UK Study: More are Overweight and Alcohol-related Deaths Increase

overweight

The latest Social Trends report released by the Office National of Statistics has uncovered that alcohol-related deaths are on the increase but life expectancy is lengthening.

One in five men and one in seven women over the age of 16 consume more than double the daily allowance for alcohol once a week, increasing the amount of people who suffer from alcohol illness.

The ONS has been collating data since the 1970s on how people live in the UK and behavioural changes in society. Matthew Hughes, editor of Social Trends 40, told the telegraph.co.uk "The UK and the world are very different places now compared to 40 years ago. This book represents an overall picture of life in the UK today."

Life Expectancy is Higher for Women and Smoking Rates Fall

The report revealed that men are now expected to live to 77.8 years old 10 years older when compared to the '70s. Women are also living longer on average until 82 years old, a slightly less increase of seven years.

There was more encouraging health news over smoking rates as the number of heavy smokers has fallen considerably. In the last four decades male heavy smokers has decreased from 26 per cent to seven per cent. Women have also seen their rates of smoking fall with a drop of eight per cent down to just five per cent.

Social Changes Include Marriage and Communications

The ons.gov.uk also found that more people are living in single person households and do not feel the need to get married. Since 1971 there has been a doubling of single person households to 12 per cent. Two thirds of people over the age of 18 feel fulfilled enough in their lives not having a regular partner with more women putting off having children until later in life.

One of the largest behavioural changes over the last 40 years has been communications due to the internet revolution. Internet connection has now risen to 66 per cent in households compared to to nine per cent -staggeringly over the last ten years only.

Hughes opined: "The statistics highlight some of the main social changes over the last four decades. We are now living longer, less of us get married, and household sizes are smaller.”

"More of us have cars, women are having babies later in life, and more of our household spending goes on housing, water and fuel."

Other significant changes are the amount of those progressing onto higher education with numbers rising since the 1970s by almost two million.
More passports are also needed in modern day Britain as more than 40 million foreign holidays are taken than four decades ago with Spain still tourist’s most popular destination.

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Dry Eye Syndrome in Young People

dry eye syndrome

It is common knowledge these days that older people are prone to illness and disease. Their bodies seem to shrink as they get older, their skin becomes wrinkly, and simple bodily functions cease to operate properly. One of these is vision and the condition of the eye. A lot of elderly people suffer from cataracts and impaired vision, which is mostly caused by a lifetime of unknown strain on the actual muscle of the eye. But what if this happens in younger people, especially those under the age of 40?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Quite simply, this disorder is caused by a breakdown of functions in the eye. It is all connected to the tear film, a protective shield that covers the cornea (the centre of the eye) and stops grit or other foreign bodies from scratching it. This tear film is what gives the human eye its moisture, a constant watery layer to keep the eye clean and free from disease.

But dry eye syndrome is not only related to lack of tears. When this watery layer of protective mucus is damaged it can no longer shield the most sensitive part of the eye (cornea). The brain will automatically send messages to try and produce tears to make up for this dryness, and this will result in a stream of water coming from the tear ducts. So from having very dry, sore eyes, the person is now suffering very wet, sore eyes. Yet as soon as this water stream slows, it evaporates, and the eye is back to its usual dry, uncomfortable state.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?

As well as a constant dry sensation, the patient of this syndrome will be sensitive to light. They may find even indoor electric lighting is too bright and that they feel more comfortable wearing sunglasses. When driving a vehicle at night it may seem as though all other drivers have their high-intensity beams on even when they don’t. It will be impossible to lift the head up on a sunny day because of the pain.

If the person blinks rapidly they will find no tears forming, and will instead feel sharp, stabbing pains, as though there were something in the eye that shouldn’t be there. It will feel hot, uncomfortable, and sometimes very sore. There will be a sensation of grit in the eye and sometimes a flaky texture around the eyelashes.

