Category Archives: Cancer

How Smoking and Vaping Cause COPD 

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Smoking is a leading cause of preventable COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). The pulmonary disease is caused by multiple chemicals used in the manufacturing of cigarettes and vaping products and polluted air environments. COPD is a disease by which breathing becomes very difficult. Once the disease has progressed to an acute to chronic condition it significantly shortens the lung tissue lifespan, increases risk of infection and a lifetime dependency on supplemental oxygen and other medical intervention.

The National Cancer Institute cites there are over 4,000 chemicals released from tobacco smoke. The tar and other chemical by-products that enters the body also includes poisonous arsenic and cyanide! The American Lung Association shows each year ~400,000 Americans die from lung disease. There are 35 million more Americans in any given year that are now living with chronic lung disease! Regardless of increasing education over the last decade on the number one cause of lung disease, smoking and vaporing consumption among our youth is as strong as ever.

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Nicotine has the addictive power of heroin and cocaine (Dr. C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General).

“Using data from a large federal government telephone survey of adults, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report evidence that inhaling heated tobacco vapor through e-cigarettes was linked to increased odds of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), conditions long demonstrated to be caused by smoking traditional, combustible cigarettes. The data, the researchers say, also suggest that odds of developing COPD may be as much as six times greater when people report they both vape and smoke tobacco regularly, compared with those who don’t use any tobacco products at all.”

[John Hopkins Medicine 2020]

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How does smoking and vaping ruin the lungs? “All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter (PM or soot)” [Google 2021]. Whereas long term smoking or toxic environmental exposure damages the lungs air-sacs. There are other environmental PM or soot factors that can put you at risk. 1) Chemical Fumes. 2) Dust 3) Air Pollution 4) Secondhand smoke.

After years of one or more element exposures, it can take years for this disease to present itself.  COPD is most found in people 60 and over, those that have had lung infections as a child, or emphysema in their 30-40’s, or within families whereas this disease manifested itself [genetics].

COPD Symptoms – Chronic cough and/or mucus when coughing, shortness of breath, especially during exercise.  As the lung disease progresses exacerbation flare ups can be mild to life threatening by suffocation or drowning in mucus fluids.

“Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles (tiny branches of air tubes in the lungs). The alveoli are where the lungs and the blood exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide during the process of breathing in and breathing out.”[Cancer.gov]

Image by National Cancer Institute

Many tobacco and e-cig smokers do not believe their habits impact anyone else but themselves. However, the American Heart Association secondhand mortality statistics tell a different story. Secondhand smoke is directly responsible for 37,000-40,000 cardiovascular and 3,400 fatal lung cancer victims per year.

And according to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is responsible for over 150,000 lung infections and 750,000 middle ear infections within our children each year. There are basically two diseases associated with COPD.

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1) Chronic Bronchitis – When airways that carry oxygen from the lungs to the body get inflamed producing mucus, this makes it hard to breath.

2) Emphysema – The lungs air sacs become inefficient at intake and pushing air. Once the air sacs become damaged the body begins to starve and die for lack of oxygen-enriched blood. Once emphysema becomes an acute to chronic condition, feeling short of breath and suffocation is a common experience. Over time COPD conditions worsen and disease become permanent. However, there are steps that can be taken to stop further damage to the lungs and body.

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If you experience COPD Symptoms – Advisement Recommendations

-See a physician to seek treatment to quit smoking, or have a cough that will not go away, or consistently cough up mucus.
-Smokers Cessation Medication is available and will boost your chance 50% to help you quit smoking for good (American Cancer Society).
-Ask a physician for other tests if you suspect exposure to environmental pollutants… especially if you were a nonsmoker, or smoked very little but now have COPD.
-Have a doctor listen to your lungs and apply a spirometry breathing and other pulmonary/blood tests to determine the best medical treatment for you.
-Request chest X-rays to rule out other potential problems, or pathologies caused by years of smoking, vaping or toxic environment exposure.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2021 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Mens Prostate Health Impacts Lifestyle

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Many men do not understand the overall function and importance of prostate health and impact on lifestyle. The health of the prostate should be as important to a man as breast health is to a woman. “The prostate has the various functions. The most important is producing seminal fluid, a fluid that is a component of semen. It also plays a role in hormone production and helps regulate urine flow” [MedicalNewsToday 2021].

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Prostate Gland Growth and Dysfunction

The prostate continues to grow throughout life and that growth can affect lifestyle and health later on. The growth often causes one or more functional and disease related conditions that may include: Urinary and erectile disfunction and bacterial infection and/or benign and malignant tumors. If the tumors are cancerous and the condition goes untreated, cancer cells may metastasize and spread to other areas of the body. When this occurs, cancer becomes more challenging to treat and lifestyle often changes significantly to address a serious health condition.

