Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Health, news, smoking

Does Nicotine Protect Against Coronavirus?

French researchers are testing whether nicotine can protect people against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Due to recent encouraging data demonstrating a minority of hospitalized patients to be smokers, they will test nicotine patches on patients and front line healthcare workers to see if their virus susceptibility is decreased.

images.jpg

The Guardian reports that French researchers at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital interviewed 480 patients, 350 of whom needed hospitalization and 130, who were well enough to go home, and found only 4.4% of hospitalized patients infected with coronavirus were smokers. 1/4 of French citizens currently smoke.

They also report a Chinese study published at the end of March in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggested only 12.6% of 1,000 people infected with the virus were smokers while the number of smokers in China is around 28%.

Since this pandemic began, however, medical experts have been urging people to avoid smoking and vaping, feeling the lungs could be more suceptible to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome caused by the COVID-19 virus.

Yet in light of hospital reports suggesting non-smokers to be more severely affected, researchers are theorizing that the nicotine in tobacco products may be instead protective.

A study by Changeux et al suggests:

Nicotine receptors may play a role in how the virus infects a host.  They suggest that the virus could enter the body through neurons of the olfactory system and/or through the lung leading to different clinical features with different outcome, and contrasts with the currently accepted view that ACE2 is the principal receptor of SARS-CoV-2 for its entry into cells.

Study authors further state:

One should not forget that nicotine is a drug of abuse [55] responsible for smoking addiction. Smoking has severe pathological consequences and remains a serious danger for health. Yet under controlled settings, Nicotinic agents could provide an efficient treatment for an acute infection such as Covid-19.

Some studies have found a relationship between smoking and decreased incidence of Parkinson’s disease, obesity and ulcerative colitis.

However risks of smoking and tobacco use include heart disease, respiratory failure, cancer, blood clots, and stroke…to name a few.

So it will take some time before the medical community will come to a consensus on smoking and SARS-CoV-2. But for now, researchers are fighting this silent killer with everything they’ve got so we may have to prepared and open minded that unconventional treatments may hold the key to winning this war.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in Health, news, smoking, vaping

Can’t Stop Vaping or Smoking….Tips to Quitting

Some of you are trying to get a head start before the family makes you come up with a New Year’s resolution to quit vaping and smoking.  So you’ve cut back on tobacco and nicotine and have decided to quit.  Awesome!    Within the first half hour of quitting, studies have found your blood pressure and heart rate improve, so your health starts to improve immediately!

So, way to go!!!!  But now what?  It’s not that easy.  You’ve got cravings.

Not being able to manage these cravings can put you at risk of relapsing back into nicotine dependence.

Withdrawal from nicotine can manifest in any of the following:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • headaches
  • hand tingling
  • increase appetite
  • sleep disturbances
  • constipation
  • mood changes
  • poor concentration
  • memory loss

and more.

Firstly don’t be afraid to get help if you need to.  Nicotine is a powerful, addictive drug and retraining your body to not ask for it is a challenging process.  Smokefree.gov offers multiple resources to help one quit smoking/vaping.

Your medical provider can offer you nicotine replacement therapy to help you wean slowly, or medications such as (brand names) Chantix and Wellbutrin that can help you with your cravings as you cut back or quit.

Therapy and counselling can also be very beneficial while you are weaning off nicotine.

But some of you will want to quit cold turkey.  How do you manage the cravings then?

So we break this down into biological and psychological factors.

Biologically, we can hit this a few ways.  One, is the food choices you make can help with your cravings.

Vegetables like celery and carrots are great quick-to-grab veggies when you’re in a bind. Citrus fruits like oranges work well. Bananas with their vitamin B and potassium melt in your mouth and don’t leave room for a cigarette.  Potatoes have potassium and when not loaded up with butter and cheese are….well… not as yummy.

Peppermint is good at curbing cravings, so when you’re walking out of a restaurant don’t forget to grab some of those free candies sitting there.  Ginsing and ginger help with cravings as well, and don’t forget fiber.  Stuffing your mouth with oats, bran and fibrous foods keep you so busy trying to pick them out of your teeth that you are too exhausted to smoke.  Top all of this with lots and lots of water, and you’ll find yourself off the nicotine in no time.

