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With both hands, hold a dumbbell directly over your chest.

With both hands, hold a dumbbell directly over your chest.

Shaking up her routines helped, too. She temporarily swore off favorite cigarette accompaniments like coffee and red wine. And because her old “smoke-break spot” was on the front porch, she didnt use her front door for six months. Since quitting, Hudak, now 37, won the title of Mrs. Georgia United States 2008 and is now dedicated to spreading the word about the dangers of smoking. She is a spokeswoman for the National Lung Cancer Partnership and works to erase the stigma associated with the disease. More articles to help you quit Drugs Can Help You Quit Smoking97 Reasons to Quit SmokingQuiz: What Kind of Smoker Are You Why it worked Diet and exercise changes can help quitters avoid weight gain, one thing that makes quitting difficult for women, says Erik Augustson, PhD, MPH, a behavioral scientist at the National Cancer Institute. And a recent Duke University study says cutting out caffeine and meat is important because they can make cigarettes taste better. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, on the other hand, dont mask cigarettes nasty taste. Tiffanys lifestyle changes gave her more energy than she could have imagined. “If Id known life would be this good as a nonsmoker,” she says, “I would have quit a lot sooner!” Hudaks story was first published alongside the profiles of other quitters in the September 2007 issue of Health magazine.

We called everyone in July 2008 to see how things were going—and no one had started smoking again! What about you? Did you quit? Are you struggling with cigarettes now? Please email us at (with “”Quit Smoking”” in the subject line) and share your strategies and struggles. You may help someone else overcome a nicotine dependence. ” “ We’re in the middle of an antibiotic crisis that public health experts have been warning about for years.

While antibiotics are a miracle of modern medicine, they’re being over used and abused—30% of prescriptions are unnecessary, a new study found and yet doctors continue to prescribe them inappropriately and the agricultural industry relies on them to keep animals plump. Such overuse is leading to smarter bacteria that are evolving into super bugs that can resist nearly every antibiotic drug available today. To avoid a world of rampant, untreatable bacterial infections, experts say cutting back on unnecessary use of antibiotics is critical. That includes prescribing the drugs only for bacterial infections, against which they work, and not for viral infections. But because people with bacterial infections—people with cold symptoms, say—tend to feel similarly to those with viral infections—with flu symptoms—many doctors still prescribe the drugs for both. Now, scientists at Stanford University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center report on a blood test that can distinguish between bacterial and viral infections. The test looks at the proteins made by seven genes; in the presence of bacteria, four of the genes become more active, while in the presence of viruses, three of them churn out more proteins. By measuring this, the test can tell with reliable certainty whether an infection is caused by a bacteria or virus. This was a viruses was a surprise to the researchers. “The notion that there are just seven targets with really excellent accuracy was pretty shocking,” says Dr.

Timothy Sweeney, a researcher at Stanford University and lead author of the paper, which was published in Science Translational Medicine. Previous studies identified dozens or hundreds of genes that were associated with either bacterial or viral infections, but those analyzed a single set of data from a group of patients. Sweeney and his team combined publicly available data from nearly two dozen groups of people with documented infections. These ranged from cases of the common cold to hemorrhagic viral fevers, to ear infections and septic shock. Teasing apart the genetic signatures of these people led to the narrowed set of seven genes that showed consistently different activity in the presence of bacteria and viruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about a third of the 154 million prescriptions that doctors write for antibiotics are unnecessary, and likely do more harm in terms of promoting bacterial resistance, than good in treating infections. The reasons for that include patients who demand drugs to treat their symptoms, even if they aren’t caused by bacteria, doctors who are too pressed for time to educate their patients about the difference between bacterial and viral infections, and a better-safe-than-sorry mentality to protect hospitalized patients, from dangerous, potentially fatal infections like sepsis. “We don’t really have a good test where we can say you don’t have an infection so we can safely withhold antibiotics,” says Sweeney. This panel of seven genes may change that, but it will take a few years before it becomes reliable enough to use in the clinic.

While Sweeney and his colleagues tested the panel in a group of nearly 100 children with infections, more testing in more patients is needed to verify the panel’s accuracy. For now, the test also takes four to six hours—too long when the patient might be suffering from sepsis, which can progress quickly within hours. The goal is to perfect the technology to scan the blood for the seven genes’ profile in about an hour. “A lot of people said we need a test like this, and we hope our test, or one like it, will help to reduce the crazy over use of antibiotics that is threatening not just medicine but whole parts of our society based on our inability to treat certain infections,” says Sweeney. This article originally appeared on ” “ Your breasts now:You may notice some slight shrinkage. As you get older, hormonal changes cause body fat to accumulate in your lower regions—fat often decreases in the face or breasts and increases in the butt or thighs, explains Shirley Archer, a health-and-fitness educator at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Youll also notice more sagging because, as menopause approches, fat (which is more gravity-prone) replaces almost all breast tissue, and skin loses elasticity. Age also stretches out the Coopers ligaments. These fibrous, semielastic bands of tissue are found in breasts, and “theyre like rubber bands that get stretched over time,” Archer says. Your most common concern:Breast cancer. Your risk of developing the disease is now 1 in 38, the NCI says.

So in your 50s, its more important than ever to get to a healthy weight. Several major studies have found a link between postmenopausal weight gain (especially if you tend to gain around the waist) and breast cancer. “I recommend that every woman in this age group measure her waist, which should be less than half her height in inches,” breast specialist Holly Smedira says. Best breast-cancer-screening strategy:Annual mammograms. These are a must, as are physical examinations by your doctor and monthly self-exams. Best breast-saving move:Chest exercises. While nothing will magically save you from sagging, doing chest moves two or three times a week will pump up breasts temporarily (by increasing blood flow to the area) and tone underlying muscles. Heres a good exercise to try before a big event: Lie on your back across a bench with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. With both hands, hold a dumbbell directly over your chest.

Inhale as you lower the weight in an arc past your head, going as far as shoulder flexibility allows. Pause, then exhale as you lift the weight overhead in an arc until your hands are above your torso. Start with 8–12 reps; work up to 1 minute. Good news!Since your breasts are fattier now, mammograms can better detect cancer: The false-negative rate drops from about 25 percent under the age of 50 to about 15 percent, Brem says. Back to What Keeps Your Breasts Healthy ” “ Two commuter train crashes in the New York City metropolitan area are being blamed on undiagnosed sleep apnea, according to an announcement yesterday from the National Transportation Safety Board. Investigations have determined that the conductors in both accidents—a September 2016 New Jersey Transit crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, that killed one person and a January 2017 Long Island Railroad derailment in Brooklyn that injured more than 100—fell asleep on the job due to the chronic condition. Sleep apnea is a very common condition, and it’s easy for doctors to spot, says Allan Pack, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology. (Dr.

Pack was not involved in the investigations above, and has not evaluated the train conductors.) But even though knowledge about the condition is growing, says Dr. Pack, many people don’t realize they have a problem—and so it frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated. Here’s what he wants people to know about sleep apnea. “Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which your airway closes during sleep,” says Dr. Pack. “When you’re awake, the muscles in your airway are active—but when you sleep and those muscles collapse, in some people the airway narrows or becomes blocked completely.” This keeps oxygen from circulating throughout the body, and causes carbon dioxide levels to build up instead. “When the brain senses that, it wakes you into a lighter stage of sleep,” says Dr. Pack. “It sends a signal to those muscles and reopens the airway so you can breathe—but the problem is you’re getting interrupted all night long and not able to get into the deeper stages of sleep.” Some people with sleep apnea will notice that they’re waking up all night long, but they may not understand why. Others will never fully wake up, and think they’re sleeping soundly all through the night but wonder why they don’t feel rested in the morning. RELATED: The Best and Worst Foods for Sleep Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women; other risk factors include being older, being a smoker, drinking alcohol or using sedatives, and having a thick neck and/or narrow airways. But the biggest risk factor for men and women of all ages, Dr. Pack says, is being overweight. “”If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to have excess fat deposited in the upper airway,” he says. Because of that, as the country’s obesity epidemic is growing, the rates of sleep apnea are increasing as well. Spouses or bed partners are usually the first ones to know if a person has sleep apnea, because they will hear him or her snoring loudly throughout the night—a sign that air is not flowing smoothly through the airway as it should. Sometimes, they will even notice that their partner stops breathing for a few seconds, before gasping or snorting and falling back into a normal rhythm.

People with sleep apnea may not be aware themselves that this is going on at night, but they’re likely to feel tired when they wake up. They may also suffer unexplained headaches, irritability, and memory problems, and may find themselves nodding off throughout the day. To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter One of the biggest dangers of sleep apnea—besides the fact that it raises blood pressure and increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes—is that it can put people at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel, or while operating machinery. Sleep apnea has previously been ruled responsible for a 2013 MetroNorth train derailment that killed four people, and has likely contributed to countless automobile crashes, says Dr. Pack. Because of that, some companies (including MetroNorth and the LIRR) have started screening train operators, truck drivers, and other employees for the condition. Last year, President Obama proposed national guidelines that would require all trucking and railroad companies to do the same, but in August the Trump administration said it would not pursue such regulations. About 60% of people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea experience major improvement after beginning a treatment called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, says Dr. Pack.

The treatment involves wearing a mask over your nose and mouth while you sleep, which is connected to a tube that blows oxygen through the airway—holding it open while you sleep. CPAP can take some getting used to, says Dr. Pack, and other treatments are also available if patients really can’t adapt to sleeping with the machine. “But it really is the first-line of therapy,” he says, “and for the majority of patients, once they give it a try and realize how much their sleep has improved and all of the other benefits they get from that, they love it.” He encourages anyone with sleep apnea symptoms to talk to their doctors about diagnosis and treatment—for their own safety as well as the safety of others. ” “ Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt passed away over the weekend, after a battle with melanoma and a recent meningitis diagnosis. Here’s a good explanation of how the two conditions are related, and why cancer patients are so susceptible to this type of infection. [Daily News] Our Feel Great Weight blogger often discusses adjustments she makes to her summer diet to maintain weight loss, including cutting back on alcoholic beverages. But should you cut out drinking completely, or is moderation still the key to success? Fitness writer Katherine Hobson examines the issue in depth. [U.S. News & World Report] Can’t sleep? Write a book. That advice may not work for everyone (in fact, most doctors probably wouldn’t recommend it), but it does the trick for this well-known author—who suffers from a not-so-well-known sleep disorder, affecting only 2% of the population. [USA Today] Of all the questions posed to Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor last week at her confirmation hearings, one subject that didn’t come up was her health—specifically, her diabetes. Now the blogosphere is wondering, should her chronic disease be considered fair game? [L.A.

Times] We know how important nurses are to our fragile and overworked health-care system, but not everyone appreciates them like we do. That’s why we love this list of 10 things you should never say to a nurse. Heading to the hospital? Read this first. You’ll thank us later. [Nursing Link] ” “” “ An early report on Zika spread in Colombia reveals that close to 12,000 pregnant women have the virus. In the report released Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, Colombian researchers and scientists at the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that as of April, there were 65,726 cases of Zika reported in Colombia, with double the number of infections in women compared to men (this could be due to the fact that more women may be tested due to the risks to pregnancy).