstream displays what is known as a diurnal variation- that is, normal concentrations of cortisol vary throughout a 24-hour period. Cortisol levels in normal individuals are highest in the early morning at around 6-8 am and are lowest around midnight.

Normal levels of cortisol in the bloodstream range from 6-23 mcg/dl (micrograms per deciliter).

In addition to early morning, cortisol levels may be somewhat higher after meals. While the most common test is measurement of the cortisol level in the blood, some doctors measure cortisol through a saliva sample, as salivary cortisol levels have been shown to be an index of blood cortisol levels. Sometimes by-products of cortisol metabolism are also measured, such as 17-hydroxycorticosteroids, which are inactive products of cortisol breakdown in the liver. In some cases measurement of urinary cortisol levels is of value. For this test, urine is collected over a 24-hour period and analyzed.

Normal 24-hour urinary cortisol levels range from 10-100 micrograms/ 24 hours.

Abnormal Cortisol Levels

Certain drugs can lead to increased cortisol levels. Examples include the diuretic spironolactone and estrogen hormone therapy. Low cortisol levels can be due to drug therapy with androgens or the anti-seizure medication phenytoin. Highly-trained athletes can have higher-than-average cortisol levels, and women in the last trimester of pregnancy also generally have elevated cortisol levels. Recent research has even shown that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day can elevate cortisol levels. Likely due to the increased physical and psychological stresses associated with these conditions, persons suffering from depression, anxiety, panic disorder, malnutrition and alcohol abuse also often have elevated cortisol values. Rare tumors of the adrenal glands or pituitary gland can also lead to abnormally high levels of cortisol.

Cushing's Syndrome

Persons exposed to abnormally high levels of cortisol over time develop a syndrome known as Cushing's Syndrome. This condition generally affects adults, and approximately 10-15 per million persons will develop this condition each year. Signs and symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome include elevated blood pressure, development of diabetes, pink-to-purple stretch marks on the abdominal skin, fatigue, depression, moodiness, and accentuated fatty tissue on the face and upper back. Women with Cushing's Syndrome often have irregular menstrual periods and develop new facial hair growth. Men may show a decrease in sex drive. Treatment options are varied and depend on the cause of the excess cortisol.

Read more from the U.S. N.I.H. about Cushing's Syndrome.

Addison's Disease

Primary problems with the adrenal glands or with the pituitary gland can lead to a condition known as Addison's Disease, in which the adrenal glands fail to produce adequate amounts of cortisol. This condition occurs in persons of all ages and affects approximately one in 100,000 people per year. Symptoms are fatigue, low blood pressure, weight loss, weakness, loss of appetite, moodiness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The production of other hormones by the adrenal is also often affected, with reduced levels of the hormone aldosterone, which is important for body salt and water balance, often accompanying the reduction in cortisol. This condition can be treated by the administration of synthetic steroid hormone preparations.

What would I save if I stopped smoking? (in South African Rands)

An amount of R10 per day (R300 per month) if invested (at a percentage compounded monthly) would amount to:

Interest compounded monthly 10 years 20 years 30 years 40 years 50 years
12% R69,002.00 R296,800.00 R1,050,000.00 R3,530,000.00 R11,720,000.00
15% R82,500.00 R449,000.00 R2,076,000.00 R9,300,000.00 R41,400,000.00

Craving

This is a feeling often sensed as panic, an overwhelming desire or "wanting." Smokers who have been without a cigarette for two hours or more have been heard to say "I'd kill for one." No non-smoker can understand this, and it is possibly the single most dreaded consequence of quitting.

This is why we developed Happy Drops 1 to instantly curb that craving!

The feeling is partly caused by the withdrawal* of nicotine and partly by a fear of intense emotion.

Nicotine is a deadly poison which the body processes as fast as possible into the bladder - usually in about an hour. This is why a typical smoking pattern is one cigarette per hour. After a few days of not smoking there is no appreciable nicotine left in any part of the body or brain. However the smoker has trained herself to have an "emotional addiction," relying on the cigarette to handle every discomfort. Signals to smoke are emotional (stress, anger, sadness etc), and physical (coffee, alcohol, after a meal). Smoking has proved an effective strategy or coping mechanism for the person and is not easily surrendered until another strategy has been put in place.

* (see Brain Chemicals, Brain Reward System, Dopamine and Seratonin, Neural pathways)

Craving (Food, Substances)

Addiction to nicotine is one hugely powerful cause of craving (i.e. "must have it!"), but there are 4700 other chemicals in tobacco smoke (cyanide, arsenic, DDT, cadmium, formaldehyde, naphthalene, butane, acetone etc), all affecting the body's billions-per-second electro-chemical processes. Few people are taught to hear and understand the physical or emotional signals sent by their bodies and minds. (Who was told "don't always think about yourself, darling...?")

Physical cravings can be reduced by stabilising sugar and hormone levels, increasing the alkaline balance of the body, and eating a diet high in fruit, vegetables and seeds. It is particularly effective to eat low GI foods (glycemic index), slow-release carbohydrates, which keeps blood sugar at a constant level. The only real cure for physical craving is to remove its cause - the addictive substance, whether nicotine, caffeine, alcohol or heroin.

More challenging are the emotional causes of craving such as: I'm angry, upset, scared, agitated, anxious, furious, bored, irritated, scared. Then there are physical triggers such as ending a meal, drinking alcohol, tea or coffee.

The degree of craving may be partially related to the amount a person smokes, looking at this as a measure of the person's discomfort, need, desire, longing for a mate, fun, money, whatever.

(see Craving, GI Index, GI Table)

We are told Happy Drops 1 relieves craving instantly - even for food or alcohol! Try it.

Delay Times - Red Light Process

Smoking is built into our lives in dozens of ways. We are triggered to smoke by coffee, tea, food, alcohol, our car, traffic, anger - often any kind of emotion. They are patterns, knee-jerk responses (demonstrate reflex testing). To change the knee-jerk it needs to be interrupted.

All it takes is once to start a new pathway, we are capable of one-time-learning. That first time delaying is the hardest, then each time after that is easier.

Swish Process

Ask someone - "Do you stop at a red traffic light? How do you do that?" Elicit detailed response, what do you see, hear, think, feel, do?

Ok, now everybody imagine themselves stopping at a red traffic light, imagine yourself in your car, seeing the light turning orange, deciding to stop, reaching out with your foot - what are you seeing, hearing, feeling... know you are going to stop, what that feels like.

Break state

Now imagine yourself in a smoking situation, at your desk, at home, wherever. See the cigarettes and lighter/matches in front of you, maybe the ashtray, feel the feeling of knowing you are going to light one, the impulse to reach forward. See what you see, feel, hear, what is around you. Experience it fully up to the point of reaching. (Don't reach forward, just feel the feeling) Elicit all the VAKOG and details of the strategy.

Break state

Imagine the cigarette in front of you when I say swish immediately put yourself in the car, with all the feelings of stopping at the red light. Even feel your foot pressing on the pedal, sense the car around you, see the red of the light.

Repeat at least 5 times. Each time use a visual and auditory anchor like, "click" fingers and "see red", hear "stop."

Future pace

Later today when you have a meal and have to do a delay time, see the cigarette and "click" fingers and "see red," hear "stop."

Tonight, after a drink (or a meal) - repeat, see the cigarette (etc).

Tomorrow, waking up, after a meal or a cup of coffee, see the cigarette (etc).

Dental Problems linked to other Diseases

Odontogenic infections are among the most common human infections. Scientific evidence has linked severe infections with increased susceptibility to certain important systemic diseases and conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Pulmonary infections

This is because the gram-negative bacilli that cause periodontal disease trigger production of lipopolysaccharides, heat-shock proteins, and proinflammatory cytokines. Because of the association between periodontal disease and other medical problems, it is imperative that dental infections be prevented when possible, or promptly recognized and adequately treated. Both dentists and physicians should be aware of the clinical implications of the inter-relationships between odontogenic infections and other medical conditions and treat affected patients in collaboration when needed.

A prime ingredient in dental and particularly gum disease is smoking!

Depression, Psychiatric Disorders and Smoking

Neuronal nicotinic receptor and psychiatric disorders: functional and behavioral effects of nicotine. Jpn J Pharmacol 2002 Feb;88(2):133-8 (ISSN: 0021-5198) Araki H; Suemaru K; Gomita Y

Department of Hospital Pharmacy, Okayama University Medical School, Japan.

Both retrospective and prospective clinical studies have demonstrated positive associations of smoking with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) belong to a family of ligand-gated ion channels that are widely distributed in the brain. The pre-synaptically located nAChR, which are composed of alpha3 or alpha4 subunits in combination with beta2 subunit on axon terminals, modulate the multiple transmission release.

Several studies indicated which individual nicotinic receptor subtype is responsible for mediating each of the behavioral effects of nicotine. A reduced number of alpha7 nicotinic receptor subtypes in the hippocampus were reported in schizophrenic patients.

In addition, it was assumed that nicotine provided useful therapeutic treatment for a variety of cognitive impairments including those found in Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Both alpha7 and alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptors in the hippocampus are involved in these phenomena.

In the genetic depressive rats, nicotine showed antidepressant-like effects in forced swim models of depression, suggesting the involvement of alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptor in this phenomenon. Thus, it appears likely that pre-synaptic nAChR on monoaminergic fibers are composed of alpha3 or alpha4 subunits in combination with the beta2 subunit, and these subunit compositions mediate dopaminergic and noradrenergic release, and glutamate is mainly controlled by the alpha7 subunit.

All these findings suggest that nicotine and other nicotinic drugs warrant further study for possible clinical prescription to psychiatric disorders.

Depression and St. John's Wart (Hypericum)

We at Smokenders do not pretend to be doctors: this mild herbal remedy needs no prescription and has been found to help many smokers to stop comfortably, as it appears to relieve certain symptoms, chiefly the many faces of depression. Depression is not always expressed as sad/tired/miserable: many people (often men) show depression as aggravation, irritation, anxiety, anger, aggression and anti-social behaviour.

The best news in a long time about the treatment of depression is that an inexpensive, relatively harmless herb can be as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as prescription antidepressants.

It's St. John's Wort (SJW) that has been used for over 2000 years to relieve emotional states. It requires no prescription, is less expensive than prescription anti-depressants, and has far fewer side effects. It is so safe, in fact, that many people who have no idea whether or not they are depressed take it just to see if they feel better. Most do! The prestigious medical journal, Pharmacopsychiatry, devoted a supplementary issue to SJW.

In fact, if you want to reduce your intake of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine or methamphetamines, SJW is a good place to start. Some people taking SJW lose their desire for these drugs altogether.

Depression and Smoking

Depression may be one of the reasons a smoker started smoking or continues to smoke: smoking is an attempt at self-medication. It worked in the beginning (because of the increase of dopamine) and has now become an addiction. We have found that in many cases a two to three month course of hypericum can assist smokers as they regulate their own natural dopamine production. After this time they can stop taking the hypericum.

Hypericum has also assisted some smokers to minimize the temporary feelings of "loss."

Check the site http://www.hypericum.com/

The following material is adapted from "Hypericum and Depression" by Drs. Harold Bloomfield, Mikael Nordfors and Peter McWilliams.

Cautions

  1. If you are having suicidal thoughts, get emergency medical help at once.
  2. If you are taking prescription antidepressants, do not alter your dosage or combine with hypericum without consulting your doctor. Do not take hypericum if you are taking an MAO inhibitor.
  3. If you have a preexisting medical or psychiatric conditions, please consult your doctor before taking hypericum.
  4. Although they are few and generally mild, carefully consider side effects of hypericum before taking it.

Symptoms of Depression can include (according to National Institutes of Health, USA):

  • Persistent sad or "empty" mood
  • Loss of pleasure in ordinary activities including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Eating disturbances (gaining or losing weight)
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Irritability
  • Excessive crying
  • Chronic aches and pains

Observable In the Workplace (in addition to the above):

  • Decreased productivity
  • Morale problems
  • Lack of cooperation
  • Safety problems, accidents
  • Absenteeism
  • Being tired all the time
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Anhedonia

Many people experience depression as a lack of pleasure rather than as the presence of pain. The lack of pleasure as a symptom of depression is known medically as anhedonia - "an" meaning "not" and "hedonia" meaning "pleasure."

Finding the right antidepressant for a patient is a matter of trial and error... and can be more difficult because antidepressant medications can take several weeks to take full effect... as long as six weeks. Further, many of the side effects of prescriptive antidepressants may be severe at first...

2400 Years of History

One should not think in terms of prescription antidepressants versus hypericum. There is no battle between them. Hypericum is simply a new and medically proven tool for treating depression...

St. John's Wort has a long history of folk use. Dioscorides, the foremost physician of ancient Greece, as well as Pliny and Hippocrates, administered it in the treatment of many illnesses. (The Healing Power of Herbs, Michael T. Murray ND).

The herb is said to sooth the digestive system. In particular, its ingredients were thought to relieve ulcers and gastritis, and the herb was called on as a folk medicine for diarrhea and nausea. Bruises and hemorrhoids are said to respond to it. It has served as a sedative, painkiller and analgesic. The blossoms have been added to sweet oil (a refined olive oil used medicinally) for a sooth dressing for cuts. Herbalists credit it with increasing and inducing a sense of well-being.

As Effective As Prescription Anti-Depressants

In modern herbal medicine, St. John's wort is used first and foremost to treat depression... in a nutshell, medical research has shown that hypericum is an effective treatment for depression - as effective as prescription antidepressants in the majority of patients.

The medical studies show that from fifty to eighty percent of depressed patients have a significant decrease in the symptoms of depression and a corresponding increase in well-being. The success rate is the same as that of prescription antidepressants.

Cheap With Few Side Effects

Unlike prescription antidepressants, however, a) the side effects of hypericum are few and mild, b) hypericum costs considerably less and c) hypericum is available without prescription.

Twenty Million Germans

Hypericum is the most extensively researched and used herbal antidepressant known. Over 5000 patients have participated in drug-monitoring studies - more than 2000 of these in double-blind studies eight head-to-head comparisons showed hypericum was as effective a prescription antidepressants, but with fewer side effects. More than twenty million people in Germany regularly take hypericum for depression.

Side Effects of Hypericum

Hypericum is safer than aspirin. It does not have a single recorded human death in 2400 years of known medical use. The only fatal toxicity known is in certain light-skinned animals such as sheep, who die not from ingesting large quantities while grazing, but of exposure to sun after. (This is why hypericum is considered a dangerous weed in Australia and is listen in Common Poisonous Plants by Nancy J Turner). Hypericum increases the animals' susceptibility to sunlight and they become sick and sometimes die from extreme sunburn.

This phenomenon, while theoretically possible in humans, has not been documented in the recommended doses for depression. Not a single case of phototoxicity has been reported in human medical studies... even in AIDS research involving intravenous hypericum doses 35 times greater than the recommended dose for depression, the phototoxic effects ah been few and never deadly. (High doses of hypericum are being medically investigated for its antiviral properties).

Dosage

The optimum dosage, based on the majority of medical studies, is 300 mg of hypericum extract containing 0.3 percent hypericin (an active ingredient of hypericum) three times a day... some find one with each meal - is a convenient and effective way to take hypericum. Some find that taking two 300 mg doses at breakfast and a third a lunch or dinner works best.

Because hypericum is tolerated so well by the body, experimentation with dosage and timing has far fewer risks than experimentation with most prescription medications.

As the side effects of hypericum are few even in significantly higher doses, one can, for example, take four 250 mg capsules daily...

It is important to give hypericum a chance. To decide after one or two weeks "This isn't working for me." And discontinue treatment is ill advised.
Certainly if side effects occur, you should consult your healthcare provider...after six weeks one might decide to take slightly more or slightly less, depending on the results. Hypericum is not a "more is better" herb.

The Right Stuff

As of now, only one method of preparation has been medically proven to be successful. The method, briefly, is to take the flowering and leafy portions of Hypericum perforatum plant, dry them, and use alcohol to dissolve the useful elements from the plant. When the alcohol evaporates, the extract remains (alcohol extraction).

This is why a tea made from St. John's Wort (water extraction) may not be as effective.

Happy Drops / Happy Caps

Smokenders has developed its own herbal and vitamin remedies, based on SJW, other herbal substances, amino acids and vitamins, approaching the multi-faceted aspects of helping smokers to recover from nicotine addiction.

Depression and the Brain

Cigarettes cause a rush of dopamine/seratonin, brain chemicals which result in feelings of pleasure/relief. It is thus a medication for depression. This is probably why such a high percentage of patients in psychiatric wards smoke. The consequences are less than delightful, because once the brain relies on cigarettes to produce dopamine, it reduces its natural methods, hence we become dependant. The balance is re-established quite quickly once the artificial stimulant is removed (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs). In the interim stages a person can learn to stimulate his own dopamine release naturally, and begin to acquire skills to handle the underlying emotional causes of the problem.

How does one promote a feeling of pleasure without relying on a drug? With thought - imagination - visualisation, or music, art, exercise, other non-addictive substances. There are also natural drugs and foods which can elevate mood and relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Happy Drops 2 helps hugely!

(see other entries under Depression, and also Brain Chemicals, Neural Pathways, Dopamine/Serotonin)

Diabetes and Stress

Doctors show the value of stress management.

Doctors at Duke University have shown that stress management therapy can improve long-term control of blood sugar in diabetics. While stress management therapy and stress counseling have been shown to relieve symptoms and even improve outcome and prognosis of myriad medical and emotional conditions, previous studies on the value of stress therapy in diabetics have yielded conflicting results.

Those studies that showed a positive effect were based upon the use of individual counseling and therapy over a long period of time. Since long-term individual therapy is not a practical solution for all diabetics, the researchers investigated whether a group stress management training program might be beneficial for control of diabetes.

The doctors studied 108 people over age 30 with Type II diabetes. The participants were divided into two groups, with both groups receiving a five-session diabetes education program. In the experimental group stress management training was included in the sessions, while the control group received only the diabetes education program. The stress training included information on stress-related medical conditions as well as development of skills to recognize and alleviate stress-related tension and anxiety. The participants also received relaxation training in the form of progressive muscle relaxation therapy.

Over the course of one year the participants filled out questionnaires at regular intervals regarding their perceived levels of stress, anxiety, and overall psychological well-being. The researchers measured the participants' HbA1c levels (indicative of long-term blood glucose control) at these same intervals. A small but significant reduction (0.5%) in HbA1c values was observed in the group receiving the supplemental stress management training. A change as small as half a percent can lead to a dramatic reduction in the vascular complications thast arise when diabetes is poorly controlled.

These results, published in the January 2002 issue of Diabetes Care, suggest that the practice of stress management techniques and stress counseling can be of significant clinical benefit to persons with diabetes.

Reference

Surwit RS, van Tillburg MA, Zucker N, McCaskill CC, Parekh P, Feinglos MN, Edwards CL, Williams P, lane JD.Stress management improves long-term glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.Diabetes Care 2002 Jan;25(1):30-4.

Diabetes and Smoking

Diabetes occurs when the glucose level in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose is a sugar that the body makes mainly from the carbohydrates in food. Glucose comes from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, sugar and other sweet foods and from the liver which makes glucose Glucose levels are controlled by the hormone insulin which is made and stored in the pancreas. Insulin helps glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body and consequently the amount of glucose left in the bloodstream goes down.

Types of Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes: People with Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) do not produce any insulin. People with Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes do not produce enough insulin, or the insulin that the body does produce doesn't work properly.

Type 1 diabetes is the less common form. This type usually develops in children and young adults but can occur at any age. It is thought that Type 1diabetes occurs when the body's immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin but it's not known what causes this to happen.

About 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. This condition tends to develop gradually after the age of 40. However, increasingly, Type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed in younger people, including children. It appears that this is largely due to the fact that individuals have less active lifestyles and an increasing number are overweight. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of diabetes but the development of Type 2 diabetes is more likely if some or all of the following factors are also present: physical inactivity; being overweight; family history of Type 2 diabetes; previous diabetes in pregnancy. The condition is also more common in people of Asian and African-Caribbean origin.

Health consequences

People with diabetes are at greater risk of raised blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage and eye complications such as retinothapy (disorders of the retina).

Links between smoking and diabetes

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that smoking is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that among people with diabetes, smoking aggravates the risk of serious disease and premature death.

In the US Nurses' Health Study, 114,247 women were followed for 8 years and 2,333 cases of type 2 diabetes were confirmed. After controlling for multiple risk factors, the relative risk of diabetes was 1.42 among women who smoked 25 or more cigarettes a day compared with non-smokers, suggesting a moderate association between smoking and the subsequent development of diabetes.

A similar study of 41,810 middle aged men found that those who smoked more than 25 cigarettes daily had a relative risk of diabetes of 1.94 compared with non-smokers.

A prospective study of Japanese men concluded that age of smoking initiation and number of cigarettes smoked were major risk factors for developing diabetes. Similarly, data from the US Cancer Prevention Study 1 found that as smoking increased so the rate of diabetes increased for both men and women.

People with diabetes already have an increased risk of heart disease, which is further elevated if they smoke. Diabetes acts in several ways to damage the heart: high glucose levels affect the walls of the arteries making them more likely to develop fatty deposits which in turn makes it more difficult for the blood to circulate. People with diabetes are more likely to have high blood pressure and high levels of fats such as triglycerides. They are also more likely to have lower levels of the protective HDL cholesterol

Insulin Resistance

Smoking has also been identified as a risk factor for insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes. People with insulin resistance cannot properly use insulin and such people may initially have higher than normal amounts of insulin circulating in their blood, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia.

Several factors, including genetics and obesity, increase a person's risk of insulin resistance and smoking has also been shown to increase the risk of this condition. It is believed that catecholamines, a type of hormone, are produced in greater quantity in smokers and act as an antagonist to insulin action.3 A study of 40 patients with Type 2 diabetes found insulin resistance was markedly aggravated among those who smoked.

Smoking, Diabetes and Premature Death

The elevated risk of heart disease among people with diabetes increases the risk of premature death. In one study of women aged 60 to 79 who smoked and developed Type 2 diabetes, an estimated 65 per cent of the cardiovascular disease deaths among the subjects was attributed to the interaction of cigarette smoking and diabetes. The same study suggested that smoking may trigger fatal events in people with diabetes whose circulation has been compromised due to vascular disease, or blood vessels damaged by a combination of smoking and diabetes. A large prospective study of US nurses found that among those with diabetes the relative risks of mortality were 1.31 for past smokers, 1.43 for current smokers of 1-14 cigarettes per day, 1.64 for smokers of 15-34 cigarettes per day, and 2.19 for current smokers of 35 or more cigarettes per day.

The Effect of Smoking on Complications of Diabetes

Smoking is associated with multiple complications of diabetes. Nephropathy (kidney disease) has been shown to be common in Type 1 diabetic patients who smoke and smoking increases the risk of albuminuria in both types of diabetes. (Albuminuria refers to the presence of protein in the urine and can indicate signs of kidney disease.) Another small study of 33 people with type 2 diabetes with kidney disease found that smokers' kidney function declined more rapidly than that of non-smokers, despite drug treatment, suggesting that smoking cessation could slow the progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes who use ACE inhibitors.

The relationship between cigarette smoking and retinothapy (disorders of the retina) is less well defined than that of other microvascular complications of diabetes. However, some studies have found an association between smoking and diabetic retinopathy.

Smoking is also a documented risk factor for both the development and progression of various types of neuropathy (damage to the peripheral nervous system). A retrospective case control study of type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients found that current or ex-smokers were significantly more likely to have neuropathy than individuals who never smoked (64.8% vs. 42.8%). A more recent prospective study found that cigarette smoking was associated with a 2-fold increase in risk.

Benefits of Smoking Cessation

There is overwhelming evidence that stopping smoking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lung disease, cancer and stroke. As diabetes increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, it follows that stopping smoking will reduce the risk of complications from diabetes such as heart disease. Few studies have evaluated smoking cessation treatment specifically for people with diabetes but the limited research available suggests that smokers with diabetes may be less successful in quitting than smokers without diabetes and that intensive strategies should be considered to optimise successful cessation.

One possible explanation for the lower quitting rates among people with diabetes is the fact that stopping smoking is associated with weight gain and this is likely to be of concern in people who have diabetes and are already overweight. One US study found that concerns about weight gain among smokers with Type 1 diabetes were particularly prevalent among women, obese smokers, and those in poor metabolic control. Fear of weight gain was cited by 49% of smokers.

A recent British prospective study of 7,735 men aged 40-59 years found that cigarette smoking was associated with a significant increase in risk of diabetes, even after adjustment for age, body mass index, and other potential confounding factors. The benefit of giving up smoking was only apparent after 5 years of smoking cessation and risk reverted to that of never-smokers only after 20 years. Men who gave up smoking during the first 5 years of follow-up showed significant weight gain and subsequently higher risk of diabetes than continuing smokers. However, the authors concluded that in the long term, the benefits of giving up smoking outweigh the adverse effects of early weight gain.

Stopping smoking also reduces the risk of premature death. The US Nurses' Study found that among women with Type 2 diabetes who had stopped smoking for 10 or more years had a mortality relative risk of 1.11 compared with diabetic women who were never smokers.

In the light of the growing evidence demonstrating that smoking is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that it is also an aggravating factor for diabetes complications, smoking cessation advice should be a routine component of diabetic care. Concerns about weight gain should be addressed by health care providers whilst emphasising the fact that the health benefits of smoking cessation far outweigh post cessation weight gain, even in people who are focused on weight management.

Smoking and Your Digestive System

Harmful Effects :

  • Heartburn
  • Peptic Ulcer
  • Liver Disease
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Gallstones
  • Can the damage be reversed?

Cigarette smoking causes a variety of life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. An estimated 430,000 deaths each year are directly caused by cigarette smoking.

Smoking is responsible for changes in all parts of the body, including the digestive system. This fact can have serious consequences because it is the digestive system that converts foods into the nutrients the body needs to live.

Current estimates indicate that about one-third of all adults smoke. And, while adult men seem to be smoking less, women and teenagers of both sexes seem to be smoking more. How does smoking affect the digestive system of all these people?

Harmful Effects

Smoking has been shown to have harmful effects on all parts of the digestive system, contributing to such common disorders as heartburn and peptic ulcers. It also increases the risk of Crohn's disease and possibly gallstones.

Smoking seems to affect the liver, too, by changing the way it handles drugs and alcohol. In fact, there seems to be enough evidence to stop smoking solely on the basis of digestive distress.

Heartburn

Heartburn is common among Americans. More than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month, and about 15 million have it daily. Heartburn happens when acidic juices from the stomach splash into the esophagus.

Normally, a muscular valve at the lower end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), keeps the acid solution in the stomach and out of the esophagus. Smoking decreases the strength of the esophageal valve, thereby allowing stomach acids to reflux, or flow backward into the esophagus.

Smoking also seems to promote the movement of bile salts from the intestine to the stomach, which makes the stomach acids more harmful. Finally, smoking may directly injure the esophagus, making it less able to resist further damage from refluxed fluids.

Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The exact cause of ulcers is not known. A relationship between smoking cigarettes and ulcers, especially duodenal ulcers, does exist.

The 1989 Surgeon General's report stated that ulcers are more likely to occur, less likely to heal, and more likely to cause death in smokers than in nonsmokers. Why is this so? Doctors are not really sure, but smoking does seem to be one of several factors that work together to promote the formation of ulcers.

For example, some research suggests that smoking might increase a person's risk of infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Most peptic ulcers are caused by this bacterium.

Stomach acid is also important in producing ulcers. Normally, most of this acid is buffered by the food we eat. Most of the unbuffered acid that enters the duodenum is quickly neutralized by sodium bicarbonate, a naturally occurring alkali produced by the pancreas. Some studies show that smoking reduces the bicarbonate produced by the pancreas, interfering with the neutralization of acid in the duodenum. Other studies suggest that chronic cigarette smoking may increase the amount of acid secreted by the stomach.

Whatever causes the link between smoking and ulcers, two points have been repeatedly demonstrated: People who smoke are more likely to develop an ulcer, especially a duodenal ulcer, and ulcers in smokers are less likely to heal quickly in response to otherwise effective treatment. This research tracing the relationship between smoking and ulcers strongly suggests that a person with an ulcer should stop smoking.

Liver Disease

The liver is an important organ that has many tasks. Among other things, the liver is responsible for processing drugs, alcohol, and other toxins to remove them from the body. There is evidence that smoking alters the ability of the liver to handle such substances.

In some cases, this may influence the dose of medication necessary to treat an illness. Some research also suggests that smoking can aggravate the course of liver disease caused by excessive alcohol intake.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease causes inflammation deep in the lining of the intestine. The disease, which causes pain and diarrhea, usually affects the small intestine, but it can occur anywhere in the digestive tract. Research shows that current and former smokers have a higher risk of developing Crohn's disease than nonsmokers do.

Among people with the disease, smoking is associated with a higher rate of relapse, repeat surgery, and immunosuppressive treatment. In all areas, the risk for women, whether current or former smokers, is slightly higher than for men. Why smoking increases the risk of Crohn's disease is unknown, but some theories suggest that smoking might lower the intestine's defenses, decrease blood flow to the intestines, or cause immune system changes that result in inflammation.

Gallstones

Several studies suggest that smoking may increase the risk of developing gallstones and that the risk may be higher for women. However, research results on this topic are not consistent, and more study is needed.

Can the damage be reversed?

Some of the effects of smoking on the digestive system appear to be of short duration. For example, the effect of smoking on bicarbonate production by the pancreas does not appear to last. Within a half-hour after smoking, the production of bicarbonate returns to normal. The effects of smoking on how the liver handles drugs also disappear when a person stops smoking.

However, people who no longer smoke still remain at risk for Crohn's disease. Clearly, this question needs more study.

DNA Damage From Tar Extracts in Tobacco smoke

The following research article will appear April 21 in the Web edition of Chemical Research in Toxicology, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. Cigarette tar is deposited in the lungs of smokers, and these lung tissues are continuously bathed in an aqueous solution that can dissolve and transport the water-soluble chemicals in the tar.

According to William A. Pryor, Ph.D., Director of the Biodynamics Institute at Louisiana State University, this aqueous cigarette tar (ACT) extract is a complex mixture of hundreds of compounds that can cause DNA damage. Now Pryor's research has shown that some of the most active compounds in ACT are compounds called hydroquinones, and their derivatives, quinones and semiquinones. (Semiquinones are free radicals - reactive chemical species that have an odd number of electrons.) Using mammalian cells, Pryor has shown that these semiquinone free radicals are critically involved in causing DNA damage of a type that is not easily repaired and therefore might lead to mutations and cancer. "It is very likely that these highly reactive free radicals are involved in the toxicity associated with cigarette smoking," Pryor says.

A nonprofit organization with a membership of more than 155,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Dopamine and Serotonin: "Feel Good" Chemicals of the Brain

The body is one big chemistry set. Every second, billions of chemical reactions are occurring in different cellular structure. The nutrients we eat are being digested first in the mouth and ending not far from the other end of the digestive tract. Absorption of these molecules occurs across sophisticated membrane layers at millions of sites along the digestive tract. These smaller molecules are then recombined into more complex nutritional components. These form other substances necessary for life, which includes immune system complexes, hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, anti-inflammatories, cortisone, painkillers, transporter cells and the like.

All of these actions and reactions are mediated via chemical processes and require combinations of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids and essential fatty acids. In addition, not only does one require all of these substances, but in order for the reactions to proceed efficiently, they need to take place in the optimum inter-cellular environment.

Very often today, in spite of eating what we may consider to be a balanced intake of nutrients, we are in a state of what I call "affluent malnourishment." In today's fast-faced, treadmill type lifestyle we often eat on the run, which affects our digestive ability. Our diets are way too high in processed and fast foods, our intake of refined sugars is excessive and the ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat (usually the wrong type) are unbalanced. We often miss meals then over-eat at night and more often than not our meals are not varied enough. Combining all of these factors places the digestive system under severe stress and quite often leads to some form of dysfunction and disease.

What does all of this mean on a practical level and how is our health affected by inappropriate nutrition?

It's a well known fact that coronary heart disease is on the increase and is in fact the leading cause of death in the USA, killing up to 481 000 people in 1995. In elevated levels of an amino acid called homocysteine (naturally produced in the liver as part of protein metabolism, but usually reconverted into non harmful amino aicds+ has been clearly shown and is now well accepted as a risk factor forcardiovascular disease = especially the development of athersclerotic plaques in the arteries. There are also clear indication s that rising homocysteine levels are consistent with advancing age, accompanied by less that optimum levels of certain vitamins, especially folic acid, B6 and B12.

Optimum sources of B6, B12 and folic acid include red meat, avocado, liver, kidneys, fish, egg yolk, wholegrain cereals, bananas, nits seeds, green leafy vegetables and brewers yeast reduces risk of heart disease.

Brain chemistry is another important area where nutrients and diet play a vital role. Chemicals in the brain, more commonly known as neurotransmitters, are responsible for coordinating mood, energy levels, concentration, memory and behaviour.

Most common symptom is fatigue. Low energy. The neurochemical responsible for unexplained fatigue is dopamine, a vital and energising neurochemical produced in the brain. Dopamine also plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy libido, and one of the first signs of imbalance may be decreased sexual appetite.

The sister neurochemical to dopamine is serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for inducing a feeling of relaxation, calmness, control and a good mood feeling.

Imbalanced dietary intake can dramatically affect production of these 2 - eg bread sugar ham, muffins, cereal boosts the release of the sedating brain chem. Serotonin, More appropriate for early increased energy levels would be to reduce breakfast carbs and increase protein - fat free cottage cheese, haddock, nuts and seeds, soya milk, egg whites, chicken breast.

The rationale here is that this provides higher levels of the amino acid L-tyrosine, the precursor to dopamine rather than tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin; dopamine being the energising chemical and serotonin being the sedating chemical.

Protein at night may do the opposite and boost dopamine levels, interfering with a restful nights sleep.

Exercise Builds New Brain Cells

Regular running and intensive mental exercise may revitalize the mind by spurring the growth of new brain cells responsible for learning and memory, new animal experiments suggest.

The research sheds light on how the effects of daily experience can foster new brain cells in adult mammals from mice to human beings. In essence, the research suggests that an active life - whether the activity be physical or mental - can have a positive impact on the brain.

In separate studies published in Nature Neuroscience, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla and at Princeton University discovered that some kinds of physical and mental exercise promoted the growth of new neurons, while also measurably prolonging the survival of existing brain cells. The changes took place in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is crucial to the formation of new memories.

"That is terribly exciting, given that we know the hippocampus plays a role in the memory of new facts and new events," said Neal J. Cohen, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Illinois. "It is clear the adult brain continues to be modified structurally and functionally by experience."

Smart mice ran a lot

The Salk researchers, to their surprise, found that adult mice exercising on a running wheel regularly developed twice as many new brain cells in the hippocampus as mice housed in standard cages.

The scientists had designed their experiment to test the effects of learning and had only included the running wheels as one of several different variables. The mice ran at their own pace, as often and for as long as they liked.

"The difference was so striking," said neurobiologist Fred H. Gage, senior author of the Salk study. "And because we know now that human brains also make new cells, it just might be that running or other vigorous exercise stimulates brain cell production in people as well."

Until recently, the idea that the human brain can produce new neurons well into old age was a scientific heresy. Most experts were convinced the human brain had done almost all its growing by the time a child was born.

Thousands of new neurons a day

But several animal studies have shown that, contrary to expectations, the hippocampus of the adult brain can produce thousands of new neurons every day. Recently, Gage and his colleagues demonstrated that the human brain is no exception, producing new neurons even in the elderly.

The Salk researchers do not know why running should have such an enhancing effect on neural development. Running might increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to brain tissues or release special growth factors that promote new neurons, Gage said.

It may well be that the primordial biology of running prompts the nervous system to prepare for an onslaught of new information as an animal navigates unfamiliar terrain in the pursuit of prey or in flight from an enemy. In those situations, the brain may respond reflexively to running by expanding its store of neurons in anticipation of new learning, several experts said.

Preparing the brain for new learning

"Exercise itself over the eons may have become associated with a bunch of effects that help the brain prepare itself for new information, new learning, new brain work" Cohen at Illinois said.

In their experiments, the Princeton team found that purely mental, tasks could double the number of new neurons in the adult hippocampus and help existing neurons live longer. Mental challenges that required the animals to master information involving spatial relationships and timing, which placed special demands on the hippocampus, had the greatest effect. The lab mice, for example, had to learn how to locate platforms in a water maze, which tested their
ability to put together spatial relationships. Learning tasks that did not place demands on the hippocampus had no effect.

"It is a classic case of 'use it or lose it,' " said Princeton psychologist Elizabeth Gould, who conducted the research. "Certain types of learning that require this brain region - the hippocampus - were very good at rescuing new neurons from death. It was not just learning in general. It was not experience in general."

Although the Princeton research was not intended to address human well-being directly, the animal experiments underscore the importance of an active life of the mind, Gould said. "It is very likely if you lead a very mentally active life you areengaging the hippocampus," Gould said.

If the right kind of mental exercise promotes a healthy mind, the absence of mental stimulation may have an equally harmful effect on the brain, by allowing neurons to atrophy and die. "A lack of learning opportunities may have a negative structural impact on the brain," Gould said.

Together, the findings hint at the physical mechanisms underlying the human brain's unexpected "flexibility," its ability to change in response to experience.

Previous studies have shown that animals, including primates, created more new cells in the hippocampus if they lived in a more stimulating, enriched environment rather than in a standard cage. In the new research, the two teams of scientists were trying to pinpoint the tasks most likely to spur new brain cells.

"I think it is a pretty big deal," said neuroscientist Janice Juraska at the University of Illinois, who studies brain development. "It helps explain why we are as flexible as we are."

Smoking and Eye Damage

Macular degeneration is the result of damage inside the eye that can lead to irreversible blindness. It can occur in one or both eyes and cause a permanent 'blind spot' directly in the line of sight (the opposite effect of tunnel vision). Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Australia and affects people over the age of fifty. It has a direct effect on peoples' daily lives, severely limiting their ability to carry out everyday tasks such as driving, reading, writing or even recognising faces.

Smoking leads to oxidative or other damage to the macula (this is the part of the retina at the back of the eye that we use when we look directly at someone or when reading). It may also constrict blood vessels to this area. There are two types of macular degeneration. In the first, critical parts of the macula may die (atrophy) or, in the second type (which is more common), critical parts of the macula are weakened, allowing abnormal new blood vessels to break through and bleed. This second type of macular degeneration leads to scarring of the macula and severe loss of the central area of vision. People may initially notice distortion of straight lines and then a dark or greyish patch develops in the centre of vision, completely obscuring what they are looking at.
Smoking may cause both types of macular degeneration and the resulting blindness is irreversible. The process can be stopped using laser treatment only if the condition is caught in its early stages.

Some interesting facts on smoking and macular degeneration:

  • Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Australia and smoking is the major preventable cause of this condition.
  • The chemicals in cigarette smoke (around 4000 of them) get into the bloodstream of smokers and may induce the damage to the macula, at the back of the eye. This damage results in macular degeneration and blindness over time.
  • The damage from macular degeneration limits the ability of a person to see what they are looking directly at (such as the face of someone they are talking to).
  • Macular degeneration also limits colour vision.
  • Laser surgery cannot reverse the damage resulting from macular degeneration (except in a minority of cases detected in the very early stages). However, laser surgery may retard and or prevent the progression of the disease and reduce the visual loss. Recurrence of the condition occurs in about half of those who have initial successful laser treatment. For people who continue to smoke, almost all develop a recurrence.
  • An estimated 20,000 Australians have macular degeneration that can be attributed to their smoking and around 8,000 of these people develop legal blindness in both eyes that is likely to have been caused by their smoking.
  • In Australia you are legally blind if you cannot read the top letters on an eye chart with either eye from six metres.
  • Many people with macular degeneration do not realise that they have the condition until their second eye starts to deteriorate, as one eye can compensate for the other.
  • Up to two thirds of people with macular degeneration in one eye will ultimately lose sight in both eyes from this condition.
  • When a smoker quits, the recovery process in some other parts of the body can begin almost immediately. Although it is not known whether stopping smoking reduces the risk to the second eye, it seems likely given evidence that links current smoking to development of macular condition.
  • Providing they live long enough, one in four people will lose vision because of macular degeneration. Smoking increases this risk dramatically and may cause the loss of vision at an earlier age than it might otherwise occur

Smoking and eye damage - questions and answers

How does smoking damage my eyes?

When you inhale cigarette smoke thousands of chemicals get into your bloodstream and can travel throughout your body. These chemicals cause damage to the macula (the most sensitive part of the retina, at the back of your eye). Tiny blood vessels can burst through the macula, leading to irreversible damage, or alternatively, the cells of the macula slowly die. Both ultimately lead to loss of vision.

Can this damage be reversed?

No. Laser treatment can sometimes kill the new blood vessels before they hit the macula. However, most people are not able to be helped this way because the blood vessel has already involved the very centre of the macula, and even after treatment, the condition recurs in half the cases and in almost all those who continue to smoke. A new treatment, photodynamic therapy (PDT) may be able to help some to reduce the severity of vision loss, but the majority of people with macular degeneration will still not be able to be treated.

How long does it take for my eyes to become damaged?

At this stage, there is no research to confirm at what point the damage occurs, however it is known that the process of macular degeneration is the result of progressive damage over many years. The condition is not usually detected until people are in their fifties or are older.

If I quit smoking will my eyes recover?

Your risk of macular degeneration will be reduced if you quit smoking, however existing damage to the eyes cannot be repaired, particularly once vision is affected.
Is there a test to tell if my eyes are damaged?
Your general practitioner or optometrist may be able to perform a simple test to indicate if your eyes are damaged. An ophthalmologist (eye specialist) will be able to determine the extent of the damage. You need to be seen urgently by an ophthalmologist if you suddenly become aware of distorted vision in one eye or if you notice a dark or greyish patch near the centre of your vision in one eye.

Chemicals in cigarette smoke get into the bloodstream and cause damage to the macula (part of the retina in the eye).

There is no cure for macular degeneration and not smoking or stopping smoking is one way to decrease the chances of developing this eye disease.

Stress

We can hardly pick up a newspaper or magazine or watch TV without seeing or hearing some reference to stress. Why all the fuss?

  • Is it because there is more stress today?
  • Is it because of the modern world?
  • Is it because stress is causing illness?
  • Is it a major problem in the workplace?

Yes to all of those! Stress has been called America's number 1 health problem and we're not lagging far behind! Job stress is one of the major culprits.

The word "stress" started around 1900 in engineering. It was used to calculate pressures on a bridge from gravity, earth movement, wind, weight etc. Stress expert Dr. Hans Selye later applied it to humans and the amount of pressures we can take, mental, emotional, financial, sensory.

Stress today refers to the amount of "pressure" we experience in the face of various situations, people, challenges, tasks etc. The higher our confidence and skill in handling the situations, the better we cope with stress. Lack of confidence and skills to cope lead to higher stress levels.

Dr. Selye also said "without stress there would be no life." "Good stress" (eustress) is not always harmful.

What is a "good stress" situation?

  • Winning the lottery
  • Marriage
  • Having a child
  • Passing an exam
  • Getting promoted
  • Sex
  • Challenges you know can meet
  • Moving house (voluntarily!)
  • Winning a race

Guitar String

It's like the stress on a guitar or violin string: too much and the sound is shrill, too little and it is flat, dull. Just right is pleasing, harmonious.

Are you in control?

Think of a time when you were really stressed. Remember it as clearly as you can, where were you, what was happening, what did you see, hear, feel. Got it? Ok, now make the feeling bigger. Pump it up, really feel the stress. Great, come back.

Did you manage to do that? Great! It shows that you are in control of your stress!

Out There or In Here

Stress does not exist "out there" - it's always in inside experience.

Something happens, say at work, like:

  • Financial worries
  • Relationship problems
  • Loneliness
  • Boss shouts at you
  • Colleague doesn't do what they were supposed to
  • Somebody is unfair to another
  • Colleague "lets you down"
  • You are afraid you can't meet a deadline
  • There's too much to do
  • You made a mistake
  • Noise
  • Crowding
  • Hunger
  • Imagined threat
  • Having no participation in decisions that affect you
  • Unreasonable demands for performance
  • Lack of communication
  • Poor conflict resolution among workers/employers
  • Lack of job security
  • Long hours
  • Too much time away from home/family
  • Office politics
  • Conflict among workers
  • Wages not equal to responsibilities

What happens next? Your body/mind decides something like: "Too much pressure!... danger!... overload!... enough!!"

A message is sent to the brain to signal the Fight/Flight syndrome (Module 3)

  • Body shuts down digestive, reproductive and non-essential systems
  • Blood withdrawn from brain, stomach etc and sent to long muscles
  • Stomach secretes more acid
  • Immune system slows down
  • Heart and lungs work faster
  • Eyes dilate
  • Skin sweats
  • Fats, cholesterol and sugar in bloodstream increase
  • Release of catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenalin)
  • Spleen discharges red and white blood cells (more oxygen)
  • Mouth goes dry

With lightning speed we have to decide (the amygdala interprets events) should I:

  • A) Fight / attack?
  • B) Freeze / run?

Negative Effects of Stress

Once the threat passes and the effect has not been harmful (i.e. no wounds) the stress situation returns to normal - the relaxation response. In prehistoric times the response to danger worked very well. In modern times, the stress situation tends to continue - like having a sabre-toothed tiger stalking you hour after hour, day after day. Thus the stress apparatus (brain, heart, lungs, vessels) become chronically over-activated. Acute stress can cause or aggravate:

  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Thick blood
  • Thrombosis
  • Raised cholesterol levels
  • Lowered estogen levels
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Lowered immune response
  • Viral infections
  • Eczea, lupus,
  • Rheumatoid arthritic
  • Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • weight gain
  • weight loss
  • Eating disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sexual/reproductive dysfunction
  • memory, concentration and learning
  • Allergies
  • Skin disorders
  • Hair loss
  • Teeth and gum disease

Out of this come two main emotions and directions:

  • A) Go towards
  • B) Go away from

What is your stress style? Do you have one? Do you have a preferred style at work? In relationships? During sports? Most people do. Generally:

A Types

  • Turn on the cause
  • Show their emotion
  • Say how they feel
  • Look for challenges
  • Enjoy confrontation
  • Like things to be open
  • Invite risk
  • Concerned with outcomes
  • Not really bothered about other's emotions

Main emotion: anger

B Types

  • Try to make the cause go away
  • Conceal emotions
  • Look out for dangers, problems
  • Expect things to go wrong
  • Like peace
  • Enjoy tranquility
  • Like pleasantness
  • Care what others say/do
  • Dislike conflict
  • Avoid confrontation, disagreements

Main emotion: fear

Can we change?

Research has shown that people can learn to change their emotional reactions to stressful events.

All reactions are based on fear

Freedom From Fear, Worry

Most smokers hide secret fears about damage to their health. In spite of avoiding media references to the dangers, they know some of the risk they are taking. The cost of this secret fear is enormous: stress, guilt, shame and anxiety, with their resultant damage to body, mind and quality of life.

A few aspects we have noticed:

  • Waking at night hearing the wheezing in your chest (is it a burglar?)
  • Uncontrollable coughing in the morning or when laughing, exercising
  • Knowing smoking harms one's family
  • Knowing the baby one is carrying swims in an amniotic soup of 4700 chemicals
  • Hearing about damage caused to the fetus while either parent smoked
  • Hearing about a smoking friend with heart attack/emphysema/other smoking disease
  • Fear that one's children will start smoking
  • Finding one's children smoking already!
  • Shame of setting a bad example
  • Who will look after me if I get sick?
  • Will I die smoking?
  • I get bronchitis every year - do I have emphysema? Don't dare go for a test in case it's true.
  • Will I fail my medical?
  • Will I have to pay 40% increased premiums on life insurance?
  • Does my breath smell?
  • Is my smoker's odour offensive?
  • Am I unattractive because I smoke?
  • Do s/he leave me because I smoke?

Fruit and Fruit Juice

Fresh fruit contains a simple sugar, fructose, that needs no digesting, so can enter the bloodstreahm immediately. The body still has to convert fructose to glucose, however, and that has a long-term energising effect.

This is one reason we recommend you have at least 4 half glasses of pure fresh fruit juice per day. It's no good gulping it all down in one: you used the cigarette to give you a boost (that resulted in a "down" a while later), now give yourself a real, long-lasting energy boost with the fruit juice.

It's OK to eat fresh fruit if you find the juice too concentrated, or to dilute the juice.

Citrus is best, in our opinion, because it is a wonderful tissue cleanser, and assists in detoxification. None of the prepared juices or tinned products are as good as the real thing!

It's not vitamin C we are after: that comes in the form of a supplement, because most of our fruit has been frozen, improperly stored, waxed etc. so it should not be regarded as a good source of vitamins.

Sweetened fruit juices contain concentrated sugar - white or brown sugar, honey, glucose, syrup, all "fast-releasing" sugars, which increase blood sugar levels quickly. What happens is the body has a sudden influxc of sugar and can't cope, so it stores it, first in muscles and liver (as glycogen), and then as fat.

White sugar and other concentrated sugars have only 10% of their original vitamins and minerals left intact, so contribute to poor energy, poor concentration and weight gain.

Which fruit?

Citrus as we suggested. Also grapes and dates contain pure glucose and release energy faster. Apples are slow-releasing because they contain mainly fructose. Bananas raise blood sugar fairly fast; they contain both fructose and glucose so have them in moderation. All fruits contain fibre, which slows down sugar release and contributes to keeping you regular.

Frustration after Stopping

This is a often a feeling of wanting something and being denied or prevented from having it: thwarted desire.

Removing the smokescreen of the cigarette can expose an unsatisfactory situation in a smoker's life. The cigarette cannot solve anything, it can only provide momentary relief, excuses and masks.

The person then needs to ask "what is frustrating me?" and begin to deal with it.

Gene Mutation

Helps Predict Lung Cancer Death

The July 1, 2003 Reuters reports on a study that found that lung cancer patients with a mutation in the p53 gene were more than twice as likely to die from the disease within four years.

According to the article, non-small-cell lung cancer patients who frequently smoke or drink alcohol are more likely to have the mutation, which is already linked with cancer.

The study's lead researcher adds that doctors can now know whether or not to use more aggressive treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation in addition to surgery, for lung cancer patients.

Gene Variation

May Determine Ability to Quit Smoking

According to the July 1, 2003 Reuters Health, a new study shows that a variation withthe CYP2A6 gene, known to be involved with the breakdown of nicotine,may make it more difficult for smokers to quit.

However, the variation also seemed to protect against emphysema, one of the chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, usually related to smoking. The researchers studied 203 currentor ex-smokers who had COPD and compared them to 123 nonsmokers.

According to the article,the researchers found that smokers with the "D genotype" smoked fewer cigarettes but seemed to have higher blood nicotine levels, whichmakes it more difficult for them to quit.

The researchers believe that the study results can help doctors more accurately decide on the levels of nicotine replacement therapy for smokers trying to quit.

Glycaemic Index (GI)

Glycaemic Index (GI) is an indication of the rate of release of glucose from carbohydrates eaten, and the effect on insulin release.

High GI (Quick-release - to avoid if wishing to lose fat)

  • Marshmallows Boiled sweets
  • Jelly sweets Rice cakes
  • Energy and sports drinks Syrup
  • Tapioca Snackbread
  • Crispbread/crackerbread Nutrific
  • Weetbix Instant (quick-cook) oats
  • Jungle Oats Mielie meal
  • Puffed wheat Pronutro
  • Rice Crispies Coco Crispies
  • Cornflakes Fruit Loops
  • Maltabella Special K
  • Potatoes 2 minute noodles
  • Brown, white and wholewheat bread Rolls (all types)
  • Hot cross buns Melba toast

Medium GI (Moderate release - to eat in moderation

  • Jelly Sparkling cold drinks
  • Ice Lollies
  • Samp and beans
  • Honey, Jam and Sugar
  • Woodworth's Oats Tinned sweetcorn
  • Basmati Rice Strawberry Pps
  • Fruitful Bran, All Bran Flakes Baby potatoes with skin
  • Brown rice Pronutro flakes
  • Taystee Weet Corn pops
  • Frosties, Chocoo's Shredded Wheat
  • Pita Bread/Rye Bread Ryvita

Low GI (slow release - to eat predominantly if wishingto lose fat)

  • Air popped popcorn
  • Fructose
  • Fine Form jam Hi Fibre Bran
  • Maximise Oat Bran (raw)
  • Pumpernickel Wholegrain rye bread
  • Pasta Sweet potatoes
  • Pearled Barley Bokomo oats
  • Beans Lentils
  • Max Mix Whole corn
  • Long-grain rice Wild rice
  • Chick peas
  • Pronutro wholewheat

Adapted from The Glycaemic Index Foundation of South Africa

Glycaemic Values

GI Values

Breads and bakery products

  • Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake (packet mix) with frosting 41
  • Betty Crocker French vanilla cake with frosting 41
  • Vita Wheat crispbread 55
  • Pancake mix 67
  • Wholemeal bread 70

Breakfast cereals

  • Natural muesli 40
  • Weet-bix oat bran` 57
  • Weet-bix hi-bran with soy and linseed 57
  • Honey Rice bubbles Kellogg's 77
  • K-time crunch bar Kelloggs 77
  • Corn pops Kellogg's 80

Dairy Products

  • Fat-free yoghurt 23
  • Sara Lee Ultra chocolate ice cream 37
  • Sara Lee French vanilla Ice Cream 38

Drink Powders

  • Nestle Strawberry Quik (with fat free milk) 35
  • Mile in full-cream milk 35
  • Chocolate Quik Nestle with reduced fat milk 41
  • Nestle malted milk (with full cream milk) 45
  • Nestle hot chocolate complete mix 51

Fruit Products

  • Pitted californian prunes 29
  • Apple juice 37
  • Strawberries, fresh 40
  • Apple and cherry juice 44
  • Clear apple juice 44
  • Dried figs 61

Honey

  • Various, approximately 45

Meal Replacement Products

  • Nutrimeal (soy-based meal replacement) 26
  • Mousse mixes (Nestle) 36
  • Pasta, Noodles, Grains, Legumes
  • Uncle Ben's long grain white rice 52
  • White bismati rice 57
  • Noodles 62
  • Uncle Ben's parboiled wholegrain rice 64
  • Uncle Ben's parboiled whitete rice 68
  • Arborio white rice 69

Soups

  • Campbells Minestrone 39

Snack foods

  • Cashew nuts, salted 22
  • Pizza hut pizza 30
  • Nestle milk chocolate, plain 42
  • Nestle milky bar 43
  • Flaky pastry party pies 45
  • Chicken nuggets 46
  • Sushi 48
  • Corn Thins puffed corn cakes 87
  • Fruit bars 90

Vegetables and Veg juices

  • Carrots, peeled and boiled 32
  • Tomato juice 38
  • Carrot juice fresh 43

Hair Loss and Physical Stress

50% of smokers stress caused by smoking. Acute stress causes diffuse hair loss, of classical telogen effluvium type hair loss.

The stress can be the result of an acute illness, high fever, trauma, an accident or injury, or surgery, particularly when there is severe blood loss or shock. The stress causes a number of follicles to change suddenly from the anegen or growing stage into the telogen phase. Two to four months later, following the normal cyclic pattern, diffuse shedding of hair begins. The amount of hair loss varies, but hair loss will continue for six weeks even if stress does not continue. When diffuse hair loss arises as a result of prolonged stress, it is probably the increased production of the adrenal gland hormone. Physiological stress will register in the hypothalamus which in turn can bring about :

An increase in the production of adrenaline through its effect of stress on the sympathetic nervous system. In other words, the woman's body increases the production of adrenal gland hormones. This causes diffuse hair loss.

An increase in the production of gluco-corticiods through its effect of stress on the pituitary glands. The increased production will raise women's blood sugar level, hence leading to a diabetic state.

The body can usually cope adequately with short term stress, so that diffuse hair loss may be the result. Prolonged stress may prove too much , and ulcers and baldness can occur. Starting with small patches (Alopecia Areata) and eventually, if not treated as soon as it has started, can lead to (Alopecia Totalis) A visit to a physician is necessary to determine to the causative factor. Counselling is also advisable. Vitamin supplements containing high vitamin B-Complex, can reverse the breakdown in the hair cycle and can help you to regain your hair. If this condition is not arrested it can lead to more trauma which in turn can lead to the immune system breaking down. This in turn can be the result of (Alopecia Universalis)

It is vital to address this problem in the early stages as this can be avoided. This cannot be stressed more strongly as a lot of stress and trauma can be avoided.

Eating Disorders and Other Causes

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia can be just as destructive to the growth cycle. Hunger-depressant drugs, laxatives and stress related to the concealment of this disorder can also result in diffuse hair loss.

Thyroid problems, anaemia, the birth control pill, anti-cancer drugs, mechanical trauma, physiological and physical abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, venereal diseases such as syphilis, endocrine dysfunction , emotional stress, physical stress, nutritional disorders are all contributing factors for hair loss.

Health

Cigarettes deliver 4700 chemicals, including 400 poisons and 63 carcinogens. There is not an organ, cell or process in the body that is not badly affected by smoking. Many diseases and conditions not normally associated with smoking, are in fact caused by these chemicals (see Index to Reference Section).

Cigarettes are the only product when used as recommended by the manufacturer, will cause disease and death.

Stress underlies over 90% of human diseases and bodily conditions and 50% of a smoker's stress is caused by smoking. This is explained in Module 3 (the Stress Wheel) and Module 6 in which stress is extensively addressed.

Many smokers have forgotten what it is really like to be healthy, fit, full of energy and vitality. They have smoked for so long that feeling "just OK" is accepted as normal.

The body will do its best for its owner as long as it can; many smokers " getaway with it" for a long time. Many don't. We've all heard to stories of "old Uncle Bill who smoked a pack a day and lived until 101." Was he lucky? What was his quality of life like? It's a choice all of us had to make - take the chance, orkick it and experience freedom and full exuberant health.

Hearing Loss and Smoking

Cigarette smoking may damage your hearing ability. Smokers are nearly 70 per cent more likely than non-smokers to suffer hearing loss.

The risk of becoming hearing-impaired often increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. In many cases, hearing problems increase proportionately with the intensity and duration of exposure to cigarette smoke. In general, smokers are 1.69 times more likely to damage their hearing ability.

Heavy smokers are more than 1.30 times as likely to have a hearing loss in all age groups but the oldest. The greater prevalence of hearing loss among smokers remains after adjusting for factors such as occupational noise exposure, age and lifestyle.

The above-mentioned facts form the conclusion of an American study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, June 1998. According to the study, 25.9 per cent of smokers in the youngest age group - 48 to 59 years of age - were suffering from hearing loss compared to 16.1 per cent among non-smokers. 22.7 per cent of ex-smokers were suffering from hearing loss.

The same trend was found in the older age groups.Passive smoking may also increase the risk of becoming hearing-impaired. The study found that non-smokers living with a smoker were 1.94 times more likely to suffer from hearing problems than those who were not living with a smoker. The study included 3,753 people aged between 48 and 92.

Of these, 46 per cent were non-smokers, 39.3 per cent were ex-smokers and 14.7 per cent were current smokers. The current smokers smoked 17.5 cigarettes per day on average.

This article is taken from the study "Cigarette Smoking and Hearing Loss - The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study" which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, June 1998, vol. 279. I

Heart, Circulation and Smoking

What is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?

The heart needs a steady supply of blood to function effectively. Coronary heart disease is a general term that describes conditions caused by an interrupted or diminished blood flow through the coronary arteries to the heart muscle. The most common way that this flow of oxygen-rich blood becomes reduced is by the build up of fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) or the formation of a blood clot (thrombosis) in the arteries. When the blood supply to the heart is interrupted, it sometimes causes the chest pain known as angina. When the blood supply is cut off completely, a myocardial infarction or heart attack occurs. The heart muscle may become permanently damaged by this complete and prolonged interruption of the blood supply to it.

Risk factors for Coronary Heart Disease

Cigarette smoking, raised blood cholesterol and high blood pressure are the most firmly established, non-hereditary risk factors leading to CHD, with cigarette smoking being the "most important of the known modifiable risk factors for CHD", according to the US Surgeon General. A cigarette smoker has two to three times the risk of having a heart attack than a non-smoker. If both of the other main risk factors are present then the chances of having a heart attack can be increased eight times. Men under 45 years of age who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day are 15 times as likely to die from CHD as non-smokers of the same age. Even light smokers are at increased risk of CHD: a US study found that women who smoked 1-4 cigarettes a day had a 2.5-fold increased risk of fatal coronary heart disease. A large Danish study also found that smoking the equivalent of 3-5 cigarettes per day significantly increased the risk of developing heart disease and all cause mortality and that the relative risk was higher in women than in men.

The role of smoking in Coronary Heart Disease

Inhaling tobacco smoke causes several immediate responses within the heart and its blood vessels. Within one minute of starting to smoke, the heart rate begins to rise: it may increase by as much as 30 percent during the first 10 minutes of smoking. Nicotine raises blood pressure: blood vessels constrict which forces the heart to work harder to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. Meanwhile, carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke exerts a negative effect on the heart by reducing the blood's ability to carry oxygen.

Smoking and arterial disease

Smoking tends to increase blood cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the ratio of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) tends to be lower in smokers compared to non-smokers. Cigarette smokers also have raised levels of fibrinogen (a protein which causes blood to clot) and platelets (also involved in the formation of blood clots) which make the blood more sticky. Carbon monoxide attaches itself to haemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood cells) much more easily than oxygen does. This reduces the amount of oxygen available to the tissues. All these factors make smokers more at risk of developing various forms of atherosclerotic disease. As the atherosclerotic process progresses, blood flows less easily through rigid and narrowed arteries and the blood is more likely to form a thrombosis (clot). This sudden blockage of an artery may lead to a fatal heart attack, a stroke or gangrene of the leg.

Aneurysm

An aneurysm is a ballooning of the wall of an artery which leads to risk of bursting or clotting, which may have catastrophic consequences. Smokers are very much more likely to die from a ruptured aneurysm of the abdominal aorta than non-smokers.

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD)

Smokers have a 16 times greater risk of developing peripheral vascular disease (blocked blood vessels in the legs or feet) than people who have never smoked. Smokers who ignore the warning of early symptoms and continue to smoke are more likely to develop gangrene of a leg. Cigarette smoking combines with other factors to multiply the risks of atherosclerosis. Patients who continue to smoke after surgery for PVD are more likely to relapse, leading to amputation, and are more likely to die earlier.

Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger's Disease)

This is a form of PVD that most commonly affects the small and medium-sized arteries, veins, and nerves of the arms and legs. There is an extremely strong association between the heavy use of tobacco and Buerger's disease. The disease typically occurs in young male smokers, with the onset of symptoms before the age of 40-45 years. The only proven treatment to prevent progression of the disease and avoid amputation is the complete cessation of smoking or other use of tobacco.

Stroke

Smokers are more likely to develop a cerebral thrombosis (stroke) than non-smokers. About 11% of all stroke deaths are estimated to be smoking related, with the overall relative risk of stroke in smokers being about 1.5 times that of non-smokers. Heavy smokers (consuming 20 or more cigarettes a day) have 2-4 times greater risk of stroke than non-smokers. A recent study showed that passive smoking as well as active smoking significantly increased the risk of stroke in men and women.

The benefits of stopping smoking

Whatever age a person is, it is never too late to give up smoking. Blood is less likely to clot, and the heart can pump more blood (and therefore oxygen) around the body with less effort. Giving up smoking reduces the risk of a heart attack and is particularly important for those who have other risk factors such as high blood pressure, raised blood cholesterol levels, are overweight or diabetic. Some studies have shown that, within five years of giving up, the risk is reduced almost to that of a non-smoker. Giving up smoking after a coronary attack can halve the chance of a recurrence. Stroke risk decreases significantly in two years and is about the same as for non-smokers after five years.

Passive smoking

Recent research has shown that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can cause heart disease in non-smokers. A British survey found a relative risk of 1.23, ie an excess risk of 23 per cent in non-smokers exposed to passive smoking compared to those not exposed. A major review in the USA also confirmed an increased risk of heart disease as a result of passive smoking. A Japanese study has shown that just 30 minutes of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke by healthy non-smokers can have a substantial impact on a coronary blood flow. There is now also evidence that passive smoking is associated with increased risk of stroke in men and women.

Heartburn

Heartburn is common, particularly among smokers. More than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month, and about 15 million have it daily.

Heartburn happens when acidic juices from the stomach splash into the esophagus. Normally, a muscular valve at the lower end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), keeps the acid solution in the stomach and out of the esophagus. Smoking decreases the strength of the esophageal valve, thereby allowing stomach acids to reflux, or flow backward into the esophagus.

Smoking also seems to promote the movement of bile salts from the intestine to the stomach, which makes the stomach acids more harmful. Finally, smoking may directly injure the esophagus, making it less able to resist further damage from refluxed fluids.

Heartburn - What is it?

Heartburn is often described as a burning sensation in the chest. Some people describe heartburn as leaving an acidic, bitter taste. Heartburn is caused by the backup of acid into the esophagus.

Heartburn is fairly common, with 36% to 44% of Americans experiencing it at least once a month. Occasional heartburn can typically be relieved with over-the-counter medications if needed.

If you suffer from persistent heartburn - that is, two or more days a week, even though you've tried some over-the-counter treatments and changed your diet - you should talk to your doctor - it could be acid reflux disease.

Herbal Cigarettes

Certainly these are far less harmful than normal cigarettes. Althoughthey do not necessarily contain nicotine, the burning tip gives off carbonmonoxide (a by-product of combustion) which impairs the oxygen contentof the blood, thereby starving every part of the body of its main nutrient.

Because a smoker is looking for the "fix" delivered by nicotine,the herbal cigarette is seldom satisfying. They don't taste likecigarettes either.

High Blood Pressure

I'm so stressed - my blood pressure must be through the roof!

While we often think of high blood pressure as affecting "Type A" persons with uncontrollable stress levels, one need not be hard-driving and stressedto have elevated blood pressure. Although stress hormones do increaseblood pressure, this complex condition is much more than a simple reactionto skyrocketing stress levels.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, together with its associated complications,is a common cause of death in industrialized nations. It is estimatedthat up to 50 million Americans have high blood pressure, and many cases of hypertension may go unrecognized. Treatment, in the form of medicationsand/or dietary and lifestyle changes, can reduce blood pressure and prolonglife.

How is high blood pressure measured and defined?

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is reportedas two numbers, such as 120/70. The "top number" representsthe systolic blood pressure, or the pressure measued when the heart beats. The "bottom number", or diastolic pressure, is the pressurein the blood vessels (arteries) between heartbeats. Most doctors usea cutoff of 140/90 for diagnosing high blood pressure; this means a hypertensive individual has a systolic pressure over 140 and/or a diastolic pressureover 90.

Certain organizations have also developed their own criteria for defining high blood pressure. The World Health Organization defines hypertensionas a systolic blood pressure over 160, a diastolic pressure over 90, or both. The Sixth Report of the U.S. Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure defines "optimal" bloodpressure as less than 120 for the systolic value and less than 80 forthe diastolic value. This group also describes a "high normal" categorywith systolic pressures from 130-139 and diastolic pressures of 85-89.

Blood pressure is known to vary during the course of a day and with emotional and psychological states. The stress hormone cortisol, which is made and released by the adrenal glands, rises in states of sudden or long-term stress and causes a rise in blood pressure. Blood pressure also varieswith age and gradually increases as we grow older. There is even a type of hypertension known as "white coat hypertension" which occurs in individuals who are anxious during physician visits; these persons have normal blood pressures when these are measured at home in a relaxed state.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Most cases of hypertension are asymptomatic, which means that they do not produce any clinically detectable symptoms. For this reason regular blood pressure screenings are even more important. In rare cases (less than one percent of cases of hypertension), the blood pressure rises so rapidly as to become life-threatening. This phenomenon is called malignant hypertension and may produce nausea, drowsiness, confusion, headaches, vision loss, or other symptoms.

HIV, TB and Smoking

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a major risk factor for the development of tuberculosis (TB). The increase in reported cases of TB since the mid-1980's is attributed, in part, to TB occurring in persons infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS robs the body of its natural ability to fight infection, making people with AIDS more likely to develop TB.

Tuberculosis is caused by the bacillus m mycobacterium tuberculosis. Many Americans - as many as 10 to 15 million - have latent TB infection; they are not sick but carry the bacterium. Only one in 10 infected individuals will develop active TB disease. Because HIV-infected people have weakened immune systems, they have much greater chances of developing active TB disease, either by activation of latent infection or by being newly infected.

It has been estimated that an individual who is infected with both HIV and TB has a seven to ten percent chance per year of developing active TB, as opposed to the 10 percent lifetime chance of someone who is infected with tuberculosis but not HIV.

An estimated 11 million people worldwide are infected with both HIV and TB. Estimates of the proportions of individuals similarly infected in the United States have varied greatly. Worldwide, TB is the leading cause of death among people who are HIV positive, accounting for 15% of AIDS deaths, 50% in Africa alone. However, this is not the case in the US. TB is a much less common cause of death in HIV infected individuals

An annual TB skin test (tuberculin test) is recommended for all persons who are HIV-positive. If the test is positive, TB is highly suspected. Many HIV-positive patients will have a negative skin test despite TB infection or disease.

Preventive treatment is recommended for someone who has tested positive for both HIV and TB bacteria and does not have the active disease

Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) is dangerous for all people but is especially dangerous for individuals who are HIV-infected. MDR TB can develop when a patient with TB does not complete his or her full drug therapy. If patients stop taking their medicine or are inadequately treated, the TB bacteria may become resistant to those drugs. Some people may catch already resistant TB from others

TB sometimes affects parts of the body other than the lungs. This is called extrapulmonary TB, and it may affect bones, joints, the nervous system, urinary tract, and other areas. This happens more frequently in persons with HIV infection.

Treatment of TB in HIV-infected individuals is most likely to be successful when it is begun early. Recent evidence also suggests that the presence of TB in HIV-infected individuals may hasten the progression of AIDS. It is therefore essential for a person who is HIV-positive or who has AIDS to be alert for respiratory symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath, as well as any other symptoms, such as fever, weight loss and night sweats, that may suggest active infection

In 1995 and 1996, the FDA approved three new protease inhibitors, the most potent antiretroviral agents available to treat patients with HIV diseases. Protease inhibitors, however, interact with rifampin and other drugs used to treat TB, reducing the efficacy of both the protease inhibitors and the drugs treating the TB.

To reduce the likelihood of drug interactions while providing optimal anti-TB care for HIV infected persons, the CDC recommends that health-care workers treating TB and those involved in HIV clinical care coordinate their efforts to ensure the best outcome for their patients.

American Lung Association

Estrogen and Smoking

In an arm of the Framingham study, Kiel and colleagues found that smoking use did not increase hip fracture risk in women. Importantly, the study also concluded that while estrogen replacement protected women from fracture, this protective effect was eliminated in women on estrogen replacement who smoked.

Kiel's results support an anti-estrogenic effect of cigarette smoking that is consistent with the conclusions of other researchers. For example, smokers are less likely to develop uterine cancer, fibrocystic disease and fibroadenoma.

Each of these conditions is believed to be related to estrogenic stimulation. Other reports have suggested that smokers have less effective absorption of calcium, opposite to the effect of estrogen, which is believed to enhance calcium absorption.

The anti-estrogen effect of tobacco use may help explain the increased risk for osteoporosis among female smokers. Postmenopausal smokers have lower estrogen levels than non-smokers and smokers tend to have an earlier menopause than their non-smoking counterparts.

This reduction in estrogen is likely to contribute to osteoporosis and fracture risk.

Hyperglycaemia and Smoking

Nicotine can act as both a stimulant and a sedative. Immediately after exposure to nicotine, there is a "kick" caused in part by the drug's stimulation of the adrenal glands and resulting discharge of epinephrine (adrenaline).

The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes a sudden release of glucose as well as an increase in blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate. Nicotine also suppresses insulin output from the pancreas, which means that smokers are always slightly hyperglycemic.

In addition, nicotine indirectly causes a release of dopamine in the brain regions that control pleasure and motivation. This reaction is similar to that seen with other drugs of abuse - such as cocaine and heroin - and it is thought to underlie the pleasurable sensations experienced by many smokers.

In contrast, nicotine can also exert a sedative effect, depending on the level of the smoker's nervous system arousal and the dose of nicotine taken.

Hypnotism to Stop Smoking?

Claims by two self-styled hypnotists that 95 per cent of their clients quit smoking for life are not borne out by the response the Banbury Guardian has had to the story it ran in 2003.

They featured Kathleen Houghton who paid £250 for an hour's session at Leading Edge Hypnosis in Banbury with no effect. And this week reporters have been taking calls from other people who answered the business's advertisements.

The feedback they got indicates a complete opposite in the success and failure rates claimed by Leading Edge with the large majority unhappy with the results, but often too embarrassed to admit it.

Source: Banbury Guardian, 6 June 2003

Insomnia

People who suffer from insomnia are more likely to feel aggravated by daily life stressors than are good sleepers, according to doctors.

Researchers at the Universite Laval in Quebec studied 67 people (38 women and 29 men, with overall mean age of 39.6 years) to evaluate stressful life experiences and sleep patterns.

The participants in the study recorded impressions of minor life stressors and sleeping patterns on a daily basis for three weeks and completed questionnaires to determine the presence of major stressful life events, characterize past emotional health and sleep patterns, and to evaluate coping behaviors.

Forty of the participants were classified as having insomnia, as defined by taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep on at least three nights each week for at least six months together with experiencing daytime symptoms consistent with lack of sleep. The study results, published in the March-April 2003 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine,showed that both groups - those with poor sleep and those considered 'good sleepers' - experienced an equal number of daily stressful life events. Interestingly, the insomniacs rated the impact of these stressors higher than the good sleepers, meaning that the poor sleepers became more upset by daily stresses and had stronger reactions to them. In general, insomniacs perceived their lives as more stressful than good sleepers.

This study suggests that how we view day-to-day stresses - including the perceptions of control over these aggravating events - rather than the total number of daily stressors, enhances our susceptibility to insomnia. The study authors feel that stress management skills training may be an important component of treatment for insomnia.

Reference

Morin CM, Rodrigue S, Ivers H. Role of stress, arousal, and coping skills in primary insomnia. Psychosom Med 2003 Mar-Apr;65(2):259-67.

Legal Snacks

As a smoker, you have given your mouth constant attention: if you smoked 20 cigarettes a day, it's likely you touched your mouth, put a cigarette and smok into it about 200 times during waking hours. As you reduce cigarette intake the mouth says "Hey, pay some attention here - gimme something."

That "something" might be whatever is handy - sweets, chocolates, chips, usually all the fattening things, that are not particularly healthy either.

We suggest you carry a plastic box with you during program, containing raw vegetables and fruits. Some people are horrified at the thought of eating a raw green pepper, or raw cabbage. Well, you have an experience waiting for you. Give it a try. Raw broccoli, cauliflower, shop around the vegetable department at your supermarket. Every tried a raw kholrabi? Wonderful.

The additional minerals and vitamins will be excellent for you, and keep down your weight, as well as satisfying the need for "something."

Also a good idea is to chew licorice root sticks (see below) - reduces craving too. See separate entry.

Licorice Root Sticks: The Smoker's Friend

Licorice Root sticks have been found by many of Smokenders studentsto relieve cravings, clear the chest, bring up phlegm, and help withdepression and anxiety.

It has been used in China for 5000 years, to treat stress, coughs, sorethroats, respiratory problems, liver complaints, inflammation, hoarseness,skin disorders, depression and as an expectorant and cleanser.

The herb licorice is derived from the roots and stems of the plant (Glycyrrhizaglabra) and is not the flavouring used in candies.

Herbalists have commonly used the plant to treat adrenal insufficienciessuch as hypoglycemia, purifying the liver and bloodstream. Combined withother herbs it was effective to treat bronchitis, lung ailments and tosoothe mucous membranes.

Licorice Root is a time-honoured remedy for arthritis due to its anti-inflammatoryprperties; it stimulates the production of two natural steroids, cortisoneand aldosterone. It acts as a demulcent, diuretic, laxative and expectorant.It stimulates the production of bile and can relieve stomach aches andulcers. It also lowers cholesterol.

Medical research has isolated active substances in licorice root suchas glycosides, flavonoids, asparagine, isoflavonoids, chalcones and coumarins. One of these is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that led to thesuccessful development of pharmaceutical drugs to treat duodenal andgastric ulcers, and ulcers of genitals and mouth.

Active ingredients act as anti-depressants, and even inhibit the enzymesthat cause tooth decay.

Precautions:

Licorice root is not advised for people with heart, liveror kidney disease. Pregnant or lactating women should ask their healthcare professional before using this product.

Contents:

Vitamins E, B Complex, phosphorous, biotin, niacin, pantothenicacid, lecithin, manganese, iodine, chromium and zinc.

Loneliness

Smokers have made the cigarette their friend and companion, always there, always faithful, never talking back. Twenty little buddies in a box! It is a smoker's closest personal relationship.

Have a look - would they leave their spouse or kids at home? Probably, but their cigarette? Never!) How long will it last? Until the solution to loneliness is found, such as looking outside oneself, being more outgoing, cultivating friendships, taking up a hobby.

The cigarette is the strangest "friend" anyone ever made, because its only result is disease and death. How many of your friends want to kill you?

Here is the chance to be all you can be, the "window" when you stop smoking, to see who you really are. Who is that person behind the smoke-screen?

Take Happy Drops if you need to bolster your confidence!

See also:

  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Self confidence
  • Self respect
  • Social Acceptance
  • Zest for living

Lung Disease and African Americans

This research is offered for its interest value and no parallels to South African conditions are known.

African Americans presently constitute approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population. The high incidence of lung cancer in African Americans is associated with a higher prevalence of smoking and occupational exposures. For other lung diseases such as pneumonia and influenza, socio-economic factors such as poverty contribute to differences seen between blacks and whites in the occurrence of these diseases.

Although African Americans represent only 12 percent of the population, more than 24 percent of all asthma deaths are in African Americans. In 1998, an estimated 1.7 million diagnosed Black Americans had an asthma attack. The asthma attack prevalence rate among Blacks was more than 31 percent higher than that for Whites.

In 1998, 24.7 percent of African Americans smoked; more than 45,000 African Americans die from smoking-related diseases annually. While African Americans smoke fewer cigarettes per day than whites, on average, they tend to smoke brands with higher nicotine levels.

If current patterns continue, an estimated 1.6 million African Americans who are now under the age of 18 will become regular smokers. About 500,000 of those smokers will die of a smoking-related disease.

The incidence rate of lung cancer for African American males is more than 54% higher than that of white men. The lung cancer mortality rate in African American males is almost 42% higher than that of white males. Females of both races have similar rates.

African Americans are nearly eight times more likely to contract active tuberculosis than are whites.

Some years ago, after generations of decline, the number of cases of tuberculosis began to rise. Between 1985 and 1992, TB cases in African Americans increased 29 percent. However after the institution of enhanced TB control programs, by 1996, TB cases in African Americans had declined to below their 1985 level.

In 1999, the total number of new tuberculosis cases among non-Hispanic African Americans was 5,552. While African Americans represent 12 percent of the American population, they accounted for 32 percent of the tuberculosis cases.

Influenza immunization rates in African Americans are about half that of the white population.

Lungs are affected considerably by environmental factors. Approximately 86 percent of African Americans live in urban settings, increasing their exposure to a considerable amount of environmental pollutants.

Minority groups have been traditionally overexposed to occupational respiratory hazards. Occupational lung disease is the number one work-related illness in the US. African Americans are less likely to hold managerial or professional positions and have traditionally been more likely than whites to hold "dirty" and dangerous jobs such as in the asbestos, textile, coal and silica mining industries, each of which is associated with respiratory disease. In addition, the effects of many of these toxic dusts are exaggerated by smoking.

Of the 16,432 AIDS related deaths in 1998, almost 34 percent were in African American men, and 15 percent were in African American women. AIDS is the leading cause of death in African Americans aged 25-44. Because the HIV infection weakens the immune system, the higher incidence of opportunistic diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumocystis carinii pneumonia can be linked to the increase in HIV cases.

Sarcoidosis is a disease of the lungs in which small areas of inflamed cells, granulomas, appear. It affects African Americans more than whites in the United States, and the disease is usually more severe in African Americans than whites. The prevalence of sarcoidosis is more than eight times greater in African Americans than whites. Although sarcoidosis is not a common cause of death, in 1998 the mortality rate for African Americans was 12 times greater than for whites.

Sarcoidosis also reduces a person's reactivity to tuberculin, the active factor in the common skin test for tuberculosis. It therefore affects a person's lung health by making a tuberculosis infection more difficult to detect.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, killed 4,039 African American men and 3,166 African American women in 1998.

In 1998, the age adjusted death rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or Crib Death, per 100,000 live births was 149.2 for black infants and 57.7 for white infants.

For more information call the American Lung Association at 1-800-LUNG-USA or visit the web site at http://www.lungusa.org/.

Lung Function Test Helps Smokers Quit

Knowing Damage of Smoking Helps Smokers Quit

According to the June 26, 2003 Reuters, a new study shows that telling smokers that smoking has reduced their lung function motivates them to quit. The researchers used a test called spirometry to examine the lung function of 659 middle-aged adults that wanted to quit. They found that half of the study participants had breathing problems, a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to the article, the participants were surveyed a year later and all said that they had tried to quit, but the most successful were the ones that had the worse lung function: 17% of those with moderate-to-severe breathing problems quit, while only 6% with mild problems and 8% with no problems quit. The study author believes that spirometry tests should be offered to all smokers because it could help motivate them to quit and also diagnose whether they have COPD.

Lung Surgery

Medicare Will Pay for Lung Surgery for Elderly Emphysema Patients

According to the August 21, 2003 New York Times, this week the government decided that Medicare will begin paying for a major lung operation for certain elderly people who have severe emphysema. The article reports that the operation in question, lung volume reduction surgery, involves cutting away diseased parts of the lungs so that the remaining healthy tissue work better. According to the article, the operation costs about $60,000.

Medicare will cover the operation for patients who meet specific criteria, and will require that they be given an extensive exercise and education program before and after surgery to improve lung function. According to the article, the operation will be covered only at certain hospitals accredited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Marshmallow Story

A test was done in America, with four-year-olds. They said to the children, "Here are two marshmallows. You can have one right away, but if you wait until I come back, in ten minute's time, you can have them both."

Then they filmed the children. Some of them took both marshmallows right away. Some ate one and then tried to keep from eating the other, by singing, walking around, keeping themselves occupied.

The researchers followed the children throughout school, high school, university and into their working world. They found that the children who had delayed were on average 40% more successful.

This was in terms of money earned, school marks, position in companies...

Smoking and Mental Health

How smoking affects the brain

Within 10 seconds of inhaling tobacco smoke, nicotine reaches the brain and begins to act on a specific set of neurons, the working cells of the brain. On each of these neurons are receptors, which are like slots or keyholes onto which brain chemicals called neurotransmitters attach, causing the brain to transmit messages. Nicotine fits into one of the receptors acted upon by acetylcholine, one of several neurotransmitters in the brain. This causes the brain to release two other substances, noradrenaline and dopamine, that act as stimulants.

Smoking and Stress

Smokers often report that smoking tobacco helps to relieve feelings of anxiety and stress. However, smokers exhibit higher levels of stress in their lives than non-smokers. The high smoking prevalence among people facing social and economic deprivation suggests that smoking may be used as a stress coping mechanism. However, the stress reducing properties of nicotine seem more illusory than real.

Nicotine stimulates the brain to release dopamine, which is associated with pleasurable feelings, and smokers quickly develop regular smoking patterns. Eventually, smokers need increasing levels of nicotine to feel 'normal'. As the nicotine content in their blood drops below a certain level, they begin to crave for a cigarette. This craving makes the smoker feel 'stressed' until the craving is relieved. The relief felt when this craving is finally satisfied is the feeling that smokers commonly mistake as 'relaxing'.

Depression

Cigarette smoking is linked with a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses, including anxiety, agoraphobia and panic disorder, but especially with depression. Many epidemiological studies have reported an association between clinical depression and smoking. Some have concluded that the effects of long-term nicotine exposure on the brain may have a causal influence on major depression while others suggest that shared environmental or genetic factors may predispose to both smoking and major depression.

A longitudinal study by Breslau et al found that a history of daily smoking increased significantly the risk of major depression. This was consistent with earlier reports which suggested that previous smoking history increased the risk of depressive symptoms and increased the risk of attacks of major depression.

A study by Kendler et al suggested that the relationship between smoking and major depression results solely from genes that predispose to both conditions. Other potential shared aetiologies are factors in the social environment, personality (for example, low self-esteem), and coping styles. Nicotine may act as an anti-depressant in some smokers and could therefore be viewed as a form of self-medication.

When individuals with a history of depression stop smoking, depressive symptoms and, in some cases, serious major depression may ensue. This accounts for the lower smoking cessation rates in depressed individuals as compared with smokers who do not have depressive symptoms. A study by Kinnunen et al showed that only 37% of the depressed smokers in their sample population were able to abstain for one week, whereas 56% of non-depressed were able to do so

Schizophrenia

Patients with schizophrenia have an extremely high prevalence of smoking; a US study in 1986 found about 88% of patients were smokers compared with only 33% in the general population. The reason for this is unknown, but it is likely that smoking behaviour in schizophrenia is a complex process. The increase in dopamine release induced by smoking may be helpful in alleviating some schizophrenic symptoms. Therefore, schizophrenics may smoke in an attempt to self medicate.

Smoking also interacts with neuroleptic treatment (drug treatment for schizophrenics), reducing neuroleptic plasma levels and possibly causing higher doses of neuroleptics to be prescribed. One study has also shown that patients smoke more when treated with the neuroleptic Haloperidol than during a medication-free state.

Alzheimer's Disease

AD is a common form of senile dementia, the other being vascular dementia. Loss of neurons (brain cells) that use acetylcholine as their neurotransmitter, and loss of memory are prominent features of AD. Studies conducted in the early 1990s suggested that smoking had a protective effect against AD. Although research on this subject has failed to be conclusive, it was thought that nicotine could delay the onset of familial AD. Acetylcholine binds to receptors, known as nicotinic receptors, to exert its effect.

A loss of neurons leads to a loss of these receptors and this is associated with the aetiology of AD. It was hypothesised that nicotine from cigarettes may compensate for the loss of nicotinic receptors in AD and therefore postpone the onset of the disease.

Recently, scientists have begun to challenge this theory. They point out that earlier studies assumed that the genetic susceptibilities of a population of older surviving smokers was the same as that of the age matched non-smokers. However, it has been suggested that older surviving smokers must have relatively more effective DNA repair mechanisms than comparable non-smokers. Therefore, if AD is related to the accumulation of ageing-associated defects in DNA and DNA repair, older surviving smokers may be less susceptible to AD.

This could explain the apparent inverse relationship found by many studies in the past.

Even if smoking is "protective" against AD, smoking could never be advocated for this purpose. This is because the known health risks of smoking far outweigh any possible reduction in risk of getting AD in later life.

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease is characterised by the symptoms of tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia (slowness of movement) and a lack of facial expression. Many studies have shown that smoking is protective against PD.

PD occurs because there is a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. These are neurons that release dopamine as their neurotransmitter and they are important in ensuring accurate movements of muscles as commanded by certain areas of the brain.

It is thought that nicotine may have its effect by restoring dopamine to normal levels in the brain. Again, the researchers emphasise that the possible benefits of smoking on PD risk would be small (the incidence rate of PD is only about 1-2%), and the health hazards associated with smoking would far outweigh any conceivable protection against PD.

However, the findings should be viewed as potentially advancing the current understanding of the underlying pathology of PD.

More Personal Attention Please!

If you'd like more attention from your Personal Coach, that's just fine. We love talking to you!

Additional blocks of calls and emails can be purchased as follows:

4 calls and 8 emails OR 12 emails @ R400.00

Mouth Attention

Study what you do as you smoke; it's a constant caressing, touching, stroking of the mouth. Smoke is pulled over the tongue, throat, mouth and neck muscles are all involved. Most of the facial muscles are involved too.

This extremely sensuous activity needs to be replaced. One of the best ways is to make your mouth taste good, feel good. So after each and every cigarette, find a way to clean and refresh the tongue. Carry a tooth-brush, tooth-paste and/or mouthwash with you in a little bag. Rush off the the toilet right after a meal and clean your mouth.

Investigate sugar-free gum, strong breath mints - get a wide variety - and choose those that taste extra good to you. Look in the dental care section of your supermarket or chemist: there are marvellous devices to tickle your teeth and tongue. Get flavoured toothpicks, different brushes, an electric toothbrush, anything that seems fun to you.

And don't forget that tongue! One of the first things a bad-breath clinic will ask you is to brush and scrape your tongue. Most smokers tongues have a yellow stripe down the middle and white scurfy sections on either side. What does it remind you of!

Nasty Boss could be Health Hazard

Bosses who are disliked for being unfair or unreasonable can stoke a big rise in workers' blood pressure, a phenomenon that fuels the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Scientists recruited 28 female nursing assistants in British hospitals and monitored their blood pressure every 30 minutes during their working day to see how it changed in the presence of their supervisors.

Thirteen of the 28 had two supervisors who alternated during their working week - one the workers liked and the other they disliked.

The 15 others were a comparison group: they either had just one supervisor or had two, both of whom were liked or disliked.

Those who had to alternate with Ms Nice and Ms Nasty had an astonishing difference in blood pressure, the researchers found.

They registered a 15mm of mercury (Hg) difference in their systolic blood pressure, and a 7 mm difference in diastolic pressure, when they had to work with a supervisor they considered overbearing.

But when they worked under someone they considered fair, they were more relaxed - their blood pressure went down slightly.

Previous studies have found that an increase of 10mm Hg in systolic and 5 mm in diastolic blood pressure can lead to a 16% increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 38% increased risk of stroke.

A fair boss was considered someone who listened to problems, responded to suggestions, praised a job well done, showed trust and respect, and was consistent and impartial.

Meanwhile, the comparison group registered only a tiny difference of 3mm Hg in their systolic pressure, and no difference in diastolic, when working with their two different supervisors.

The study, conducted by doctors at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College in southern England, is published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

A Finnish study published in October last year found that people who suffer from stressful demands at work, poor rewards and scant career opportunities are twice as likely to die from heart disease than colleagues who are treated reasonably and given regular rewards.
Sapa-AFP

Neural Pathways and Addiction

How do drugs of addiction interact with our bodies at the molecular level? Drugs of addiction exert their effect by interfering with a natural neural pathway in the brain called the reward pathway, which normally occurs in response to activities that promote survival, like eating and drinking. To understand how this works, we first need to consider the structure of nerve cells and how neurotransmission works.

There are billions of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain. As shown in Figure 1, each neuron is made up of three parts: the central cell body, which directs the activity of the cell; dendrites, the short fibers extending from the cell body that receive messages from other neurons; and the axon, the single long fiber that extends from the cell body and transmits messages to other neurons or other tissues, like muscle.

Figure 1. A neuron. (from National Institute on Drug Abuse Web Site. NIDA goes to school: Science-based drug abuse education. http://www.nida.nih.gov)

Neurotransmission is the process of transferring a message from the axon of one nerve cell, across a small space or synapse, to the dendrites of a nearby neuron. This message is transmitted via a chemical substance called a neurotransmitter. A message from a nerve body travels down its axon as an electrical impulse, triggering the release of a neurotransmitter at the end of the axon (Figure 2). The neurotransmitter crosses the synapse and binds to its specific receptor on the dendrites of the adjacent nerve cell. This results in either stimulation or inhibition of an electrical impulse in the receiving cell. The neurotransmitter is quickly inactivated, either through enzymatic breakdown or through re-uptake by transporter molecules located on the cell membrane of the axon that released it.

Figure 2. A neural synapse. (from National Institute on Drug Abuse Web Site. NIDA goes to school: Science-based drug abuse education. http://www.nida.nih.gov)

Certain behaviors that are important for survival (e.g. eating) are reinforced by the body through the reward pathway. This occurs through the stimulation of a specialized set of neurons in the brain that create the sensation of pleasure in response to certain activities. One part of the reward pathway consists of specialized neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain (just above the brain stem) that use the neurotransmitter, dopamine, to stimulate neurons in other parts of the brain. Stimulation of these neurons in the VTA results in an electrical impulse down the nerve axons.

At the end of the nerve axons, vesicles containing dopamine fuse with the cell membrane, releasing dopamine into the synaptic cleft. The target cells at the cleft include nerve cells of the nucleus acumbens, a part of the emotional center of the brain (also called the limbic system), and neurons of the frontal region of the cerebral cortex. This pathway is called the mesolimbic dopaminergic system (Figure 3). After its release, dopamine is quickly reabsorbed by the cells that release it by a specialized pump called the dopamine transporter.

What are the molecular targets of common drugs of abuse? Nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, and amphetamines exert their addictive effects through the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Although each of these drugs interacts with the brain in a different way, their overall effect is similar. They all increase the amount of dopamine in the synaptic clefts of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Nicotine mimics the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and binds to specific acetylcholine receptors on neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the brain (discussed in more detail later). When nicotine binds to these receptors, an electric impulse is sent down the nerve axon, resulting in the release of dopamine at the synapse.

Through a different mechanism, alcohol also stimulates electric impulses down nerve axons, resulting in release of dopamine at nerve endings. In contrast, cocaine and amphetamines bind to the dopamine transporter on the nerve endings and block the re-uptake of dopamine, which results in the accumulation of dopamine in the synapse. An additional effect of amphetamines is that they bind to dopamine vesicles in the nerve endings and stimulate the release of dopamine into the synapse.

Nicotine Addiction - How it works

Recent research has shown in fine detail how nicotine acts on the brain to produce a number of behavioral effects. Of primary importance to its addictive nature are findings that nicotine activates the brain circuitry that regulates feelings of pleasure, the so-called reward pathways. A key brain chemical involved in mediating the desire to consume drugs is the neurotransmitter dopamine, and research has shown that nicotine increases the levels of dopamine in the reward circuits.

Nicotine's pharmacokinetic properties have been found also to enhance its abuse potential. Cigarette smoking produces a rapid distribution of nicotine to the brain, with drug levels peaking within 10 seconds of inhalation. The acute effects of nicotine dissipate in a few minutes, causing the smoker to continue dosing frequently throughout the day to maintain the drug's pleasurable effects and prevent withdrawal.

What people frequently do not realize is that the cigarette is a very efficient and highly engineered drug-delivery system. By inhaling, the smoker can get nicotine to the brain very rapidly with every puff. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over a period of 5 minutes that the cigarette is lit. Thus, a person who smokes about 1-1/2 packs (30 cigarettes) daily, gets 300 "hits" of nicotine to the brain each day. These factors contribute considerably to nicotine's highly addictive nature.

Scientific research is also beginning to show that nicotine may not be the only psychoactive ingredient in tobacco. Using advanced neuroimaging technology, scientists can see the dramatic effect of cigarette smoking on the brain and are finding a marked decrease in the levels of monoamineoxidase (MAO), an important enzyme that is responsible for breaking down dopamine. The change in MAO must be caused by some tobacco smoke ingredient other than nicotine, since we know that nicotine itself does not dramatically alter MAO levels. The decrease in two forms of MAO, A and B, then results in higher dopamine levels and may be another reason that smokers continue to smoke - to sustain the high dopamine levels that result in the desire for repeated drug use.

Nicotine - All about it

Nicotine, one of more than 4,000 chemicals found in the smoke from tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, is the primary component in tobacco that acts on the brain. Smokeless tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco also contain many toxins as well as high levels of nicotine. Nicotine, recognized as one of the most frequently used addictive drugs, is a naturally occurring colorless liquid that turns brown when burned and acquires the odor of tobacco when exposed to air. There are many species of tobacco plants; the tabacum species serves as the major source of tobacco products today. Since nicotine was first identified in the early 1800s, it has been studied extensively and shown to have a number of complex and sometimes unpredictable effects on the brain and the body.

Cigarette smoking is the most prevalent form of nicotine addiction in the United States. Most cigarettes in the U.S. market today contain 10 milligrams (mg) or more of nicotine. Through inhaling smoke, the average smoker takes in 1 to 2 mg nicotine per cigarette. There have been substantial increases in the sale and consumption of smokeless tobacco products also, and more recently, in cigar sales.

Nicotine is absorbed through the skin and mucosal lining of the mouth and nose or by inhalation in the lungs. Depending on how tobacco is taken, nicotine can reach peak levels in the bloodstream and brain rapidly. Cigarette smoking, for example, results in rapid distribution of nicotine throughout the body, reaching the brain within 10 seconds of inhalation. Cigar and pipe smokers, on the other hand, typically do not inhale the smoke, so nicotine is absorbed more slowly through the mucosal membranes of their mouths. Nicotine from smokeless tobacco also is absorbed through the mucosal membranes.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Gum, patches, spray

If you believe it can help, there is nothing we can do to prevent you using it. However, it seems pointless to administer the exact chemical from which you're trying to free yourself!

Nicotine is a deadly poison: one drop of oil of nicotine will kill you in about 30 seconds. It is one of the most addictive substances known to man - you can "get hooked" after two - six cigarettes.

The reason smokers space out their smokes is because more than the measured dose makes them feel sick. It's the body's warning! Watch out!

Because it is a deadly poison, the body goes into a shock reaction within split seconds of the nicotine touching the mucous membranes of mouth and respiratory tract. The body has cleaned it out in about 30-45 minutes! It is in the bladder, waiting for you to get rid of it. Because your blood-level of nicotine has dropped that's the signal for the brain to say "Hey, we need a fix up here - more nicotine please."

The second deadly arm

Once that addiction arm has been wrapped around your throat, and your brain has become dependent on nicotine to produce its "feel good" chemicals, the second deadly arm begins to develop. This is the emotional dependence, the complex behaviour that is the main "addiction" in smoking. The brain has learned it "feels good" right after a cigarette, thus every time the person "feels bad" it signals SMOKE!."

The second deadly addiction (the worst one) has developed, the addiction to "feeling good" as a result of smoking.

Pretty soon EVERY bad feeling is a signal to smoke - the brain "trans-contextualises." Disappointment, boredom, anger, upset of any kind, means "smoke!"

Wanting more

Then, because as human beings we never have "enough" pleasure, pretty soon the cigarette becomes part of that pleasure, to increase it. We have to smoke with a drink, after a meal, when socialising, after sex, when winning, excited, glad, joyful, celebrating.

NRT cannot help

To free ourselves of dependence on nicotine is one part of the problem. The main one is how to change from feel bad to feeling good - without the cigarette!

That's what the Smokenders course is all about!

Warning

Because of the "two arms" of the smoking behaviour, smokers often apply the patch, spray or chew gum WHILE STILL SMOKING. They risk overdosing on a deadly poison, which can result in sickness, coma, convulsions etc. We often have ex-smokers on the program who have become addicted to the NRT itself!

Nicotine Values

Camel Filter 1.1 mg nicotineDunhill Super Mild 1.1Gauloises Blondes 1.1Lexington Lights 1.1Pall Mall Superlights 1.1Ransom Select 1.1Rothman's King Size Special Mild 1.1Van Rijn Special Mild 1.1Benson & Hedges Special Mild 1.0 mg nicotineCamel Mild 1.0Chesterfield Plain 1.0Dunhill Special Lights 1.0Embassy Lights (blue pack) 1.0Royals Lights (blue pack) 1.0Rothman's Lights 1.0Satin Leaf Special Mild 1.0
Vogue Satin Tipped 1 1.0Winfield Lights 1.0Dunhill Super Lights 0.8 mg nicotineGauloises Blondes Lights 0.8Stuyvesant Extra Mild 0.8Camel Lights 0.7 mg nicotineChesterfield Lights 0.7John Rolfe Lights 0.7
Winston Lights 0.7Benson & Hedges Ultra Mild 0.6 mg nicotinePall Mall Superlights 0.6Courtleigh Ultimate Mild Blue 0.5 mg nicotineDunhill Ultra Lights 0.5Vogue Luxury Slim 0.5
Satin Leaf Ultra Mild 0.5Benson & Hedges Ultimate Lights 0.4 mg nicotineGauloises Blondes Super Lights 0.4 mgSatin Leaf Absolute Lights 0.3 mg nicotineDunhill Infinite Lights 0.1 mg nicotineBenson & Hedges No. 1 0.1

Nicotine - Withdrawal

Chronic exposure to nicotine results in addiction. Research is just beginning to document all of the neurological changes that accompany the development and maintenance of nicotine addiction. The behavioral consequences of these changes are well documented, however greater than 90 percent of those smokers who try to quit without seeking treatment fail, with most relapsing within a week.

Repeated exposure to nicotine results in the development of tolerance, the condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same initial stimulation. Nicotine is metabolized fairly rapidly, disappearing from the body in a few hours.

Therefore some tolerance is lost overnight, and smokers often report that the first cigarettes of the day are the strongest and/or the "best." As the day progresses, acute tolerance develops, and later cigarettes have less effect.

Cessation of nicotine use is followed by a withdrawal syndrome that may last a month or more; it includes symptoms that can quickly drive people back to tobacco use. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, craving, cognitive and attentional deficits, sleep disturbances, and increased appetite and may begin within a few hours after the last cigarette.

Symptoms peak within the first few days and may subside within a few weeks. For some people, however, symptoms may persist for months or longer.

An important but poorly understood component of the nicotine withdrawal syndrome is craving, an urge for nicotine that has been described as a major obstacle to successful abstinence. High levels of craving for tobacco may persist for 6 months or longer.

While the withdrawal syndrome is related to the pharmacological effects of nicotine, many behavioral factors also can affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms. For some people, the feel, smell, and sight of a cigarette and the ritual of obtaining, handling, lighting, and smoking the cigarette are all associated with the pleasurable effects of smoking and can make withdrawal or craving worse.

While nicotine gum and patches may alleviate the pharmacological aspects of withdrawal, cravings often persist.

Oxygen, Coronary Heart Disease and Smoking

Inhaling tobacco smoke causes several immediate responses within the heart and its blood vessels. Within one minute of starting to smoke, the heart rate begins to rise: it may increase by as much as 30 percent during the first 10 minutes of smoking.

Nicotine raises blood pressure: blood vessels constrict which forces the heart to work harder to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. Meanwhile, carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke exerts a negative effect on the heart by reducing the blood's ability to carry oxygen.

Smoking and arterial disease
Smoking tends to increase blood cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the ratio of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) tends to be lower in smokers compared to non-smokers.

Cigarette smokers also have raised levels of fibrinogen (a protein which causes blood to clot) and platelets (also involved in the formation of blood clots) which make the blood more sticky. Carbon monoxide attaches itself to haemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood cells) much more easily than oxygen does.

This reduces the amount of oxygen available to the tissues. All these factors make smokers more at risk of developing various forms of atherosclerotic disease. As the atherosclerotic process progresses, blood flows less easily through rigid and narrowed arteries and the blood is more likely to form a thrombosis (clot).

This sudden blockage of an artery may lead to a fatal heart attack, a stroke or gangrene of the leg.

Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The exact cause of ulcers is not known. A relationship between smoking cigarettes and ulcers, especially duodenal ulcers, does exist. The 1989 Surgeon General's report stated that ulcers are more likely to occur, less likely to heal, and more likely to cause death in smokers than in nonsmokers.

Why is this so? Doctors are not really sure, but smoking does seem to be one of several factors that work together to promote the formation of ulcers.

For example, some research suggests that smoking might increase a person's risk of infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Most peptic ulcers are caused by this bacterium.

Stomach acid is also important in producing ulcers. Normally, most of this acid is buffered by the food we eat. Most of the unbuffered acid that enters the duodenum is quickly neutralized by sodium bicarbonate, a naturally occurring alkali produced by the pancreas. Some studies show that smoking reduces the bicarbonate produced by the pancreas, interfering with the neutralization of acid in the duodenum. Other studies suggest that chronic cigarette smoking may increase the amount of acid secreted by the stomach.

Whatever causes the link between smoking and ulcers, two points have been repeatedly demonstrated: People who smoke are more likely to develop an ulcer, especially a duodenal ulcer, and ulcers in smokers are less likely to heal quickly in response to otherwise effective treatment. This research tracing the relationship between smoking and ulcers strongly suggests that a person with an ulcer should stop smoking.

Phobias

What is a phobia?

A phobia is a fear which is caused by a specific object or situation.The fear can be caused by the actual presence of or by the anticipationof the presence of that object or situation. Anxiety, triggered by thefear, can approach the intensity of panic.

The following is a list of the most common phobias:

  • Achluophobia - fear of being in darkness
  • Acrophobia - fear of heights
  • Agoraphobia - fear of open spaces or fear of leaving home
  • Claustrophobia - fear of being in closed spaces
  • Demophobia - fear of being in crowded places
  • Mysophobia - fear of germs or dirt
  • Social phobia - fear of being around unfamiliar people in social situations
  • Xenophobia - fear of strangers

Other phobias include:

  • Fear of public speaking
  • Fear of insects
  • Fear of certain animals
  • Fear of flying on planes
  • Fear of the sight of blood
  • Fear of certain foods
  • Fear of using public restrooms
  • Fear of the dentist

What characteristics are associated with phobias?

Phobias cause characteristics of anxiety. To avoid anxiety, people withphobias try to avoid any situation they know would cause them to feelanxious and/or which might lead to a panic attack.

Are there genetic factors associated with phobias?

Yes, there are genetic factors associated with phobias. Many peoplewho have phobias have relatives with similar phobias or symptoms suchas fears and/or a tendency to avoid certain situations.

Do phobias affect males, females, or both?

In the United States far more women than men suffer from phobias.

At what age do phobias appear?

Phobias frequently begin in childhood. A toddler who throws tantrumsby crying and clinging to his/her parents may have a phobia. Personaltrauma and stress can sometimes trigger a phobia. For instance, a personwho was once trapped in a small room might later become frightened ofclosed spaces.

How common are phobias in our society?

More than ten percent (10%) of the population in the United States hassome form of phobia. It is the most common mental disorder in the UnitedStates.

How are phobias diagnosed?

Phobias are usually diagnosed when people find that their schoolwork,job, or personal relationships are in trouble because of their heightenedfears, and they seek professional help. However, phobias are often notdiagnosed because people simply learn to avoid situations which causethem anxiety.

How are phobias treated?

The treatment of phobias usually has a behavior therapy focus. In thesafety of the therapeutic situation, people with phobias are graduallyintroduced into the very situation that normally causes them anxiety.They learn that they can control their anxiety while gaining greaterand greater exposure to their phobic situation. Cognitive or behaviortherapy can be very effective when used in conjunction with relaxationtraining.

Medication is sometimes prescribed for people with phobias to help themcontrol their anxiety. Some people do well on medications such as monoamineoxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or imipramine. Also, mild tranquilizers, likebenzodiazepines, can be effective in helping people control the anxietycaused by their phobia.

What happens to someone with a phobia?

The course of a phobia may be quite varied. Some people have mild phobiaswhich can be easily treated and which last only a short time. Othershave severe anxieties, and they suffer from their phobias for many years.Chronic phobias can cause major disruptions in school, at work, and/orwith personal relationships.

What can people do if they need help?

If you, a friend, or a family member would like more information andyou have a therapist or a physician, please discuss your concerns withthat person.

Developed by John L. Miller, M.D., P.S.

Heavy smoking during pregnancy produces problem children

Several papers report on a study that suggests that cigarette smoke can damage the brain of a developing foetus, leading to a problem child. The study came to its conclusion after looking at 2,000 children.

Recent studies have shown that mothers who smoke throughout pregnancy are more likely to have delinquent children. Some scientists believe that women who are heavy smokers during pregnancy are likely to be socially disadvantaged. But professor Terrie Moffit of the Intstitute of Psychiatry, King's College London, said smoking appeared to have a direct effect on the development of the child so that they were more likely to be antisocial.

Source: Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Evening Standard, 2 April 2003

Smoking during pregnancy

It is well known that a mother smoking can increase her risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, low intelligence and other health problems. It may also increase the risk of your child becoming violent in later life.

A recent study examined 34-year-old Danish boys' criminal records and compared them to their mother's smoking history (Archives of General Psychiatry, 56). If their mothers had smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day during late pregnancy they were 1.6 times more likely to have been arrested for crime, twice as likely to have been arrested for violent crime, and 1.8 times as likely to have become a persistent offender, than those whose mothers did not smoke.

The researchers took into account many factors such as depression, poverty and birth complications and results remained consistent.

It appears that maternal smoking alters serotonin or dopamine circuitry in the developing foetus's brain and/or deprives it of oxygen in crucial stages of development. The child is thus born with a brain dysfunction that predisposes it towards bad behaviour.

Psychiatric Disorders and Smoking

UK researchers have discovered that the link between substance use and psychiatric disorders among adolescents is mainly accounted for by regular smoking.

Evidence had suggested that substance use was strongly associated with psychiatric disorders in both adults and adolescents. However, it was unclear which substance was most strongly linked with psychiatric disorders.

Dr Annabel Boys, from London's Institute of Psychiatry, and colleagues examined the relationships between smoking, drinking, cannabis use, and psychiatric disorders among a nationally representative sample of 2,624 people aged 13 to 15 years.

The team sought to identify which substance was associated with the greatest likelihood of being classified with a psychiatric disorder.

As expected, having a psychiatric disorder was associated with an increased likelihood of substance use. Furthermore, frequent use of any one substance increased the risk of other substance use.

The researchers found that the relationship between substance use and psychiatric disorder was primarily explained by regular smoking and, to a lesser extent, regular (at least once a month) cannabis use.

'Our findings suggest that far from being subsidiary, tobacco use is of central importance when trying to make sense of the links between substance use and mental disorders,' the team write.

They add that their results highlight the importance of targeting smoking prevention at young people.

REF: British Journal of Psychiatry
Monday, 16th June 2003)

Psycho-Therapy

Excellent. The more we understand ourselves the better, however the techniques of how to stop smoking are not widely known; many psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors or all kinds attend our programs because they have not been taught these techniques.

We do not pretend to be psychologists, although many Smokenders moderators have skills in this arena, in NLP or other behavioural modification techniques.

The program is structured to wean a smoker off an extremely addictive substance over a 7-week period, while encouraging him/her to acquire life skills to handle "emotional addiction" which is the more complex aspect of the smoking behaviour.

Although the smoker attends a stop smoking group, it is not "group therapy" in the formal sense. No participation or exposure of personal life is required or requested, although the support of the group is an important part of the dynamics of the process.

Quality of Life

This measures the degree of excellence, implying high quality. It is much longed for by many smokers, and often quoted as the real reason for stopping. For each person it can be different, as to what "excellence" means to them. It can include many factors such as health, relationships, abundance, self esteem, self respect, fun, effectiveness, vitality - all of which are impacted by smoking.

In the program we work on defining how life could be better, what it should contain, how different factors can be improved. It is difficult to imagine, as a smoker, what it will really be like to be free of it. The reality for most smokers is far beyond their wildest dreams!

Raynaud's Syndrome

What is Raynaud's syndrome?

Often a result of heavy, prolonged smoking, this is a condition in which the smallest arteries that bring blood to the fingers or toes constrict (go into spasm) when exposed to cold or from an emotional upset. The small veins are usually open, so the blood drains out of the capillaries. The result is that the fingers or toes become pale, cold and numb. If there's a spasm in the small veins and blood is trapped in the capillaries, the fingers or toes turn blue as the blood loses its oxygen.

People who have experienced what appears to be Raynaud's syndrome are encouraged to see their physician to confirm the diagnosis and, if necessary, to get proper treatment. Most people only need to make lifestyle changes. In some cases, however, vasodilators (medications that relax and widen blood vessels) may be prescribed to keep the blood vessels from constricting.

Raynaud's (ra-NOZ') syndrome is also sometimes called Raynaud's phenomenon or Raynaud's disease. It can result in amputations.

Repetition and Learning

Learning How to Learn

When you were a child you may have had the opportuni ty to play in an empty lot, just after a fresh snowfall when the bare earth was hidden by a smooth cover of snow. Maybe that winter you were the first kid on your block to blaze that first straight, clean pathway through the crunchy, knee-deep carpet of white.

As it happens, the neurological pathways you blaze when you learn a new movement pattern are just like the paths through that snowy field. The white carpet is your nervous system; the pathway is a neural one, and it represents a specific movement pattern or skill.

After all your preparation is done, you are ready to learn your new skill?laze the correct neural pathway. Repetition of this pathway will lead to development of your skill. This applies to any movement pattern, simple or complex, whether running jumping swinging a bat, throwing a ball, or turning a triple somersault.

I use the image of the snow-covered lot (above) because it represents graphically what happens in your neuromuscular system when you are learning a new skill. The solid line from A to B shows the perfect execution of a skill. If line A? Is your first attempt at the skill, it means that you were totally prepared? Mentally, emotionally, and physically? And were thus ready to perform it correctly the very first time.

Because most of us are not perfectly prepared, our first attempts are represented by the curving dotted lines above. Then we gradually home in on line A?. This homing in process takes varying amounts of time, depending upon the approach to learning.

Your first attempt at a new skill is the most important one, because you've formed no previous pathway. The next time... and the next time, you're likely to follow the first path you made. Every time you take the same neural pathway, you'll stabilize and reinforce that motor response whether it is correct or not.
Every time you let yourself practice a movement incorrectly, you're increasing your ability to do it wrong. It follows that you want to repeat the correct movement pattern as much as possible and to avoid, at all costs, repeating an incorrect pattern. A fundamental rule of learning, therefore, is this: Never repeat the same error twice.

We know that errors are a part of learning. You will make errors. In order to avoid stabilizing the errors, however, you have to make consciously different errors each time, in order to move yourself toward the correct pattern. If you make different errors, you don't habituate yourself to any single incorrect movement pattern. This is a very important point, because one of the prime causes of slow learning is repetition of (and thus habituation to) one incorrect motor response. You get used to swinging the bat too low; you get accustomed to arching in a handstand; you begin to feel comfortable shifting your weight to the wrong foot on your golf swing.

As you consciously make each attempt different, you're simply exploring the many possibilities for error as you home in slowly to the straight path, the correct way, without forming bad habits.

Respiratory Disease and Smoking

Introduction

About a quarter of smoking-related deaths are from lung cancer and around one fifth are from chronic obstructive lung disease - bronchitis and emphysema. The respiratory system is vital to life and anything which prevents it functioning can result in death. Often cancers of these organs are not discovered until it is too late to cure them: 95% of lung cancer patients die within five years of diagnosis, and most die within the first year.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer kills more people than any other type of cancer and at least 80% of these deaths are caused by smoking. In 1999, 29,406 people in England and Wales died of lung cancer. Although it has been declining slightly among men under 65 during the past 20 years, it is still rising in women. It is the most commonly found cancer in men in the UK and has now overtaken breast cancer as the leading cancer killer of women, The risk of lung cancer increases directly with the number of cigarettes smoked. In a study of male British doctors, deaths from lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers were as follows:

Increased risk of developing lung cancer

Number of cigarettes smoked per day Annual death rate per 100,000 men

0 cigarettes 10 deaths: 1-14 cigarettes 78 deaths (8 times that of non smokers): 15-25 cigarettes 127 (13 times that of non-smokers): 25 or more 251 (25 times that of non-smokers)

Age at time of starting to smoke is important. The younger a person is when he or she starts smoking, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer. A recent US study found that smoking during the teenage years causes permanent genetic changes in the lungs and forever increases the risk of lung cancer, even if the smoker subsequently stops.

Risk of lung cancer increases approximately in proportion to the duration of smoking: smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 40 years is 8 times more hazardous than smoking 40 cigarettes a day for 20 years. The amount of tar in cigarettes is also important but less so than the number smoked or duration of smoking.

Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive lung disease (including chronic bronchitis and emphysema) is a progressively disabling disease. It can cause prolonged suffering due to difficulty in breathing because of the obstruction or narrowing of the small airways in the lung and the destruction of the air sacs in the lung due to smoking. These are essential for the exchange of oxygen in the blood: when they break down, the lung loses its elasticity and there is less surface in the lung to absorb oxygen. The onset of the disease is very gradual and breathlessness only becomes troublesome when about half of the lung has been destroyed. The disease is rarely reversible once established.

Smoking is the main cause of chronic obstructive lung disease: it is very rare in non-smokers and at least 80% of the deaths from this disease can be attributed to cigarette smoking. The risk of death due to the disease increases with the number of cigarettes smoked.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is not only more common amongst smokers, but is also much more likely to be fatal.

Morbidity in the young

There is evidence of the ill effects of tobacco smoke at all ages. Children of smoking parents have more respiratory illnesses than those of non-smokers and children who smoke have more chest illnesses than non-smokers.

Stopping smoking

The risk of lung cancer, like all other cancers, increases steeply with advancing age. When smokers give up, their risk of getting lung cancer starts decreasing so that after 10 years an ex-smoker's risk is about a third to half that of continuing smokers. Other factors can cause lung cancer but they are much less important than smoking. They include certain substances used in industry, in particular asbestos. However, less than 3% of all deaths from lung cancer are thought to be caused by these substances. For smokers who are exposed to such substances as asbestos, their risks of developing lung cancer tend to multiply together and become very large.

It is a known fact that pulmonary function is a strong predictor of mortality and that smoking reduces pulmonary function. A recent study found that middle aged smokers across the entire range of pulmonary function may increase their expectation of lifespan by giving up smoking. With chronic obstructive lung disease, smokers who give up while still young can expect their lung function to improve. However, in older people, such improvement is not possible although after cessation further deterioration will run parallel to that of non-smokers.

Passive Smoking

Breathing other people's smoke is called passive, involuntary or second-hand smoking. The non-smoker breathes "sidestream" smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette and "mainstream" smoke that has been inhaled and then exhaled by the smoker. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a major source of indoor air pollution.

What's in the smoke?

Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals in the form of particles and gases. Many potentially toxic gases are present in higher concentrations in sidestream smoke than in mainstream smoke and nearly 85% of the smoke in a room results from sidestream smoke. The particulate phase includes tar (itself composed of many chemicals), nicotine, benzene and benzo(a)pyrene. The gas phase includes carbon monoxide, ammonia, dimethylnitrosamine, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and acrolein. Some of these have marked irritant properties and some 60 are known or suspected carcinogens (cancer causing substances). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA has classified environmental tobacco smoke as a class A (known human) carcinogen along with asbestos, arsenic, benzene and radon gas.1

How does this affect the passive smoker?

Some of the immediate effects of passive smoking include eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness and nausea. Adults with asthma can experience a significant decline in lung function when exposed, while new cases of asthma may be induced in children whose parents smoke. Short term exposure to tobacco smoke also has a measurable effect on the heart in non-smokers. Just 30 minutes exposure is enough to reduce coronary blood flow. In the longer term, passive smokers suffer an increased risk of a range of smoking-related diseases. Non-smokers who are exposed to passive smoking in the home, have a 25 per cent increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer.

A major review by the Government-appointed Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) concluded that passive smoking is a cause of lung cancer and ischaemic heart disease in adult non-smokers, and a cause of respiratory disease, cot death, middle ear disease and asthmatic attacks in children. A more recent review of the health impacts of passive smoking by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) noted that "the evidence is sufficient to conclude that involuntary smoking is a cause of lung cancer in never smokers".

While the relative health risks from passive smoking are small in comparison with those from active smoking, because the diseases are common, the overall health impact is large. Based on the findings of the SCOTH report and the review by the California Environmental Protection Agency11 ASH has calculated that, each year in the UK, about 600 lung cancer deaths and up to 12,000 cases of heart disease in nonsmokers can be attributed to passive smoking.

Risk to young children

Almost half of all children in the UK are exposed to tobacco smoke at home. Passive smoking increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia and bronchiolitis in children. One study found that in households where both parents smoke, young children have a 72 per cent increased risk of respiratory illnesses. Passive smoking causes a reduction in lung function and increased severity in the symptoms of asthma in children, and is a risk factor for new cases of asthma in children. Passive smoking is also associated with middle ear infection in children as well as possible cardiovascular impairment and behavioural problems.

Infants of parents who smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia in the first year of life. More than 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital every year because of the effects of passive smoking. Passive smoking during childhood predisposes children to developing chronic obstructive airway disease and cancer as adults.13 Exposure to tobacco smoke may also impair olfactory function in children. A Canadian study found that passive smoking reduced children's ability to detect a wide variety of odours compared with children raised in non-smoking households. Passive smoking may also affect children's mental development. A US study found deficits in reading and reasoning skills among children even at low levels of smoke exposure.

Exposure to passive smoking during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for low birth weight. A recent study has also shown that babies exposed to their mother's tobacco smoke before they are born grow up with reduced lung function Parental smoking is also a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (cot death).

What Protection is there for non-smokers?

A report by the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health (SCOTH) reviewed the evidence on passive smoking and concluded that: "Smoking in public places should be restricted on the grounds of public health." The report added that "Wherever possible, smoking should not be allowed in the work place." Public opinion surveys have shown widespread support for smoking restrictions in public places. A national survey in England in 1999 found that 85% of respondents (including 71% of smokers) agreed that smoking should be restricted at work and a similar proportion favoured smoking restrictions in restaurants and other public places.

Employers have a duty to provide and maintain a safe working environment which is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work

Self Confidence

This usually means self-reliance, assured expectation, firm trust. All smokers know how they depend on their cigarettes, in all kinds of situations. How much self-reliance does this allow?

Slowly, over the seven modules, the program helps the smoker to strip away the self-deception, to uncover his/her true power that has been there all along. Look at it this way: if the cigarette is merely a collection of chemicals, who gave it the power to relax, stimulate, solve problems, bestow self confidence even! The smoker of course.

Stopping smoking has little to do with the cigarette. Crazy statement? Perhaps, except that what it is about is taking back the power given away to the Nico-demon.

Self Respect

Do smokers treat themselves with "regard, deference and honour?" Do they "avoid degrading or insulting or injuring , or treat themselves with consideration?" Do they "refrain from offending or corrupting or tempting" themselves?

Often smokers have a hidden shame about the damage they are doing to themselves and even their loved ones. It is behind the angry defensiveness that can shown when the smoking behaviour is criticised.

As smokers all of us knew we smelled; we were aware of the criticisms and judgments about smoking. Yet it was easier to ignore, because we just didn't know how to stop smoking. If the subject of smoking came up in conversation, on TV or in the media, most of us used any excuse to disappear.

Most smokers regard their victory over cigarettes as one of the major achievements in their lives. In the group programs, meeting 6 and 7 are full of excitement, self congratulation, delight, even outright self-love and self-congratulation. Certainly there is a huge influx of self respect and self esteem. Typical: "I'm free and I'm terrific! If I can do this I can do anything!"

The Senses

One of the first signs of recovery smokers report is improved sense of smell. After that comes improved taste, sensitivity of touch, even improved, more acute hearing. Once the 4700 noxious chemicals are withdrawn, tastebuds, oxygen-starved blood vessels, fried nerves, begin to recover and a forgotten world opens up.

The senses contribute to the richness of our experience as human beings. We recommend that as smoking decreases, you develop the senses beyond what is normal for you. In this way life can become richer, broader, wider, more profoundly exciting and wonderful.

Smell

If a wine connoisseur canidentify hundreds of different types of wine, even down to the exact year and vineyard, what could we do to improve our sense of smell! Doing it is simple: just decide to do it. Cultivate an awareness of perfumes, have a fragrance trip every time you visit a department store; make a point of visiting the perfume department. Buy new after shaves if you're a guy - and definitely explore colognes. Buy products to delight your sense of smell, new foods, wines, flowers. Smell herbs, shrubs, your loved one's skin.

Hearing

Listening to music is one of the great joys it's easy to develop. Close your eyes, imagine the music filling different parts of your body, put colours to the instruments and sounds, luxuriate! Experience other sounds too - birds, voices, the sounds in your neighbourhood. It is a matter simply of deciding to focus on your hearing, letting it expand and bring you delight.

Touch

It is common to experienceheightened awareness all over the body as you begin to free yourself of tobacco smoke. Some people become acutely sensitive and can't bear the touch of clothing. Your nerve endings are being restored - enjoy them! Again, experiment. Blindfold your eyes and (careful!) feel the object around you,

Taste

One of the greatest joys of being human. Cultivate your sense of taste by experimenting with new types of food and drink, new textures, different cuisine. Make it an art form for yourself.

Sex life up in smoke

Sheffield men have been warned to stop smoking, or their sex lives could suffer. That's the message that Sheffield NHS Smoking Cessation Service is trying to get over during National Men's Health Week, which runs until June 15 2003.

In Sheffield it is estimated that up to 1,200 men in their 30s and 40s are impotent, due to smoking.

Research in 1999 showed that only 13 percent of male smokers were aware that impotence was a risk they were running.

Research shows that male smokers have a 50 percent increased risk of experiencing impotence than non-smokers.

Source: Sheffield Star, 9 June 2003

Sex, Reproduction and Smoking - Smokers are more likely to produce girls than boys

Introduction

Cigarette smoking can affect women's fertility; men's fertility; sexual function in men; pregnant women's health; the health of an unborn child; and the health of young children.

Fertility

Women who smoke may have reduced fertility. One study found that 38% of non-smokers conceived in their first cycle compared with 28% of smokers. Smokers were 3.4 times more likely than non-smokers to have taken more than one year to conceive. It was estimated that the fertility of smoking women was 72% that of non-smokers. A Finnish study found a dose-response relationship between numbers of cigarettes smoked and delay in conception. A recent British study found that both active and passive smoking was associated with delayed conception. Cigarette smoking can also affect male fertility: spermatozoa from smokers has been found to be decreased in density and motility compared with that of non-smokers. A new study found that sperm damaged by smoking may also result in more couples having baby girls than boys. The researchers suggest that the sperm cells carrying the Y chromosome are more vulnerable to the toxins in cigarette smoke.

Male sexual impotence

Impotence, or penile erectile dysfuntion, is the repeated inability to have or maintain an erection. One US study of men between the ages of 31 and 49 showed a 50% increase in the risk of impotence among smokers compared with men who had never smoked. A meta-analysis of studies published since 1980 found that 40% of impotent men were current smokers compared with 28% of men in the general population. Overall smoking increases the risk of impotence by around 50% for men in their 30s and 40s.

Smoking and oral contraceptives

For younger women, smoking and the use of oral contraceptives increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease by tenfold. This effect is even more marked in women over 45. It is therefore important that all women who take the contraceptive pill be advised not to smoke.

Smoking and pregnancy

Almost one-third of pregnant women in England smoke. Women who smoke in pregnancy are more likely to be younger, single, of lower educational achievement and in unskilled occupations. The male partner is more likely to smoke. Only one in four women who smoke succeed in stopping at some time during pregnancy. Almost two-thirds of women who succeed in stopping smoking in pregnancy restart again after the birth of their baby.

Foetal growth and birth weight

Babies born to women who smoke are on average 200 grams (8 ozs) lighter than babies born to comparable non-smoking mothers. Furthermore, the more cigarettes a woman smokes during pregnancy, the greater the probable reduction in birth weight. Recent research suggests that cigarettes can reduce the flow of blood in the placenta which limits the amount of nutrients that reach the foetus. Low birth weight is associated with higher risks of death and disease in infancy and early childhood. The adverse effects of smoking in pregnancy are due mainly to smoking in the second and third trimesters. Therefore, if a woman stops smoking within the first three months of pregnancy, her risk of having a low-weight baby will be similar to that of a non-smoker.

Spontaneous abortion

The rate of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is substantially higher in women who smoke. This is the case even when other factors have been taken into account.

Other complications of pregnancy

On average, smokers have more complications of pregnancy and labour which can include bleeding during pregnancy, premature detachment of the placenta and premature rupture of the membranes. Some studies have also revealed a link between smoking and ectopic pregnancy and congenital defects in the offspring of smokers.

Perinatal mortality

Perinatal mortality (defined as still-birth or death of an infant within the first week of life) is increased by about one-third in babies of smokers. The increased perinatal mortality in smoking mothers occurs particularly among manual socio-economic groups and in groups that are already at high risk of perinatal death, such as older mothers or those who have had a previous perinatal death. More than one-quarter of the risk of death due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) is attributable to maternal smoking

Passive smoking and pregnancy

Exposure by the mother to passive smoking has also been associated with lower birth weight, a higher risk of perinatal mortality and spontaneous abortion.

Breast feeding

Research has shown that smoking cigarettes may contribute to inadequate breast milk production. In one study, fat concentrations were found to be lower in the milk from mothers who smoked and milk volumes were lower.

Health and long-term growth

Infants of parents who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from serious respiratory infection than the children of non-smokers. Smoking during pregnancy can also increase the risk of asthma in young children. Other ill effects and disorders associated with smoking in pregnancy include an increased risk of infantile colic and cleft palate.

Smoking in pregnancy may also have implications for the long term physical growth and intellectual development of the child. It has been associated with a reduced height of children of smoking mothers as compared with non-smoking mothers, with lower attainments in reading and mathematics up to age 16 and even with the highest qualification achieved by the age of 23. There is also evidence that smoking interferes with women's hormonal balance during pregnancy and that this may have long-term consequences on the reproductive organs of her children.

Smoking and cervical cancer

Epidemiological studies have found that women who smoke have up to four times higher risk of developing cervical cancer than non-smokers and that the risk increases with duration of smoking. Studies have demonstrated biochemical evidence that smoking is a causal factor in cervical cancer.

Smoking and the menopause

The natural menopause occurs up to two years earlier in smokers. The likelihood of an earlier menopause is related to the number of cigarettes smoked, with those smoking more than ten cigarettes a day having an increased risk of an early menopause. New research suggests that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in tobacco smoke can trigger premature egg cell death which may in turn lead to earlier menopause.

Shock Therapy

This was available for a short time in South Africa, and probably in other parts of the world. The system worked like this: the smoker was shown into a glass fronted booth, usually equipped with a shelf loaded with ashtrays, stompies (butts), screwed up cigarette packs and general smoker's paraphernalia. Straps were attached to his/her wrists (attached to batteries) and then when the smoker took a puff, an electric shock was administered. This was supposed to create an aversion to cigarettes.

It didn't work! It might even have been illegal, and had a short lifespan.

How smoking affects the way you look - Skin, weight, body shape

Tobacco smoking seriously affects internal organs, particularly the heart and lungs, but it also affects a person's appearance by altering the skin and body weight and shape. While these changes are generally not as life threatening as heart and lung disease, they can, nevertheless, increase the risk of more serious disorders and have a noticeable ageing effect on the body.

Smoking and the Skin

The skin is affected by tobacco smoke in at least two ways. First, tobacco smoke has a drying effect on the skin's surface. Second, because smoking restricts blood vessels, it reduces the amount of blood flowing to the skin, thus depleting the skin of oxygen and essential nutrients. Some research suggests that smoking may reduce the body's store of Vitamin A, which provides protection against some skin-damaging agents produced by smoking. Another likely explanation is that squinting in response to the irritating nature of the smoke, and the puckering of the mouth when drawing on a cigarette, cause wrinkling around the eyes and mouth.

Skin damaged by smoke has a greyish, wasted appearance. Recent research has shown that the skin ageing effects of smoking may be due to increased production of an enzyme that breaks down collagen in the skin. Collagen is the main structural protein of the skin which maintains skin elasticity. The more a person smokes, the greater the risk of premature wrinkling. Smokers in their 40s often have as many facial wrinkles as non-smokers in their 60s. In addition to facial wrinkling, smokers' may develop hollow cheeks through repeated sucking on cigarettes: this is particularly noticeable in under-weight smokers and can cause smokers to look gaunt. Prolonged smoking also causes discoloration of the fingers and fingernails on the hand used to hold cigarettes. Smoking also results in a yellowing of the teeth and is a cause of halitosis (bad breath).

Smoking and Psoriasis

Compared with non-smokers, smokers have a two to threefold higher risk of developing psoriasis, a chronic skin condition which, while not life-threatening, can be extremely uncomfortable and disfiguring. Some studies have found a dose-response association of smoking and psoriasis, i.e. the risk of the disease increases the longer a person continues to smoke. Smoking also appears to be more strongly associated with psoriasis among women than among men. Smoking may cause as many as one quarter of all psoriasis cases and may also contribute to as many as half of the cases of palmoplantar pustulosis, a skin disease involving the hands and feet, that some experts view as a form of psoriasis.

Smoking and Weight

When people stop smoking, they usually put on weight. Although this often a cause for concern, the average weight gain is around 2 to 3 kg although this may be temporary. Although the reasons for weight gain are not fully understood, it may be partly explained by the fact that smoking increases the body's metabolic rate - i.e. the rate at which calories are burned up. In addition, nicotine may act as an appetite suppressant so that when smokers quit an increase in appetite leads to an increase in calorie intake. The effect of nicotine on metabolic rate may also explain why smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers. Experts believe that one way smoking raises metabolic rate is by stimulating the nervous system to produce catecholamines - hormones which cause the heart to beat faster, thus making the body burn more calories. Nicotine also produces more thermogenesis, the process by which the body produces heat. This too, causes the body to use up more calories.2

However, a smoking-induced increase in metabolic rate only accounts for about half the difference in weight between the average smoker and average non-smoker. Another likely mechanism is that smoking alters the body-weight set point, i.e. the weight towards which a person tends to return despite attempts to gain or lose weight. Smoking appears to lower a person's normal weight and the weight gained on stopping reflects a return to the body's natural weight set point.2

Women and girls tend to be more concerned about their weight and body shape than men, and weight control may be influential in causing the higher incidence of smoking among teenage girls. However, post-cessation weight gain can be modified by eating a low-fat, calorie-reduced diet and by moderately increased exercise. One study found that stopping smoking resulted in a net excess weight gain of about 2.4 kg in middle-aged women but that among those women who increased physical activity after stopping smoking, weight gain was between 1.3 kg and 1.8kg.

While weight gain is common immediately after stopping smoking, in the longer term, ex-smokers weight may return to the comparative weight of someone who has never smoked. A Japanese study examined the relationship between weight gain and the length of time after stopping smoking. Researchers found that although heavy smokers experienced large weight gain and weighed more than never smokers in the few years after smoking cessation, thereafter they lost weight to the never smoker level. Among former light and moderate smokers, weight was gained up to the never-smoker level but without any further excess gain.

Body shape

Although smokers tend to be thinner than non-smokers, the effect of smoking on the endocrine system (glands which secrete hormones) causes smokers to store even normal amounts of body fat in an abnormal distribution. Smokers are more likely to store fat around the waist and upper torso, rather than around the hips. This means smokers are more likely to have a higher waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) than non-smokers. A high WHR is associated with a much higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder problems and (in women) cancer of the womb and breast. In one study of nearly 12,000 pre- and postmenopausal women aged 40 to 73, the waist to hip ratio increased as the number of cigarettes smoked per day increased.2 A study of American men also found a dose-response relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked and waist-to-hip ratio.

However, changes to WHR induced by smoking need not be permanent. A Swedish study examined the effect of smoking and smoking cessation on the distribution of fat in a representative sample of women. The study found that women who stopped smoking experienced less upper-body fat deposition than would be expected by their accompanying weight gain. This suggests that while some weight gain after stopping smoking can be expected, it is less of a health risk because it is not deposited in the upper torso, where it is associated with increased risk of heart disease.

The Laughing Club

The health benefits of laughter continue to be added to by those in the know. Robert Holden, who founded the Happiness Project in Oxford, believes that the physical act of laughing is akin to 'stationary jogging' or 'internal aerobics.' After years of running workshops and forums devoted to all aspects of happiness and joy, he has come to realise just what a powerful instrument of healing laughter can be. A ten-minute bout of laughing can have the following effects:

  • Carbon dioxide is driven out of the body, to be replaced with oxygen-rich air, feeding the brain and body with vital life-force
  • Anti-inflammatory agents are released to relieve aches and pains
  • Muscles relax
  • Muscles are exercise throughout the body - stomach, back, face. Laughter engages most of the muscles throughout the body.
  • Immune system is strengthened as cortisol (stress chemical) release drops
  • Mood improves as "pleasure chemicals" dopamine and serotonin are released

Osho says:

"I used to have a laughing meditation; for no reason people would sit and just start laughing. At first they would feel a little awkward that there was no reason - but when everybody was doing it, they would also start. Soon, everybody was in such a great laughter, people were rolling on the ground. They were laughing at the very fact that so many people were laughing for no reason at all: there was nothing, not even a joke that had been told. And it went on like waves. So there is no harm, even just sitting in your room, close the doors and have one hour of simple laughter. Laugh at yourself. But learn to laugh. Seriousness is a sin, and it is a disease. Laughter has tremendous beauty, a lightness. It will bring lightness to you and it will give you wings to fly. And life is so full of opportunities. You just need the sensitivity. And create chances for other people to laugh.

Laughter should be one of the most valued, cherished qualities of human beings - because only man can laugh; no animal is capable of it. Because it is human, it must be of the highest order. To repress it is to destroy a human quality..."

Smoking Cessation Aids

There are two pharmaceutical aids to stopping smoking: nicotine replacement therapy and bupropion, known by its tradename, Zyban.

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), such as chewing gum, skin patch, tablet, nasal spray or inhaler, are designed to help the smoker to break the habit while providing a reduced dose of nicotine to overcome withdrawal symptoms such as craving and mood changes. Studies have shown that NRT "success rates were quite similar in the four groups tested (nicotine gum, acupuncture, double placebo and one treatment plus placebo). They sharply decreased between one month (around 23%) and one year (around 10%). The decrease slowed down thereafter to around 6% at 4 years.

Results from our study suggest that the two treatments did not offer any long-term improvement over placebo. (Ref. Prev. Med 1997 Jan-Feb;26(1):25-8).

Zyban is a schedule 5 anti-depressant, needs a doctors prescription, and is said to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It may indeed be so, however unless behavioural change takes place, the chances of success are likely to be the same as with NRT. Smoking is not a cause, it is a symptom. What we are aiming for is a state of complete indifference to the cigarette, a relief of the need to smoke This comes from a process of learning - a step by step process not found in a bottle.

Social Acceptance

Criticism of smokers has grown wildly in the last couple of decades. Since the advent of the internet, the secrets could not be concealedanymore, of the 4700 chemicals in tobacco smoke, the diseases caused/aggravatedby smoking, and all the brain-washing carried out by tobacco companies.Many sites (see www.ash.org.uk) carry the tobacco companies' secretdocuments illustrating the extent of the conspiracy.

Smokers tend to choose their friends from among smokers, so the guiltthey often feel is manageable: they "fit in."

One of the main reasons smokers started smoking as teenagers is exactlybecause of the importance of "fitting in," being acceptedby their peers. Now the only people who will accept them are other smokers.

For this reason smokers and non-smokers are increasingly becoming polarised.

A few aspects of this can be seen in:

  • Spouses threatening divorce if the other doesn't stop smoking
  • Engagements breaking up because one cannot stop smoking
  • Children breaking up parents' cigarettes, nagging them to stop
  • Being forced to go outside to smoke at work (rain or shine, warm or cold!)
  • Being forces to sit in smoking sections (what about your non-smoking companion)
  • Panic at having to endure a long flight without smokes
  • Being the only smoker at a gathering, standing alone outside with your "fix"
  • Fear about what I will do at work if I can't go outside with my smoking buddies
  • Resentment at being criticised by non-smokers
  • Uncomfortability at movies, concerts at having to find a place to smoke
  • Many cultures frown on smoking as "unfemine" or "weak"

Stress - Physical Effects

Depression

Studies suggest that the inability to adapt to stress is associated with the onset of depression or anxiety. In one study, two-thirds of subjects who experienced a stressful situation had nearly six times the risk of developing depression within that month. Some evidence suggests that repeated release of stress hormone produces hyperactivity in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and disrupts normal levels of serotonin, the nerve chemical that is critical for feelings of well-being. Certainly, on a more obvious level, stress diminishes the quality of life by reducing feelings of pleasure and accomplishment, and relationships are often threatened.

Heart Disease

Mental stress is as major a trigger for angina as physical stress. Incidents of acute stress have been associated with a higher risk for serious cardiac events, such as heart rhythm abnormalities and heart attacks, and even death from such events in people with heart disease.

Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system (the automatic part of the nervous system that affects many organs, including the heart). Such actions and others may negatively affect the heart in several ways:

Sudden stress increases the pumping action and rate of the heart and causes the arteries to constrict, thereby posing a risk for blocking blood flow to the heart.

Emotional effects of stress alter the heart rhythms and pose a risk for serious arrythmias in people with existing heart rhythm disturbances.

Stress causes blood to become stickier (possibly in preparation of potential injury), increasing the likelihood of an artery-clogging blood clot.

Stress may signal the body to release fat into the bloodstream, raising blood-cholesterol levels, at least temporarily.

In women, chronic stress may reduce estrogen levels, which are important for cardiac health.

Stressful events may cause men and women who have relatively low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (and therefore a higher risk for depression or anger) to produce more of certain immune system proteins (called cytokines), which in high amounts cause inflammation and damage to cells, including possibly heart cells.

Recent evidence confirms the association between stress and hypertension (high blood pressure). People who regularly experience sudden increases in blood pressure caused by mental stress may, over time, develop injuries in the inner lining of their blood vessels. In one 20-year study, for example, men who periodically measured highest on the stress scale were twice as likely to have high blood pressure as those with normal stress. The effects of stress on blood pressure in women were less clear.

More research is needed to confirm the actual harm of stress on the heart. For example, one study of people who work under demanding conditions suggested that heart disease, including high blood pressure, attributed to work stress may simply be due to the way people cope with the stress. People who are trying to deal with stress often resort to unhealthy habits including high-fat and high-salt diets, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and a sedentary lifestyle. In one study, men were more apt to use alcohol or eat less healthily in response to stress, while women tended to have healthier ways of coping.

Stroke

One survey revealed that men who had a more intense response to stressful situations, such as waiting in line or problems at work, were more likely to have strokes than those who did not report such distress. In some people prolonged or frequent mental stress causes an exaggerated increase in blood pressure. In fact, a 2001 study has linked for the first time a higher risk for stroke in adult Caucasian men and elevated blood pressure during times of stress.

Susceptibility to Infections

Chronic stress appears to blunt the immune response and increase the risk for infections and may even impair a person's response to immunizations. A number of studies have shown that subjects under chronic stress have low white blood cell counts and are vulnerable to colds. And once any person catches a cold or flu, stress can exacerbate symptoms. People who harbor herpes or HIV viruses may be more susceptible to viral activation following exposure to stress. Even more serious, some research has found that HIV-infected men with high stress levels progress more rapidly to AIDS when compared to those with lower stress levels. (In some studies, stressful events most linked with a higher incidence of infections were interpersonal conflicts, such as those at work or in a marriage.)

Immune Disorders

The contradictory effects of stress on the immune system can have mixed effects on autoimmune diseases (which are those that are caused by inflammation and damage from immune attacks on the body). For example, eczema, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis may demonstrate changes ranging from improvement to deterioration in response to stress. A 2001 study reported that short-term stress appears to have no negative effect on multiple sclerosis, but chronic stress is a major risk factor for flare-ups.

Cancer

Current evidence does not support the idea that stress causes cancer. Nevertheless, some animal studies suggest that lack of control over stress (not simply stress itself) had negative effects on immune function and contributed to tumor growth. And, two small studies on melanoma and breast cancer patients reported improved survival with therapies that offered emotional support. Other research has not detected similar survival benefits, but support groups still have great value in reducing stress in patients with terminal cancer.

Gastrointestinal Problems

The brain and the intestine are strongly related and mediated by many of the same hormones and nervous system. (Indeed, some research suggests that the gut itself has features of a primitive brain.) It is not surprising then that prolonged stress can disrupt the digestive system, irritating the large intestine and causing diarrhoea, constipation, cramping, and bloating. Excessive production of digestive acids in the stomach may cause a painful burning.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (or spastic colon) is strongly related to stress. With this condition, the large intestine becomes irritated, and its muscular contractions are spastic rather than smooth and wave like. The abdomen is bloated and the patient experiences cramping and alternating periods of constipation and diarrhoea. Sleep disturbances due to stress can further exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome.

Peptic Ulcers

It is now well established that most peptic ulcers are either caused by the H. pylori bacteria or by the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications (such as aspirin and ibuprofen). Nevertheless, studies still suggest that stress may predispose someone to ulcers or sustain existing ulcers. Some experts, in fact, estimate that social and psychologic factors play some contributing role in 30% to 60% of peptic ulcer cases, whether they are caused by H. pylori or NSAIDs. In any case, some experts believe that the anecdotal relationship between stress and ulcers is so strong that attention to psychological factors is still warranted.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Although stress is not a cause of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), there are reports of an association between stress and symptom flare-ups. One study, for example, found that while short term (past month) stress did not significantly exacerbate ulcerative colitis symptoms, long term perceived stress tripled the rate of flare-ups compared to patients who did not report feelings of stress.

Eating Problems

Stress can have varying effects on eating problems and weight.

Weight Gain

Often stress is related to weight gain and obesity. Many people develop cravings for salt, fat, and sugar to counteract tension and, thus, gain weight. Weight gain can occur even with a healthy diet, however, in some people exposed to stress. And the weight gained is often abdominal fat, a predictor of diabetes and heart problems. In a 2000 study, lean women who gained weight in response to stress tended to be less able to adapt to and manage stressful conditions. The release of cortisol, a major stress hormone, appears to promote abdominal fat and may be the primary connection between stress and weight gain in such people.

Insulin Resistance

When you smoke for several years, you are causing a strong stress response on an ongoing basis. This ongoing and prolonged response causes the release of cortisol, which causes the body to lose its insulin sensitivity, and thus become insulin resistant ( the receptor is not sensitive to insulin, but is resistant to its effects, thereby causing an increased production of insulin, and making you store all fat eaten). However, when you are still smoking the nicotine has the effect of increasing the sensitivity of the insulin receptor, thus masking the effect of the cortisol.

When you stop smoking, however, the nicotine is removed, and the insulin receptors 'show' their insulin resistance, thus causing you to gain fat when you eat fat.

Weight Loss

Some people suffer a loss of appetite and lose weight. In rare cases, stress may trigger hyperactivity of the thyroid gland, stimulating appetite but causing the body to burn up calories at a faster than normal rate.

Eating Disorders

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are eating disorders that are highly associated with adjustment problems in response to stress and emotional issues.

Diabetes

Chronic stress has been associated with the development of insulin-resistance, a condition in which the body is unable to use insulin effectively to regulate glucose (blood sugar). Insulin-resistance is a primary factor in diabetes. Stress can also exacerbate existing diabetes by impairing the patient's ability to manage the disease effectively.

Pain

Researchers are attempting to find the relationship between pain and emotion, but the area is complicated by many factors, including effects of personality types, fear of pain, and stress itself.

Muscular and Joint Pain

Chronic pain caused by arthritis and other conditions may be intensified by stress. (According to a study on patients with rheumatoid arthritis, however, stress management techniques do not appear to have much effect on arthritic pain.) Psychologic distress also plays a significant role in the severity of back pain. Some studies have clearly associated job dissatisfaction and depression to back problems, although it is still unclear if stress is a direct cause of the back pain.

Headaches

Tension-type headache episodes are highly associated with stress and stressful events. (Sometimes the headache doesn't even start until long after a stressful event is over.) Some research suggests that tension-type headache sufferers may actually have some biological predisposition for translating stress into muscle contraction. Among the wide range of possible migraine triggers is emotional stress (although the headaches often erupt after the stress has eased). One study suggested that women with migraines tend to have personalities that over-respond to stressful situations.

Sleep Disturbances

The tensions of unresolved stress frequently cause insomnia, generally keeping the stressed person awake or causing awakening in the middle of the night or early morning.

Sexual and Reproductive Dysfunction

Sexual Function

Stress can lead to diminished sexual desire and an inability to achieve orgasm in women. Stress response can also cause temporary impotence in men. Part of the stress response involves the release of brain chemicals that constrict the smooth muscles of the penis and its arteries. This constriction reduces the blood flow into and increases the blood flow out of the penis, which can prevent erection.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Some studies indicate that the stress response in women with premenstrual syndrome may be more intense than in those without the syndrome.

Fertility

Stress may even affect fertility. Stress hormones have an impact on the hypothalamus gland, which produces reproductive hormones. Severely elevated cortisol levels can even shut down menstruation. One interesting small study reported a significantly higher incidence of pregnancy loss in women who experienced both high stress and prolonged menstrual cycles. Another reported that women with stressful jobs had shorter periods than women with low-stress jobs.

Effects on Pregnancy

Old wives' tales about a pregnant woman's emotions affecting her baby may have some credence. Maternal stress during pregnancy has been linked to a 50% higher risk for miscarriage. It is also associated with lower birth weights and increased incidence of premature births, both of which are risk factors for infant mortality. One study suggested that stress experienced by expectant mothers can even influence the way in which the baby's brain and nervous system will react to stressful events. Stress may cause physiologic alterations, such as increased adrenal hormone levels or resistance in the arteries, that may interfere with normal blood flow to the placenta.

Memory, Concentration, and Learning

Stress has significant effects on the brain, particularly on memory. The typical victim of severe stress suffers loss of concentration at work and at home and may become inefficient and accident-prone. In children, the physiologic responses to stress can clearly inhibit learning. Althoughsome memory loss occurs with age, stress may play an even more important role than simple aging in this process. In one study older people with low stress hormone levels tested as well as younger people in cognitive tests: those with higher stress levels tested between 20% and 50% lower.

Effect of Acute Stress on Memory

Studies indicate that the immediate effect of acute stress impairs short-term memory, particularly verbal memory. In one interesting 2000 study, subjects took pills containing either cortisone (a stress hormone) or a placebo (a dummy pill). Those taking the cortisone performed significantly worse on memorisation tests than those taking the placebo pill did. In an earlier study, when individuals were subjected to four days of stress, verbal memory was also impaired. Fortunately, in such cases, memory is restored after a period of relaxation.

Effect of Chronic Stress on Memory

Studies have strongly associated prolonged exposure to cortisol (the major stress hormone) to shrinkage in the hippocampus, the centre of memory. For example, two studies reported that groups who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (Vietnam veterans and women who suffered from sexual abuse) displayed up to 8% shrinkage in the hippocampus. It is not yet known if this shrinkage is reversible.

Other Disorders

Allergies. Research suggests that stress, not indoor pollutants, may actually be a cause of the so-called sick-building syndrome, which produces allergy-like symptoms, such as eczema, headaches, asthma, and sinus problems, in office workers.

Skin Disorders

Stress plays a role in exacerbating a number of skin conditions, including hives, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, and eczema. Unexplained itching may also be caused by stress.

Unexplained Hair Loss (Alopecia Areata)

Alopecia areata is hair loss that occurs in localized (or discrete) patches. The cause is unknown but stress is suspected as a player in this condition. For example, hair loss often occurs during periods of intense stress, such as mourning.

Teeth and Gums

Stress has now been implicated in increasing the risk for periodontal disease, which is disease in the gums that can cause tooth loss.

Self-Medication with Unhealthy Lifestyles

People under chronic stress frequently seek relief through drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, abnormal eating patterns, or passive activities, such as watching television. The damage these self-destructive habits cause under ordinary circumstances is compounded by the physiologic effects of stress itself. And the cycle is self-perpetuating; a sedentary routine, an unhealthy diet, alcohol abuse, and smoking promote heart disease, interfere with sleep patterns, and lead to increased rather than reduced tension levels. Drinking four or five cups of coffee, for example, can cause changes in blood pressure and stress hormone levels similar to those produced by chronic stress. Animal fats, simple sugars, and salt are known contributors to health problems.

(Source: AIS)

Stress

This label is an acceptable, business-oriented, generalised "state" (combination of what I am feeling, thinking and doing at any one time). Under so-called "stress" a person can be thinking of:

  • My job (anxiety)
  • Deadlines (worry I won't make it)
  • Future (I might get fired)
  • Salary (not enough)
  • Bond (behind with payments)
  • Dog (sick)
  • Kid (sick)
  • Relationship (problems)
  • Sex (not enough)
  • Food (hungry)
  • Irritation (my colleague)
  • Car (needs service)
  • Boss (resentment)
  • Holiday (love to go to Mauritius, can I afford it)

Smoking can increase stress by 50% physically, through the colossal effects of the Fight or Flight syndrome and other reactions of the body to the 4700 chemicals in tobacco smoke. It also increases stress emotionally because it is a generalised method of bunching "it all" together and then attempting to handle it with the cigarette (which handles nothing in effect).

Stress thus needs to be first unbundled, and it's separate components identified, before any real progress can be made (see anxiety).

Stress is implicated in 90% of major illnesses and creates a destructive "catch-22" situation because the more you stress the more you smoke the more you stress, and so on.

See other entries under Stress and work with Module 7. Take Happy Drops and Happy Caps to repair your system and support you in becoming the new, calm, REAL you!

Stress - Road Rage

If you drive, you likely know the feeling. You get cut off, someone honks or dangerously switches lanes, forcing you to brake and miss the light, leaving you seething. Driving is a stressful activity in itself; combined with work or personal problems and feelings of anger or frustration, it can be downright dangerous.

"Road rage" is the term applied by psychologists to denote feelings of extreme anger and hostility while driving coupled with the desire for retaliation against other drivers. With road rage, people who successfully control their feelings and emotions the entire day experience out-of-control feelings of hostility when offended by another driver. It's likely that these feelings and reactions have been around since the days of horse-drawn carriages, but the attention given to road rage and its consequences has steadily increased over the past decade.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that incidents of road rage went up by 51% in the first half of the 90s. While the numbers of drivers, cars, and miles driven have increased consistently over the past years, a proportional increase in the number of roads and highways has not occurred, resulting in increasingly more crowded roadways and increased driver stress.

Psychologists have studied aggressive drivers and found that those who consider themselves aggressive behind the wheel have stronger physiological responses to stress than less-aggressive drivers. In a study published in the June 2001 issue of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, self-reported aggressive and calm drivers were asked to perform stressful tasks and listened to fear-inducing scenarios while bodily stress responses were measured. The authors of the study, from the Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders at the University at Albany, reported that the aggressive drivers responded to stress with greater increases in muscle tension and blood pressure than did their calmer peers. This work suggests that individual differences in how we respond to challenging or emotionally difficult situations may exist that at least partially determine whether we will react with anger or defensiveness while driving.

Reference:

Malta LS, Blanchard EB, Freidenberg BM, Galovski TE, Karl A, Holzapfel R. Psychophysiological reactivity of aggressive drivers: an exploratory study. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2001 Jun;26(2):95-116

Stress - Surviving Burnout

Hints for Tackling Unbearable Stress

If you seem to be losing your battle with life's stresses, or if the tasks and responsibilities in your schedule seem to be more than you can bear, you may be experiencing burnout. Burnout arises when we're overworked, overtaxed emotionally, physically exhausted, and often unable to cope with everyday situations. Another manifestation of burnout is loss of enthusiasm for one's job, social life, or personal interests.
When we become truly burned out, it's time to take stock and make changes. These five tips are a way to help yourself get back on track when your stress levels are out of control.

  1. Take inventory.
    Go someplace quiet, take pen and paper, and list all the things causing you to feel stress, worry, anxious, or helpless. Identify all of the commitments and responsibilities in your present schedule. List your social obligations and anything you normally do that consumes time and energy. Try to identify those things most responsible for your present state, and ask yourself which areas are most in need of drastic change. Don't forget to take inventory of your strengths, skills, and resources, both internal and external, as well. Do you have access to counseling programs, good friends willing to lend a listening ear, family members who'll babysit, or anyone who can help you through this time? Think about the inner strengths you have to fall back upon. What have you done in the past to solve similar, or other, problems? You may have tremendous resources from your own experience that you can use to overcome the present burnout.
  2. Pare down.
    If you're truly burned out, accept that this is a time of crisis, self-evaluation, and change. Just as you would treat a physical illness, cut back as much as you can on commitments and responsibilities for a time and allow yourself to "treat" this emotional and mental exhaustion. Decide on the areas that you can "let go" for a time, such as stringent housekeeping or entertaining, based upon your priorities. I'm not suggesting withdrawal from life, rather, you should aim for a brief respite from the external sources of anxiety and stress. If you need to make critical decisions concerning job or personal life, you'll be much better prepared to make healthy, sound choices when you're rested and not deep in the throes of burnout.
  3. Delegate.
    While you're trying to eliminate burnout, a part of paring down is to delegate tasks to others when possible. This need not be on a permanent basis. Simply clearing a couple days, a week, or whatever time frame you feel is appropriate will give you time and energy to take stock and make decisions for the future. Alternatively, if you find that an overcrowded schedule is one of the main factors causing your burnout, you may need to pass along or delegate some of your regular commitments on a permanent basis. Accept offers of help from friends and family, and don't forget to show your gratitude. If your financial situation allows, hire someone to do household tasks or errands to give you more time for yourself.
  4. Pamper yourself.
    Again, if you have a physical illness, you do all you can to help yourself feel better. This isn't any different - you need plenty of rest, good nutrition, exercise, and the support of friends and/or family. Do something for yourself that gives you joy or pleasure. Read a good book or take in a film you've been wanting to see. Allow your loved ones to help too, just as they'd help nurse you through a physical illness.
  5. Know when to seek outside help.
    If nothing seems to be working or you feel isolated and alone, recognize when it's time to call in reinforcements. Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness can signal depression, as can changes in eating or sleeping patterns. If you can't overcome burnout on your own, that's OK, and there are ways to get help. A stress therapist or support group can be a tremedous resource for those who want assistance dealing with burnout. Even just a few sessions may help you find a solution that fits your lifestyle. Burnout can, in extreme cases, lead to desperation and suicidal feelings. In this case, contact a crisis counselor, hospital emergency department, physician, or therapist immediately.

Stress - Why am I so angry

Why Am I So Angry?

  1. Lucille wanted to clean the kitchen but her husband insisted that she rest instead. Lucille felt she was being treated like a child, viewed her husband's attitude as condescending, and became very angry.
  2. Susan just got a call from her doctor's office canceling her appointment for the next day. Susan had been anxiously awaiting the day of the appointment and became angry about the unexpected change.
  3. George watched from the sideline as his two roommates played tennis. George felt angry because his physical limitations prevented him from participating.
  4. John's mother told him he would be more healthy if he took better care of himself. The comment made John angry.

When something interferes with your achievement of a goal or desire, the developing frustration results in a feeling of tension and hostility. That feeling is referred to as anger.

Three Types Of Anger

Rage is the expression of violent, uncontrolled anger. Rage is an outward expression of anger and can result in a visible, often destructive, explosion. If Lucille (in example 1) took the plate she had in her hand and threw it against the wall causing it to break into pieces as a reaction to her husband's suggestion, this behavior would exhibit rage.

Resentment is the feeling of anger directed towards a person or object which is suppressed and kept inside. It is a feeling which smolders and feels uncomfortable, and can possibly create more physiological and psychological damage. If John (in example 4) listened to his mother's comment but did not respond by explaining the reality to her, he would harbor feelings of resentment.

Indignation is regarded as appropriate, controlled, positive type of anger. Though Susan felt like screaming when the doctor's office canceled her appointment (in example 2), she calmly told the secretary she was disappointed but understood and rescheduled the appointment.

The three types of anger can occur separately or in combination, depending on the situation. With an understanding of the different types of anger, it may become easier to deal with situations which provoke these feelings.

Angry Thoughts

Anger exists in the mind and is a direct result of your thoughts. An event does not make you angry, but your interpretation of the event and how you think and feel can lead to anger. Certain things can be done to make the feelings of anger more controllable and manageable.

Step 1 - Admit you are angry. Recognizing that you are angry is the first step in dealing with it. Some people find it difficult to admit they are angry perhaps because they view their feelings as inappropriate or not valid. These people may deny their feelings therefore choosing not to deal with them.

Step 2 - Identify the source of the anger. Realizing what is causing you to feel angry is important in dealing with the real problem. Often the real problem can be confused with other issues or other emotions. In example 1, is Lucille truly angry with her husband or is she angry because her illness is an interference in her daily routine? If Lucille is misdirecting her anger at her husband rather than the true source, the problem becomes compounded.

Step 3 - Feeling angry?... Why? Recognizing the reason for your feelings of anger is an important step in dealing with the anger. After analyzing the reasons, you will decide in your mind if the anger is reasonable or justifiable. If you decide the anger is unrealistic you can diffuse the feelings. If you decide the anger is realistic, you can better decide how to deal with your feelings.

Controlling Anger

There are techniques which can help you control your thoughts and in turn control your anger.

Imagery - Get rid of intense, angry feelings by letting your imagination diffuse some of the feelings. Allow yourself to imagine strangling the person who has made you feel angry, without actually carrying out the action. Imagery is a safer way for you to vent angry feelings.

Thought stopping - Do not allow the thoughts that are making you angry to continue. Shut down those thoughts by switching your concentration to something you find pleasant and enjoyable. By diverting your attention you help the anger to dissipate.

Change your expectations - People often get angry when their expectations are not met. Modifying your expectations can help you cope with anger. If you can afford more flexibility there is less chance for a situation to lead to anger.

Develop more understanding - Being aware of why a person behaves a certain way or why a person is saying something will help promote understanding. Try putting yourself in the other person's shoes and viewing a situation from their perspective.

Physiological responses occur in the body when you become angry. Blood pressure increases, breathing and heart rate become more rapid, and muscles become tense. Anger which lasts a long time can physically damage the body. Anger is a form of energy which must be released and it is best to follow steps which help release it constructively. Anger need not be negative. If anger is controlled, it can be wisely used to communicate and negotiate a resolution.

Stroke and Smoking

This site provides general information regarding smoking and quitting. For medical advice, visit your doctor or pharmacist.

A stroke is sudden and unexpected damage to brain cells that causes symptoms in the parts of the body controlled by those cells. It can affect thinking, movement, speech and/or the senses. It happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly disrupted. Smoking may cause an artery in the brain to become blocked by a blood clot or other debris carried in the bloodstream. This cuts off the blood supply to the surrounding brain cells and causes them to die.

Interesting facts on smoking and stroke:

Stroke is the third most common cause of death in Australia, after cancer and heart disease.

Stroke changes the lives of 40,000 Australians every year and smoking is the major contributing factor in 10,000 of these cases.

Of those who suffer a stroke, 40% die within one year.

Of the 24,000 people a year who survive a stroke, 12,000 are permanently physically disabled requiring varying levels of assistance.

Stroke costs the community $1.6 billion a year, of which at least $400 million are the costs attributed to smoking.

Smoking-caused strokes result in nearly 100,000 hospital bed-days being used every year, at a cost of at least $500 dollars per bed per day. (This does not include nursing home bed-days.)

A smoker has at least double the risk of having a stroke as a person who has never smoked.

A person who smokes 40 or more cigarettes a day has twice the risk of stroke compared to a person who smokes up to ten cigarettes a day.

Stroke does not only affect elderly people. People in their 20s and 30s do die from strokes caused by smoking.

When a smoker quits, the recovery process begins almost immediately and the risk of stroke reduces to the same as that of someone who has never smoked, within two to four years

Sweet smells lift bad mood, relieve pain

Serge Marchand and Pierre Arsenault at the University of Quebec in Canada asked a large group of men and women to hold their hand in very hot water as long as possible while smelling different scents. Sweet smells (almonds or roses) increased their ability to withstand the heat, while unpleasant odours like vinegar intensified the pain.

Both men and women said they felt happier in the presence of the good smells, and bad smells put them in a worse mood.

Try it!

As you smoke less, your sense of smell and taste will improve dramatically. You don't have to spend a fortune on new perfumes and after-shaves: try carrying with you or making a point of smelling the scent of:

  • Lemon peel
  • Orange peel
  • Bananas, other fruit
  • Fresh air
  • Flowers (they don't charge for this!)
  • Aromatherapy oils on your pulses
  • Spices (cinnamon sticks, cardamoms etc)
  • Scented candles
  • Bath salts, bubble bath, shower gel
  • Soap
  • Vanilla
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fresh bread
  • Apple pie
  • ...or whatever you most enjoy!

Ps The sense of smell is the most vivid and quickly perceived of all the senses: it is immediately detected, before conscious thought takesover, whereas data from other senses has to pass a number of synapses - amore complex route. This is why we are instantly transported "backhome" by the smell of apple pie, for example, or vanilla. It'swhy estate agents influence potential clients with the smell of freshcoffee or just-baked bread. And it works! We're influenced beforewe think.

Teeth: How parents' smoking rots young teeth

Children whose parents smoke are more likely to need their teeth filled, say researchers.

They have established a link between passive smoking and dental disease in children.

Scientists checked children's exposure to smoke by looking at blood levels of cotinine, one of the by-products produced when nicotine breaks down in the body.

A team led by Dr Andrew Aligne from Pediathink, an American thinktank, examined data on 3,531 children aged from four to 11.

A quarter of the children had at least one unfilled decayed tooth surface according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Aligne said: "There is an association between environmental tobacco smoke and the risk of tooth decay in children. Reduction of passive smoking is important not only for the prevention of medical problems but also for the promotion of children's dental health.

Abstract of study:
Source: Daily Mail, 13 March 2003

The Better it Gets, the Better it Gets OR The Worse it Gets, the Worse it Gets

This is an explanation of why bad things happen to good people, or why when things go wrong, they keep getting worse. Pushing against something you don't want just makes it worse, i.e. resistance. We suggest just taking your attention AWAY from what you don't want, and putting it on something you DO want!

People can find this difficult to accept, however, emphasis it is SCIENTIFIC, not just speculation.

How Resistance Slows Things Down

You've felt a fan blowing on you. You can feel the breeze, feel the coolness, but you can't see it. You can maybe see the blur of blades as they whiz round. Now take a pencil and stick it in there. What would happen?

One heck of a noise, and maybe it would slow down the fan, if not stop it altogether. In energy terms, when you are in a state of resistance, you are slowing down the positive energy.

The frequency - or speed - of emotions can be measured. Positive, joyful emotions have a high, fast frequency. When you introduce lower, slower frequencies (hate, fear, doubt) it has the effect of slowing down the higher frequency.

So, when you match your vibration to a higher vibration, it goes even faster! Or... the better it gets, the better it gets!

Thyroid Problems and Smoking

Smoking increases the possibilities of thyroid problems, which include:

Thyroid enlargement, a potential sign of thyroid problems, and the associated weight gain, depression, fatigue and bulging eye disease.

Overactive thyroid can cause anxiety, panic attacks and high blood pressure among other conditions.

Having a thyroid problem can put you at increased risk of obesity and heart disease.

The longer and harder you've smoked, the higher the risk of thyroid problems. If you already have this condition, smoking increases the risk of Graves' Disease.

Thuroid eye disease is far more likely in smokers than nonsmokers, and treatment for this condition four times more effective if you are a nonsmoker.

Tinnitus

When you first develop tinnitus, it is normal to experience frequent mood swings, anxiety, depression and extreme distress. In time, you can learn to manage your tinnitus and reduce the negative emotional effects it has on you.

In the early stages - When you first learn you have tinnitus:

  • Consult your doctor to reassure yourself that you do not have an underlying medical condition.
  • Learn all you can about tinnitus. You can find a lot of literature through the Tinnitus Association of Victoria.
  • Accept that you have tinnitus. Once you have done this, you are halfway to mastering it.
  • Understand that you will be very tired and depressed in the early stages.

Adjusting your lifestyle - Exposure to loud noise - It is advisable to:

  • Avoid loud nightclubs and entertainment venues - or at least use ear protection.
  • Use ear muffs or ear protection when mowing the lawn or using loud machinery, such as a chainsaw.

Avoid stress and fatigue - Stress and fatigue can make tinnitus worse - It will help if you:

  • Stay as calm as you can - becoming agitated about your tinnitus may make it worse.
  • Develop relaxation techniques and activities that help you relax.
  • Try to avoid stressful situations.
  • Think positively - feeling negative and angry can aggravate the problem.

Adjust your diet - Some foods and drinks can increase tinnitus - It will be helpful if you can reduce your intake of:

  • Caffeinated foods and drinks - such as chocolate, tea and cola drinks. You should not drink more than six cups of coffee per day.
  • Quinine (in tonic water).
  • Red wine.
  • Spicy foods.

You do not have to avoid these items altogether. Just be aware they may temporarily increase your tinnitus.

Quit smoking

Smoking narrows the blood vessels which supply vital oxygen to your ears and their sensory cells. You will be better able to manage your tinnitus if you quit smoking.

Ask your doctor about any medications you take

Some prescription and non-prescription medications can make tinnitus worse. Whenever your doctor prescribes medication for you, ask whether the drug has the side effect of tinnitus. If it has, ask if there are alternative medications you can use.

Keep physically and mentally active - Try and take up:

  • Exercise - walking is very beneficial.
  • Hobbies or interests that you enjoy and can 'lose yourself' in. Even if your tinnitus prevents you from working, try to keep as physically and mentally active as possible. Do not withdraw from life.

Find the best ways to mask your tinnitus - Fall back on masking techniques during the inevitable bad periods that accompany tinnitus - Examples include:

  • Surrounding yourself with ambient and environmental noise; for example, playing the radio softly.
  • Playing tapes with soothing sounds; for example, rain falling on the roof or the ocean surf.

Carbohydrates may be helpful

Carbohydrate rich meals - for example pasta, followed by cake - can have a calming or sedating effect, which can be helpful. However, give yourself time to digest your meal before you go to bed to help avoid a disturbed sleep.

Where to get help

  • Tinnitus Association of Victoria Tel. (03) 9510 1577
  • Your doctor.

Things to remember

  • There is a lot you can do to help manage your tinnitus.
  • Avoid stress and anxiety to help reduce the impact of tinnitus.
  • Changing your diet may help.

Tips on Alcohol Delay

Alcohol is a powerful trigger to smoke both chemical and habitual and, to win, you need to free yourself from this bondage. See how long you can wait after a drink before lighting up: no longer than 15 minutes the first week, then increase it.

This is the one single thing that can sink your desire to be a non-smoker. It is VITAL that you stop smoking while you are drinking, and begin to take control.

This is a major CHOICE. If you want to stop smoking you will have to CHOOSE THE BOOZE and not the cigarette.

Alcohol makes the body acid, and increases the speed your body gets rid of nicotine. That means alcohol INCREASES YOUR CRAVING.

It is time to SAY NO TO THIS UNHOLY MARRIAGE of alcohol and cigarettes. I am not asking you to stop drinking: it is one of the pleasures in life that helps us to relax. The cigarettes are the killers! SAY NO!

  • Alcohol delay time tips (have fun with this! Laugh and you win!)
  • Invent exotic non-alcoholic drinks (add umbrellas, straws, maraschino cherries).
  • Challenge others to invent better ones.
  • Challenge other smokers to "see who can wait longest."
  • Offer to buy a drink for the winner
  • Drink soda with lemon
  • Go to the toilet
  • Clean your teeth
  • Walk around the block
  • Dance on the bar
  • Do 50 press-ups, star jumps (or bottle walking)
  • Recite a poem, sing a song (the shock should put cigarettes clear out of your mind!)
  • Do some controlled, rhythmic breathing
  • Taking an antacid can relieve the desire to smoke by preventing nicotine from leaving the body
  • Increase your body's alkalinity by eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, decreasing red meat, bread and other acid-causing foods.
  • Take magnesium/calcium (in Happy Caps 1)
  • Best of all, take Happy Drops 1 - Reports say it immediately alleviates the desire to drink!

Trouble Shooting Index

Removing 4700 chemicals from your body can have powerful effects. These are some of them. Check out other symptoms in the reference section, or email or call your Personal Coach.

  • Anger
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Tight chest
  • Constipation
  • Bad Breath
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy
  • Happy Caps
  • Lineliness
  • Relapse
  • Feedback
  • Hypnosis
  • Acupuncture
  • Weight gain
  • Pipes Cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff

Vitality

This is defined as power, liveliness, the ability to endure and perform in life. Many smokers have for so long smoked "instead of" taking action, making decisions. The cost to a person can be their aliveness, sense of efficacy (effectiveness).

One of the most exciting challenges of stopping smoking is that of facing life directly, and finding one has had the ability to do so all along.

Power is given to the cigarette to solve problems, relieve uncomfortability, enhance pleasure. Look inside a cigarette, try to find its enormous powers. Quite simply, there aren't any: it's a collection of lethal chemicals which the smoker empowers with almost magical abilities.

This is not to say that smokers are all ineffectual: many of them are powerful, effective people. However when they stop smoking they become MORE powerful, MORE effective. Once a smoker has won his freedom from the Nico-demon he will often say "If I can do this I can do anything."

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B complex consists of several vitamins that are grouped together because of the loose similarities in their properties, distribution in natural sources, and physiological functions. All the B vitamins are soluble in water. Most of the B vitamins have been recognized as coenzymes, and they all appear to be essential in facilitating the metabolic processes of all forms of animal life. The complex includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), niacin (nicotinic acid), B6 (a group of related pyridines), B12 (cyanocobalamin), folic acid, pantothenic acid, and biotin.

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy and helps in the metabolism of proteins and fats. Vitamin B1 deficiency affects the functioning of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and peripheral nervous systems. Beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (often seen in alcoholics) are the primary diseases related to thiamine deficiency. General symptoms of beriberi include loss of appetite and overall lassitude, digestive irregularities, and a feeling of numbness and weakness in the limbs and extremities.

Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is required to complete several reactions in the energy cycle. Reddening of the lips with cracks at the corners of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, and a greasy, scaly inflammation of the skin are common symptoms of deficiency.

Niacin, or nicotinic acid, helps the metabolism of carbohydrates. Prolonged deprivation leads to pellagra, a disease characterized by skin lesions, gastrointestinal disturbance, and nervous symptoms.

A form of Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme for several enzyme systems involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. No human disease has been found to be caused by a deficiency of this vitamin. Chronic use of large doses of vitamin B6 can create dependency and cause complications in the peripheral nervous system.

Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is a complex crystalline compound that functions in all cells, but especially in those of the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system, and the bone marrow. It is known to aid in the development of red blood cells in higher animals. Deficiency most commonly results in pernicious anemia

Folic acid is necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids and the formation of red blood cells. Folic-acid deficiency most commonly causes folic-acid-deficiency anemia. Symptoms include gastrointestinal problems, such as sore tongue, cracks at the corners of the mouth, diarrhea, and ulceration of the stomach and intestines. Large doses of folic acid can cause convulsions and other nervous-system problems.

Pantothenic acid promotes a large number of metabolic reactions essential for the growth and well-being of animals. Deficiency in experimental animals leads to growth failure, skin lesions, and graying of the hair. A dietary deficiency severe enough to lead to clear-cut disease has not been described in humans

Biotin plays a role in metabolic processes that lead to the formation of fats and the utilization of carbon dioxide. Biotin deficiency results in anorexia, nausea, vomiting, inflammation of the tongue, pallor, depression, and dermatitis.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C works by stimulating the immune system and protecting against damage by the free radicals released by the body in its fight against the infection. It helps to:

  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Thin the blood and protect it against oxidation
  • Prevent atherosclerosis
  • Protect against stroke and heart attack
  • Lower the risk of cataracts and glaucoma

Without vitamin C, collagen formation is disrupted, causing a wide variety of problems in connective tissue of skin, bone, teeth, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and organs.

Vitamin C is truly a wonder nutrient and there is no doubt that many of the serious degenerative diseases plaguing the civilized world today can be prevented or even reversed through an adequate intake of this essential vitamin.

A scientific advisory panel to the U.S. Government sponsored Alliance for Aging Research recently recommended that all healthy adults increase their vitamin C intake to 250- 1000 mg/day. A daily intake of 250-1000 mg of vitamin C may be adequate for preventive purposes, but far larger quantities are required in halting or reversing cancer and heart disease. Although there has been some concern that people suffering from hemochromatosis (a tendency to iron overload) may be sensitive to high dosages of vitamin C most researchers now agree that vitamin C is entirely safe even in daily quantities of 10 g or more.

Smoker's Scurvy

Orthomolecular Preventive Medicine in
Cigarette Smoking
Irwin Stone, P.C.A., F.A.I.C., F.I.A.P.M.1
1 1331 Charmwood Square, San Jose, California, 95117

The best approach to the medical problems of cigarette smoking can be summarized in two words, "DONT SMOKE." However, there will always be some who disregard the best of advice and pursue this noxious habit, in spite of the high risk of disease and early death. This paper is directed to this stubborn group in the hope that it will reduce these risks and overcome some of the great losses to our economy resulting from the chronic inhalation of tobacco smoke.

Up to now, the main trends for reducing the health hazards of smoking have been along the lines of obtaining tobaccos which yield less tars and nicotine in the smoke and of improving the efficiency of filters in removing the suspect smoke constituents. Both of these approaches have serious, practical limitations; tobaccos will always yield some tar and nicotine and an acceptable filter cannot be made 100 percent efficient to remove all undesirable smoke constituents. The best that can be hoped for is only a partial reduction in the potential hazards.

The various effects of tobacco smoke on the human body and the reduction of their morbidity are essentially medical problems - preventive medical problems. Yet very little medical research has been done for finding a simple means of increasing the resistance of the human organism to the irritating, toxic, and carcinogenic constituents of cigarette smoke and detoxicating these constituents in vivo. This physiological approach to the smoking problem has been virtually completely neglected.

The medical techniques of epidemiological research, which have paid off so handsomely in eliminating diseases such as diphtheria, poliomyelitis, and others, have not been applied to the smoking problem. These techniques involve increasing the resistance of susceptible individuals to attack by the causative agent. The probable reason that similar studies have not been undertaken in connection with smoking has been the lack, until recently, of a satisfactory rationale for the use of any single antitoxic substance which would detoxify the absorbed smoke constituents and increase the body's resistance to the noxious effects of smoking. Needless to say, such a substance must also be completely harmless, without undesirable side effects, inexpensive, commonly available, and easily administered. Ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate fills all these requirements, and the rationale for their use has been developed during the last decade through work on the evolutionary history and genetics of scurvy.

In 1966 it was shown that scurvy, which Medicine for over 60 years has regarded as a simple dietary disturbance, a vitamin-deficiency disease (Funk, 1912), is actually a genetic liver-enzyme disease called hypoascorbemia (Stone, 1966). This inherited malady, which afflicts 100 percent of the population, is due to humans carrying a defective gene for the synthesis of the liver enzyme protein, L-gulonolactone oxidase (Stone, 1966a; Stone, 1967). This defective gene originated in a primate ancestor of Man, when it mutated some 60 million years ago (Stone, 1972). Most mammals possess the intact gene for this enzyme and are thus able to convert blood glucose into ascorbate at the high normal rate of many grams per day (Chatterjee, 1973). The mammals also possess a feedback mechanism for increasing ascorbate synthesis under stress (Subramanian et al., 1973). During the course of mammalian evolution ascorbate has served as an antistressor and detoxicant required in large daily amounts for survival (Stone, 1965).

The most damaging effect of Medicine's long love affair with the vitamin C-deficiency disease hypothesis has been its orientation and insistence toward very low daily intakes of ascorbate and its reluctance to change this thinking. The present recommended daily allowance for ascorbate for an adult is 45 mg (Food and Nutrition Board, 1974), whereas a closely related mammal, a 70 kg goat, is capable of producing 13,300 mg of ascorbate in its liver, to supply its daily need for this metabolite.

Another factor which has distorted medical thinking on the present incidence of scurvy is the fact that the classical signs of frank clinical scurvy used for diagnosing the disease are actually the terminal sequelae of the genetic defect. While these terminal signs may be of rare occurrence in the developed countries, the relatively asymptomatic, less dramatic but nonetheless serious, chronic subclinical scurvy, is our most widespread insidious disease (Stone, 1972a). Less than 10 mg of daily ascorbate is sufficient to prevent the appearance of these classical terminal signs, but a great deal more is required to fully correct this genetic defect. Calculations by several different methods indicate the corrective range of daily ascorbate intake to be about 2.5 to 15 g (Stone, 1974), when humans are regarded as mammalian mutants (Stone, 1974a).

Destruction of Ascorbate by Tobacco Smoke
The destructive action of tobacco smoke and smoking stress on the ascorbate levels in the body, both locally and systemically, has long been known and repeatedly demonstrated. In 1939, Strauss and Scheer (Strauss and Scheer, 1939) reported that 25 subjects given 200 mg ascorbic acid showed a constant and marked reduction in the urinary excretion of ascorbate following the smoking of one to three cigarettes. This indicated a destruction of the administered ascorbate by the smoke constituents.
In the period 1950-1959, F. Venulet and coworkers published a series of 15 papers on the effects of. smoking on ascorbate metabolism. (Andrzejewski, 1966). Venulet was Director of the Institute for General Pathology of the Medical. Academy in Lodz, Poland. In 1951, Venulet and Moskwa (Venulet and Moskwa, 1951) confirmed the marked loss of ascorbate in both the blood and urine of animals exposed to cigarette smoke. In their 1952-53 studies (Venulet and Moskwa, 1952), on 60 medical students, the blood ascorbate was lower in the smokers than the nonsmokers.

Nonsmokers who volunteered to smoke only six to eight cigarettes a day had a significant drop in serum ascorbate by the third day. In studies on mice and frogs reported in 1953-54 (Venulet, 1953), Venulet again confirmed that tobacco smoke lowered the blood ascorbate and reduced its urinary excretion; the longer the exposure the greater the reduction. He also determined the ascorbate levels in the various organs and found the greatest loss in the adrenals, the spleen, the heart, and the lungs. He also stated his belief that "the loss of so fundamental a life factor as ascorbic acid plays a large role in the pathogenesis of different smoke damage. In 1955, Venulet and Danysz (Venulet and Danysz, 1955) published their findings on nursing mothers showing that the milk from nonsmoking mothers contained 5.9 mg percent of ascorbate while that from the smokers contained only 2.1 mg percent. In a brief review in English, published in 1966, Andrzejewski (Andrzejewski, 1966) outlined all the papers presented by Venulet and his group on this subject.

McCormick in 1952 (McCormick, 1952), in a paper on the chemotherapeutic properties of large doses of ascorbic acid, discussed its toxin-neutralizing properties and pointed out that there is a simultaneous proportional loss of ascorbate in this detoxicating process. He stated that laboratory and clinical tests showed that the smoking of one cigarette neutralizes in the body approximately 25 mg of ascorbic acid, or the amount in one medium-sized orange. He suggested that this loss may account for the fact that the incidence of post-operative pneumonia is four times greater in habitual smokers than in nonsmokers. He recommended that the steady smoker, who is usually short on his dietary intake as well, requires much heavier therapeutic dosage of this vitamin than the non-smoker.

Bourquin and Musmanno, in both smoking tests on humans and in vitro tests on human blood, as reported in 1953 (Bourquin and Musmanno, 1953), showed a lowering of blood ascorbate levels by smoking and a destruction of the ascorbate in the blood by addition of nicotine. They also suggested an increased intake of ascorbic acid by habitual smokers.

In a 1955 report, Goyanna (Goyanna, 1955) examined 500 smokers and found that excretion of ascorbate in the urine was stopped by smoking 20 or more cigarettes, indicating destruction of the body's ascorbic acid. Calculations from in vitro tests wherein tobacco was mixed with ascorbic acid indicated that each cigarette was capable of destroying 2 mg of ascorbic acid. In concluding he remarked that smokers should elevate to a maximum the use of ascorbic acid, as "the salvation of the smoker may be in this vitamin."

Dietrich and Buchner in 1960 (Dietrich and Buchner, 1960) concluded as a result of tests on groups of smokers and nonsmokers that smokers exhibit a vitamin C deficiency compared to nonsmokers. They advised all smokers to consume an abundance of ascorbic acid in order to be better able to prevent deficiency symptoms.

As a result of tests on 37 nonsmokers and 40 smokers, Durand, Audinot, and Frajdenrajch in 1962 (Durand et al, 1962) presented evidence that there was a pronounced drop in the blood plasma levels of ascorbate in smokers which was dependent upon the number of cigarettes smoked per day. They also found that the plasma ascorbate practically disappeared when the smokers were also alcoholics. They also conducted tests in which the subjects were given 1 g of ascorbic acid per day for periods during the test schedule. The ingestion of this ascorbic acid raised the plasma ascorbic acid levels. They concluded that there was a vitamin C deficiency in heavy smokers, which could be rectified by administration of ascorbic acid. The greater the number of cigarettes smoked the more ascorbic acid was required.

Calder, Curtis, and Fore 1963 (Calder et al., 1963) reported the blood plasma ascorbate levels of smokers and nonsmokers subjected to short-term examinations. These subjects were not allowed to smoke from midnight to the start of the test and then smoked 12 to 25 cigarettes during the six-hour test period. Hourly tests of their blood plasma up to six hours showed no change in ascorbate levels. However, when they determined the ascorbate content of the blood plasma and leucocytes of 83 habitual moderate smokers (14 cigarettes or less a day) and 31 heavy smokers (15 or more cigarettes a day), they found significantly lower levels in both the blood plasma and leucocytes than in similar samples from a group of 91 nonsmokers.

In tests on 18 nonsmoking healthy soldiers and 22 smokers, Rupniewska in 1964 (Rupniewska, 1964) found significantly lower levels of fasting blood plasma ascorbate in the smokers. Four hours after administration of 500 mg of ascorbic acid this difference was no longer significant. The mean urinary excretion of ascorbate four hours after the 500 mg intake was 35.4 mg for the nonsmokers and 14.5 mg for the smokers, a highly significant difference. In her English summary, the author states that she "feels chronic vitamin C deficiency in smokers may explain at least partially one of the causes of early appearance of atheromatosis in smoking addicts."

In a later paper (1965), Rupniewska conducted tests on older men whose mean age was 73 years and mean duration of smoking 46 years. Urinary ascorbate excretion was measured after fasting and four hours after a 500 mg injection of ascorbic acid. A decreased urinary excretion of ascorbic acid was found (about 60 percent) in the smokers evidencing a decreased store of this substance in the organism. She was unable to correlate these data with those of younger men in order to establish a quantitative relationship between years of smoking and ascorbic acid levels.

A 1968 study by Brook and Grimshaw (Brook and Grimshaw, 1968) shows that that the plasma and leucocyte ascorbate is significantly lower in men than in women. In nonsmokers the plasma levels declined with age while the leucocyte levels did not. Cigarette smoking was found to significantly lower both the blood plasma and the leucocyte ascorbate concentration. Heavy smoking had the same effect on the blood plasma ascorbate as increasing the chronological age by some 40 years.
Pelletier, in tests on five smokers and five nonsmokers, as reported in 1968 (Pelletier, 1968), showed that the ascorbate levels of the blood and blood plasma of smokers was 40 percent to 45 percent of that of nonsmokers. On giving his subjects 2 g of ascorbic acid a day, in an attempt to "saturate" them, he found that after continued administration the blood levers stabilized to approximately the same values in both groups, but the urinary excretion of ascorbate in the smokers never reached the levels excreted by the nonsmokers. In tests on guinea pigs fed nicotine for one month in amounts equivalent to that consumed by heavy smokers, the ascorbate in the blood and several organs was lower compared to guinea pigs fed the same diet without the nicotine. The drop in tissue ascorbate was as follows: adrenals 49 percent, kidneys 50 percent, heart 47 percent, liver 34 percent, spleen 22 percent, brain 17 percent.

Guinea pig tests reported in 1967 (Evans et al., 1967), in which the animals were exposed to smoke for two 10 minute periods a day for a month, the smoking group gained weight less rapidly and the adrenal ascorbic acid was 30 percent lower than that of the controls.

Detoxication with Ascorbate
An important function of ascorbate in the mammalian organism is the detoxication of poisons, carcinogens, and toxins. The literature covering this is so voluminous that adequate treatment would require much more space than is available in this article.
In rats treated with the carcinogen benzpyrene, a pathway of detoxication is through hydroxylation by liver microsomes and ascorbate is an activator of this hydroxylation (Degwitz and Staudinger, 1965). The rate is dependent upon the ascorbate levels, and in scorbutic guinea pigs the detoxication rate is only 10 percent of that in guinea pigs receiving an adequate supply of ascorbate (Degwitz and Staudinger, 1965a). By nonenzymatic hydroxylation with ascorbate, the carcinogens benzpyrene, cholanthrene, methylcholanthrene, anthracene, and others are rendered noncarcinogenic (Warren, 1943).

Cyanide, a highly toxic constituent of tobacco smoke, is detoxified by ascorbate (Leibowitz and Guggenheim, 1938-39; Vauthey, 1951). Carbon monoxide, the noxious gas that kills people when automobile engines run without sufficient fresh air, is also present in high levels in tobacco smoke and is detoxified with ascorbate.

The detoxicating action of ascorbate on arsenic compounds, another smoke constituent, has a long history. Many papers were published in the early 1940s, the pre-penicillin days when the arsenobenzenes were popular medication in the therapy of venereal disease. Combination with ascorbic acid was widely used to counteract the toxic effects of these arsenic compounds (Bundesen et al., 1941; Delp, 1941; McChesney, 1945; and Marocco and Rigotti, 1962). Ascorbic acid has been used to combat industrial toxicity (Dainow, 1941), lead (Holmes 1939; Marchmont-Robinson, 1941 and Gontzea, 1963), mercury (Marin, 1941; Chapman and Shafer, 1947; and Mokranjac and Petrovic, 1964); and chromates (Samitz et al., 1962). It has also been used to reduce the toxicity of such diverse materials as strychnine (Dey, 1967), ozone (Mittler, 1958), sulfanilamide (Dainow, 1941a), nitrates (Krajesovics, 1964), salicylates (Pelner, 1943), phosphorus (Volynskii, 1960), and an azo dye carcinogen, 3 methyl-4-monomethylaminoazobenzene (Bobb, 1963). While this is only a small segment of the literature, it is clearly evident that ascorbate is a wide-spectrum detoxicant when used at the proper dosage.

In unpublished studies by the author on the toxic effects of massive inhalation of cigarette smoke by guinea pigs, it was found that animals with depleted ascorbate reserves were much more susceptible to these toxic effects than animals fed a normal diet. The smoking of six cigarettes a day proved quite deadly, killing the depleted guinea pigs in about five days, while those on a normal diet survived for over 10 days. The smoke from six cigarettes a day for a 200-gram animal contains a massive dose of toxic materials; scaled up to a 70 kg body weight basis of an adult human it would be equivalent to the smoke from 2,100 cigarettes a day. Funds ran out before we could test the survival of guinea pigs treated with daily megadoses of ascorbate under this massive smoke poisoning.
Smoking and Bladder Cancer

Since 1931 tobacco tar inhalation has been suspected of causing bladder tumors (Roffo, 1931). The 1964 Report of the Surgeon General (1968) concluded that "Available data suggest an association between cigarette smoking and urinary bladder cancer in the male." Also in 1964 it was found that intermediate products of tryptophan metabolism induced cancer when placed in the bladder of mice (Boyland et al., 1964). In the next year, Kerr et al. (1965) showed that smokers tended to excrete in their urine more of these potentially carcinogenic intermediates, 3-hydroxyanthranilic, acid (3-HOA) and 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HOK), than nonsmokers. Their studies suggested that cigarette smoking changes the normal metabolic pattern of tryptophan, leading to the accumulation of potentially carcinogenic intermediate metabolites in the urine.