Let’s celebrate.  Some one grab me a beer….no wait! No alcohol!  Alcohol fuels your cravings as does meat and caffeine.  Sorry, I never said it would be easy.

Exercise also helps because it will help you keep busy, increase your endorphins and works on the weight gain that might accompany smoking cessation.  Take a nice stroll every time you feel the need to grab a cigarette.

Which transitions nicely into psychological ways to quit.

Distraction is huge.  As the cravings come on, distract yourself by exercise, reading, dancing, or writing about your journey towards a smoke-free life to help others.

Have index cards written out with reasons to quit.

Have a disgusting picture of tobacco-destroyed lung in the kitchen or wherever you get the urge to smoke.

And get your friends and coworkers on board to help. If they vape/smoke in front of you, it will make it that much harder.  Have a friend, family member designated as your support guide who texts you encouraging messages throughout the day as you try to quit. Remind them that the content cannot include chores or reminders to pick things up on the way home.  There……if these tricks don’t help you quit vaping/smoking, at least you can use them to get out of chores…..

 

ultimate book cover final

Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news, vaping

Vaping Creates New Dangerous Chemicals That Become Inhaled

If you remember back in chemistry class, many reactions may transfer heat, or create heat when they combust.  Well the latest study on vaping finds various flavorings in e-cigs, when heated by the heating element, convert to a chemical called acetal.

Yale University Researchers found 2/3 of the time the acetal makes it into the vapor one breaths when they vape.

For years we’ve been trying to warn vapers that the e-cig liquid is not the final product as it can be completely transformed with heat.

Flavors such as “Crème Brulée,” “Fruit Medley,” and “Cool Cucumber” were evaluated for their acetal production.  Vanillin, used in flavoring to make vanilla flavor, has been found to irritate lung linings, and may be one of the biggest culprits when vaping.

According to the National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine Database, they report the following in regards to risk factors:

Reported Fatal Dose: 
3= MODERATELY TOXIC: PROBABLE ORAL LETHAL DOSE (HUMAN) 0.5-5 G/KG, BETWEEN 1 OZ & 1 PINT (OR 1 LB) FOR 70 KG PERSON (150 LB).
[Gosselin, R.E., R.P. Smith, H.C. Hodge. Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products. 5th ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1984., p. II-183] **PEER REVIEWED** 

Now this would be a large amount, but any amount to me is interfering with the one job lungs are designed to do….oxygenate one’s blood.

_____________________________________________________________

Last year a study revealed that toxic levels of lead and other metals may leak from the heating coil element into the vapor inhaled during e-cig use.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found these metals to include:

  • lead
  • nickel
  • manganese
  • chromium
  • arsenic

We’ve known for some time that vaping fluid could contain chemicals that turn toxic once heated, but this study shed light on e-cig metal components causing metal leakage to the vapor making contact with delicate respiratory epithelium (lining).

Reported by Forbes, Rich Able, a medical device marketing consultant, stated the following, “the FDA does not currently test any of the most popular vaping and e-cigarette instruments being manufactured at unregulated factories in Asia that source  low-grade parts, batteries, and materials for the production of these devices,” suggesting that “the metal and parts composition of these devices must be stringently tested for toxic analytes and corrosive compounds.”

These chemicals may act as neurotoxins, affecting our nervous system, cause tissue necrosis (cell death) and even multi-organ failure.  Moreover they can affect how our immune system reacts to other chemicals as well as foreign pathogens, affecting our ability to fight other diseases.

Although studies have suggested e-cig vapor to be safer than tobacco smoke, not enough research has been done, in the relatively few years vaping has been around, looking at how heat-transformed chemicals and leaked metals affect our breathing, lungs and other organs once absorbed into the body.

 

Vaping Linked to Heart Disease and Cancer

A study from New York University found the nicotine in electronic cigarettes to cause DNA damage similar to cigarette smoking.

Dr. Moon-shong Tang and his colleagues exposed mice to e-cig smoke during a three-month period, 5 days a week for three hours a day.  They found these mice, compared to those breathing filtered air, to have DNA damage to cells in their bladders, lungs and hearts. The amount of nicotine inhaled was approximately 10mg/ml.   That dose would be commonly consumed by many humans who vape.

nicotine.jpg

They then looked at human bladder and lung cells and found tumor cells were able to grow more easily once exposed to nicotine and vaping chemicals.

