Connect with us

Health

Smokers three times likely to die from heart disease

The study found smoking also causes 11,400 coronary heart hospitalisations a year – 31 per day.

Published

on

Photo by Nick Fewings from Unsplash.com

Smoking is killing at least 17 people at least in Australia alone in any given day from preventable heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular conditions. This is according to new research led by The Australian National University (ANU).

The study, the most in-depth in the world, shows for the first time how smoking harms all of the cardiovascular system – the heart and major blood vessels.

Lead researcher, Professor Emily Banks from the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, said the study examined the impact of smoking for every possible cardiovascular disease.

“That includes investigating the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, heart muscle disease, rhythm problems, and gangrene in Australians from every walk of life: men, women, city, country, rich, poor,” Professor Banks said.

“We found there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Smoking causes terrible harm across the board.

“Our study shows that a population almost twice the size of Port Douglas is being wiped out in Australia each year – with smoking causing more than 6,400 cardiovascular deaths, including from heart attack and stroke.”

CEO of the Heart Foundation John Kelly said: “This new evidence is disturbing. It demonstrates that our battle to eliminate the devastation tobacco brings to people’s lives is far from over.

“We urge the Government to maintain tobacco control as a high priority and look forward to seeing it feature strongly in the new Prevention Strategy recently announced by the Minister for Health.”

The research team tracked around 190,000 Australian smokers and non-smokers participating in the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study for 36 different types of cardiovascular disease over seven years.

The study found smoking also causes 11,400 coronary heart hospitalisations a year – 31 per day.

“There are around 2.7 million smokers in Australia today,” said Professor Banks.

“Those smokers have around triple the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to people who have never smoked, and double the risk of a heart attack, a stroke or heart failure. They are also five times more likely to develop peripheral cardiovascular diseases like gangrene.

“If a smoker has a heart attack or a stroke, it is more likely than not that it was caused by smoking.”

In what Professor Banks describes as “extremely alarming”, the research also found a doubling in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease among those smoking an average of five cigarettes a day.

“A lot of people underestimate the risks of light smoking,” said Professor Banks.

In good news, the research shows quitting smoking markedly reduces your risk of heart attacks, stroke and dying from cardiovascular disease compared with continuing to smoke.

“This study really reinforces how important it is to prioritise quitting,” said Dr Sarah White, Director of Quit Victoria.

“Quitting at any age provides a whole host of health and other benefits and quitting by age 45 avoids about 90 per cent of the cardiovascular risks of smoking.

“And if you are a light or social smoker who thinks ‘just a few’ won’t hurt, this study really shows you’re kidding yourself that it’s not doing damage.

“No matter how much you smoke or how long you have smoked, the best time to stop is right now. Call the Quitline, or talk to your GP or other health professional for advice.”

The research is published in the international journal BMC Medicine and was undertaken in partnership with the Heart Foundation and Sax Institute.

Dr Martin McNamara, Deputy CEO of the Sax Institute and Chief Investigator on the 45 and Up Study, said: “The 45 and Up Study is the biggest long-term health study in Australia, and one of the biggest in the world – and these results make clear how the study can help us uncover new findings with important implications for health care services.”

The research is published in BMC Medicine.

Zest Magazine accepts contributions promoting everything about living the good life (and how to make this so). C'mon, give us a yell.

Fitness

Study finds moderate-vigorous physical activity is the most efficient at improving fitness

Dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

Published

on

In the largest study performed to date to understand the relationship between habitual physical activity and physical fitness, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that higher amount of time spent performing exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and low-moderate level activity (steps) and less time spent sedentary, translated to greater physical fitness.

“By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures, we hope that our study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course,” explained corresponding author Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at BUSM.

He and his team studied approximately 2,000 participants from the community-based Framingham Heart Study who underwent comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) for the “gold standard” measurement of physical fitness. Physical fitness measurements were associated with physical activity data obtained through accelerometers (device that measures frequency and intensity of human movement) that were worn for one week around the time of CPET and approximately eight years earlier.

They found dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

According to the researchers, while the study was focused on the relationship of physical activity and fitness specifically (rather than any health-related outcomes), fitness has a powerful influence on health and is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death. “Therefore, improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health,” said Nayor, a cardiologist at Boston Medical Center.

Continue Reading

Fitness

Tips to avoid common running injuries

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

Published

on

Photo by Malik Skydsgaard from Unsplash.com

Whether training for a marathon or preparing for your first community race, being knocked off course with pain can be hard to handle mentally and physically.

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

Injury prevention is critical. Here are some safety tips from Dr. Joshua Blomgren, a 15-time Chicago Marathon team physician and sports medicine physician, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:

Don’t over-train

Don’t increase weekly mileage or intensity by more than 10 percent each week. Build up slowly and let a good training schedule determine how much you run.

Invest in good shoes

Go to a specialty running shop to be properly fitted for running shoes and/or orthotics. Replace them every 350-500 miles. Incorrect shoes can affect your gait, leading to injuries in your feet, legs, knees, or hips.

Choose the best running surface

Look for running surfaces that absorb shock. Opt for asphalt over concrete. Find grass or dirt trails, especially for higher mileage. Avoid uneven surfaces and seek paths with slow curves.

Stretch!

Training causes tight muscles, leading to strain and changes in your gait. Commit to a stretching program. Just 5 -10 minutes after each workout can make a big difference.

Strengthen muscles

Runners have tight hip flexors because their quads are overtrained. Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes to reduce chance of injury and abductors, adductors, and core to create stability.

Watch out for heel striking

Heel striking occurs when your feet land in front of you and your heel hits the ground first. This is common among new runners but can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and joint pain. Land mid-sole with your foot directly underneath your body.

Prioritize posture

Good form means staying upright and keeping your shoulders back and relaxed. Work core exercises into your training and do posture checks every so often. Hold your head right above your shoulders and hips.

Continue Reading

Fitness

Postmenopausal women can dance their way to better health

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures.

Published

on

Photo by Olivia Bauso from Unsplash.com

Women often struggle with managing their weight and other health risk factors, such as high cholesterol, once they transition through menopause. A new study suggests that dancing may effectively lower cholesterol levels, improve fitness and body composition and in the process, improve self-esteem. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures. As a result of all these changes, postmenopausal women often suffer from decreased self-image and self-esteem, which are directly related to overall mental health.

Physical activity has been shown to minimize some of the many health problems associated with menopause. The effect of dancing, specifically, has already been investigated with regard to how it improves body composition and functional fitness. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of dance on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness together in postmenopausal women.

This new study was designed to analyze the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image/self-esteem in postmenopausal women. Although the sample size was small, the study suggested some credible benefits of a three-times-weekly dance regimen in improving not only the lipid profile and functional fitness of postmenopausal women but also self-image and self-esteem.

Dance therapy is seen as an attractive option because it is a pleasant activity with low associated costs and low risk of injury for its practitioners. Additional confirmed benefits of regular dancing include improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance. All of these benefits may contribute to a woman’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle throughout her lifespan.

Study results are published in the article “Dance practice modifies functional fitness, lipid profile, and self-image in postmenopausal women.”

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of camaraderie from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Like Us On Facebook

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Most Popular

Copyright ©FRINGE PUBLISHING. All rights reserved.