Smoking poses a very significant preventive threat to a person’s health. Quitting will reduce this risk. Low-tar cigarettes or cigars do not reduce your health risks.
Smoking increases blood pressure, can double the risk of having a heart attack, affects artery walls and increases “bad cholesterol” (LDL cholesterol) as well as affecting the lungs.
It is linked with several serious health problems including:
- Heart Disease
- Lung Cancer
- Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema
- Disease of the arteries of the legs (peripheral vascular disease)
- Bladder cancer
- Cancer of the oesophagus (gullet)
- Reduced birth weight for babies when the mother smokes
There are several treatment options to help you:
- Nicotine Patches
- Nicotine Gum
- Nicotine Inhaler
- Prescription medication such as champix
Many of the nicotine replacement products are available over the counter at your pharmacist.
Alcohol can have some beneficial effects from a health point of view, – small amounts can help prevent heart disease (one to two units per day).
Alcohol is conveniently quantified in units, which is the same as 10 grams of alcohol.
One unit of alcohol is equivalent to:
- 1 standard (not overfilled) glass of wine
- 1 standard measure (“shot”) of spirits
- ½ a pint of beer
The more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of physical, mental, and social problems associated with it. It is generally accepted that the maximum safe weekly alcohol intake is:
- For a healthy adult male: 21 units per week
- For a healthy adult female: 14 units per week
This intake should be evenly distributed over the course of a week, and the week should include alcohol free days. Binge drinking is common and is associated with higher risk of accident, violence, and dangerous toxic effects.
Prolonged over consumption of alcohol can have cause many problems, such as:
- Liver cirrhosis / failure
- High Blood pressure
- Heart rhythm abnormalities / weakening
- Permanent memory problems
- Reduced testosterone production
- Depression / mood problems
- Social problems, – work, family, relationship difficulties
Alcohol contains high calorie levels, irrespective of type of drink, which can contribute to weight problems. If you are drinking more than the maximum levels outlined above, cutting down will protect or help restore your health.
Try the following questionnaire:
- Do you ever feel you should cut down your alcohol consumption?
- Do you get annoyed when other people suggest you should cut down?
- Do you ever need a drink in the morning to steady things, or make things feel better?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you probably have a problem with alcohol, please see your GP.
Most people are not active enough. Being inactive often leads to obesity and it doubles the risk of heart disease.
Being active will:
- Lower your cholesterol level, blood pressure, and blood sugar level
- Maintain your heart, joints, and muscles
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Increase your energy level
- Sleep better, which can improve your mental alertness
- Reduce stress
- Improve your mood and your general feeling of wellbeing
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.