Last May, researchers from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville found e-cig smoke to increase one’s risk of bladder cancer.

In 2015, the University of Minnesota identified chemicals commonly found in e-cig vapor to include:

  • Formaldehyde (human carcinogen)
  • Acetaldehyde (carcinogen related to alcohol drinking)
  • Acrolein (highly irritating and toxic)
  • Toluene (toxic) NNN, NNK (tobacco carcinogens related to nicotine)
  • Metals (possible carcinogens and toxins)

Although electronic cigarette “juice” may appear safe, it could produce harmful chemicals once heated to become a vapor.

A lethal dose of nicotine for an adult ranges from 30-60 mg and varied for children (0.5-1.0 mg/kg can be a lethal dosage for adults, and 0.1 mg/kg for children).  E-cigs, depending on their strengths (0 – 5.4%) could contain up to 54 mg of nicotine per cartridge (a 1.8% e -cig would contain 18mg/ml).

The topic of nicotine increasing one’s vulnerability to cancer is nothing new as decades ago researchers found nicotine to affect the cilia (brush border) along the respiratory tree, preventing mucous production and a sweeping out of carcinogens trying to make their way down to the lungs.

More research needs to be performed but this recent report reminds us that exposing our delicate lung tissue and immune system to vaping chemicals may not be as safe as we think.

For more on the study read here.

 

ultimate book cover final

Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news

9 Vaping Flavors Found to Increase Heart Risk

A study published by the American Heart Association found nine different E-cig flavors  to impair blood vessel function, which can impair heart health.

Endothelial cells, which delicately line blood and lymph vessels, were found to become inflamed at low concentrations of some vapor flavors.  And at high concentrations of others, exibited cell death.  Nitric oxide production, necessary for vessel dilation to improve blood flow, was impaired as well. These are often the same changes seen in early heart disease.

sample_01001118_110141.jpg

The 9 flavors (and the chemicals within) cited in the report to cause the endothelial inflammation and/or damage were:

  • Mint (menthol)
  • Vanilla (vanillin)
  • Clove (eugenol)
  • Cinnamon (cinnamaldehyde)
  • Strawberry (dimethylpyrazine)
  • Banana (isoamyl acetate)
  • Butter (diacetyl)
  • Eucalyptus/spicy cooling (eucalyptol)
  • Burnt flavor (acetylpyridine)

Strawberry flavoring appeared to have the most adverse effect on the cells.

Now many other flavors were not included in this study, so its unknown how safe they may be.

For more on the study, read here.

An alternate study published last November looked at vaping flavors and their effects on heart muscle cells.

For more on this study, read here.

The moral?  Just because we love the taste of something, doesn’t mean its safe to inhale.

___________________________________________________________________

Vaping Linked to Heart Disease and Cancer

 

A study from New York University found the nicotine in electronic cigarettes to cause DNA damage similar to cigarette smoking.

Dr. Moon-shong Tang and his colleagues exposed mice to e-cig smoke during a three-month period, 5 days a week for three hours a day.  They found these mice, compared to those breathing filtered air, to have DNA damage to cells in their bladders, lungs and hearts. The amount of nicotine inhaled was approximately 10mg/ml.   That dose would be commonly consumed by many humans who vape.

nicotine.jpg

They then looked at human bladder and lung cells and found tumor cells were able to grow more easily once exposed to nicotine and vaping chemicals.

Last May, researchers from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville found e-cig smoke to increase one’s risk of bladder cancer.

In 2015, the University of Minnesota identified chemicals commonly found in e-cig vapor to include:

  • Formaldehyde (human carcinogen)
  • Acetaldehyde (carcinogen related to alcohol drinking)
  • Acrolein (highly irritating and toxic)
  • Toluene (toxic) NNN, NNK (tobacco carcinogens related to nicotine)
  • Metals (possible carcinogens and toxins)

Although electronic cigarette “juice” may appear safe, it could produce harmful chemicals once heated to become a vapor.

A lethal dose of nicotine for an adult ranges from 30-60 mg and varied for children (0.5-1.0 mg/kg can be a lethal dosage for adults, and 0.1 mg/kg for children).  E-cigs, depending on their strengths (0 – 5.4%) could contain up to 54 mg of nicotine per cartridge (a 1.8% e -cig would contain 18mg/ml).

The topic of nicotine increasing one’s vulnerability to cancer is nothing new as decades ago researchers found nicotine to affect the cilia (brush border) along the respiratory tree, preventing mucous production and a sweeping out of carcinogens trying to make their way down to the lungs.

More research needs to be performed but this recent report reminds us that exposing our delicate lung tissue and immune system to vaping chemicals may not be as safe as we think.

For more on the study read here.

Toxic metals found in vaping liquid

In February, one study reported that toxic levels of lead and other metals may leak from the heating coil element into the vapor inhaled during e-cig use.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found these metals to include:

  • lead
  • nickel
  • manganese
  • chromium
  • arsenic

We’ve known for some time that vaping fluid could contain chemicals that turn toxic once heated, but this study shed light on e-cig metal components causing metal leakage to the vapor making contact with delicate respiratory epithelium (lining).

Reported by Forbes, Rich Able, a medical device marketing consultant, stated the following, “the FDA does not currently test any of the most popular vaping and e-cigarette instruments being manufactured at unregulated factories in Asia that source  low-grade parts, batteries, and materials for the production of these devices,” suggesting that “the metal and parts composition of these devices must be stringently tested for toxic analytes and corrosive compounds.”

These chemicals may act as neurotoxins, affecting our nervous system, cause tissue necrosis (cell death) and even multi-organ failure.  Moreover they can affect how our immune system reacts to other chemicals as well as foreign pathogens, affecting our ability to fight other diseases.

Although studies have suggested e-cig vapor to be safer than tobacco smoke, not enough research has been done, in the relatively few years vaping has been around, looking at how heat-transformed chemicals and leaked metals affect our breathing, lungs and other organs once absorbed into the body.

Twitter @DrDaliah

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Vaping Now an Epidemic Among Middle and High School Students

Once hailed as a hero to curbing our deadly tobacco epidemic, vaping has now become more popular than smoking cigarettes among middle and high school students.

Last month the CDC reported that 4.3 percent of middle school students and 11.3 percent of high school students vape e-cigarettes. This week, results from a 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey cite a 900% jump in use among teens from the years 2011-2015, with half a million middle school students and 1.7 million high schoolers having vaped within the last 30 days.

As more studies finalize, we’re anticipating these numbers to rise even higher.

Although electronic cigarette products are not to be purchased or used by those under 18, teen use of Juul and other vaping products have gone viral.

“RJ”, who asked to remain anonymous, is a senior at a local Las Vegas high school and states, “Almost everyone vapes.  No one smokes anymore due to the health risks.  They think vaping is safer and cooler. Smoking’s out, vaping definitely in.”

Students who were never destined to pick up a stick of tobacco have become new recruits to the inhaling industry, being duped by the flavors and image of a “safe way to look cool”.

The Juul casing is particularly attractive.  It looks like a flash drive so its sleek, smooth and easy to hide.

juul.png

 

The flavored nicotines, e-juices, are a huge draw to those who would never tolerate the smokey taste of tobacco.  These can include almost any taste preference such as chocolate, vanilla custard, strawberry, bananas foster and even margarita flavor.

 

japan recipe_nq0m.jpg

Image from  novelecig.com

 

Vaping is addictive

At the start of the year a landmark study found teens who start vaping were 2.5 times  likely to become tobacco smokers within a year, suggesting vaping is a gateway drug to later smoking cigarettes.  The nicotine introduced in the e-cig can get children hooked fairly quickly such that they may be drawn to unfiltered cigarettes when vaping isn’t enough.

 

Vaping is risky

Vaping is not without its risks.  Last month a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed toxic levels of lead from the heating coil element leak into the vaporized fluid that is inhaled.  The month before, a study from New York University found vaping to increase risk of heart disease and cancer.  In 2015 a University of Minnesota study found e-cig vapor to include chemicals such as formaldehyde and various metals that are linked to bladder cancer. For more on these studies read  here.

Even handling the e-juice has its risks.  In March, John Conway, Assistant Principal of Jamestown High School in North Dakota, fell ill after confiscating a device and its juice from two high school students.  He became nauseous, dizzy, had huge emotional swings and suffered from an intense headache, highlighting the danger e-juice could pose to young kids and pets.

As parents and schools try to combat the growing vaping epidemic, care needs to be taken with the handling and disposing of the concentrated nicotine liquid.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in food, Health, news

Childhood Obesity is Exploding – Why and How to Stop It

Image above from the Huffington Post

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) finds the number of obese children in the world to be 10 times greater than what it was 4 decades ago.

They estimate currently 50 million girls and 74 million boys are obese worldwide.

Back in 1975 only 11 million children world-wide were obese. Now the number sits at 124 million.

True, population has grown since then, but the percentage of children obese is exploding.  19% of girls and 22.4% of boys in the US are considered obese.

Adult obesity is skyrocketing as well.  In 1975 there were 100 million obese adults worldwide. This jumped to 671 million in 2016 and doesn’t include the 1.3 billion “overweight” adults.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the following:

Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Body mass index, or BMI, is a widely used screening tool for measuring both overweight and obesity. BMI percentile is preferred for measuring children and young adults (ages 2–20) because it takes into account that they are still growing, and growing at different rates depending on their age and sex. Health professionals use growth charts to see whether a child’s weight falls into a healthy range for the child’s height, age, and sex.

  • Children with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and less than the 95th percentile are considered overweight.
  • Children at or above the 95th percentile have obesity.

 

Why such a rise in obesity?

 

  1.  We’re successfully fighting the war on tobacco.  Adults especially can’t turn to a stick of nicotine as easily as they once could to curb their appetite.  Teen smoking is down as well, so their appetites may be up.
  2. We like fast food.  Its cheap, yummy and convenient.  For 99 cents you can get a small burger that is served to you in a matter of minutes and can be eaten before your next meeting or class.  Fast food contains excess calories, fat and preservatives that our body doesn’t need.
  3. We eat too quickly.  The speed at which we eat may affect our metabolism.  Eating too quickly prevents a satiety signal from reaching the brain, hence we will gulp down more food than is needed.  For more on this read here.
  4. We don’t move around as much.  We can all agree that children and adults these days don’t play outside as much as we did in previous generations.  And even if we did get some exercise in each day during PE or at the gym, we lose much of the ground gained when we sit on our computers at night for hours on end.
  5. More hormones are in our food.  Hormones such as steroids and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) that enhance food production in our food-producing animals may affect our metabolism.
  6. Sugar isn’t a treat anymore, it’s considered a food group.  In the 70’s if you got dessert one night at dinner it would be a rare treat.  Today kids have dessert at lunch and even breakfast has sugar levels overflowething the cereal bowl.  Excess sugar leads to fat storage.
  7. Our portions have gotten bigger.  Remember when the Quarter Pounder came out in the early 70’s and we thought it was the biggest burger ever?  Now people will eat two in one sitting.

Below is a table showing the difference in portion sizes today vs. the 1950’s.

portion sizes.jpg
Image from Daily Mail

 

What can we do to combat the obesity epidemic?

 

  1.  Make exercise not a choice but a daily necessity.  Schools should have English class conducted on walks around the school rather than sitting in desks.  A 30 minute workout should be a given every morning without excuses.  We brush our teeth, we wash our hair, we gas up our truck, we exercise.
  2. Eat fresh, avoid fast food.  The more junk food the more junk in your trunk.  Avoid preservatives and processed foods. Your body was designed to eat the basics.  Give it what it needs.
  3. Eat slowly.  No need to chow down on the run.  If you’re in a hurry then eat half the sandwich as save the rest for later.  Which brings us to…
  4. Eat smaller portions. Get rid of the platters you call plates these days and eat your dinner off of a saucer dish.  You’ll still fill up your tummy.
  5. Swap vegetables for carbs.  Its healthier, filling, and helps you poop.
  6. Just say NO to sugar.  This will be a hard one for me but if you do it, I will.

 

Life Line Screening offers screenings for stroke, heart disease, lung disease, liver and kidney disease, testosterone deficiency, and so much more that can be done in a private setting at the work place for groups of employees.  For more information call 1-888-815-LIFE.

life line

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

E-cigs Should Not be Used to Help Curb the Obesity Epidemic

While we’re winning the war on tobacco, we’re fueling the obesity epidemic.  Americans kept themselves slim for decades puffing on a cigarette, some mistaking the hunger pains as a need for more nicotine.  Some purposely curbing their appetite reaching for a smoke.

In the 1920’s Lucky Strike targeting female consumers by promoting the appetite suppressant effects of their cigarettes.

 

2-Lucky-Strike–To-Keep-A-Slender-Figure-No-One-Can-Deny.jpg

 

Over the years, adults have wised up to the risks of heart disease, lung cancer, COPD, and chronic respiratory infections, and tobacco users have fallen to record numbers, 16.8% to be exact.  Last year, however, the CDC reported 36.5 % of Americans are obese, more than doubling since the 1980’s.

 

imrs (1).jpg     obesity chart

 

Now smoking cessation doesn’t get all the blame for our obesity crisis.  Junk food being cheaper than healthy food, fast food franchises opening up on every street corner, and the average consumer being inundated with plastic products, manipulating one’s metabolism have led to higher weights.  But when someone who used cigarettes to curb their appetite can’t reach for one anymore, weight happens.

So many Americans trying to quit smoking have turned to electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs.  They “vape” a vapor composed of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, water and flavorings.

In 2011, Yale researchers looked into how nicotine can decrease the appetite by studying receptors in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain involved in appetite.  Activation of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) cells within the arcuate nucleus region decreased appetite and food intake and additionally increased energy expenditure, according to Mineur et al.

Nicotine patches and gum have been used anecdotally as well for weight loss.  Further research has found nicotine to decrease blood glucose levels, increase insulin resistance and break up stored fat.

Yet nicotine is not without its risks as its one of the most addictive agents out there, equal to that of heroin according to some experts.  Moreover, nicotine has been found to affect the kidneys, heart, and induce cancer in studies involving  the lungs, GI, breast, and pancreas.

The safety of vaping liquid in e-cigs has been debated as well as the chemicals involved may seem benign at room temperature but what happens when the internal e-cig coil turns the liquid into vapor?

So how can we combat the obesity epidemic if we want consumers to avoid tobacco and stay clear of nicotine and vaping liquid?

Going back to 2011, the Yale researchers also looked at cytisine, a plant compound similar to nicotine, and it worked on the POMC cells as well.   According to WebMD, cytisine is found in the seeds of the golden rain tree, and has been used in Eastern Europe for decades to help smokers quit.  In late 2014, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found cytisine to trick the brain into thinking it was getting nicotine and was more effective than nicotine replacement therapy in helping smokers stay off cigarettes in the first week, and after two and six months.

Cytisine, a partial agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, can produce side effects as well such as nausea, vomiting, fast heart rate, but appears to be less toxic than nicotine.

So we have a compound that acts like nicotine and can help stave off the obesity ensuing after smoking cessation.  In the meantime, I would use caution turning to e-cigs.

For more on the harmful effects of nicotine

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363846/

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Vaping Linked to Bladder Cancer

Image above from Medical News Today

A study has linked smoking e-cigarettes to higher risk of bladder cancer.

Dr. Sam Chang of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, reported in an American Urological News release, “We’ve known traditional smoking raises bladder cancer risk, and given the surge in popularity of e-cigarettes, it’s imperative we uncover any potential links.”

Chemicals in cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, such as nicotine, are excreted through the urine. Researchers examined the urine of e-cig users vs. those of non-smokers and found 92% of those who vaped had at least two of the five chemicals tested.

The University of Minnesota in 2015 identified chemicals commonly found in e-cig vapor to include:

 

Formaldehyde (human carcinogen)

Acetaldehyde (carcinogen related to alcohol drinking)

Acrolein (highly irritating and toxic)

Toluene (toxic) NNN, NNK (tobacco carcinogens related to nicotine)

Metals (possible carcinogens and toxicants)

In a second study, researchers looked at bladder tissue to see what nicotine and some of the chemicals in vapor could do.  They found nicotine, nitrosamines and formaldehyde not only damaged lining but blocked the DNA repair, hence increasing risk of bladder cancer.

Although exact causes of bladder cancer are unknown, tobacco smoke has been the single greatest risk factor.  Other risk factors for bladder cancer include diets rich in fried foods, arsenic, radon, occupational exposure to aromatic amines in textile, rubber and paint plants, and some medications such as pioglitazone used in diabetes.  Being exposed to a worm causing schistosomiasis can also put one at risk for bladder cancer.

Symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine (hematuria), difficulty urination due to obstruction, pain/burning with urination (dysuria), and sometimes no symptoms at all.

Bladder cancer is treated by surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.  The earlier its diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

According to the American Cancer Society they project for 2017:

  • About 79,030 new cases of bladder cancer (about 60,490 in men and 18,540 in women)
  • About 16,870 deaths from bladder cancer (about 12,240 in men and 4,630 in women)

How many of these being related to electronic cigarettes is unknown.

 

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Michael Douglas claims Val Kilmer has throat cancer

Michael Douglas, 72, battled throat cancer in 2010. During a Q&A with Jonathan Ross, media personality of the UK’s Jonathan Ross show, he revealed that his friend, Val Kilmer, who is 57, is currently fighting the same cancer.

douglas

Douglas stated, “Val was a wonderful guy who is dealing with exactly what I had, and things don’t look too good for him.”  “My prayers are with him. That’s why you haven’t heard too much from Val lately.”

Although sources have not been able to confirm, fans have been concerned since early 2015 when Val Kilmer was allegedly hospitalized for a “bleeding of his throat”.  His rep released a statement saying the actor was being evaluated for a “possible tumor”, but later that month Val Kilmer denied the rep’s statement and told fans on Facebook he had a complication for which he was being treated.

val-kilmer

In late 2015 the actor was seen with a tracheostomy tube. These tubes are placed after a tracheotomy, an opening of the windpipe to allow air to get through the lungs, bypassing the throat.  The tube was removed and a month later Val Kilmer posted a picture on Facebook, smiling and looking well.  Again he denied having cancer.

val-happy

Michael Douglas’s statement regarding his friend brings the spotlight back on one of the scariest forms of cancer yet.  Although not common, The National Cancer Institute estimates 1.1 percent of adults will be diagnosed with pharyngeal cancer within their lifetime.  Throat cancer can involve the base of the tongue, the nasopharyx (connecting to the back of the nose), the oropharynx (throat), the tonsils, and/or the larynx (voice box).  It is often diagnosed in its later stages since early symptoms mimic common medical complaints such as sore throat, hoarseness or a continual need to clear one’s throat.  These symptoms, if not resolving, should be evaluated for throat cancer as well as any weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, inability to swallow, and/or a change in voice.

Smoking, alcohol, and HPV infection have been linked to causing throat cancer. The earlier its diagnosed, the better the prognosis. It can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  Michael Douglas states he he was treated with chemo and radiation and by 2011 was in remission.  He was very fortunate and early intervention is key.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Protein shakes may REDUCE heart disease and stroke

For years we’ve been debating on whether protein shakes and supplements raise or lower blood pressure.  This week a study from the University of Reading found that they actually decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. The key appears to be the whey protein found in milk which has been previously found to lower blood pressure.

In this study the researchers gave 38 pre- and   participants two shakes a day for 8 weeks and found systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the pumping and filling pressure, respectively) to decrease within the first 24 hours of consuming the shakes.  Systolic BP appeared to drop close to 4 points and diastolic, 2.5.  These drops in blood pressure can have positive cardiac effects. Moreover they found in this study that cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood) dropped as well.

risk-factors-for-heart-disease-high-blood-pressure-700x395

According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adult have pre hypertension (blood pressure between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg) or hypertension (blood pressure over 140/90).  Ways to lower one’s blood pressure include:

low salt diet (less than 2300 mg/ day or lower per one’s medical provider)

exercise – 30 minutes a day

weight control

avoiding alcohol and excessive caffeine

avoid smoking

ensure adequate sleep

…and if one’s blood pressure is elevated, a thorough examination by one’s medical provider will include an investigation of other causes.

Protein shakes and supplements are not without their risks.  Some cause bloating, abdominal pain, kidney disease, lack of nutrients if supplemented for a meal, weight gain and heavy metal accumulation.  However this study sheds light on how a component of the popular supplement could be helpful in protecting the heart, and may spawn further must needed research.

 

More information on the study could be read here:  http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-10-protein-supplement-heart-disease.html

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician