Tag Archives: Sterling Medical Advice

Straight, No Chaser: The Health Risks of Urban vs. Rural Living

back-to-nature

What’s your flavor, city vs country living? Regardless as to wear you live your life, each decision comes with defined risks to your health, and yes, these effects go beyond the risks of different forms of trauma in each location. To extend the scenario globally, it is an amazing fact that for the first time in human history, it is estimated that more people worldwide live in urban areas than in rural ones. In today’s Straight, No Chaser, we evaluate a few health facts that speak to the relative value of city vs. country living.

It is important to understand that some considerations are more reflective of socioeconomic status than urban vs. rural dwelling. Notably, poverty is a cause of poor health and limits access to health prevention and medical care, regardless of the location of one’s home. There are strong correlations between lower income and higher death rates (mortality) across the board. Poverty, not urban living per se, increases the likelihood of encountering violence, increases the likelihood of experiencing violence and child abuse.

urbanvsrural

More specific to inner-city urban living, in 1997 the American College of Physicians identified specific health problems most commonly associated with US inner cities, labeling this disadvantage as an “urban health penalty.” They included the following:

  • Drug abuse
  • HIV infection
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Violence

Simply put, addressing this set of issues requires addressing the root causes of poverty. It is also of note that access to care presents as significant problems in both urban and rural communities, but for different reasons. Rural communities are likely to have access considerations due to geographic and physician shortages, and urban communities are more likely to have barriers prevent accessing available resources.

RuralHealth

There are defined differences in health and health risks, based on living in the city vs. a rural location. For example, those that live in cities:

  • Actually have less of a risk of becoming obese;
  • Are less likely to die of an accident;
  • Are more likely to be lactose tolerant.
  • Are more likely to develop asthma, have allergies and suffer from dry eyes;
  • Are more likely to have better TB resistance;
  • Have a much lower risk of suicide;
  • Have troubled circadian rhythms and disturbed sleep; and
  • Report a more pleasant and healthy old age.

Finally it is worth noting that inner city environments produce specific public health threats. These include the following:

  • Homelessness,
  • Increased availability of illicit drugs,
  • Increased spread of HIV infection and treatment-resistant tuberculosis
  • Presence of higher concentration of certain types of pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and molds.

At the end of the day, these risks may or may not result in health problems for you individually. It is important for you to be aware of the risks in order to limit your exposure. Be empowered, not crippled, by this information, and enjoy the rest of this wonderful time of the year, regardless of your environment.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Public Health

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Limit Your Risk of Contracting The Most Deadly Diseases

early-death-pair

It is interesting and, even more, curious to hear everyone obsess over how esoteric and rare conditions can potentially kill you. Word to the wise: Common things happen commonly.  I’m going to make this a very simple post (with links to previous Straight, No Chaser posts covering the individual topics in greater detail). Let’s help you extend your life expectancy by offering very simple tips (three to five for each) to prevent and combat the five most common causes of death. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you follow the achievable steps mentioned, you’ll be much better off than if you don’t.

Health_hazards

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are the five most common causes of death in the United States for the year ending 2010. (It takes awhile to compile data, but these are basically the leading causes year after year.) I’ve also included the number of annual deaths per condition.

 agingheart

Heart disease – Click here to learn early recognition of heart attacks.

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Exercise daily. Walk at least two miles each day. It’s a final common denomination of other problems and is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. You want your LDL (“bad cholesterol” levels) low and your HDL (“good cholesterol” levels) high. If your LDL and/or overall levels are high, it’s an immediate prompt to reduce your belly, change your diet and exercise more.
  • Limit your calories. Never supersize anything. Eat only until you’re full. Learn about healthy plate sizes.

cancer

Cancer – Cancer warrants a special comment to get screened! Early detection is the key to survival!

  • Don’t use tobacco in any form.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.
  • Become physically active: strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week.
  • Limit sun exposure and avoid tanning. (Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.)
  • Limit alcohol intake to one to two drinks/day (women and men, respectively).

asthmarisk

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Get your home tested for radon.
  • Follow workplace guidelines for workplace exposures to particles known to cause cancer.

strokerecog

Stroke – Learn early detection.

  • Control your blood pressure. This is the most important risk factor in stroke prevention. High blood pressure increases your risk for a stroke four-fold.
  • Control your blood sugar levels. Diabetics have a 1.5 times higher risk of stroke.
  • Control your cholesterol.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for a stroke between 1.5-2.5 times above the risk of non-smokers.
  • Control your weight through diet and exercise, which is bundled in each of the first three considerations.

mvc

Accidents

  • Learn CPR.
  • Wear safety belts (shoulder and lap) every trip. Seat belts reduce auto crashes by approximately 50%.
  • Stop all distracted driving (drinking, cell phone use, eating, etc.).
  • If you’re going to swim, and even if you know how to swim, take a formal lesson that focuses on life-saving maneuvers.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

risk

There is no fountain of youth. Your cure won’t be found in a bottle, a fad or any other quick fix. It really is about diet, exercise and risk management. The choices you make matter. Remember, although these tips were focused on prevention, early detection and treatment at the time of crisis give you the best chance to survive. Learn early detection of heart attacks and strokes, learn CPR, get screened for cancer and learn how to survive car crashes. It’s not that hard.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Introduction to Club Drugs – Date Rape and Other Adverse Effects

club-drugs-300x217

A little knowledge goes a long way, particularly when it comes to the habits of teens and young adults. Those who partake in the club scene, parties, concerts or other social settings may find themselves participating in or otherwise subject to psychoactive drugs collectively known as Club Drugs. This Straight, No Chaser provides simple, general questions about these drugs as a group.

 ClubDrugMolly

What types of drugs are commonly included as Club Drugs?

Ecstacy (MDMA, aka Molly), GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), ketamine and rohypnol (roofies) are some of the more common drugs in this group.

 sex drugs and rock

How are these drugs abused?

These drugs have been used for several purposes, including getting high, enhancing the clubbing experience and date rape. GHB also has muscle-building effects that make it attractive for use by bodybuilders.

clubsdrugs

What’s dangerous about the use of club drugs?

Several qualities about these drugs are dangerous when consumed in a typically used manner.

  • Some of these drugs are colorless, odorless and tasteless, allowing them to be slipped into beverages (e.g. alcohol) without the person’s knowledge.
  • They are psychoactive, meaning they affect the brain – often in unpredictable ways, but often as a sedative. These sedative effects make the user unable to operate heavy machinery, leading to danger if driving. This effect also makes resistance to physical and sexual assault lowered. All of these lead to your engaging in activities that aren’t safe or in your best interest, some of which may place you at risk for HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
  • Many of these drugs have strong physical and mental addictive properties and can cause withdrawal symptoms. Continued use over time will introduce an entirely new set of health risks and problems into your life.

Date-Rape-1024x569

Are there dangers related to overdosing?

This is a special concern. Many don’t know that they’re taking the drugs and may consume additional substances, intended or not (e.g. alcohol) that interact with and enhance the effects of Club Drugs. These drugs can lead to seizures, high blood pressures, difficulty breathing, date rapes, comas, and death.

What Treatment Options Exist?

Relying on treatment is a dangerous proposition when it comes to Club Drugs.

  • Many patients won’t even know what happened to them.
  • There won’t be evidence that a drug was ingested.
  • They may or may not come to the emergency room (ER) from a club setting.
  • There are no detection tests for some of these drugs in the ER.
  • Symptoms can rapidly escalate from mild to life-threatening.
  • Emergency room personnel may be distracted from the presence of the drug by other considerations, such as treating the physical aspects of a rape or motor vehicle crash.
  • Even if identified, few options exist for many of these drugs beyond treatment to support vital functions.

Drinkholder

Then what can I do?

Protect yourself. Here are some simple tips to reduce your risk.

  • Until you know the person you’re with, select less dangerous date settings. A loud and noisy club scene with a lot of attractive, intoxicated people is an ideal place for those looking to take advantage of someone. Select a location where you can be in full control of your mental and physical capacities.
  • Provide others with information or where you are, who you’re with and updates on your activities. This could come in handy if the need arises.
  • The tried and true recommendation regarding Club Drugs is to always be in control of your drink, from the time it’s delivered to the time you’re done. Going to the restroom or on the dance floor? Time it after you’re done with your drink or beverage. The idea of placing a napkin over your drink just isn’t a deterrent to someone who’s considering date rape.

