Winter 2013 Features

Following are features from our Winter 2013 issue of Health Notes.

Winter Trivia









Your mother probably told you to put on a hat because we lose most of our body heat through the top of our heads. But how much other trivia do you know about winter? For instance, did you know that:

  • Ten inches of snow melts down to one inch of liquid rain.
  • The sun only sets once a year in the Arctic.
  • Eighty percent of snow is composed of air.
  • Contrary to popular belief, it can actually snow when the temperature outside is above 32 degrees. What matters is that the temperature is below 32 degrees up in the air where the snow is falling.
  • The name El Nino comes from Peru. The name literally means "the child" and is named after Jesus Christ, since the El Nino phenomenon usually occurred around Christmastime.

Will 2013 Be the Year You Quit?

Did you know that over half of all adult smokers have quit smoking? Is it time for you to quit? Our smoking cessation study has enrolled over 100 people who are motivated to stop smoking. If you are ready to quit, consider participating. Your body starts to see positive results almost immediately.

Many smokers are concerned that if they stop smoking, they'll put on pounds. The average weight tained is 10 pounds by one year after quitting smoking. Gaining weight after kicking the habit is usually caused by:

  • Feeling hungry. This feeling usually goes away after a few weeks.
  • Having more snacks and alcoholic drinks.
  • Being able to taste food. Smoking numbs your taste buds. Once you stop, food may taste better and be more tempting.

Combatting Weight Gain as You Quit

There are ways to avoid weight gain as you try to quit:

  • Be active each day. Not only will regular physical activity help you avoid large weight gains, but it will boost your mind. It will make you feel more energetic. Quitting smoking usually helps you breathe easier, which in turn makes aerobic exercise easier.
  • Don't go too long without eating. If you're too hungry, you're liable to make poor food choices.
  • Eat enough at meals to satisfy you, but don't overeat.
  • Eat slowly. This gives your body time to send signals to your brain that you are full.
  • Choose healthy snacks like fat-free yogurt, fresh fruit, canned fruit in its own juice, or low-fat air-popped popcorn.
  • Don't deny yourself the occasional treat, but keep it small. For instance, if you're craving ice cream, have one half cup.

The Pain of Acne

Acne is one of those conditions that most of us experience to some degree. But how much do you understand about acne? Here's an explanation of what's happening under the skin:

The hair follicles or pores in your skin have sebaceous glands. These are also called oil glands. They secrete an oily substance called sebum. Teenage hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to make more sebum. This causes the glands to become overactive, and the pores can get clogged. When this happens, bacteria get trapped inside and multiply. This causes swelling and redness.

  • A whitehead occurs when the pore gets clogged up and closes. It bulges out from the skin.
  • A blackhead occurs when the pore gets clogged up but stays open. This causes the top surface to darken.
  • A pimple occurs when the wall of the pore opens. This allows sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells to make their way under the skin. When a pimple has a pus-filled top, this is your body's reaction to the bacterial infection.

Acne is just for teenagers, right? On the contrary. Believe it or not, 1 in 5 women between ages 25 and 40 have acne. Although men can also have adult acne, it's less common than in women. The two most common causes of adult acne include:

  • Stress. It causes your oil glands to overcompensate.
  • Hormones. They cause the sebaceous glands to overact.

Understanding Nocturia

Nocturia, or frequent urination at night, is a common urological disorder in adults. The American Urological Association defines nocturia as the "need to urinate more than twice during the night." It is more common with age and typically results in a loss of sleep. Over time, this can lead to fatigue, memory deficits, depression and other issues. In many people the effect of nocturia can compromise their quality of life during daytime hours.

Here are some things to do to try to remedy nocturia:

  • Restrict fluids after dinner.
  • Take an afternoon nap to reduce fluid build-up.
  • Elevate your legs as often as possible. Gravity causes fluid to build up in your lower extremities. This makes your kidneys clear the increased fluid in the blood by producing more urine.
  • Walk more during the day.

Source: National Association for Continence

What can lack of sleep cause?

  • Confusion, memory issues, and decreased mental capacity.
  • Depression.
  • Diminished muscle strength and endurance.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Greater risk of heart disease.
  • Increased appetite and weight gain.
  • Greater sensitivity to pain.
  • Weakened immune system.

Lack of sleep can also disrupt your body's insulin production and sugar metabolism. This can increase your risk of diabetes.