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Three common prostate medical diagnosis

1) Prostatitis – Inflammation of the prostate gland. This is where acute and chronic prostate enlargement conditions are due to bacterial infections and treated with antibiotics. Possible causes of Prostatitis, a bacteria & yeast driven infection, virus, food allergy BPH, Auto-immune response, possible rare tumor, physical injury.

2) Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) occurs in older men. After the age of 50, half of all men have enlarging prostates and by the time they are 80, 80% of these men will have significantly enlarged prostates. The prostate enlarges to a point where urination is extremely difficult and painful. BPH can be treated with medication and in extreme cases surgery is required to remove the prostate.

3) Prostate Cancer – This is one of the most common cancers affecting older men in developed countries and a significant cause of death. The prostate also produces a protein called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). The PSA protein produced in the prostate, also found in the semen can be traced in the blood stream.

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A raised PSA levels

“Usually, a PSA rate of less than 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood is normal, but age should also be taken into consideration as PSA levels gradually increase with age. A rise in PSA concentration may indicate the presence of:

  • An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
  • An inflammation or infection of the prostate (prostatitis)
  • A prostate cancer

Your doctor will have you undergo other tests to determine the exact cause of the increase in your PSA” [Procure.ca 2019].

Note: If you experience any of the following symptoms seek medical advisement: Trouble sleeping at night, frequent visits to the bathroom, erectile problems, blood in the urine, poor flow of urine, difficulty in starting the stream.

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Prevention Recommendations

Men over 40 should make every attempt to take care of the prostate gland. During a rectal prostate exam, the physician is feeling for a hard or lumpy tissue signature that may require further examination. “If you choose prostate cancer screening, you should get a digital rectal exam and PSA test starting at age 45. … If you are African American or have a family history (father, brother, son) of prostate cancer” [Google 2021] … it would be prudent to get theses exams sooner than later.

Lifestyle Changes

Limit intake of caffeine and alcohol. Give up smoking. Drink plenty of water.
Consume a high fiber diet. Start a regular regiment of mild daily exercise. Get a rectal and PSA prostate exam starting at age 45 and every 2-3 years thereafter. If you receive a PSA score above 4 nanograms, take this result seriously and follow up on your scheduled medical exams. Early intervention and treatment for the prostate is nearly 100% effective when prostate problems are detected in the early growth phase, or as indicated by lab results. However, the longer medical advisement and treatment is pushed off the greater chances of increasing health risk.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2021 Copyright. All rights reserved. MirrorAthlete Publishing, www.mirrorathlete.org. Sign up for FREE Monthly eNewsletter.

Household Cleaning Products Making People Sick

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Over a decade ago I read an article titled, “Is Cancer in Your Tub?” The information within the article came from a Network News Publication that caught my attention. In essence it included how FDA approved chemicals found in household products made people sick – with a connection to illness and disease. At the time, consumer safety activists were outraged by the amount of FDA approved ingredients known to be harmful to health in general and especially through long term use. Advocates worked hard then as they do today, to call on manufacturers to remove unnecessary and harmful chemicals from all consumer products.

Over the last 20 years this movement has generated a whole new culture that prioritizes safe home use cleaning products… however, a plethora of household cleaning brands with toxic chemicals still fill marketplace shelves. Other industries like cosmetics and processed foods are also a concern for advocacy groups.

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Back in 2007, I was interested to learn more about toxic chemicals in consumer products known to cause illness and disease. Then wondered why other safe ingredients couldn’t be used instead… This led me to read a published brochure by author Debra Lynn Dadd, “Please Protect Yourself from Household Toxins.” I would like to share a portion of that information found in her literature, and why its so important for consumer safety education to continue.

She wrote,

“While certain people may be more sensitive than others, and some chemical(s) may bring on reactions only after many years of repeated exposure, I discovered through my research that chemicals may bring on reactions only after many years of repeated exposure, I discovered through my research that chemicals in the home could put anyone at risk.”

“It is just as important today as it was over a decade ago, to educate the public on harmful household use products as it is within our foods marketplace. And how some people are more sensitive to certain chemical exposures than others. Although it appears certain, many harsh chemicals in our household products, like chemically engineered foods have improved throughout the last decade. The household products and foods found within the marketplace require consumer scrutiny to minimize health risk.”

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“Cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, heart disease… Almost any symptom imaginable, both physical and psychological, has been associated with chemicals in common household products. Recently, scientists have discovered that toxic chemicals can lodge in our endocrine system contributing to thyroid problems, diabetes, weight gain, and infertility. At greatest risk are fetuses, children, the elderly, and those who are already ill, but these chemicals are threatening the health of everyone, every day” [Dadd 2007]. [Learn more about Debra Dadd history and books].