A feeling of tiredness is often associated with dry eye syndrome. Prolonged use of contact lenses can damage the eye’s protective layer and may result in dryness and difficulty producing tears. The skin around the eyes will feel puffy and taut and women will find it uncomfortable or painful to wear eye makeup because it sits too heavily on the eyelids and lashes.

How is Dry Eye Syndrome Caused?

In this modern age it is commonly believed that dry eye syndrome only affects elderly people. This is simply not true. Children are being raised on a diet of fast food, fizzy drinks, and playing computer consoles and watching large hi-tech television screens. As they move into the workplace they have to drive for several hours a week, sometimes more than two hours every day, and all of this takes its toll on the eye. The added dependency on computers means the eye is constantly under immense strain.

Exposure to bright lights, lack of natural minerals and vitamins, and even something as simple as not drinking enough water can exacerbate the condition. And even the simplest reaction, blinking the eye, is forgotten about while the person concentrates on the road ahead, or the document they are reading, or the game they are playing. They forget to blink and the eye becomes dry, and the tear film can no longer cope with the strain.

How do I treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

Once diagnosed by a doctor there is currently no known cure for dry eye syndrome. But as with all medical conditions, once a diagnosis is made, it is suddenly easier to deal with. Dry eye syndrome is no different. It can be eased with the aid of simple artificial tears. These are non-medicated eye drops, with no preservatives, that act as temporary lubrication for the eye. They can be readily obtained in a reputable pharmacy. A lubricating ointment can be a great help, especially if applied at night to soak in during sleep. This will stop the eyes from becoming sticky and crusty, and will also help ease dry skin.

It is important to maintain cleanliness around the eyes. They can be bathed in a solution of boiled, cooled water with salt mixed in, which will clean out impurities and foreign bodies. The traditional beauty care method of putting cucumber slices over the eyes can help reduce puffiness and will cool the discomfort, offering temporary relief.

Also the general environment needs to be adjusted. A sufferer of dry eye syndrome must get plenty of sleep to allow the body to heal itself from within. Try to reduce the hours spent in front of a computer screen or television, or at least take regular breaks and remember to blink frequently. Remove the need for air conditioning units where possible, and perhaps place a few humidifiers around the house or workplace. Small houseplants can act as natural humidifiers. And remember to eat good, healthy food and drink lots of water, to keep the body hydrated from within.

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Home Remedies for Back Pain

back pain
Back pain can take a toll on everyone — young and old. However, according to the book 1,801 Home Remedies by Reader's Digest, there are many ways you can help prevent, as well as relieve, back pain on your own.

Apply Ice and Heat

After you've experienced an injury, apply a bag of ice or frozen vegetables on the painful area. Ice is known not only to counteract against pain, but also reduce swelling.1,801 Home Remedies suggests that you keep ice on the injured area as frequently as possible during the first two days. After you've applied ice for 48 hours, place a heating paid on your back (specifically on the injured area). Consider repeating this three times a day, 20 minutes at a time, for about a week.

Massaging Pain Away

Ask your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend to rub your back. However, skip the lotions, especially if you're unsure of whether or not you have skin allergies. And if your partner gets a little tired while giving you a massage, ask him or her to try this: take a knee sock, add tennis balls inside and roll it up and down your back. Or visit your doctor, chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist and see what she recommends as massage tools.

Supplements From the Health Store

Visit your local health store and ask about bromelain supplements. Bromelain, says 1,801 Home Remedies, is known to "promote circulation" as well as decrease swelling. Just make sure you get clearance from a doctor first and read the bottles — pay attention to any contraindications stated on the label.

Change Your Posture When You're in Pain

If your back is in pain, don't force yourself to sit or lie in a certain way. Instead, look for a position that puts the least stress on the injured area. And if you're more comfortable sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees. This will help relieve pressure from your back.

Preventing Back Pain

Most of all, we must move around in order to prevent back pain — in fact, if one stops exercising, there's a higher likelihood of injuring the back even more! When your back hurts, gentle movement is recommended, as this will keep the back joints loose and flexible. Also, visit a gym class or personal trainer and get feedback on how you can strengthen your back through stretching and weight training.

