Health & Disease Prevention

Causes of Glaucoma

Causes of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging the nerve in the back of your eye called the optic nerve.

People who have higher eye pressure are at higher risk for glaucoma. But each type of glaucoma is different — and for some of them, experts are still learning about the causes.

How can eye pressure damage the optic nerve?

Research shows that higher eye pressure increases your risk for damage to the optic nerve. The pressure in your eye goes up if fluid can’t drain normally out of the front of your eye.

Between the cornea (clear front layer of the eye) and the iris (colored part of the eye), there’s a space called the “anterior chamber.” Fluid normally flows through this space and out of an opening where the iris and cornea meet. The opening has spongy tissue in it. The fluid passes through this spongy tissue as it drains out of the eye.

The green arrow in the diagram below shows how the fluid normally moves through the eye.

Not everyone with higher eye pressure will develop glaucoma. Whether you develop glaucoma depends on the amount of pressure your optic nerve can take without being damaged. This amount is different for each person.

Getting regular comprehensive dilated eye exams can help your eye doctor figure out what level of eye pressure is normal for you.

What causes open-angle glaucoma?

In people with open-angle glaucoma, the fluid passes too slowly through the spongy tissue in the opening where the iris and cornea meet. This causes fluid to build up in your eye, which increases the pressure inside of your eye.

Experts believe that when the pressure inside your eye gets too high, it can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss. Studies show that lowering eye pressure can help stop vision loss from glaucoma — that’s why it’s important to control the pressure inside your eyes.

What causes normal-tension glaucoma?

It’s possible for your optic nerve to get damaged and cause vision loss without high eye pressure. This is called normal-tension glaucoma or low-tension glaucoma.

Experts don’t know why this happens, but it may be that your optic nerve is more sensitive than most people’s. In this case, even though the pressure in your eye is normal, lowering it can slow down or prevent more damage to your eye.

What causes angle-closure glaucoma?

In angle-closure glaucoma, the opening where the iris and cornea meet gets blocked by the outer edge of the iris. When this happens, the fluid can’t drain out of your eye at all. This is a medical emergency.

Angle-closure glaucoma can cause these sudden symptoms:

  • Intense eye pain
  • Upset stomach (nausea)
  • Red eye
  • Blurry vision

If you have these symptoms, go to your doctor or an emergency room immediately.

What causes congenital glaucoma?

In congenital glaucoma, babies are born with a problem in their eye that makes fluid drain more slowly than normal. The good news is that if a child with congenital glaucoma gets surgery soon after they are diagnosed, they have a high chance of developing good vision.

Can other health problems cause glaucoma?

Yes — you can develop different types of glaucoma that are called secondary glaucomas.

Health problems that can cause glaucoma include:

  • Complications from medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Cataract
  • Certain eye tumors
  • Inflammation of your eye
  • Serious eye injuries
  • A reaction to steroids used to treat some diseases

Source https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma/causes


What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?

The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to have regular screening tests starting at age 21.

Screening Tests

Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early—

  • The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
  • The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes.

Both tests can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic. If you have a low income or do not have health insurance, you may be able to get free or low-cost screening tests through CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Find out if you qualify.

HPV Vaccine

The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

  • HPV vaccination is recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given starting at age 9.
  • HPV vaccine also is recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if they are not vaccinated already.
  • HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. However, some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get the HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination. HPV vaccination in this age range provides less benefit, as more people have already been exposed to HPV.

If vaccination is started before age 15, a two-dose schedule is recommended, with the doses given 6 to 12 months apart. For people who start the series after their 15th birthday, the vaccine is given in a series of three shots.

HPV vaccination prevents new HPV infections, but does not treat existing infections or diseases. This is why the HPV vaccine works best when given before any exposure to HPV. You should get screened for cervical cancer regularly, even if you received an HPV vaccine.

More Steps to Help Prevent Cervical Cancer

These things may also help lower your risk for cervical cancer—

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Use condoms during sex.*
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.

*HPV infection can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. While the effect of condoms in preventing HPV infection is unknown, condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer.

Source https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/prevention.htm


BD Prevention

Best For You. Best For Baby. 5 Tips for Preventing Birth Defects.

1.    Be sure to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
Folic acid is important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. These birth defects develop very early during pregnancy when the neural tube—which forms the early brain and the spinal cord—does not close properly. You need to start taking folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant and continue during pregnancy.In addition to eating foods with natural folate, you can:
  • Take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day.
    • Most vitamins sold in the United States have the recommended amount of folic acid women need each day. Check the label on the bottle to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid, which is 400 mcg.
  • Eat fortified foods.
    • You can find folic acid in some breads, breakfast cereals, and corn masa flour.
    • Be sure to check the nutrient facts label, and look for one that has “100%” next to folic acid.
2.    Book a visit with your healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medicine.
Many women need to take medicine to stay healthy during pregnancy. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss your current medicines with a healthcare provider, such as your doctor or pharmacist. Creating a treatment plan for your health condition before you are pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
3.    Become up-to-date with all vaccines, including the flu shot.
Vaccines help protect you and your developing baby against serious diseases. Get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
  1. Flu: You can get the flu shot before or during each pregnancy.
  2. Whooping Cough: You can get the whooping cough vaccine in the last three months of each pregnancy.
4.    Before you get pregnant, try to reach a healthy weight.

Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are underweight, overweight, or have obesity, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Focus on a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.

5.    Boost your health by avoiding substances that are harmful during pregnancy.
Alcohol: There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy, so it’s important to stop drinking alcohol when you start trying to get pregnant. Tobacco: Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems. Smoking during pregnancy can also harm the developing baby and can cause certain birth defects. Quitting smoking will help you feel better and provide a healthier environment for your baby. Other Drugs: Using certain drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her developing baby. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and can’t stop using drugs―get help! A healthcare provider can help you with counseling, treatment, and other support services.

 

Source https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/prevention-month.html


HIV/AIDS: The Basics

What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, which is the virus that causes HIV infection. The abbreviation “HIV” can refer to the virus or to HIV infection.

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

HIV attacks and destroys the infection-fighting CD4 cells of the immune system. The loss of CD4 cells makes it difficult for the body to fight off infections and certain cancers. Without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy the immune system and advance to AIDS.

How is HIV spread?

The spread of HIV from person to person is called HIV transmission. HIV is spread only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV. These body fluids include:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Pre-seminal fluid
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Rectal fluids
  • Breast milk

HIV transmission is only possible through contact with HIV-infected body fluids. In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by:

  • Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV
  • Sharing injection drug equipment (works), such as needles, with someone who has HIV

The spread of HIV from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission of HIV. For more information, read the AIDSinfo fact sheet on Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.

You can’t get HIV by shaking hands or hugging a person who has HIV. You also can’t get HIV from contact with objects such as dishes, toilet seats, or doorknobs used by a person with HIV. HIV is not spread through the air or in water or by mosquitoes, ticks, or other blood-sucking insects.

 

How can I reduce my risk of getting HIV?

To reduce your risk of HIV infection, use condoms correctly every time you have sex, limit your number of sexual partners, and never share injection drug equipment.

Also talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is an HIV prevention option for people who don’t have HIV but who are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV. PrEP involves taking a specific HIV medicine every day. For more information, read the AIDSinfo fact sheet on PrEP.

HIV medicines, given to women with HIV during pregnancy and childbirth and to their babies after birth, reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In addition, because HIV can be transmitted in breast milk, women with HIV who live in the United States should not breastfeed their babies. Baby formula is a safe and healthy alternative to breast milk and is readily available in the United States.

 

What are the symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, some people may have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, or rash. The symptoms may last for a few days to several weeks. During this earliest stage of HIV infection, the virus multiplies rapidly.

After the initial stage of infection, HIV continues to multiply but at very low levels. More severe symptoms of HIV infection, such as signs of opportunistic infections, generally don’t appear for many years. (Opportunistic infections are infections and infection-related cancers that occur more frequently or are more severe in people with weakened immune systems than in people with healthy immune systems.)

Without treatment with HIV medicines, HIV infection usually advances to AIDS in 10 years or longer, though it may advance faster in some people.

HIV transmission is possible at any stage of HIV infection—even if a person with HIV has no symptoms of HIV.

Source https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/fact-sheets/19/45/hiv-aids–the-basics


Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent flu. The tips and resources below will help you learn about steps you can take to protect yourself and others from flu and help stop the spread of germs.

1.    Get Vaccinated.

2.     Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

3.     Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

4.     Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.

5.     Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

6.     Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

7.     Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Source https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm


Influenza Key Facts

What is Influenza (Flu)?

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Flu Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.

How Many People Get Sick with Flu Every Year?

A 2018 CDC study published in Clinical Infectious Diseasesexternal icon looked at the percentage of the U.S. population who were sickened by flu using two different methods and compared the findings. Both methods had similar findings, which suggested that on average, about 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from flu each season, with a range of between 3% and 11%, depending on the season.

Why is the 3% to 11% estimate different from the previously cited 5% to 20% range?

The commonly cited 5% to 20% estimate was based on a study that examined both symptomatic and asymptomatic influenza illness, which means it also looked at people who may have had the flu but never knew it because they didn’t have any symptoms. The 3% to 11% range is an estimate of the proportion of people who have symptomatic flu illness.

Who is most likely to be infected with influenza?

The same CID studyexternal icon found that children are most likely to get sick from flu and that people 65 and older are least likely to get sick from influenza. Median incidence values (or attack rate) by age group were 9.3% for children 0-17 years, 8.8% for adults 18-64 years, and 3.9% for adults 65 years and older. This means that children younger than 18 are more than twice as likely to develop a symptomatic flu infection than adults 65 and older.

How is seasonal incidence of influenza estimated?

Influenza virus infection is so common that the number of people infected each season can only be estimated. These statistical estimations are based on CDC-measured flu hospitalization rates that are adjusted to produce an estimate of the total number of influenza infections in the United States for a given flu season.

The estimates for the number of infections are then divided by the census population to estimate the seasonal incidence (or attack rate) of influenza.

Does seasonal incidence of influenza change based on the severity of flu season?

Yes. The proportion of people who get sick from flu varies. A paper published in CIDexternal icon found that between 3% and 11% of the U.S. population gets infected and develops flu symptoms each year. The 3% estimate is from the 2011-2012 season, which was an H1N1-predominant season classified as being of low severity. The estimated incidence of flu illness during two seasons was around 11%; 2012-2013 was an H3N2-predominant season classified as being of moderate severity, while 2014-2015 was an H3N2 predominant season classified as being of high severity.

 

Period of Contagiousness

You may be able to spread flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

  • People with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins.
  • Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
  • Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

Onset of Symptoms

The time from when a person is exposed and infected with flu to when symptoms begin is about 2 days, but can range from about 1 to 4 days.

Complications of Flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

People at High Risk from Flu

Anyone can get flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years.

Preventing Seasonal Flu

The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

Source https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm


Why Wash Your Hands?

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

How germs get onto hands and make people sick

Feces (poop) from people or animals is an important source of germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus that cause diarrhea, and it can spread some respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease. These kinds of germs can get onto hands after people use the toilet or change a diaper, but also in less obvious ways, like after handling raw meats that have invisible amounts of animal poop on them. A single gram of human feces—which is about the weight of a paper clip—can contain one trillion germs 1. Germs can also get onto hands if people touch any object that has germs on it because someone coughed or sneezed on it or was touched by some other contaminated object. When these germs get onto hands and are not washed off, they can be passed from person to person and make people sick.

Washing hands prevents illnesses and spread of infections to others

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections because:

·         People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.

·         Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.

·         Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.

·         Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.

Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. Handwashing education in the community:

·         Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40% 236

·         Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%  4

·         Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21% 35

·         Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57% 7

Not washing hands harms children around the world

About 1.8 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the
world 
8.

