1. SLEEP TIGHT
Too little sleep not only makes you grumpy, it may also indicate that you’re headed for metabolic syndrome – a cluster of symptoms (including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and excess stomach fat) linked to heart disease. In a recent study by the University of Pittsburgh in the US, people who complained of having trouble falling asleep had an 80% greater chance of developing the syndrome three years later. Disturbed sleep can contribute to inflammation, raise stress hormones and alter appetite-regulating hormones.
Loud snorers should try to put a lid on it: they are at even greater risk. Vibrations caused by snoring may change blood-vessel walls, leading to plaque build-up. Your doctor may recommend sleep-smart practices, weight loss, medication or a visit to a specialist. He or she will also need to monitor your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol more closely. Visit www.sleepmedicine.co.za for more info on sleep-related problems.
2. KICK THE HABIT
Despite the fact that tobacco smoking is estimated to have killed more than five- million people worldwide in 2008 – more than tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and malaria combined – people are still lighting up. The World Health Organization reports that the death toll is projected to exceed eight million a year by 2030. A report in the African Journal Of Drug And Alcohol Studies says while researchers and stakeholders in developed countries have been making efforts to tackle the problem, there has been indifference in much of the developing world – ‘a situation that is capable of causing devastation of huge proportions if left unaddressed’. Consider this: tobacco is the only legal consumer product that can harm everyone exposed to it.
3. BEWARE BOTOX
Happy? Sad? Who’s to know? Botox not only makes it difficult to show emotion, it can also keep you from reading others’ faces, new research shows. Part of how we interpret feelings is by mimicking expressions, which the injections inhibit.
4. GET MOVING
The same amount of exercise suggested for heart health – 150 minutes or more a week – also cuts the risk of endometrial cancer by one-third.
5. CLEAR UP CELLPHONE SKIN
If you have a bumpy, itchy rash on your face, you could be allergic to your cellphone. Nickel, often found on menu buttons, can cause contact dermatitis, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recently reported. If you’re breaking out and are allergic to nickel (up to 17% of women are), try a phone cover or a headset.