Clearly, back pain can be a vicious cycle, however, you can take measures at home to treat, as well as prevent, it. Consider ice and heat, massage, nutritional supplements, changing your posture and preventative measures. In the long run, your body will thank you.

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How To Remove Excess Earwax in a Safe and Healthy Way

excess earwax
Earwax is a waxy substance in the ear meant to protect and clean the ear canal. Figuring out what earwax is is the first step to treating it. Earwax grows slowly, pushing dirt and other particles from the ear. It usually falls out on its own. Sometimes, however the earwax can build up and cause heavy feelings in the ear canal or hearing issues.

Is This Excess Earwax?

Earwax is an itchy substance, but it does have a purpose. Not only does it clean the ear, it provides lubrication. Often times, when people think they have excess earwax when in reality they have the typical amount. Sometimes, however, earwax does build up, and that requires medicinal attention. The trick is figuring out whether or not the ear wax is excessive.

If one is experiencing hearing loss or pain, this could be a sign of excess ear wax. Anything from a slight muffled sound to almost complete deafness can be a sign of hearing loss created by ear wax. If left untreated, it could cause permanent damage to the ear drum. Feeling pain inside the ear drum can also be a sign of excess ear wax. Check the symptoms and consult a doctor if needed.

Removing Earwax Safely

At home removal can help alleviate minor pain or discomfort, but it’s important to do it safely. Never ever use a cotton swab. As stated before, the ear wax is slowly emerging itself from the ear canal. Although a cotton swab will remove some of the ear wax, it will push the majority of the wax back down in the canal. This can cause damage to the ear drum.

Products for removing ear wax can be bought at the store, but it can also be done with household products. All one really needed is a dropper, some sort of oil such as baby oil, mineral oil or olive oil, and water. The oil should be warmed (but not hot). Fill the dropper (these can be purchased at a drug store) with some of the warm oil, and tilt the head to the side. Place several drops of the warm oil in the ear, and allow it to rest in there for several seconds. The heat will “melt” the wax. Tilt the head the other way, and catch the oil in a tissue of cloth. There should be some wax deposits on the tissue as well. If there are none, repeat the process. Afterwards, clean the ear out with water and dry completely.

Usually at home treatment works, but if the hearing loss and pain persist, medical treatment is advisable.

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Huge Study: Statins Associated with Cataracts, Not Dementia

statin drugs

Statin drugs are a family of medications known to reduce the risk of heart attack and death in people with cardiovascular disease. The drugs usually can be identified by the letters “statin” in their names. They include simvastatin, atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, and rosuvastin.

Many have worried that statins might increase the risk of dementia, or cancer, or some other serious medical condition, and there have been studies that support those concerns. However, those studies are relatively small. A very large study would be necessary to truly understand the possible risks of taking statin drugs.

The British health care system provides the opportunity to gather huge amounts of data. Medical practices in England and Wales typically use electronic health records.

To look precisely at the issue of the risks of using statins, investigators collected data on almost two million people from over 300 general practices. About 225,000 people, about 10% of the subjects, were new users of one of the statin drugs. Data over five years were used.
The researchers presented their data mostly as relative risks. The five year risk of cataract in a person not using a statin was 0.0495. This means that for 100 people, about five would usually get cataract. Among people using a statin, the five year risk was about a third more, or between six and seven cases in 100 people. Put another way, treating 1000 people with a statin would produce about 19 “extra” cataract cases.

Meantime, the benefit would be a reduced risk of heart attack and sudden death. For every 100 users, about three people would be spared from a new cardiovascular event. Put another way, treating 1000 people with a statin would prevent 27 new cardiovascular cases.

Statin Use Did Not Affect Cancer Risk

There was no association with taking statin medications and the following cancers:
  • Colon cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Statin users had a slightly reduced risk of cancer of the esophagus.

