Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘smoking’

Guidelines For Successful Change

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I read an article in a local publication recently and thought it had some pretty good points. I’ll try to sum it all up in a quick, easy read:

Ten Steps To Lasting Change

  1. Face the Truth – Start being honest with yourself. Quit making excuses for your bad habits and tell yourself the truth. Examine your bad habits and be honest about the pros and cons of continuing that habit.
  2. Write a New Story – “It runs in my family…”; “I just don’t have the will power…” Excuses are nothing more than an internal narrative you use to justify bad decisions. Since it’s all in your head, you’re the only one that can change it. Start telling yourself what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. “This family trait ends with me!…”; “I’m not perfect, but I can do it…”
  3. Get Ready For “Psychic Surgery” – Realize that the psychology effects of changing habits are as tough as the physical effects. Prepare for this difficulty so you can recognize and fight the weakness when it pops up.
  4. Set a Date – By picking a time to begin your new eating plan, workout routine, or smoking cessation, you allow yourself time to prepare, but you also set a deadline. Public commitments are more powerful than private ones… tell others about your plan and start date.
  5. Set Realistic Goals – Don’t make your goal to “lose 150 pounds.” Instead, make your goal to lose ten pounds over the next month, then set a new goal. If your goal is to walk more, aim for 15 minutes three times per week then increase from there. It’s always more rewarding and motivating if you exceed your goals than to almost make it. Goals should push you, not break you.
  6. Make Change In a Positive Way – Frame your internal dialogue around the positive as opposed to the negative. Instead of “I will not smoke,” say, “I am a non-smoker.” Instead of “I will not overeat,” say, “I eat small portions several times per day.” Don’t focus on the negative or you will rapidly lose your stamina and will power.
  7. Put Change at the Top of Your List – Make the change you want to make one of the highest priorities in your life. Focus on that change until it’s second nature, then re-evaluate and decide what to change next.
  8. Build In Feedback – Hold yourself accountable! Keep a food diary, an exercise log, etc. A written record supports #1, Facing the Truth. No more, “What candy bar?” It’s on the paper so when you ask yourself why you only lost 4 pounds this week instead of five, you’ll know why.
  9. Reward Yourself – Reinforce your behavior and truly reward yourself for doing well. When setting your goals, give yourself something to strive for. A full body massage if you go two weeks without a smoke. Buy yourself flowers for losing ten pounds. A new golf club for walking three times a week for a month. Just make sure the reward comes after you’ve accomplished what you intended.
  10. Regroup, Don’t Retreat – Are you going to slip? Are there going to be mistakes? Sure, of course there are. However, don’t stop trying. Realize it’s the plan that is flawed, not the goal. Continue reviewing these guidelines, and alter your plan until it moves you towards your goal. Don’t give up… just try something different.

One thing I’ve found that helps with making lasting change is a post-it note on your bathroom mirror. Start each day by reading a message to yourself, an affirmation, or just a word of encouragement. Print, or better yet, write out these guidelines in your own handwriting and stick them on the fridge. Stay focused and stay positive… you can achieve nearly anything you want if you just decide to do so.

Dr. Gray


Posted in General Health | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Smoking Spurs Snoring

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, July 29, 2008

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter
Source: HealthDay

(HealthDayNews) — Your chances of getting a peaceful night’s sleep are better if you don’t smoke, or spend time around anyone who does.

That’s because smoking — both active and passive — makes it more likely you’ll snore the night away, according to a study in the October issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

“Smoking is a common cause of snoring. Even passive smoke can induce snoring,” said study co-author Dr. Karl Franklin, a professor at University Hospital in Umea, Sweden, who added that the most important take-away message from this study is to stop smoking if you’re a smoker.

Habitual snoring is a common problem. Between 16 percent and 33 percent of men and 8 percent and 19 percent of women are thought to be habitual snorers. Habitual snoring is defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three times a week, the researchers said.

Along with being a well-known cause of marital strife, nighttime snoring can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, which can put you at risk in situations that require attentiveness, such as driving. Snoring has also been linked to ailments such as diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension and increased mortality in men under 60, according to Franklin.

Snoring is caused by an obstruction in the nasal passages, said Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist at New York University Medical Center in New York City.

“Normally, air is getting pushed through a narrow tube as you breathe. If it’s narrower than normal, there will be more noise,” said Siegel, who pointed out that’s one reason why obesity is strongly linked to an increase in snoring — as you gain weight, your nasal passages become smaller.

Franklin said the researchers have three theories on why cigarette smoke increases the risk of snoring. The first is that smoking, whether active or passive, irritates and inflames and narrows the upper airways. Another theory is that nicotine withdrawal during sleep may cause certain physiological changes that make snoring more likely. And, finally, because nicotine is toxic to nerve cells, smoke may cause toxic lesions on the nerves in the muscles of the upper airways.

Franklin’s study included more than 15,000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 54. They were from Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. All answered a questionnaire that included questions on smoking, snoring, chronic bronchitis, obesity, gender and age.

Snoring was far more prevalent in smokers than in those who had never smoked, 24 percent versus 13.7 percent. Former smokers weren’t off the hook either — 20.3 percent of them snored. Nearly 20 percent of people who had never smoked, but were exposed to cigarette smoke on a daily basis at home, were habitual snorers.

After calculating for other snoring risk factors, such as obesity, gender and age, current smoking was responsible for a 17 percent increase in snoring, and passive smoking a 2.2 percent increase. Obesity increased the risk of snoring by 4.3 percent.

“Smoking does predispose you to snoring because it inflames the nasal passages, so it also makes sense that passive smoke can because passive smoke is unfiltered smoke,” Siegel said.

However, Siegel added he had one problem with the study — the information was gathered solely by questionnaire, which is generally not considered the most reliable way to collect information, especially if you’re asking about behavior that goes on while you sleep.

“Your partner is probably a better judge of whether you snore or not,” Siegel said.

But, he added, it would be very difficult and expensive to do a completely objective study on snoring.

If you’d like to stop your nocturnal noisemaking, Siegel suggests quitting smoking, staying away from people who smoke, losing weight, and treating sinus infections and any allergies you may have. Also, avoid eating just before going to bed and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, he said.

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More Bad News for Smokers

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, July 24, 2008

This is the text of an article I sent out in 2004.

A new study published in the journal SPINE this past March [March 2004] has shown evidence that exposure to nicotine can lead to, accelerate, and/or worsen disc degeneration in the lumbar spine:

Summary of Background Data. Numerous studies confirm that smoking is a strong risk factor for back pain. The most widely accepted explanations for the association between smoking and disc degeneration is malnutrition of spinal disc cells by carboxy-hemoglobin-induced anoxia or vascular disease. Nicotine, a constituent of tobacco smoke, present in most body fluids of smokers is known to have detrimental effects on a variety of tissues. It may also be directly responsible for intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration by causing cell damage in both the nucleus pulposus and anulus fibrosus. The effect of nicotine on IVD cells has not previously been investigated.

Conclusions: Nicotine has an overall detrimental effect on NP disc cells cultured in vitro. There was significant inhibition of cell proliferation and extracellular matrix synthesis. Nicotine in tobacco smoke may have a role in pathogenesis of disc degeneration.

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Herniated/"Slipped" Discs, Low Back Pain | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: