Life is full of hazards that can affect our health and well being. It is amazing that most of us are able to hurdle these obstacles and overcome the adversities we are faced with everyday without our bodies succumbing to illness due to these risks and the ever present pressures of life. But we do. In fact, some people try to foresee the potential dangers and avoid them when possible. And some people even manage to perform acts such as exercising and eating healthy to help offset the perils that cannot be avoided.
Though there are many acts we are familiar with that can be performed to help maintain a healthy body and mind, there are many acts people perform everyday that are hurting both body and mind and they don’t even realize it. Some of these aforementioned acts are probably being done mindlessly because they are so ingrained in our daily routines. In order to prevent these acts from hurting your body or even to reverse the damage already done, it is time to wake up and pay attention to the little things you are doing that could be causing your body harm.
1. Negative thinking can do more than just give you a bad attitude. Some researchers believe negative thinking may actually block impulses being transmitted to the brain from the central nervous system. The breakdown in communication could cause the body to receive information on a delayed basis. Negative thinking may even prevent the body from producing certain hormones in the body which could affect the immune system. These interruptions in the body’s functions could result in fatigue, higher susceptibility to illnesses, and trouble sleeping.
The premise that negative thinking can interfere with the body’s function may still be just a theory, but there are certainly adverse physical effects associated with a chronic negative thinker. Rates of depression are significantly higher in people who regularly entertain negative thoughts. Depression has been proven to result in physical ailments such as tiredness, headaches, and upset stomachs. Negative thinkers are generally less happy people which has also been proven to have a similar effect on a person’s health as one who suffers with depression.
Negative thinking will only bring misery and suffering to both the mind and body. Negativity serves no productive purpose. Those who are chronic negative thinkers are generally less happy in life, work, and relationships. And unhappiness in any, and especially all, of these facets of life will only serve to harm your health. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of situations, try to find the positive in it. Even the worst situation you endure can be considered a success just because you survived it.
2. Purchasing contacts on the internet. Life can be busy and hectic. But opting to purchase your contact lenses through the internet could be harmful. Even if you have had the same prescription for several years, you should still get an annual eye exam to make sure it hasn’t changed. Not only could your prescription change, but the shape of your eye could change as well. This is actually a common occurrence and would require a different shape lens to fit correctly. If you purchase the wrong one, you could experience eye irritation or even scratch the cornea.
3. Borrowing someone else’s prescription medication. Your symptoms, according to your friend, are exactly the same as the one’s he/she experienced just a short while ago. Lucky for you, he/she still has some of the prescription antibiotics left over from what the doctor ordered. This seems to be a very cost effective and time efficient method of taking care of your ailment without costing you any extra time or money. What could be wrong with using the left over medicine? It will only go to waste.
Though it may seem like a great idea at the time, borrowing someone else’s prescription medicine can be dangerous to your health, now and in the future. This is especially true when the medicine is an antibiotic. Medicine is not a one size fits all proposition. A person’s height, weight, and sometimes even age are factors in determining the correct dosage. If your ailment is actually a virus and not an infection, an antibiotic will be worthless and can actually kill off healthy and helpful bacteria in your body; leaving you susceptible to another more serious illness.
There are many other concerns that you may not be aware of when making the decision to share meds. The other person could be on a riskier medication with more serious side effects because other medications they are taking make it impossible for them to take the more generally accepted prescriptions. Your own medications you are on could cause an adverse reaction. You could be allergic to the medicine prescribed to the other patient. You could even risk becoming antibiotic resistant which could make antibiotics useless when you need them most.
The lesson to be taken away is that sharing medicine presents too many risky scenarios that could hurt you in the end; making the time and money you saved a moot factor. You could even lose more of both if you end up seriously ill. It is just safer to avoid the potential for harm and visit your primary physician instead. The doctor can determine if you really need medication and prescribe you the proper dosage and type if you do.
4. Overdosing on over the counter medications. You’ve had a long hard day. Your head hurts or your muscles ache because of the strain of the day. Perhaps you suffer from a chronic condition, like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, which can make it difficult to perform daily activities. So you head to the medicine cabinet and pop a couple of ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help alleviate the pain. Some days you may take a couple of extra to ensure you won’t have some residual pain after the OTC medicine starts to work.
It is easy to forget that ibuprofen and acetaminophen are medication. And medication should not be consumed without thought and consideration. All medications can cause side effects. OTC medications can also interfere with the effectiveness of other, life saving or life sustaining medications. Certain populations, such as children and the elderly, are at a higher risk of experiencing serious side effects from these OTC medications. The side effects can even lead to death.
Chronic over use of OTC medications can result in serious health problems. The more serious side effects of ibuprofen include fluid retention that could lead to edema, kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers, and prolonged bleeding after an injury or surgery. Individuals with asthma are more likely to have an allergic reaction to ibuprofen. Ibuprofen has been linked to the development of Reye’s syndrome if taken by children or teens while ill with influenza or chicken pox. It can also interfere with the effectiveness of drugs used to treat hypertension.
Acetaminophin has more limited side effects. Chronic use of this specific OTC medication can cause damage to the liver. This is generally associated with the consumption of large doses of acetaminophen. The side effects caused by acetaminophen are worsened by alcohol consumption. If you consume three or more drinks in a day, you should not use acetaminophen as it could cause stomach bleeding.
5. Surfing the internet or IM’ing for hours. It may sound a little crazy, but spending endless consecutive hours on the computer can be hazardous to your health. Does the term carpel tunnel syndrome ring any bells? Repetitive actions, like clicking the mouse over and over again, can cause stress injuries. The muscles require variety to stay healthy. Without it, you could develop carpal tunnel or even tendonitis.
In order to avoid injury, you have to take regular breaks from the computer. Take a minute to stretch or go get a drink of water. Most experts recommend you take a break from the repetitive movement you are performing at least once an hour. That isn’t to say you have to get up from your desk at work. You could just take a minute to stretch your hands up towards the ceiling. Without regular breaks, you could end up with inflamed muscles. The breaks could help prevent you from suffering with an extremely painful condition.
6. Allow anger to overtake you. Everyone gets angry at one time or another. But some people get angry more often than others. Staying angry for long periods of time can place your body under significant strain. Your body goes through physiological changes when you are angry. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase and your breathing can become heavy and labored. Your body temperature increases. Your blood glucose level rises. You may experience some muscle tension which can result in back, neck, and even head pain. You may have trouble concentrating.
Being angry takes a toll on your body. Besides the headaches and the muscle aches, other side effects could also occur. Stomach aches are another common complaint. But there are more serious long term health problems that could actually be life threatening. Strokes have been linked to chronic anger sufferers.
Anger has also been shown to play a part in heart attacks. Since anger affects your blood pressure and heart rate, the link is not surprising. The increase of both is attributed to the hormone that is released into your blood stream when you are angry.
7. Clean up a pet’s stool without gloves. You’re probably thinking “That is so disgusting,” right about now. But if you were to be honest, how many of you actually pause to pull on a pair of disposable gloves before changing your cat’s litter box or picking up after your dog? Though it may be a disgusting chore, most people do their duty bare handed and just figure they will wash their hands after the job is complete. What you may not realize is that you are actually putting your health at risk by performing this task without the protection of latex gloves.
Most animal diseases cannot be transmitted to humans. But there are some conditions known as zoonotic diseases that will. One of the ways you can contract a disease from your animal is by contact with an animals feces. Toxoplasmosis is a serious illness that could cause significant health problems in pregnant women or individuals with compromised immune systems. Most people who are diagnosed with this disease are believed to have contracted it changing a litter box. Leptospirosis is an illness which causes high fever, vomiting, and severe headaches. It can lead to kidney damage or even liver failure if left untreated. People contract the illness through contact with an infected animal’s urine.
It is probably not something you hear about very often; but consider how likely you would be to tell someone how you became ill if you were to contract one of the zoonotic diseases. If you consider the embarrassment you would endure as well as the symptoms you could suffer, taking the time to slap on a pair of gloves doesn’t seem as inconvenient as it once did. And if cost is a factor in deciding not to protect yourself from contact with your pet’s leavings, perhaps you should consider the money you would spend on medical treatments and the time lost from work as mitigating factors.
8. Not getting regular health screenings. With all of the responsibilities associated with daily life, who has the time to keep up with routine health screenings? Until you actually feel ill and the symptoms are interfering with your ability to perform your daily tasks you probably won’t even bother going to the doctor for an annual physical. Though it is understandable, it could also be dangerous. Regular health screenings could actually save your life.
Certain diseases do not present themselves with obvious symptoms until the condition has progressed to serious. Many kinds of cancers can remain hidden until after they have spread throughout your body. You may never even feel badly. Most cancers are treatable and have high survival rates when caught early. But if you wait to long, the cancer can spread making it difficult to contain and eradicate the disease.
Other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, can do significant damage to your organs if left untreated. The longer you go without treatment, the worse the disease will ravage your body. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and many other heart related conditions could result in a stroke or heart attack. A stroke could leave you with long term or permanent disabilities that will require substantial medical care and money to pay for it.
9. Losing sleep. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot catch up on lost sleep. And your body needs sleep to repair and restore itself from the damage of daily living. The lack of sleep increases the risk of almost every major illness. Studies indicate rates of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are substantially increased in those suffering from sleep deprivation than individuals who are receiving at least seven consecutive hours of sleep.
Almost all of the studies conducted to determine the health effects of sleep deprivation on a person have reported lack of sleep will hurt your health. It is alleged the hormones and proteins which are believed to have a part in the onset of the chronic health conditions are impacted by a chronic lack of sleep. It is a fact that a lack of sleep interrupts the body’s functions. And our bodies cannot acclimatize or compensate for the lack of sleep.
Recently, a link has been reported between obesity and sleep deprivation. The researchers haven’t announced a definitive reason for the link, but many theories have emerged. One theory suggests the lack of sleep affects the hormones which regulate the appetite. Without the natural buffer, individuals will overeat. Whatever the reason may be, studies have found the rate of obesity is significantly higher in individuals who get less than seven hours of sleep at night.