·         Handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea 23 and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia 3, 5.

·         Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively 9.

·         Handwashing education and access to soap in schools can help improve attendance 10, 11, 12.

·         Good handwashing early in life may help improve child development in some settings 13.

·         Estimated global rates of handwashing after using the toilet are only 19% 6.

Handwashing helps battle the rise in antibiotic resistance

Preventing sickness reduces the amount of antibiotics people use and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. Handwashing can prevent about 30% of diarrhea-related sicknesses and about 20% of respiratory infections (e.g., colds) 25. Antibiotics often are prescribed unnecessarily for these health issues 14. Reducing the number of these infections by washing hands frequently helps prevent the overuse of antibiotics—the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Handwashing can also prevent people from getting sick with germs that are already resistant to antibiotics and that can be difficult to treat.

References

  1. Franks AH, Harmsen HJM, Raangs GC, Jansen GJ, Schut F, Welling GW. Variations of bacterial populations in human feces measured by fluorescent in situ hybridization with group-specific 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes.external icon Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998;64(9):3336-3345.
  2. Ejemot RI, Ehiri JE, Meremikwu MM, Critchley JA. Hand washing for preventing diarrhoea.external icon Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;1:CD004265.
  3. Aiello AE, Coulborn RM, Perez V, Larson EL. Effect of hand hygiene on infectious disease risk in the community setting: a meta-analysis.external icon Am J Public Health. 2008;98(8):1372-81.
  4. Huang DB, Zhou J. Effect of intensive handwashing in the prevention of diarrhoeal illness among patients with AIDS: a randomized controlled study.external icon J Med Microbiol. 2007;56(5):659-63.
  5. Rabie T and Curtis V. Handwashing and risk of respiratory infections: a quantitative systematic review.external icon Trop Med Int Health. 2006 Mar;11(3):258-67.
  6. Freeman MC, Stocks ME, Cumming O, Jeandron A, Higgins JPT, Wolf J et al. Hygiene and health: Systematic review of handwashing practices worldwide and update of health effects.external icon Trop Med Int Heal 2014; 19: 906–916.
  7. Wang Z, Lapinski M, Quilliam E, Jaykus LA, Fraser A. The effect of hand-hygiene interventions on infectious disease-associated absenteeism in elementary schools: A systematic literature review.external icon Am J Infect Control 2017; 45: 682–689.
  8. Liu L, Johnson HL, Cousens S, Perin J, Scott S, Lawn JE, Rudan I, Campbell H, Cibulskis R, Li M, Mathers C, Black RE; Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group of WHO and UNICEF. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality: an updated systematic analysis for 2010 with time trends since 2000.external icon Lancet. 2012 Jun 9;379(9832):2151-61.
  9. Burton M, Cobb E, Donachie P, Judah G, Curtis V, Schmidt WP. The effect of handwashing with water or soap on bacterial contamination of hands.external icon Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Jan;8(1):97-104.
  10. Azor-Martínez E, Cobos-Carrascosa E, Gimenez-Sanchez F, Martínez-López JM, Garrido-Fernández P, Santisteban-Martínez J, Seijas-Vazquez ML, Campos-Fernandez MA, Bonillo-Perales A. Effectiveness of a multifactorial handwashing program to reduce school absenteeism due to acute gastroenteritis.external icon Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2013 Oct 3.
  11. Lau CH, Springston EE, Sohn MW, Mason I, Gadola E, Damitz M, Gupta RS. Hand hygiene instruction decreases illness-related absenteeism in elementary schools: a prospective cohort study.external icon BMC Pediatr. 2012;12:52.
  12. Master D, Hess Longe SH, Dickson H. Scheduled hand washing in an elementary school population.external icon Fam Med. 1997;29(5):336-9.
  13. Bowen A, Agboatwalla M, Luby S, Tobery T, Ayers T, Hoekstra RM. Association between intensive handwashing promotion and child development in Karachi, Pakistan: a cluster randomized controlled trial.external icon Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Nov;166(11):1037-44.
  14. Hogerzeil H. Promoting rational prescribing: An international perspective. pdf icon[PDF – 6 pages]external icon Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995;39:1-6.

