Health Warnings

Friday the 13th. Time to consider all the things that are killing you.

For example, are you reading this while sitting down? Well, stop it. (I mean the sitting down part. Obviously, you should keep reading.) According to a recent study, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, “Sitting down for more than three hours a day can shave a person’s life expectancy by two years….”

(The WSJ article was entitled “Sitting for Park Bench CropMore Than Three Hours a Day Cuts Life Expectancy.”  MSNBC’s item on the same report was Sit fewer than 3  hours a day, add 2 years to your life, study says. The glass is always half full on TV.)

The thing is, three hours is not a lot. Sitting down to eat three times a day and driving to and from work (heaven forbid you should be riding instead of driving) probably uses up most of your daily quota. If you then absent-mindedly get absorbed in a waiting-room magazine you are a goner.

So it would probably be best to go sitting cold turkey, and adopt the all standing lifestyle. Eat standing up. Walk to work. Stand while working. TV is okay, just keep vertical. Even if this does not let you live forever, it will seem like forever.

Interestingly, the articles about the study say nothing about laying down. That makes sense. Sleeping is particularly good for you. Another recent study showed that sleep, the king of non-active activities, helps you lose weight. Apparently, if you sleep more than nine hours a night, you are less likely to become obese.

Which is good, because according to another study, no doubt funded with tax dollars, Obese Children May Have Difficult Time In School. But that is okay, because we now have laws forbidding junk food in schools. Of course, another study showed that there is no link between childhood obesity and junk food in schools. Still, it makes us feel better, and that is what is important.

Feeling good is vital. Stress will kill you. Unless it strengthens your immune system. Having had traumatic stress in the past and getting PTSD is bad. A recent study found that heart attack patients got PTSD, which led to, among other things, more heart attacks.

And then there is just being crazy. That is really bad. This just in:

New research suggests middle-aged and older women who experience high levels of a common form of anxiety known phobic anxiety, such as being unreasonably fearful of crowds and heights, are more likely to carry a risk factor tied to premature aging.

Just being afraid of crowds, heights, pointy sticks, circus clowns, broccoli, etc., is okay, but if you are “unreasonably” afraid, it will cost you six years. So chill.

Being recklessly crazy is not healthy either. Research now shows that people with multiple serious driving violations are more likely to kick the bucket, even in ways that have nothing to do with cars.

Even more important than what you do is what you consume. As this is an even numbered year, coffee is currently good for you. And alcohol is also good stuff. A recent British study found that moderate alcohol consumption reduces your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The British definition of moderate, by the way, is at least four drinks a week for at least ten years.

Less conventional intoxicants are not so good for you. An article called Fibromyalgia Patients Self-Medicating With Cannabis May Have Poor Mental Health Outcomes is not very specific about those poor outcomes, although it does say that “herbal cannabis was associated with unstable mental illness in 36% of users” and “researchers also observed that 77% of cannabis users were unemployed.”

Worse, according to the doctor leading the research “Some herbal cannabis users may be dishonestly using a FM diagnosis to justify self-medicating with illegal drugs.” Imagine.

And in case you need something else to worry about today, remember that it is possible to develop an allergy to just about anything. From India we get the case study of a man who gets severe migraines after watching porn for five minutes. No other activity, including porn-free sexual activities, causes the problem. This went on for two years. Becoming desperate, he “started to refrain from watching the videos.”

Doctors suggested Tylenol and ibuprofen 30 minutes before porn, which “provided significant relief.”

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