10. Ignoring the signals your body is sending you. At one point or another, everyone has to flex their muscles and do some heavy lifting. Whether it is moving a gargantuan television set or putting away those window air conditioning units, heavy lifting can cause injury to your back muscles. Many people rush through the process to get it over and done with. You hurriedly move the object to its intended destination, not given a moment’s consideration to the damage you could be, and probably are, doing to your body even as your back muscles scream in protest.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you feel pressure, pulling, or tightness on one specific muscle in your back, you are probably doing some damage. Any type of pain is a message from your body whether it is a dull pain, a sharp pain, an aching, or a throbbing, your body is trying to tell you something is wrong. Take the time to readjust your stance or the weight of the object. It is too late to correct either after you injure yourself. And back injuries can be permanent.
11. Exercise too much. Yes there is such a thing as too much exercise! Actually, it is not as much the amount of exercise as it is the intensity of the impact. High impact exercises can eventually lead to a decline in joint health. Your body can only withstand so much pavement pounding before the cartilage starts to wear down and eventually out. The wear and tear on your joints can lead to chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.
Just as high impact exercise is extremely rough on the body, so are exercises that are repetitive. Repetitive exercises like jogging can wear out the cartilage as effectively as high impact exercise will. So even if you only run on a treadmill to avoid the pavement pounding wear and tear, the repetition of the movement on your joints could still cause the same medical issues.
12. Skimp on oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to heart disease. Skipping a teeth brushing session or two in favor of a breath mint or a stick of gum may not seem like that much of a big deal, but you could be increasing your risk of heart disease. Gum disease and tooth decay increase the level of dangerous bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria get into the blood stream and put the heart at risk for infection.
Flossing is another step often skipped. Flossing has proven essential to oral health. Your toothbrush cannot get all of the food particles caught in the miniscule spaces between your teeth. The particles left behind after brushing can lead to cavities and gum disease. And as you now know, gum disease increases your risk of heart disease. So don’t skip flossing your teeth in favor of five extra minutes of television viewing or web surfing.
13. Exposure to tobacco. Many people think only one kind of tobacco use or exposure can affect your health. The truth of the matter is any exposure to tobacco will increase your risk of cancer. Maybe you don’t smoke, but you allow your friends or family to smoke around you. You figure as long as the smoke isn’t coming directly at you, you will be fine. But the second hand smoke from someone else’s cigarette is packed full of carcinogens. And once that smoke enters your body, so do the cancer causing chemicals.
Using other alternative tobacco products will also increase your risk of cancer. Some people use other types of tobacco to help them quit smoking cigarettes. They use the alternative tobacco products to help alleviate the urge to smoke. Switching from one tobacco product to another will not help improve your health. Whether you chew it, smoke it, or roll it yourself, the only way to lower your risk of cancer is to avoid tobacco products altogether.
14. Dehydrating your body. Your body requires water for almost every function it performs. Without enough water, your body will become sluggish. Just drinking anything will not work to rehydrate the fluid your body loses constantly throughout the day. In fact some fluids will actually dehydrate your body even more. Any type of caffeinated or alcoholic drink has been found to rob your body of its precious, life sustaining water supply.
Dehydration can cause many uncomfortable health symptoms. You may suffer from headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness and even fainting. Your body may feel as it does when it is suffering a hangover after a night of drinking alcohol. You might feel irritable and tired. Your heart rate could increase while your appetite decreases. Your tongue may even swell. Diarrhea and vomiting are also symptoms of dehydration.
You should consume six to eight glasses of water daily. Sound familiar? If you are like most people, you ignore this advice and only drink when you feel thirsty. The fact of the matter is that by the time you begin to feel thirsty you are already 2% dehydrated. Doesn’t sound like enough to be concerned about, does it? A 5 to 6% amount of water loss could cause tingling in your limbs. And a 15% or greater amount of fluid loss is generally fatal.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to get a drink. You should have a drink of water of water with you throughout most of the day. Remember, by the time you feel thirsty you are already partly dehydrated. So keep your glass filled with water all day. The water will keep your body functioning properly and your metabolism moving at a steady pace.
15. Consuming an excessive number of empty calories. Your health is directly correlated with your weight and percentage of body fat. Filling your body with more calories than you need can pack on extra pounds of body fat. The extra pounds forces your heart to work harder to pump the blood throughout the body. The harder your heart has to work, the more wear and tear it suffers. You want to keep your heart healthy and strong for as long as possible.
Consuming all of the empty calories will keep you from filling up on the nutrient dense foods your body needs. Candy, soda, and baked goods are not a food group no matter what you tell yourself. They do not provide any of the essential vitamins and minerals your body requires. Don’t fill up on junk. Junk foods do nothing but pack on extra pounds. You wouldn’t fill your car up with sugar would you? It wouldn’t go very far would it? You give your car the fuel it needs to keep it running. Do the same for your body.