Source https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html


When to Wash Your Hands

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Source https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html


Lung Cancer Risks

Lung Cancer Risks

What Causes Lung Cancer

Anyone can get lung cancer. Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lung mutate or change. Various factors can cause this mutation to happen. Most often, this change in lung cells happens when people breathe in dangerous, toxic substances. Even if you were exposed to these substances many years ago, you are still at risk for lung cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to any of the substances listed below and take steps to reduce your risk and protect your lungs.

Smoking

Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. It causes about 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are known to cause lung cancer. If you still smoke, quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your lung health. Learn how to quit smoking.

Smokers are not the only ones affected by cigarette smoke. If you are a former smoker, your risk is decreased, but has not gone away completely—you can still get lung cancer. Nonsmokers also can be affected by smoking. Breathing in secondhand smoke puts you at risk for lung cancer or other illnesses.

Reduce your risk:

·      Don’t start smoking

·      Quit smoking if you smoke

·      Avoid secondhand smoke

 

Radon

Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that exists naturally in soil. It comes up through the soil and enters buildings through small gaps and cracks. One out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is subject to radon exposure. Exposure to radon combined with cigarette smoking seriously increases your lung cancer risk.

 

Reduce your risk: Test your home for radon. You can do this with inexpensive, easy-to-use test kits sold at hardware stores.

Hazardous Chemicals

Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals poses a lung cancer risk. Working with materials such as asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products is especially dangerous. If you think you may be breathing in hazardous chemicals at your job, talk to your employer and your doctor to find out to protect yourself.

 

Reduce your risk: If you are exposed to dust and fumes at work, ask your health and safety advisor how you are being protected.

 

Particle Pollution

Particle pollution refers to a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe. Evidence shows that particle pollution—like that coming from that exhaust smoke—increases the risk of lung cancer.

 

Reduce your risk: Help fight pollution. Work with others in your community to clean up the air you and your family breathe.

 

Genes

Genetic factors also may play a role in one’s chances of developing lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer may mean you are at a higher risk of getting the disease. If others in your family have or ever had lung cancer, it’s important to mention this to your doctor.

Source https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/learn-about-lung-cancer/what-is-lung-cancer/what-causes-lung-cancer.html

 


How to Prevent Diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes?

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. With type 2 diabetes, this happens because your body does not make enough insulin, or it does not use insulin well (this is called insulin resistance). If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you might be able to prevent or delay developing it.

 

Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Many Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Your chances of getting it depend on a combination of risk factors such as your genes and lifestyle. The risk factors include

·         Having prediabetes, which means you have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes

·         Being overweight or having obesity

·         Being age 45 or older

·         A family history of diabetes

·         Being African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander

·         Having high blood pressure

·         Having a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol or a high level of triglycerides

·         A history of diabetes in pregnancy

·         Having given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more

·         An inactive lifestyle

·         A history of heart disease or stroke

·         Having depression

·         Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

·         Having acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition in which your skin becomes dark and thick, especially around your neck or armpits

·         Smoking

 

How can I prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes?

If you are at risk for diabetes, you may be able to prevent or delay getting it. Most of the things that you need to do involve having a healthier lifestyle. So if you make these changes, you will get other health benefits as well. You may lower your risk of other diseases, and you will probably feel better and have more energy. The changes are:

Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don’t gain it back.

 

Following a healthy eating plan. It is important to reduce the amount of calories you eat and drink each day, so you can lose weight and keep it off. To do that, your diet should include smaller portions and less fat and sugar. You should also eat a variety of foods from each food group, including plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to limit red meat and avoid processed meats.

 

Get regular exercise. Exercise has many health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. These both lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional to figure out which types of exercise are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to your goal.

 

Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you already smoke, try to quit.

 

Talk to your health care provider to see whether there is anything else you can do to delay or to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at high risk, your provider may suggest that you take one of a few types of diabetes medicines.

Source https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventdiabetes.html