SELF HELP RESOURCE - Wellness / Lifestyle

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A visit to a doctor’s office or health clinic sometimes involves filling out a health form or a health risk assessment. Some of the questions asked include habits such as smoking and drinking, but did you know that there are other bad habits that may be part of our lifestyle?  

Here we share some of the obvious habits that are not good for our health, along with other subtle ones that we may not realize outright, but will be better off if we take care of them as well.  

Smoking 

Smoking is so dangerous for human health, that there is no safe level or threshold available. Every person copes with nicotine differently. This depends on a person’s weight, age and gender. Smoking is known to increase blood pressure, affect the heart and even cause dizziness. Over time, it reduces oxygen flow to the major organs like the heart and brain. This causes the heart to work overtime to compensate for the oxygen loss. Narrowing of major arterial vessels also causes heart attacks and strokes. In addition, smoking is known to cause cancers of the mouth, oesophagus and lungs.  

It is important not to start smoking for any reason. If you do smoke, take help to quit and break the habit.  

Binge Drinking 

Binge drinking is when alcohol is consumed to an extremely dangerous level. This may also lead to alcoholism or an overdependence on alcohol. The blood alcohol concentration or BAC rises to 0.08 percent after a binge. Alcohol often acts as a sedative, and chances are that you may overdo it without even realizing that you are drinking too much. The feel-good factor that accompanies binge drinking is often what keeps people coming back for more. A binge could cause a temporary loss of memory and an inability to think straight. 

If you need help to quit binge drinking or an overdependence on alcohol, our counsellors are here to help.  

Sleep Deprivation 

Giving up on sleep just to meet those deadlines or to put in extra hours of work may make you seem like a pro. But it can also seriously backfire. Messing up your circadian clock upsets your sleep cycle, and this, in turn, affects your ability to concentrate and can also upset the body’s hormones, making you feel overly hungry, stressed, tired and irritable. Feeling stressed can lead to elevated blood pressure and weight gain. In addition, when hunger hormones are disrupted, they can cause unhealthy cravings during the day.  

 

Risks of Physical Inactivity 

When we cite lack of time as an excuse not to exercise, we are doing a disservice to ourselves. Not exercising on a regular basis can increase our risk of developing high blood pressure and certain cancers. In addition, not exercising can also lead to problems like being overweight or obese. This again predisposes the body to developing type 2 diabetes and other obesity related medical conditions.  

Also, a lack of exercise causes the muscles to atrophy, they become weak due to lack of use and stimulus. A healthy muscle mass helps burn calories effectively and raises the body’s basal metabolic rate. In addition, muscles help strengthen and protect bones, by maintaining a healthy bone density. 

Excessive OTC 

Reaching out for medication from the pharmacy for ailments may not be such a good idea after all. OTC otherwise known as “over the counter drugs” are available from local pharmacies and do not need a doctor’s prescription. Like other medications, they are safe when used in recommended amounts. However, overdependence on such drugs can also lead to overconsumption and even drug abuse. Many times, pain relievers and cold medications are misused in this way. This can lead to other health issues like memory loss, drowsiness, blurred vision and rapid heart rate. 

It is always better to consult your family physician and use the medications they suggest in the recommended doses. They can give you an accurate diagnosis. It is also not advisable to Google your symptoms: to a layman this can lead to misunderstanding and even misdiagnosis. Sometimes, OTC drugs can mask symptoms or even make them worse. Also, while taking medications of any kind, make sure that you are well hydrated. This helps flush out the toxins and makes it easier on the liver and kidneys.  

 

References 

  1. 26 Health Effects of Smoking on Your Body. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/effects-on-body#

  2. Binge Drinking - Know the Dangers and Risks Involved. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/binge-drinking/ 

  3. Everyday Habits That Are Secretly Ruining Your Health. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.thrillist.com/health/nation/common-habits-that-ruin-your-health# 

  4. Fitness, S., & Fitness, G. (2019). The Effects of Lack of Exercise on the Body | Livestrong.com. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/351679-the-effects-of-lack-of-exercise-on-the-body/ 

  5. Over the Counter Drug Addiction - Abusing OTC Drugs. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/over-the-counter-drugs/ 

  6. Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/risks_of_physical_inactivity_85,p00218 

  7. Sleepiness, Medication & Drugs: Why Your OTC Medications And Prescription Drugs Might Make You Tired. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/sleepiness-medication-drugs-why-your-otc-medications-and-prescription-drugs-might-make-you 

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