Health Tips ... from UPI

By LIDIA WASOWICZ, UPI Senior Science Writer  |  Feb. 1, 2005 at 9:00 AM
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Long-term exposure to air pollution may lead to the development of atherosclerosis, a University of Southern California study suggests. The study of 798 Los Angeles adults over age 40 who showed some signs of increased risk of heart disease -- reported in Environmental Health Perspectives -- adds to growing evidence of a link between exposure to fine particulate matter and the development of the form of cardiovascular disease in which fatty deposits cause artery walls to thicken and harden. The most-exposed study participants experienced some 8 percent more artery thickening than the least-exposed participants, the authors say.


To fight fatigue, learn to say no, set priorities, pace yourself and take time out to relax, U.S. researchers advise. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter, from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says other ways to stave off tiredness include: be active for at least 30 minutes a day; eat a low-fat, high-fiber breakfast; limit high-fat and high-sugar foods, which tend to make you feel sluggish; avoid alcohol, which depresses your central nervous system and acts as a sedative; and, sleep properly. The Mayo specialists say you can slumber better by not eating, reading or watching TV in bed; keeping your bedroom cool, dark and quiet; setting your alarm for the same time each day, and keeping any naps you take short and early in the day.


To avoid the pain of bunions, abnormal bony protrusions that can form at the base of your big toe, U.S. researchers say to stretch your shoes. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter, from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says bunions develop over years of abnormal motion and pressure to your big toe joint, perhaps because of flat feet, low arches or improperly fitting shoes. Usually, there's not much discomfort, but the cushioning sac of fluid over the affected joint can become inflamed and cause pain. Some foot-happy tips from the Mayo specialists include: make sure your shoes don't crowd or irritate your toes; don't wear shoes that are too tight, narrow or pointed; avoid high heels that force your toes to the front of your shoes; support your arches with shoe inserts; and, pad the bunion if it's of the mild variety. Padding may actually contribute to crowding with severe bunions and make the problem worse. To relieve pain, you can ice the bunion, use pain relievers or try physical therapy, specialists recommend.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has added 17 substances to the expanding list of cancer-causing agents, for a total of 246. For the first time, the list includes viruses, including hepatitis B and C and some human papillomaviruses that cause common sexually transmitted diseases. Other new listings include: lead and lead compounds; X-rays; compounds found in grilled meats; and a host of substances used in textile dyes, paints and inks. "Among U.S. residents, one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes. Research shows that environmental factors trigger diseases like cancer, especially when someone has a family history," says Kenneth Olden, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, which prepared the report.


(Editors: For more information about ARTERIES, contact Jim Tobin at (919) 653-2582. For FATIGUE, Carol Lammers at (507) 284-5005 or For PAIN, Carol Lammers at (507) 284-5005 or For CANCER, John Peterson at (919) 541-7860 or

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