Research shows a plethra of chemical toxins are still found in a majority of consumer product ingredients today. What has changed from 2007, is the advancement of green and safe eco-friendly home use and personal hygiene products within the marketplace. The foods markets have also advanced in healthier alternatives. But like household cleaners, the old brands through rebranding and relabeling are alive and well.

As Dodd stated in 2007, “It is just as important today as it was over a decade ago, to educate the public on harmful household use products as it is within our foods marketplace.”

Her statement was valid then and continues to be true today. If safe consumer advocacy and education stopped, how would the next generation identify and change unhealthy consumer habits and behaviors to minimize health risk? What incentives would manufacturers have to change their policies, ingredients and procedures, etc. Without public education – supply and demand don’t change into healthier outcomes. This dynamic if not kept in check cause more people get sick… put unnecessary burdens on families, employers and limited community medical services-resources, etc.

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At the time I originally published this article on 25 June 2008, I also cited a related publication within an AARP Bulletin Today, May 2008, Vol.49 No. 4. I’d like to share a portion of that article – “Hazards at Home,” by Reed Karaim.

“And older people are more likely to have conditions – such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes – that can dramatically reduce their ability to withstand exposure to environmental hazards… The stakes are high. Older people tend to process and eliminate toxicants from their bodies more slowly than younger people. And “as we age, we become less efficient at detoxification – the slowing down of kidneys, liver and immune system functioning all play a role. In this older people are more like infants and children in their ability to fend off toxic assaults, says Sandra Steingraber, the author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment.” It is still true today… seniors are at higher health risk when using aerosol air fresheners and disinfectants, and liquid household sprays and detergents with toxic chemical ingredients.”

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CleanersChemicals to avoid in cleaners, says McRandle (Paul McRandle, Deputy Editor at the National Geographic Green Guide), run from ammonia, which is known to trigger asthma, elements in chlorine bleach, which is a lung irritant and will kill you if you swallow it, to things like glycol ethers, which are used to dissolve grime and dirt, and can cause nerve damage.’ … Protect your skin by wearing rubber gloves and your lungs by ventilating your work area or wearing a mask.”

Although this article focused mainly on toxic household cleaners, It was simply amazing to also find within these early publications, glycol ethers and propylene Glycol (ingredient found in anti-freeze), are ingredients still found within many of our personal hygiene products: i.e., shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, toothpaste and pet food.

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This left the question in my head… Why is it necessary to put these carcinogenic solvents in any consumable, or personal hygiene, or household product? Especially when manufacturers know how to make a non-toxic, eco-friendly, safe, or safer version? The answer is very clear. It’s all about the bottom line… has to be.

The worst of the worst home cleaning products harmful to health appear to be spray cleaners and chemical air fresheners…

“Research shows that spray cleaners are the most toxic because they provide the greatest exposure to the chemicals in toxic household cleaners. In fact, a 2018 study found women who used sprays or other cleaning products at least once per week had a steeper decline in lung function than women who didn’t” [nontoxicforhealth 2018].

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The marketplace won’t eliminate all the chemical toxins problems found in household cleaners and personal hygiene products anytime soon. However, there are eight proactive and protective measures you can take now to reduce the risk of increasing health risk when cleaning your home.

Reduce Health Risk During Sanitizing, Disinfecting and Cleaning House

  1. Use non-toxic household cleaning products made from citrus and essential oil, and other natural ingredients. Change to eco green friendly – safe cleaning products.
  2. Don’t use toxic aerosol sprays to clean and freshen air – they attach to wall surfaces and carpet and furniture [Sprayed chemicals linger in your home’s air the longest.].
  3. Run away from heavily concentrated ammonia-based cleaners – especially if you have respiratory or a weakened immune system.
  4. Any ingredient name you can’t pronounce, or have to look up, including chemical fragrances [not natural], are likely toxic to health and may cause eye and respiratory and skin irritation. If bottle label cautions: Harmful to health and may cause death is swallowed – Look for alternative safe product choice.
  5. All consumers, especially seniors should consider throwing away toxic cleaning products and replacing them with bio-degradable and natural and organic products to reduce allergy symptoms, illness and health risk.
  6. If you have any type of unexplained skin, eye irritation, respiratory allergic reaction, etc., after using a cleaning agent, or air freshening product, avoid further use.
  7. If you have an acute, or chronic reaction to any household cleaner, or air freshener product, see your doctor immediately.
  8. Wear eye protection, mask and gloves whenever using household cleaning products and ventilate space well with fresh air.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET2021 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.