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Monday, 22 April 2013

How to live many good years

The good life "cuts" many good years of life of the Greeks, who five decades ago was the world's highest life expectancy, but are currently 11th in the world in survival without any problems, in 10th worldwide in life expectancy.

These are the conclusions of international research «Global Burden of Disease Study» and research «European Health Report 2012» of the European department of the World Health Organization (WHO), which were recently published and recorded health status worldwide and in 53 European countries respectively.

According to these data, in our birth to the life expectancy without health problems is around 66.5 years, while overall life expectancy is about 81 years.

Although the life expectancy depends to some extent by the genes we inherit from our parents and from health care, which - according to a recent publication of the newspaper «Guardian» - contributes to almost 20% in this very important role playing how we take care of ourselves.

The truth of the evidence prior studies, which have shown that smoking, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and obesity "reap" the Greeks, causing increasingly more cases of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

What can we do to reverse the situation? Here are some ideas.

    1. Transportability in Japan ...

Although the tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 meant to reduce the average life expectancy in the country due to the massive loss of life (the confirmed victims were 15,882 and 2,668 missing), the life expectancy without health problems is still the highest in the world, reaching 75.5 years for women and 70.1 years for males.

In addition, more than 45% of Iaponidon and 20% of Japanese are expected to celebrate their 90th birthday, according to data released in July last year the Ministry of Health of the country.

According to Professor Kengi Shibuya and colleagues from the University of Tokyo, the longevity of the Japanese not only due to the sushi and rice.

"The Japanese give extremely great importance to health, in all aspects of everyday life. This attitude can be partly attributed to the complex interplay of culture, education, climate conditions, environment and tradition toushinto, which requires cleansing the body and mind before meeting with other people, "he wrote in 2004 in medical inspection «The Lancet».

Moreover, the Japanese making regular checkup - and somewhat so, despite the tsunami, the average life expectancy for women is 85.9 years and men to 79.44 years.

    2. Or better ... in North Ikaria

If you do not want to migrate, the best place to live is North Ikaria.

The "phenomenon of Ikaria" protoparatirithike by scientists of the First Cardiology Clinic, University of Athens, Hippokration Hospital, four years ago, when a study showed that while the rest of Europe only 0.1% of the population over 90 years in Ikaria the figure is tenfold - and while maintaining a good quality of life.

As he says, the "new" study leader Christodoulos Stefanadis, professor of cardiology at the Medical School of the University of Athens, latest figures show that within the same island there are variations in rates of longevity.

"The northern Ikaria has higher rates of longevity and elders from what has the rest of the island. If the divide in the southern, middle and northern, Northern has 25% more elders, ie residents aged 90 and up to 105 years, "he says.

The reasons for this internal differentiation is not completely accurate, but as scientists continue to study the island, "stumble" on reasonable and unexpected discoveries.

"We know certain things that differentiate the northern Ikaria from the rest, which are very reasonable," continues Mr. Stefanadis. "First is a northern part, whose residents have passed tougher and more secluded life than others.

"They lived all these decades poor and frugal diet, containing few animal products, fats and sweets which demonstrably lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease. Furthermore, the topography is such that daily forced to walk in very rugged terrain. "

Very recent evidence, however, suggests something else: that probably plays a role in the creation of the territory of northern Ikaria. "The other major finding is now studying the soil composition of the area," explains Mr. Stefanadis. "The rock in beef Ikaria is granitic, ie limestone, which according to analyzes made in Democritus containing radioactive isotopes - radon and uranium - and it turns out very small amounts of radiation.

"There are some international studies experimentally that say low doses of radiation can regenerate cells, while larger ones can make mutations and cause cancer.

"What we have discovered is that the rest Ikaria is one third of the radiation from that present in the north. Note, no, that the old houses in northern Ikaria is built of stone. So maybe this constant exposure of residents in very small doses of natural radiation have played a role in their longevity. "

Probably has played a role and the fact that the voreioikariotes was more isolated from other residents. "This probably maintained any longevity genes in this population, compared with the mixing of genes which may exist in other areas of the island," says Mr. Stefanadis.

Reasons for this finding is that the centenarians had voreioikariotes very old parents. "We discovered that their parents died at a very old age, at 80 or 90 their at times when people usually lived 60 years," explains the professor.

Note, finally, that "the most striking finding" to Ikaria is low atherosclerosis have - the situation that leads to cardiovascular disease, which are the leading cause of death worldwide.

    3. Measure your blood pressure
Hypertension is one of the biggest enemies, as it is in Europe the main risk factor for premature death and poor quality of life. Moreover, only rarely is in Greece.

According to the Attica study conducted by the First Cardiology Clinic, Hippokration Hospital in Athens five years 2001-2006, 38% of men and 24% of women have elevated blood pressure (over 140/90 mmHg).

In younger adults, the rates are about 8% of men aged 32-58 years and 10% for women aged 31 to 59 years, but increases with age to reach 45% in men and 57% women in ages over 75 years.

Some people have hypertension because they have a family history of the disease, but most because they eat too much salt, not exercise, are overweight, smoke chokes the stress and / or drink heavily.

It is obvious that most of them can be controlled, but because this is not done and so often, it is the systematic measurement of pressure, preferably a doctor. This screening could protect us from a heart attack or stroke.

    4. Eat fruit rather than snacks

Paradoxically, the international research «Global Burden of DiseaseStudy» shows how dangerous to health is not just the lack of consumption of fruits and vegetables (it is the sixth major risk factor for premature illness and death), but the lack of nut consumption (according to research, is the eighth major risk factor).

The reduced consumption of vegetables alone is the 12th major enemy of health and life, followed in turn the few omega-3 fatty acids, which exist primarily in the "thick" or fatty fish (such as salmon, sardine, mackerel), many processed meats and decreased fiber intake.

Moreover, the consumption of trans fats (it is partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are mainly in foods of fast food, some biscuits and anything fried in hydrogenated vegetable oils) is the 19th our enemy, the little calcium (the best sources are dairy products , small fish with the bone, etc.) is the twenty-second, and the reduced consumption of milk alone is the 23rd main enemy.

Therefore yes, diet is very important for longevity, not only because overeating combined with a sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity, but also because when someone eats a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish are harder to get fat.

And if you have not yet convinced, we consider that according to the same survey, obesity is the fourth main enemy of our health because it dramatically increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Indeed, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of USA, obesity increases the risk of breast cancer, esophagus, endometrium, colon, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gall bladder, etc. In fact, it is assigned the most 4% of cancers in men and 7% of those women.

To determine if you are obese, now divide your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in meters). This way you calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). If the ratio is above 30, you are obese, while if it ranges from 25 to 30 are overweight. Normal values are less than 25 and up to 18.5 (below it, enter the dangerously low weight).

    5. Drink with moderation

One or two drinks a day (but in portions restaurants or bars, not drinking glasses) can help to protect against coronary heart disease, but many adults drink much more than that - and the result is harming their body.

According to European research, cirrhosis of the liver due to overconsumption of alcohol is now the 12 cause of morbidity and mortality in Western Europe, as it causes liver cancer. Over-consumption of alcohol is involved in other cancer - mainly oral, throat and breast - while also responsible for many road and quarrels that cost lives.

According to research by the European Commission, Europe 14 million people have alcohol dependence, while in Greece almost six out of ten Greeks (57%) say they consume alcohol three times a week to every day.

About seven out of ten Greeks said they usually drink one or two drinks every time you go out for fun, while 15% drink up to four drinks at a time - with 34% of them said that last year there was at least one time drank more than five drinks in an exit.

As a drink defined as 150 ml wine or 45 ml of "heavy" drinks (eg whiskey, vodka, gin) or 350 ml beer (almost a box).

    6. Get up from chairs

One scientific study after another shows that when someone sits on the daily hours, undermines health, traversing increased risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers (particularly breast and colon).

Still, do not, and if he has little time daily to regular exercise does not seem to compensate for the damage suffered by the long stillness all other hours of the day, according to studies by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Additionally, studies carried out by scientists from Ohio State University concluded that to shield the health needs every half hour to get up from their chairs for 2-5 minutes.

Furthermore, it is necessary and at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate activity (eg walking step fast enough so that somebody feels that warms and breathes faster, managing simultaneously discussing with comfort) or 75 minutes a week of intense physical activity (eg jogging).

    7. Do not smoke

The most anticipated of the recommendations, but true. It has been documented that the cigarette itself "cuts" a decade since our life expectancy, but also years of good quality life, as it destroys the entire body, leading to heart disease, lung disease and cancer.

Europe 2006 study, for example, showed that the odds of a non-smoker lung cancer is 0.2% and a non-smoker 0.4%. In an ex-smoker is 5.5% and a 2.6% ex-smoker, a current smoker not exceed five cigarettes per day 15.9% and a current smoker 9.5%, while those exceeding five cigarettes per day is 24.4% (18.5% in women).

However, smoking is responsible for many other cancers (it totals 12 and includes cancers of the mouth and bladder) and causes one in six cases of heart disease. Furthermore, only half of long-term smokers spend 70 years of age.

The good news is that whoever cuts smoking regains little or a lot of wasted years, depending on the age off his last cigarette, according to research by the University of Toronto published two months ago in the 'Medical Journal of New England "( NEJM).

It found those who quit smoking at age 35-44 earn nearly nine out of the 10 lost years of life, while those that cut between 45 and 54 years earn six of the lost years. Those also extinguish their last cigarette at ages 55-64, winning just four of the ten lost years of life.

    8. Attention to the road

According to the report «European facts and Global status report on road safety 2013» that in March released by the European division of the WHO, more than 92,400 Europeans (including about 1,500 Greeks) annually leave their last breath on the asphalt, as victims traffic accidents.

Moreover, for every person who dies, even 112 transported to the emergency room and 23 required hospitalization. 25%, no, those injured in car accident, leading to permanent disability.

54% of victims are young people, aged 15-44 years, while 75% are men. Seven out of ten victims are in other driver or passenger vehicles (the rest are pedestrians or cyclists).

According to calculations by British scientists, who have combined WHO data to data from the Ministry of Transport of the country, the chances of someone getting killed before the 75-year rolling car accident is 1 in 976, when the plane is 1 in 54433 and by train one in 131,313.

    9. Create strong social ties

Both the "Study Ikaria" and international clinical studies showing that good social relationships can give years to life - and life to years.

A landmark study on longevity, called Study Grant started in 1940 by scientists at Harvard University and lasted nearly seven decades, concluded that "the essential, human relationships are the key to a happy, long life," as stated lead researcher Dr. George Vailant, professor of psychiatry at Harvard, who is leading the study in recent decades.

According to the study data, only four out of 31 volunteers who were in eternal bachelors are still alive, when among those who had good family relationships a third moving towards 90 years old. However, even those who had no family, but they were good friends, had survival benefit - the same who had companion pets.

Major causes of death in the world (millions of deaths, 2010)

Heart disease and stroke = 12.9 (one quarter of all deaths)

Hypertension = 9.4

Smoking = 6.3

Alcohol = 5

Sedentary lifestyle and poor diet = 12.5



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