Look for additional information on individual drugs with www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com, and you can always reach out and ask questions at 844-SMA-TALK. Enjoy the party, but be careful out there. You can be safe, smart and fun at the same time.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Toxin and Detoxification Series Summary

bigstock_Smiley_ball_sending_message_ab_25677302

I want to thank you for all the positive responses to the series of posts on toxins and detoxification. You have shared many personal stories and asked many great questions. I guess I’ll continue to accept your being shy (especially on these topics) about asking personal questions publicly, but keep contacting me here. To that end, I’ll summarize by sharing some of your thoughts and making a few final comments.

You can’t escape toxins, but you can pretty easily reduce your exposure to them. For the things you can control, “everything in moderation” is a pretty good rule of thumb for most, except for cigarette smoke into your lungs. That just needs to stop.

Your body does a great job of detoxification through the lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines and skin. This process is retarded by age and the effects of toxins on these systems.

There are a lot of fad diets and questionable methods of detoxifying. Most have risks that should make you cautious. None are more effective than tuning your body to do its best work. Furthermore, these methods are invariably more effective in the short-term than the long-term.

Now, to some of your questions.

1. So are you saying bowel movements are good enough to detox the intestines?

Until and unless your bad habits catch up with you, yes. Consider the ways the large intestines (the colon) handle toxins.

  • If healthy, the colon sheds old cells about every three days, preventing a buildup of harmful material. It regenerates new healthy cells in their place. It’s lining includes mucus membranes that can keep toxic substances from reentering the blood and tissues.
  • You have “natural” bacteria that reside in the colon. They actually detoxify food wastes for you. (One of the potential issues of colon cleansing is the removal of these bacteria.)
  • The liver’s main function is to neutralize toxins.
  • Your bowel movements remove waste and toxins from you. Although the number of bowel movements vary between individuals, your body (if healthy) is able to regulate when you defecate based on your needs.
  • Increasing the number of bowel movements doesn’t improve weight loss. That’s because the body absorbs most calories before they reach the large intestine.

Nothing in a colonic or juice fast will match this level of effectiveness. Spend your efforts keeping your body healthy. Increase your fiber, water, fruit and vegetable intake. Lower or eliminate the intake of red meat, cigarettes and alcohol. There’s your detox program all day long.

2. So what’s the verdict on the detox diets and colon cleansing?

Consult with your physician. I’d imagine that using the diets as a starting point for lifestyle changes would be endorsed. I’d doubt that any fad diet would be endorsed.

3. You said tap water is no longer good? Should I exclusively drink bottled water?

Actually filtered water is even better.

4. Are you suggesting I stop wearing makeup?

You’re beautiful just the way you are.

5. Have you ever had a colonic?

Yes, and it made me feel dirty. (Was that serious, or a joke?)

6. I’d never do that.

Actually, you will. (Well, almost.) Many men over 50 will have a colonoscopy to evaluate for the possibility of colon cancer at some point. If and when you get that, you’ll get your colon cleanse solution one to two days before the procedure and maybe an enema in addition. At least you’ll be under the care of a physician, and you’ll get a sedative first!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Health Prevention, Medical Treatment

Straight, No Chaser: A Look at Detox Diets

detox-diet1

Detox-Diet2

Everyone who talks to me about detox is motivated and sincere about making an improvement in his or her health.  Therefore, it’s important that they be shown respect and encouraged.  However, some of these same individuals exhibit a level of desperation that is counterproductive and leaves them subject to fads and scams that are doomed to long-term failure. The first question I ask is “Are you trying to improve your health or weight?” These are often separate considerations. Of course, I’m hoping they answer, “Both.”  Interestingly, that happens less often than you might think. Next, I’ll ask if they’re engaged in some basic, fundamental activity (click here), which is rarely the case. Once people discover the latest, greatest thing, they tend to lock in on it and just have to go for it.  So be it.

So… today and tomorrow, I’m going to discuss two very common “quick-fix” approaches to detoxification. Let’s start with the “detox diet.”  For the purposes of this discussion, all detox diets are variations of the same theme. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you or come off as dismissive, but the point of the matter is that from a medical standpoint, these actions are reducible to a set of physiologic actions that either produce biological effects or don’t.  Giving a car a new coat of paint doesn’t make it an airplane.  Similarly, taking a quick detox diet doesn’t make you healthy if you return to the same conditions that produced your pathology in the first place.  Folks, it really should occur to you that given the rates of obesity and disease that exist, if these diets really worked, the pharmaceutical and medical communities would be all over them because of their potential for profit (and of course the potential for good…).  Here’s what detox diets do and don’t accomplish.

The Premise: Going on a diet for a few weeks can clear your body of toxins, which will improve your health.

The Short Term Effects: Proponents of detox diets often claim or note the following during the diet:

  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Better mental focus

The Long Term Effects: Proponents of detox diets often make the following claims about the benefits of the diets:

  • Health promotion
  • Prevention of new diseases
  • Cure of chronic diseases

What’s Really Happening: Have you ever heard that correlation is not causation?  If you engage in any activity involving backing away from fats, drinking more water, taking in less sugar and processed food, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, and taking in more fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel better!  In fact, I’m all for it.  Refer to this blog post where I give you details on how to naturally, healthily and sustainably do this.

Now, here’s the question. Is your detox diet just a two to four-week “challenge,” or is it the launching pad for a set of lifestyle changes? The problem is that people use these diets with their better principles, but they usually don’t sustain them.  In fact, the diets themselves generally are not sustainable because they’re too restrictive. If you tried sustaining some of these diets, you’d end up hospitalized.  You’re much better off applying fundamental principles that will slowly and steadily improve your health and also help you lose weight. By the way, those long-term claims have been roundly and routinely debunked by the medical community, which has every incentive to want to discover new ways to treat disease.

Precautions and Risks

  • Before starting any diet, you need to discuss what you’re trying to accomplish with your physician. I’d venture a bet that most would not approve one of these diets, especially if you suffer from any chronic illness, especially diabetes, mental illness, moderate to severe (and poorly controlled) high blood pressure or cardiac disease. They also won’t approve it if you’re pregnant or at the extremes of age.
  • Based on the components of these diets, you are introducing certain specific risks.  These include vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, electrolyte loss and imbalance and disruption of the function of your digestive system.

Let’s finish with two pointed questions and answers.

1.  Should I go on a detox diet?  I encourage almost any activity that motivates you to improve your health and has been shown to improve your health. If you want to naturally detox, apply these principals as the basis for a lifestyle change. As your body recovers, your natural detoxification system will take over and do just fine (assuming you are otherwise healthy).

2. I quick-flush my system with a diet every few months. Is this healthy?  It depends on what you’re doing as a “quick-flush” and even more so, what you’re doing in-between. Focus on enhancing your natural detoxification system. I can’t say that a one-time or intermittent initiative to kick things off would be a terrible thing — if you stay with the program. In the best case scenario, it’s like going to get a dental cleaning every six months. You’ll still have decaying teeth and disease if that’s the only thing you’re doing. On the other hand, if you’re brushing and flossing every day, then the six-month check up is quick (and in this case, maybe superfluous).  I’m much more concerned with you sustaining a healthy approach toward the desired goal.

Next up, and the last in this series on detoxification will be a look at colonics.  Until then, bottoms up!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Health Prevention, Medical Treatment, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Quick Tips to Detoxify Yourself Naturally

Natural-Detox1

Here are 3-4 Quick Tips for each of the organs involved in naturally detoxifying you; I’ve limited what I’m giving you to do in the effort to make this manageable for you. I don’t think you’ll find anything here beyond your ability to implement into your routine. If you incorporate the items listed below, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier life.

Quick tips to naturally detox your skin: 

  1. Diet: think fruits and vegetables, and cut back on refined sugar.
  2. Sweat: You know I prefer you exercise, but if you’re healthy enough, the sauna works too. Or you can just move to Texas in the summer.
  3. Exfoliation is a beautiful thing. There are dozens of ways to do it. Find one that works for you.
  4. Hydrate and moisturize. You spend too much time in the sun and lose too much water from your skin not to replenish (You get a bonus tip because your skin is such an important detox organ.).

Quick tips to naturally detox your lungs:

  1. Avoid inhaling cigarette and cigar smoke. Duh.
  2. Exercise makes your respiratory machinery more effective and efficient. Go for it.
  3. Learn to deep breathe. Take it in from your belly. Learn to breathe slowly and deeply. Yoga is a great complement to this.

Quick tips to naturally detox your kidneys:

  1. It’s all about fluids. Remember that your body is over 60% water, and you have to stay hydrated and keep flushing. I’ve discussed this previously but remember to get in at least 64 ounces of fluids a day.
  2. Learn about cranberries. Many of those urinary tract infections are successfully addressed by drinking cranberry juice.
  3. Remember that diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease. You want to detox your kidneys? Control your blood pressure and avoid/control diabetes.

Quick Tips to naturally detox your liver and intestines:

  1. Increase your water intake. Water makes your entire body function better but also softens your stools, facilitating transport.
  2. Increase your fiber intake. Fiber bulks your stools and makes it easier to expel.
  3. Decrease your alcohol intake. As everyone knows, alcohol will sufficiently damage your kidneys to the point where your body will be unable to eliminate many toxins. Liver disease is a very unpleasant experience and way to die.

It bears repeating: if all of this sound fundamental, it’s because it is. You have the ability to help yourself if you consistently apply basic health and wellness principles. You can do this.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Detoxification, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Our World is Filled with Toxins

toxic-world-2

You can’t escape all toxins, but you can certainly minimize your exposure to them.  A handy way to classify them involves reminding you of the organ systems that help us detoxify and how, over time, toxins fight and sometimes win the battle against our defenses.  In the interest of space, I’m going to give you the names of several chemicals that you may want to know about and should be wary of using, without giving you details on their individual effects.  If you have questions about any of them specifically, call me at 1-844-SMA-TALK.

Lungs

The toxins: We are fighting what we breathe and inhale.  Air pollution includes levels of carbon monoxide and methane.  Exhaust fumes, factory emissions, first and second-hand smoke all contain substances damaging to our lungs.  Did someone mention cigarettes?  Tobacco smoke has been fascinating to me.  The idea that we would introduce smoke into the very area we use to deliver oxygen to our entire body is one of the most curious actions of humans.  Look at this diagram of the toxins found in cigarettes.

chemicals-in-cigarettes-arsenic-etc

The effects: The lungs are impressively effective at handling toxins up to a certain point and up to a certain age (approximately 35 years old).  At that point what had been reversible airway damage begins to not only change the structure of lung tissue, but it results in lung tissue loss that does not get repaired.  It’s as if when you run your hands through your hair, you discover that you’re pulling out large clumps of it.  Of course, the problem is that this isn’t your hair, but the lung tissue that you need to breathe.  The list of diseases contributed to, exacerbated by or caused by toxins is long, including COPD (emphysema, chronic bronchitis), asthma exacerbations, asbestos and lung cancer.

Skin: 

The toxins: Do you trust your skin products – you know, mascara, styling gel, tanning oil, soaps and body washes, shampoos, hair sprays, shaving creams, cologne and lotions, just to name a few?  Toxic chemicals you’re commonly absorbing through your skin include propylene glycol, parabens, glycerin, triethanolamine and sodium lauryl sulfate.

The effects: You thought acne and the occasional allergic reaction were bad?  This group’s collective effects includes respiratory, immune system and skin toxicants and known throat carcinogens.  I’d suggest you become more conscious of what you’re using and seek organic options when available.

Kidneys

The toxins: The water we drink seems to get worse with time.  Does anyone remember when tap water was “just fine?”  Now our drinking water is liable to contain ammonia, chlorine, bleach and other toxic substances.  An entire movie (Erin Brockovich) was made over the issue of toxins in drinking water.  You may recall that the kidneys bear the burden of the actual elimination of urine.  They need to maintain excellent health to perform this function.

The effects: The consequences of the kidney’s inability to perform can be so dramatic that dialysis (which is basically manual, external filtering of your blood once the kidneys go into failure) becomes necessary.  Prior to that, toxins “gumming up” the kidneys can be left free to create havoc in other parts of the body.

Gastrointestinal system (particularly your liver and intestines)

The toxins: The food you eat is toxic.  To be clear, usually I’m asking you to eat healthily.  Today, that’s still true, but it’s not the only issue.  I’m pointing out that your food contains actual toxins, including food additives and dyes, pesticides on your non-organic fruits, aspartame, MSG, hormones, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, mercury, bisphenols, and alcohol.  Did someone mention alcohol?  Alcohol is directly toxic to the liver.

The effects: I’m just going to focus on the alcohol.  Alcohol produces conditions known as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.  Chronic, excessive alcohol use is the single most important cause of illness and death from liver disease in the U.S.  Moderation or abstention is the order of the day, my friends.  Liver transplants are very hard to come by.

The purpose of this is not to paralyze you into inactivity but to stimulate you into action.  Between now and tomorrow, when you read the fourth post in this toxins series, I’d suggest you review this post about natural detoxification.  Compare that to some of the other options I’ll be discussing later.  I’d recommend an ounce of prevention.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

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