Category Archives: mortality

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.

Breast Cancer Survivability for Men and Women

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While breast cancer is predominately a woman’s disease – men also get it. The 5 to 10 year survival rate after breast cancer diagnosis for both men and women is ~90% to 80%.

While serving in the active duty Air Force during the mid-80s, I was shocked and surprised when my good friend Walter at the ripe old age of 19 years old was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and went through life changing surgery. The procedure at the time was very invasive… the cancer was found on both side of his chest. The surgery appeared to be a success – whereas all cancerous breast tumors had been removed… It appeared they had removed the cancer before it had a chance to metastasize (spread throughout the body).

I certainly had no ideal men were susceptible to breast cancer. Although rare, it does occur. To this date, I’ve wondered if he survived the ordeal by being cancer free – for life.

The following data should provide some relief in knowing breast cancer prognosis for both men and women is very survivable – when treated in a timely manner.

"The American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the United States for 2020 are: About 2,620 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed and About 520 men will die from breast cancer " (American Cancer Society 2021).. 

if we’re going to compare cancer survivability apples to oranges… Unlike pancreatic cancer for instance, once diagnosed and under the best medical care for breast cancer treatment – there’s a 5 to 10 year survival rate after early detection (Cancer Mortality Rates, Wikipedia 2021). In the case of pancreatic cancer vs breast cancer prognosis… they are completely two different things. So don’t believe breast cancer is not survivable – early detection and treatment have saved many lives… with survivability averages above 5-10 years on average increasing.

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However, survivability prognosis with any type of cancer is greatly dependent on various lifestyle and biological factors, i.e., medical treatment, environmental stressors, hormones, compromised DNA, unhealthy behavior and sedentary habits, i.e., alcohol consumption, smoking, diet and drug abuse for example, overweight and diabetic medical condition, etc.

Men Like Women Should Take Action Immediately Once Signs and Symptoms of any Type of Cancer Appear Evident

Breast Cancer Prevention in America Should be Taken Seriously

The CDC (Centers for Disease and Control Prevention) 2017 statistics: Women 250,520 diagnosed with breast cancer and mortality rate at 42,000. “For every 100,000 women, 125 new Female Breast Cancer cases were reported and 20 women died of this cancer” (CDC 2021).

From 2013-2017, women diagnosed with breast cancer and death statistics

“From 2013-2017, in the United States1,222,059 new cases of Female Breast Cancer were reported among women, and 207,081 women died of this cancer. For every 100,000 women, 126 new Female Breast Cancer cases were reported and 20 women died of this cancer.

… “breast cancer remains the second–leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. The average lifetime risk for breast cancer in women is approximately 13%. In 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates 13% of newly diagnosed female breast cancer patients will die” (Greenville Journal 2020).

1999-2017 Statistics Show a Downward Trend in Breast Cancer Rates, However this does not Tell the Whole Mortality Story.

“In some cases, even though the rate is going down, the number of new cases and deaths is going up. This happens because the size of our population is growing and aging each year.” It appears when examining the statistical data over the last 20 years, there’s a slight upward breast cancer rate diagnosis and death trend occurring from the disease being off-set by life extending treatments and surgery. “5-year relative survival for Female Breast Cancer in the United States is 89.1%” (CDC 2021).

Women with Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Those with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer: 1) As a woman ages. 2) When a woman begins menstruating (young females are not immune). 3) Pregnancies near, or after 30. 4) Hormone (estrogen) replacement treatment. 5) 50 year family tree window of breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer. 6) Alcohol consumption 7) Overweight 8) Ethnicity: Hispanic, Black, Asian and Pacific Islander women

Signs and Symptoms

1) Scaling, peeling, or flaking skin around the breasts with concentration around the nipples. 2) Changes in breast color or dimpling 3) Pulling in of the nipple 4) Mass or lump within the surrounding breast tissue that feels different. 5) Unexplained breast rash 6) Change in shape of breast. 7) Redness, or skin appears orange 8) Unexplained discharge of nipple.

A summary of treatments: A mammogram is the most common preventative nonintrusive test available to ensure breast health is not compromised and proactive treatment is taken immediately when necessary. Breasts are placed between two plates to be x-rayed, identifying tumors, etc.  Mammograms can detect tissue abnormalities that cannot be felt through self examination, but seen with x-rays. With early detection of breast abnormalities “it is more likely than not,” cancer won’t see the light of day.

If diagnosed with breast cancer, get a second opinion with procedural options. There are various treatments available: Chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs); radiotherapy (high energy x-ray kill cancer cells); hormonal therapy (tumor reduction); biologic therapy (cancer agent spread blocker). If biopsy of breast tissue is necessary and tests review the breast(s) positive with malignancy, inquire about conservative Lumpectomy (tumor removal) opposed to mastectomy; part-full removal of breast(s).

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Ill- Health Breast Cancer Prevention
1.Self examine for lumps, or thickening under arm, or change difference, ridges, pitting, redness of breast.
2.Get Annual mammograms starting at age 40 (Women), if a family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer, or cancer runs in family, etc., both men and women should seek medical opinion much earlier.
3.It is highly recommended all women between the ages of 20-39 get breast exams every 3 years.
4.Men diagnosed with breast Cancer, “Symptoms and treatments are similar. Typical age when diagnosed, 60-70.
5. Ask about various breast cancer diagnoses: Mammogram, Ultrasound, exam frequency, etc.
6. Ask physician about genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and early detection testing with family history.
7. If a family has breast, ovary, prostate cancer, family should seriously consider screening.
8. Reduce weight, reduce alcohol consumption, stop smoking and increase physical activity-exercise.

Author:  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.