In 1968, the group at Tulane University published a series of papers on the induction of bladder cancer by these tryptophan metabolites. They showed (Pipkin et al., 1968) that the spontaneous nonenzymatic oxidation of 3-HOA resulted in the formation of the carcinogenic "Compound IV", which induced bladder tumors in implantation experiments. This, spontaneous oxidation and carcinogen formation could be completely prevented with ascorbate (Pipkin et al., 1967). In tests on bladder cancer patients, smokers and nonsmokers (Schlegel et al., 1968), they reported that the urinary excretion of 3-HOA or 3-HOK was about the same in all groups but the formation of the carcinogenic

"Compound IV" was significantly greater in the urine of the bladder tumor patients than in the nonsmoker's urine, while the smokers fell in between. Their most consistent observation was that the oral administration of 1½ g of ascorbic acid daily completely prevented formation of carcinogenic "Compound IV" in all cases. They recommended the oral administration of high amounts of ascorbic acid, sufficient to significantly raise urinary levels, to prevent recurrence of bladder cancer. While they only discussed the prevention of recurrence, it would seem implicit from their work that if the smokers had sufficiently high levels of ascorbate in their urine, the bladder cancer would not have appeared in the first place.

Smoker's Scurvy
The chronic destruction of ascorbate in smokers aggravates the chronic subclinical scurvy already present due to inadequate daily ascorbate intakes. This severe chronic subclinical scurvy brought about by the biochemical insults of smoking has been termed "Smoker's Scurvy." In this state the classical terminal symptoms of frank clinical scurvy may not be manifest, but the biochemical scorbutic effects are present. A similar scorbutic state without the clinical signs of scurvy was noted by Thiele in 1964 (Thiele, 1964) in chronic benzene poisoning and by Marchmont-Robinson in chronic lead poisoning (Marchmont-Robinson, 1941).

In this depleted state there is lowered resistance to disease, impaired detoxication processes, increased capillary fragility and tendency to hemorrhaging, decreased phagocytosis, abnormal immunity responses, and a marked lowering in the reaction rates of many cellular and blood enzymes. It is not very surprising that there are so many adverse effects of inadequate ascorbate intakes because this ubiquitous metabolite is involved in so many important physiological mechanisms in the living process. Normality can be easily restored by the mere repletion of the ascorbate.

Discussion

The evidence is overwhelming that smoking destroys the ascorbate in the body. Also that ascorbate at high levels is an antistressor, anticarcinogen, and detoxicant. Further evidence for its use in the prevention and treatment of cancer was given by Burk and coworkers at the National Cancer Institute with the findings that high levels of ascorbate were toxic and lethal to cancer cells and harmless to normal cells (Benade et al., 1969). The work of Pauling and Cameron (Cameron and Pauling, 1973) on ascorbates inhibitory action on the cellular enzyme, hyaluronidase, establishes the rationale for its use in inhibiting carcinogenesis and metastasis. Cameron and Pauling (1974) and Cameron and Campbell (1974) have provided both the rationale and clinical tests for this megascorbic cancer therapy. Additional data for the megascorbic therapy of cancer is obtained from the natural history of ascorbate (Stone, 1974b) and also f or its use in leukemia (Stone, 1974c). This whole subject of the effect of megascorbics in human health has recently been reviewed (Stone, 1972b).

All this evidence can be used to formulate a simple and inexpensive megascorbic preventive medical regime for the practical use by smokers to inhibit or delay or even possibly prevent the eventual disease consequences of the chronic exposure to high concentrations of the irritating and toxic constituents of tobacco smoke.
The regime would comprise the full correction of the genetic disease, hypoascorbemia, by the daily intake of sufficient ascorbate for conditions of little stress. This would be the same intake as used by nonsmokers plus 3 to 5 g additional for each pack of cigarettes smoked. Because of human individual variations the estimated daily basal intake of ascorbate under conditions of little stress may vary within the range of 5 g to 20 g per day. These are initial suggested figures, which may be revised with additional test information.

The use of powdered ascorbate dissolved in foods and drink is the most convenient means of ingestion rather than swallowing a myriad of tablets. The strongly sour-tasting ascorbic acid is limited to certain acidic foods and drinks, while the relatively tasteless sodium ascorbate can be added to all foods and drinks in multigram amounts without noticeable change in flavor. 2 The ascorbate is added to the foodstuffs immediately before serving.

Summary
A simple, inexpensive megascorbic prophylactic regime is developed to supply a normal mammalian metabolite at the required daily dosage to increase the smoker's resistance to the stresses of smoking, and to delay the onset or possibly prevent the various smoking pathologies. This essential metabolite, ascorbate, is well documented as an antistressor, anticarcinogen, detoxicating agent and a means for preventing bladder cancers in smokers. Smoking destroys the ascorbate normally present in the body, which causes "Smoker's Scurvy." This regime not only replaces this destroyed ascorbate and corrects the "Smoker's Scurvy," but also corrects the serious human genetic defect, hypoascorbemia.
Three to 5 g of ascorbate for each pack of cigarettes smoked is the estimated intake in addition to the basal corrective intake (nonsmokers) in the range of 5 to 20 g ascorbate per day.
2 Ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate powder should be available in drug or "health food" stores.

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DIETRICH, G. and BUCHNER, M.: Contribution to the Vitamin C Metabolism of Smokers. Deutsche Gesundheitwiesen 15: 2494-2495, 1960.
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RUPNEWSKA, Z. M.: Ascorbic Acid in Smokers and Non-Smokers Pol.Tyg. Lek. 19: 1259-1283, 1964.
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HOLMES, H. N.: Effect of Vitamin C in Lead Poisoning. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 24: 1119-1127, 1939.
MARCHMONT-ROBINSON, S. W.: Effect of Vitamin C on Workers Exposed to Lead Dust. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 26:1478-1481, 1941.
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MARIN, J. V.: Treatment of Acute Mercurial Poisoning of Guinea Pigs with Ascorbic Acid. Rev. Soc. Argent. Biol. 17:581-586, 1941.
CHAPMEN, D. W., and SHAFER, C. F.: Mercurial Diuretics. Arch. Int. Med. 79: 449-456, 1947.
MOKRANJAC, M., and PETROVIC, C.: Vitamin C as an Antidote in Cases of Mercury Poisoning. C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 258: 1341-1342, 1964.
SAMITZ, M. H., SHRAGER, J., and KATZ, S.: Prevention of Injurious Effects of Chromates in Industry. Ind. Med. Surg. 31: 427-432, 1962.
DEY, P. K.: Protective Action of Ascorbic Acid on the Convulsive and Lethal Actions of Strychnine. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 5: 110-112, 1967.
MITTLER, S.: Protection Against Death Due to Ozone Poisoning. Nature 181:1063-1064, 1958.
DAINOW, I.: Ascorbic Acid in Prophylaxis and Therapy of Sulfanilamide Accidents. Dermatologia, 83: 43-49, 1941a.
KRAJESOVICS Jr., P.: Prevention of Tap Water Methomoglobinemia in Infants. Gyerekgyogyaszai 15:85-89, 1964.
PELNER, L.: Effect of Ascorbic Acid on the Sensitivity to Salicylates. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 28: 28-30, 1943.
VOLYNSKII, B. G.: Effect of Some Vitamins on the Course of Phosphorus Poisoning. Prom. Toksikol. Moscow Sbornik 319-326, 1960.
BOBB, D.: Ascorbic Acid Protection against Toxicity of an Azo Dye Carcinogen for Neurospora crassa. Biochem. Biophys. Acta 78: 795-797, 1963.
ROFFO, A. H.: Tobacco and Bladder Cancer. Bol. Inst. Med. Exper. Para Estud. Trat. Cancer 8: 273-324, 1931.
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KERR, W. K., BARKIN, M., LEVERS, P. E., WOO, S. K. C., and MENCZYK, Z.: The Effect of Cigarette Smoking on Bladder Carcinogens in Man. Canadian Med. Assn. J. 93: 1-7, 1965.
PIPKIN, G. E., NISHIMURA, R., DUKE, G., and SCHLEGEL, J. U.: Spontaneous Formation of Phenoxazine-3-one in Urine of patients of the Urinary Bladder. Fed. Proc. 27: 1845, 1968
PIPKIN, G. E., NISHIMURA, R., BANOWSKI, L., and SCHLEGEL, J. U.: Stabilization of Urinary 3-HOA by Oral Administration of Ascorbic Acid. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 126: 702, 1967.
SCHLEGEL, J. U., PIPKIN, G. E., NISHIMURA, R., and DUKE, G. A.: Studies on the Etiology and Prevention of Bladder Carcinoma. Trans. Amer. Genito-Urinary Surgeons 60: 14-21, 1968.
THIELE, H.: Chronic Benzene Poisoning. Prac. Lek. 16:1-7, 1964
BENADE, L., HOWARD, T., and BURK, D.: Synergistic Killing of Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Cells by Ascorbate and 3-Amino-1,2,4 Triazole. Oncology 23:33-34, 1969.
CAMERON, E., and PAULING, L.: Ascorbic Acid and the Glycosaminoglycans: An Orthomolecular Approach to Cancer andOther Diseases. Oncology 27:181-192, 1973.
CAMERON, E., and PAULING, L.: The Orthomolecular Treatment of Cancer, I. The Role of Ascorbic Acid In Host Resistance. Chem. Biol. Interactions 9:273-283, 1974.
CAMERON, E., and CAMPBELL, A.: The Orthomolecular Treatment of Cancer, II. Clinical Trial of High Ascorbic Acid Supplements in Advanced Human Cancer. Chem. Biol. Interactions 9:285-315, 1974.
STONE, I.: Cancer Therapy in the Light of the Natural History of Ascorbic Acid. J. Internat. Acad. Metabiology 3:56-61, 1974b.
STONE, I.: Megascorbic Therapy of the Disease Called "Leukemia." Cancer Control J. 2: No 1, 1-4, 1974c.
STONE, I.: The Healing Factor: "Vitamin C" Against Disease. Grosset and Dunlap, Inc., N. Y. 1972b.

From Orthomolecular Psychiatry, 1976, Volume 5, Number 1, pp. 35-42
[Note: Due to transcription errors, one or more references may be garbled; these are noted. - AscorbateWeb ed.]
HTML Revised .
Corrections and formatting © 1999-2003 AscorbateWeb

VR

This is expanding the "I love it when" list. Choose imagined experiences: they don't have to be real and you don't have to have experienced them before. Better to be alone (this is your own experience and other people complicate things!).

You're walking in a forest, the ground is soft and booms slightly because it's thick leafy compost. Rays of sunlight shaft down between the leaves, many different shades of green and you touch the rough bark of a tree, then the smooth bark of another, noticing ferns and orchids growing around you.

The ferns are light green and you see the intricate curls of their new leaves unfolding. A lurie's cry is like the cry of a lost child, and you hear the flutter of it's wings above, see the flash of grey and red, feeling peaceful, tranquil, you breathe softly the fragrance of leafmould.

Wanting more - Desire vs Boredom

We spend lot of time in a state of "wanting." Sometimes it's a mild fancy: "wouldn't it be nice if..." and sometimes intense desire: "I absolutely must have..."

Right through the program we've looked at desire in the form of craving - for a cigarette, chocolates, sweets, a drink, a new car, new handbag, new dress, new shirt... By now we realise these "things" never really satisfied our deeper needs and desires, because they kept coming back. How many pieces of black forest cake do we have do eat before we realize it's not "doing it."

Look how it works, say with a car, or a relationship, or a special article of clothing, even a job, a new house, whatever. We want or desire something, work for it, dream about it, long for it, and then when we get it, in the beginning it's marvelous and we feel fantastic. But for how long?

Say you fell in love ten years ago. Can you say that first thrill of being in love is still there? Say you got a new car 2 years ago. Do you still get that same thrill when you drive it? What about your job - is it till as new and exciting as it was? Or that brand new pair of jeans or that amazing shirt?

Admit: a lot of that stuff is now a big bore. Why?

What we really love is the feeling of desire, wanting!

Once we've got the thing, the novelty soon wears off. Is this bad, wrong? Not if it's true that THE FEELING IS EVERYTHING.

We never get it done!

So what now? Are we supposed to be for ever driven by desire? Are we never to feel satisfied, content, complete? What is the point of striving for what we want, working, slaving, slogging? THE POINT IS THE DESIRE... THE FEELING!

We never get it done. We are never complete. Is that scary or is it exciting? We are human and endlessly creative, and while there is something new out there, let's get excited about it. It's the desire coursing through our veins that makes us know we're alive. It's the life force we're demanding with the very power of our desire.

Being "in love" with...

What is in "being in love" that's so thrilling? Remember that melting sensation, as if your bones are turning to water, or to molten metal... Remember the wildly beating heart, the idiotic smile that spread over your face when the love one phoned... Where did we get "that feeling" from, do you think, where did it come from? Did it come from the other person, or from inside ourselves? Indeed yes, from inside, because we were pouring out the desire, the love for the other person.

Boredom

One of the worst states is boredom. None of us can handle it, and for a very good reason: we're creative and the "not OK" signals will drive us crazy until we do something. Look what happens to a lot of businessmen: they work like crazy for their retirement, retire at 65 and are dead at 66. It happens time and time again. Unless they have something new to desire, to get excited about, they die.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Once the immediate needs for food, shelter and protection are met, do we stay put, quite content? No - we start searching for other things. I think this is why people create bankruptcy or great disasters in their lives: they've achieved most of what they want, there's nothing to look forward to.

Imagine you're Onassis or somebody fabulously wealthy. You've spent your life accumulating "things." You have all the houses, planes, cars, yachts, possessions in the world. You've tried drink, drugs, travelling, even flying in space (eg Mark Shuttleworth). Eventually I guess we'd get to a stage when yet another diamond, or beautiful girl - or boy - doesn't raise a flicker of interest. Unless there's something to be interested in, we might as well die. We don't summon life-force any more, no excitement, no desire.

Yeah, yeah but what about me?

All very well for the rich man, but what about me? I drive an old car, My job isn't what I really want, my relationship doesn't work, I drink too much... And and and. Well hooray! What do you want?

We can congratulate ourselves on being exactly where we need to be RIGHT NOW, full of desires, full of wants, full of plans, full of life-force! Wow!

What do i want?

Often we stop short of identifying what we want: it stays at "WHAT I DON'T WANT." That is extremely useful.

What don't we want? Out of this we can formulate exactly what it is - WE DO WANT. It's a universe of contrast to help us in this process!

Water - Drinking 8 glasses whether thirsty or not

Smoking causes the blood to thicken. Stress makes it much worse. Most people smoke more when they are stressed, adding to the problem. Carbon Monoxide in cigarette smoke drastically reduces oxygen levels, causing marrow and spleen to produce additional clotting and red blood cells. This "sludge affects circulation, increasing chances of heart attack, blood clots and strokes. Water is needed to dilute the blood, particularly is you suffer high stress levels.

Dehydration is now found to be an aggravating factor, even a cause in many major diseases:

There has been a groundbreaking medical breakthrough that you need to know about: chronic dehydration can be the cause of many major illnesses and pain:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Heartburn
  • Back Pain
  • Migraines
  • Colitis and constipation
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Angina pain

The human body has a pain alarm system, Since these pains are felt in different locations, doctors thought they meant different diseases. Because pain research has until now focused entirely on the disease itself, nobody thought to look at a common factor of water shortage in the interior of the body.

In drought management mode, and when there is not enough "fresh water" to go around and wash out toxins (produced by metabolism), the nerve endings sense the increased toxicity, sound the alarm of pain and force the person to stop doing whatever would increase toxic waste production - hence the loss of function in painful areas.

As an example - when the heart is short of "fresh water" and yet has to beat faster and forcefully to cope with physical activity, pain is produced. The pain means "I need fresh water," even if we believe it is because of decreased blood flow to the heart. Cholesterol plaque thickening heart arteries is caused by the same dehydration.

To relieve pain, water can have an effect far greater than pain medication. Medication masks the body's cry for water, but does not deliver the "fresh water" it needs. Water intake corrects the basic pain-producing drought and saves the body from further danger.

Dr. F. Batmanghelidj says:

Persistent dehydration inside some vital cells, in its extreme stages, will result in a number of disruptive conditions that have been labeled as different diseases - depending on the specialty of the "medical specialist" who first labels the problem. The initial stages of these health problems will begin by the loss of some of the most essential amino acids that get used up as detoxifying agents - antioxidants, when the person is not producing enough urine to get rid of the toxic waste of metabolism.

Since brain activity desperately depends on the presence of some of these amino acids, their depletive overuse will result in an inadequate presence of certain neurotransmitters - such as serotonin, tryptamine, melatonin and indolamine that are made from the amino acid tryptophan; or adrenaline, noradrenalin and dopamine that are made from the amino acid tyrosine. As a result of an imbalance in the neurotransmitter composition of the brain, and based on proportionate depletion of a number of primary elements, a wide range of health problems have been recognized by the medical profession. Instead of recognizing these conditions as "deficiency disorders, they have been labeled as "diseases of unknown cause." In short, when dehydration produces health problems, instead of correcting the dehydration and its metabolic complications, people are given toxic medications.

These conditions have received various labels. Most frequently used labels are: depression, impotence, anxiety neurosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, attention deficit disorder in children. At more serious pathological stages, they are labeled as autoimmune diseases - such as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer disease, and even AIDS.

These conditions are caused by prolonged chronic dehydration and the metabolic complications of dehydration. For more information on these topics, read the book ABC of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus. In order to understand old-age diabetes, read the book Your Body's Many Cries for Water.

Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir of the Weizmann Institute of Science has shown that the "proteins and enzymes of the body function more efficiently in solutions of lower viscosity." Thus, water loss from the interior of the cells would adversely affect their efficiency of function.

It is much easier for the body to deal with a slight surplus of water than to suffer from its shortfall and have to ration and allocate water to vital organs at the expense of less vital functions of the body. The outcome of constantly circulating concentrated blood in the vascular system is truly an invitation to catastrophe.

It is water that generates voltage gradient by adequately hydrating the pump proteins in the neurotransmission systems of the body1. This is the reason the brain tissue is 85 percent water5 and cannot endure the level of "thirst-inducing" dehydration that is considered safe in the article published by Dr. Valtin.

Two, the missing piece of the scientific puzzle in the water- regulatory mechanisms of the body, which has been exposed since 1987, and Dr. Valtin and his colleagues need to know about it, is the coupled activity of the neurotransmitter histamine to the efficiency of the cation exchange; its role in the initiation of the drought- management programs; and its role in the catabolic processes when the body is becoming more and more dehydrated5. Based on the primary water-regulatory functions of histamine, and the active role of water in all physiologic and metabolic functions of the body—as the hydrolytic initiator of all solute functions—the symptoms of thirst are those produced by excess histamine activity and its subordinate mechanisms which get engaged in the drought- management programs of the body. They include asthma, allergies and the major pains of the body, such as heartburn, colitis pain, rheumatoid joint pain, back pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgic pains, and even anginal pain5, 6. And, since vasopressin and the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone activity in the body are subordinates to the activation of histamine, their role in raising the blood pressure is a part of the drought-management programs of the body6. Their purpose of forced delivery of water into vital cells demands a greater injection pressure to counteract the direction of osmotic pull of water from inside the cells of the body, when it is dehydrated.

From the new perspective of my 22 years of clinical and scientific research into molecular physiology of dehydration, and the peer-reviewed introduction of a paradigm shift in medical science, recognizing histamine as a neurotransmitter in charge of the water regulation of the body, I can safely say the 60 million Americans with hypertension, the 110 million with chronic pains, the 15 million with diabetes, the 17 million with asthma, the 50 millions with allergies, and more, all did exactly as Dr. Valtin recommends. They all waited to get thirsty. Had they realized water is a natural antihistamine 5, 7, 8 and a more effective diuretic, these people would have been saved the agony of their health problems.

Water - How it helps

Bloodstream

8 glasses a day keeps blood diluted. A consequence of smoking and stress is increased clotting factors and production of hemoglobin by marrow and spleen. This sludge affects arteries and can lead to heart disease, blood clots, heart attack and increased cholesterol deposits.

Skin

The skin has more wrinkles and roughness when the body is dehydrated. It needs adequate water to regulate body temperature through sweating.

Gastro Intestinal Trace

Dehydration leads to constipation and poor digestion.

Lungs and nasal passages

In dry or cold air lungs are humidifiers (the steam you breath out in cold weather is the water being excreted from the body. The same thing happens in warm weather but can't be seen. It water is not replaced, mucous linings of lungs and nasal passages become thick and glue-like, decreasing resistance to infections.

Urinary Tract

Insufficient urine produces many urinary tract problems, including stones, infections in bladder and kidneys, kidney "failure", decreased alertness, fatigue,m blood pressure elevation, fluid retention etc.

Water - Short Facts

The following is derived from an American survey and the facts probably apply to most of the worlds' population.

  1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated
  2. 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is oftenmistaken for hunger.
  3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.
  4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a U-Washington study.
  5. Lack of water is the number 1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
  6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  7. A mere 2% drop in water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on the printed page.
  8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79% and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Weight Gain

The possibility of weight gain is often of particular concern to those who want to give up smoking. Some smokers will gain weight once they quit smoking, but the long-term weight gain is on average only 6-8lbs for each smoker who quits. Many Smokenders participants lose weight! However, this is the weight gain made without recourse to any special attempts at dieting or exercise and it presents a minor health risk when compared to the risk of continued smoking. In addition, improved lung function and some of the other health benefits of giving up smoking are likely to make exercise both easier and more beneficial.

This is a very real concern: look up the relevant sections and find out WHY weight gain is connected with quitting smoking.

See:

  • Acid/alkaline balance
  • Blood sugar
  • Binge eating
  • Brain reward
  • Craving Food
  • Glycaemic Index
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss breathing techniques
  • Weight Insulin resistance
  • Weight shape change
  • Weight metabolism

We're told Happy Drops 1 stops food cravings instantly!

Weight - Insulin Resistance and Smoking

When you smoke for several years, you are causing a strong stress response on an ongoing basis. This ongoing and prolonged response causes the release of cortisol, which causes the body to lose its insulin sensitivity, and thus become insulin resistant ( the receptor is not sensitive to insulin, but is resistant to its effects, thereby causing an increased production of insulin, and making you store all fat eaten). However, when you are still smoking the nicotine has the effect of increasing the sensitivity of the insulin receptor, thus masking the effect of the cortisol.

When you stop smoking, however, the nicotine is removed, and the insulin receptors 'show' their insulin resistance, thus causing you to gain fat when you eat fat.

Reduce Fat intake

Start looking at labels when you buy food: the most surprising things have a high fat content. Would you think that oat bran or Provita were low-fat foods? Wrong! Provita has 12g fat per 100g, oat bran 15. Other suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of meat you eat
  • Replace with chicken breast, turkey, fish
  • Remove excess fat
  • Use fat-free products
  • Check labels - no more than 3g fat per 100g of food
  • Check out the X-diet for further tips
  • Stick to low glycemic index foods

Low GI foods

To keep metabolism fired up, to give you energy and burn excess fat, increase intake of low GI foods.

The glycemic index is a numerical system of measuring how fast a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar: the higher the number the greater the blood sugar response. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A GI of 70 0r more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 is medium, and GI of 55 or less is low.

The glycemic load (GL) is a relatively new way to assess the impact of carbohydrate consumption that takes the glycemic index into account but gives a fuller picture than does glycemic index alone. A GI value tells you only how rapidly a particular carbo turns into sugar. It doesn tell you how much of that carbo is in a serving of a particular food. You need to know both things to understand a food's effect on blood sugar. The carbo in watermelon, has a high GI but there isn't a lot of it, so watermelon's glycemic load is relatively low.

A GL of 20 or more is high, a GL of 11 to 19 is medium, and a GL of 10 or less is low.

Foods that have a low GI invariably have a low GL, while foods with an intermediate or high GI ranger from very low to very high GL. Therefore you reduce the GL of your diet by limiting foods that have both a high GI and a high carbo content.

Both GI and GL are listed here. The GI I of foods based on the glucose index, where glycose is set to equal 100. The other is the glycemic load, which is the glycemic index divided by 100 multiplied by its available carbo content in grams.

Weight and Smoking - Smoking changes a womans shape

Kate Winslet, famous for the lead role in Titanic, has recently been pictured in the press smoking - and friends say that the return to the weed might have been brought on due to weight concerns.

The Mirror investigates the science behind smoking, metabolism and weight.

Thousands of smokers turn to cigarettes as a means of weight control, turning a blind eye to the soaring risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer. Cigarettes do indeed help burn energy because nicotine speeds up the metabolism. It stimulates the brain, triggering the release of hormones that cause the heart to beat faster, as well as increasing thermogenesis, the process by which the body produces heat.

On the downside, though, cigarettes can affect the endocrine system - the glands that secrete hormones, causing the body to store fat in the wrong places. Smokers are more likely to store fat around their waist and back,rather than around the hips, giving women thicker waists and a barrel shape and reducing their womanly hour-glass figure.

Professor Robert West, a psychologist at St. Georges Hospital in South London, is an expert on the mental and physical effects of smoking. He says: "Nicotine works by increasing your metabolism and suppressing your appetite. In simplistic terms, nicotine increases the brains production of feel-good serotonin which puts you off eating large meals, particularly carbohydrates.

But this also means that as soon as you give up, the weight piles on.

Professor West warns it is much healthier to quit smoking and put on a few pounds than puffing away to stay slim. He says a person would have to be seven stone overweight to be at the same risk of premature death as is linked with smoking one pack of cigarettes a day.

Source: The Mirror, 20 February 2003

Weight Loss Breathing Technique

The International Breath Institute says 9 out of 10 people breathe improperly.

This causes health problems and slow metabolism.

The correct way to breathe is as animals or babies breathe - watch them.

The abdomen rises and falls, not the shoulders.

What happens to us, how do we lose our breathing skill? In a word - stress.

The diaphragm tightens with stress, and forgets how to relax. Stressed people breathe up to 14 times per minute, instead of the optimal 4 - 7 times. This can be corrected consciously.

We should inhale about 2 gallons (100% lung capacity) and most of us inhale about 2 pints (20% of lung capacity).

Test yourself:

  • Do you often sigh?
  • Do you find yourself taking an extra-deep breath now and again?
  • To you get tired easily?
  • Do you wake up exhausted?
  • Do you often feel breathless?
  • Do you breathe more than 8 times per minute?

Speed up weight loss

Pam Grout, in Jumpstart Your Metabolism: How to Lose Weight by Changing the Way you Breathe,"says if your body is not getting enough oxygen it forms fat cells because the body is trying to conserve the oxygen that is there.

Researchers have found that exercise burns fat because it increases the amount of oxygen sent to the body's cells.

Robert W. Rigg, MD, says "The normal physiological response to a deep breathing program will be to increase the metabolism of fat. There may not be a study yet on the connection between breathing and weight loss because the simple and obvious is often discovered last."

Gay Hendricks, Ph.D, author of Conscious Breathing, says "People who need to lose weight do not take enough oxygen. Someone with a weight problem also has a breath problem. I have seen hundreds of people start a daily breathing routine and lose weight.

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