Saturday, December 17, 2011

Celebrity Health Changers

Celebrity Health Changers

Celebrity Health Changers, President Obama & Portia de Rossi are among the celebs who made healthy moves. Take this quiz to see how much you know about the benefits of seven behavior changes.

The lifestyles of the rich and famous aren’t always the healthiest ones. Late-night parties, drug and alcohol binges, smoking and bad eating habits can all be harmful to your health and take years off your life. Here, some behaviors that are common among the stars, and how changing them can result in dramatic health improvements and increased longevity.
According to the American Lung Association, 90 percent of lung cancer deaths can be directly linked to cigarette smoking. Cigarette addiction can also a host of other conditions — such as emphysema, heart disease, stroke, infertility, throat, stomach and pancreatic cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The good news? Kicking the habit can radically change that outcome.

Quitting at age 30 reduces your risk of dying from smoking-related diseases by a whopping amount. How much?
But even quitting at age 50 drops your risk significantly compared with those who continue to light up.
Plus, within a few weeks of quitting, ex-smokers will have improved circulation and they’ll cough less. Within a few months, lung function will improve substantially, and the senses of smell and taste will become sharper.

Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet
Former President Bill Clinton had a legendary appetite — and a famously omnivorous diet that included extra helpings of fast food, barbecue, french fries and doughnuts. But after being diagnosed with heart disease and undergoing a quadruple bypass operation in 2004, Clinton committed to completely revamping his diet. Now he eats an essentially vegan diet — with no meat, no dairy and no eggs. And that could literally be a lifesaver for him:
Studies have shown that eliminating animal protein can lead to improvements in health. How? What is the recommended amount of protein in the daily diet?
The key is to make sure you are still eating a balanced diet and paying special attention to the nutrients that are hard to come by when shunning all animal products. What are the essential daily nutrients? Which foods replace nutrients from animal products?
Drug addiction
While celebrities with high-profile drug habits have their addictions — and related transgressions—tirelessly chronicled in the press, their struggles and health risks are really no different from any other drug users. Take cocaine, for example. This popular recreational drug is responsible for more visits to the ER than any other illegal drug. And that’s not surprising when you consider the drug’s effect on nervous system:
It increases heart rate and blood pressure and constricts the arteries that pump blood to the heart. What can this result in? It also constricts blood vessels to the brain. What can this cause?
Snorting it damages nasal passages, and it can also contribute to stomach ulcers and cause sudden kidney failure. Quitting successfully is tough because it’s so highly addictive, but doing so will reverse many of its negative health impacts.
Even the notoriously golden browned stars of “Jersey Shore” have wised up to the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) rays. After a dermatologist from The Skin Cancer Foundation visited the cast, former tanning bed addict Snooki renounced her UV habit and now claims to get her glow exclusively from much-safer spray-on tans. Among the scary facts that encouraged the change:
Frequent tanners have an increased risk of deadly melanoma, and some high-pressure sunlamps can emit as much as 12 times the UVA radiation of the sun. Check out this staggering factoid on the yearly incidents of new skin cancer cases.
While tan-aholics can’t stomach the thought of being pale, the constant pursuit of a sun-kissed glow gives UV rays plenty of time to get busy breaking down collagen in the skin. What does this cause?
Staying up all night
It’s one thing when late nights are a partying celebs choice, but for some stars—as well as many regular folks — lack of sleep is due to insomnia, not after-hours clubbing. But no matter what the cause, not logging a full night of zzz’s can contribute to numerous health issues:
According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting too few hours increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems, depression and substance abuse. And then there are the more obvious side effects of being chronically exhausted — like an increased risk of getting in a car accident, trouble dealing with distractions and difficulty learning.
The fact that large percentage of Americans suffer from insomnia certainly helps account for our national love affair with sleep aids, but the experts suggest that other — non-drug — methods can help make it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
Excessive drinking
Alcohol fuels many a Hollywood party, but dozens of celebs have also renounced the hard stuff—many after much-publicized trips to posh rehab facilities. And while moderate drinking has been linked to some positive health benefits, chronic alcohol abuse is nothing but trouble:
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 79,000 deaths each year in the U.S. can be attributed to excessive alcohol consumption.
In addition to the increased risk of accidents, alcohol abuse is linked to health problems including dementia, stroke, high blood pressure and other heart problems, increased cancer risk, gastrointestinal problems and liver disease. Quitting can help reduce those risks and improve overall health.
Starving yourself
The pressure to be stick thin is everywhere, but no one feels it more than celebrities — whose most microscopic bulges are under the constant focus of the papparazzi’s zoom lens. But when mere dieting turns into a full-blown eating disorder, that unhealthy obsession can take a serious toll.
According to the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders, a sizeable percentage of anorexics die from complications related to their disease.
And even if it doesn’t kill you, starving your body can cause serious problems such as osteoporosis, anemia, heart and brain damage — some of which may endure even after returning to a normal weight and healthy eating habits.
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