Statin Use Associated with Liver, Kidney and Muscle Problems

A few medical conditions were associated with statin use, as previously known and expected. These were:
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Kidney failure
  • Myopathy (muscle inflammation)

Statin Use Not Associated with Osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, Blood Clots

Other conditions for which no association with statin use was found include: dementia, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporotic fractures, and rheumatoid arthritis. The risks and benefits of taking statin medications must be evaluated in light of personal goals and preferences, and in the context of frank discussion with the health care provider.

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How To Quit Smoking With Zyban

Stopping smoking can be extremely difficult for thousands of people who find willpower alone is simply not enough to get them off the dreaded weed for good.

Instead they invariably turn to the hundreds of so-called “miracle” fixes on the market, often paying substantial sums of money for very disappointing results.

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Stop Smoking

However, the anti-depressant, Zyban, if used correctly and in consultation with a doctor, has delivered impressive results by training the brain to “forget” the cravings associated with smoking.

Zyban is the trade name of the drug "bupropion" and it was approved as a stop smoking aid in 1997. The same drug, was previously and still is known as an anti-depressant and is manufactured under the name of Wellbutrin.

The manufacture of Zyban began after smokers taking the anti-depressant medication Wellbutrin (another name for Zyban), reported that their nicotine dependence seemed to diminish, to the point where it was actually preferable to stop smoking rather than continue.

Zyban has been produced in the form of a pill, which is taken twice a day and is only available on prescription from a doctor. It cannot be bought over the counter at present.

How Does Zyban Work?

Zyban works on the brain by boosting two chemicals that release feelings of well being and enjoyment. This in turn reduces the severity of the withdrawal symptoms as well as reducing the urge to smoke at all.

The course begins one week before giving up smoking, so initially patients are taking Zyban whilst continuing to smoke. This is because it takes time for the Zyban to reach the necessary levels to be effective. However, some patients can start to feel “off cigarettes” within hours.
During the second week, a stop smoking date is selected and the medication continues for a further 7 - 11 weeks. If smoking doesn’t cease on the chosen date, a new one should be targeted, as close to the original as possible.

The tablet should be taken twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening, or with at least 8 hours between doses. The pill should be taken with water and swallowed whole. It should not be chewed, crushed or divided.

Each tablet is a 150 mg dose. For the first three days, only one dose is taken and then for the rest of the treatment course, this is increased to a dose of 300 mg. No more than 300 mg should be taken in any one day.

Quitting Smoking

Clinical studies have shown that withdrawal symptoms are reduced, especially feelings of irritability, anxiety, anger, poor concentration, restlessness and depression. Success rates in quitting smoking range between 15% and 25%, although one study did show the success rate to be more than double these figures. Another, from the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that almost one in three users of Zyban required no further stop smoking help.

Is Zyban Safe?

Zyban is relatively new and studies are still being carried out concerning the effects and safety of the drug. The main concern is that it may cause seizures or convulsions and certain people are more at risk than others. It has been estimated that one out of every thousand users will suffer a seizure whilst using Zyban. For this reason, the 150 mg single dose should never be exceeded.

Those taking the drug in the form of an anti-depressant (Wellbutrin) should never take Zyban at the same time. The same goes for people being treated for anorexia nervosa or bulimia, as they are at an increased risk of suffering seizures or convulsions.

Zyban will not be prescribed without a doctor's consent, and only after taking into account and adjusting any existing medication.

Never use Zyban if:

  • Taking Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR or any other medications that contain bupropion
  • Suffering from any eating disorders
  • Taking any form of medication for treatment of depression
  • Suffering chronic liver cirrhosis
  • Suffering from any seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Under18

Side Effects

The most common side effects reported with use of Zyban are sleeping disorders, dry mouth and headaches. The side effects are usually mild and disappear after a few weeks with continuous use.

Other common side effects are stomach pains, vivid dreams, changes in bowel movement, muscle and joint pain, coughing, lack of concentration, itchiness, sore throat and nausea.

If side effects persist, stop taking zyban and consult a doctor.

Smoking Facts

  • ted diseases cause an estimated 440,000 American deaths each year.
  • s the United States over $150 billion annually in health care costs.
  • A 2004 Study by the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer

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