The Ties Between Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol is one of the most used substances in the country, and one of the deadliest. It is important to learn more about the dangers and health risks associated with overindulging in alcohol. Alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States and, according to the National Institutes of Health, leads to the death of 88,000 Americans annually. One of the most common problems associated with over drinking is cancer.

Excessive alcohol use leads to the development of a number of different types of cancers. Based on data from 2009, it is estimated that 3.5 percent of cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol related.

The Ties Between Alcohol and Cancer

Types of Alcohol-Related Cancers

There is clear evidence that the use of alcohol leads to the development of multiple types of cancer. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists alcohol as one of the known human carcinogens in a report.

Head and Neck Cancer

Oral and throat cancers are more prevalent in drinkers than non-drinkers. Specifically, moderate drinkers have a 1.8-fold higher risk of developing these types of cancers than those who don’t drink. For heavy drinkers, it is even higher, as they are five times as likely as developing these types of cancer. Similarly, the risk is even higher if the person uses tobacco as well.

Esophagus Cancer

Alcohol abuse is also associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Similar to oral and throat cancers, those who use alcohol moderately have a slightly higher risk of developing this type of cancer, but heavy drinkers are five times as likely to develop it.

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among alcohol users. In fact, those who drink are two times as likely to develop this type of cancer as nondrinkers.

Breast Cancer

Studies have shown clear evidence that there is an increased risk of breast cancer in those who drink alcohol compared with non-drinkers. Heavy drinkers specifically are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Colon Cancer

Alcohol consumption leads to a 20 to 50 percent increase in the risks of cancers of colon and rectum compared with no alcohol use at all.

There is mounting evidence that alcohol consumption is linked to a number of other cancers and that it is associated with increased risks of melanoma and prostate and pancreatic cancers.

Woman drink

Why Alcohol Increases Cancer Risk

There are a number of hypothesized reasons that alcohol use leads to an increase in the risk of different types of cancers, however, the exact risk isn’t completely understood. One hypothesis is that when the body breaks down ethanol, it turns it into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical, and probable carcinogen, the substance can damage both the DNA and proteins in the body. Similarly, cells that are damaged by alcohol may try and repair themselves, but this can lead to DNA changes and can be a step toward cancer.

While there is no proven way to avoid cancer completely, there are steps that you can take to help lower your risk of alcohol-related cancer.

For one, you can work to limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages. For men, this means limiting yourself to no more than one or two drinks per day, and for women drinking no more than one drink per day.

Moreover, avoiding binge drinking or drinking heavily can help to reduce your risk of alcohol-related cancer as the risk of cancer increases with the more alcohol that you drink. However, even light drinking can lead to an increased risk of developing some type of cancer. Reducing binge drinking will also help with a number of other physical health problems.

Tobacco

There is much evidence that shows the combination of alcohol and tobacco leads to a much greater risk of developing oral and throat cancers than just using one or the other. The problem becomes much worse if tobacco and alcohol are used together.

Bottles Alcohol

Getting Alcohol Treatment

Recognizing that you or your loved one has a drinking problem is just the first step. For most, getting sober is not an easy process and it is a lifelong struggle. Luckily, there are many treatment options across the country that can help those with alcohol use disorder. Going through an alcohol treatment program can be frightening, especially if you don’t know exactly what to expect. But the more you learn about what treatment can offer the more comfortable you will likely feel about the situation.

Drug and alcohol treatment centers are there to help patients safely detox and to educate patients on the details of addiction and how to prevent relapse following discharge from a facility.

When it comes to getting treatment, detoxification is one of the most important steps in achieving sobriety, especially for those dealing with alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use can lead to dangerous, even life-threatening withdrawals if not handled properly. There are a number of worrisome symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, including:

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Auditory and visual disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting and more

Alcoholism treatment

A treatment center will likely provide medically supervised detoxification for new patients. Detoxification can last somewhere between a couple of days to a week. During detoxification, patients will overcome the symptoms and problems associated with withdrawals and newfound sobriety. This will allow the patients to deal with hard physical problems before they begin behavioral treatment.

After detoxification, patients will be exposed to group and one-on-one therapy sessions to help them learn more about the details and processes of addiction. Some styles of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, will be used to help patients identify triggers that could lead to a relapse. Following inpatient treatment, patients will likely be given a discharge plan and pointed toward an outpatient facility to help them continue their treatment while getting adjusted back to normal life.

Treatment centers are there to help. They’re there to be a part of the solution and save as many people as possible.


About The Author

Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Recovery, drug and alcohol rehab centers in Indiana. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years with a new emphasis on recovery. Before his ventures into healthcare, Matthew graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After Duke Matthew went on to work for the Boston Consulting Group before he realized his true passion lies within Recovery. His vision is to save a million lives in 100 years with a unique approach to recovery that creates a supportive environment through trust, treatment, and intervention.


 

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Taking Some Control Over Your Own Health 100%

Your health is something you can often feel out of control with. You’ve got a brain and a body to look after, to feed properly and put to bed at night, and they’ll still turn on you when you least need them to! At least, that’s how it feels when you suddenly come down with a cold, or you get a diagnosis for a chronic illness you weren’t expecting when you went to the doctor’s that morning.

And that’s why you can feel so out of control, and so vulnerable, in the face of your own wellbeing. You want to be someone in charge, and you want to be confident as you do it – but how can you even think to manage that when we’re hardly ever sure of what causes us to get ill? It’s a delicate balance, and it’s one you should learn about. So with all that in mind, here’s a couple of ways you might be able to put some control back in your own hands.

(Unsplash)

Ask for Help When You Need Some

Of course, it may seem counterproductive to ask someone else to help you out when you’re feeling out of sorts, but it’s one of the most important self care tasks to keep in mind. Whether you’re feeling bad because of a physical ailment or a mental illness, you need to remember you’re allowed to reach out, and that you’re going to feel much better for doing so.

Taking control means giving yourself a break, not working yourself to the bone, and knowing your own limits in terms of your health. Being able to stand firm in the face of the idea that unless you’re contributing, you’re not worth the time and effort, is something few people are able to do. So let’s make sure you stay in bed when you’re struggling to stand up, and that you’re taking the time to have a snack if you haven’t stopped at the daily grind all morning!

Use a DNA Kit

Nowadays, technology can do a lot for our health, and monitoring is made a lot more effective and a lot less invasive because of it. After all, the more advances that come out each year, the better we get at solving our ailments and giving ourselves a chance at longer, healthier lives. Operations are far more complex, and far more successful, thanks to the use of technology, and even your own heart can be regulated via the use of tiny electrical devices.

Which is why a DNA test might be best for giving you an insight into your own body and how it works. After all, your genetic code has a lot to answer for, and companies like iDNA Health are the experts in Clinical Genetics – why not visit a website like this to see if a kit would be available to you?

Remember, taking some kind of control over your own health doesn’t have to be as hard as it’s made out to be.

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Healthy Gut, Happy Life: How Our Microbes Affect Our Mood

We all know about eating well to improve our general health, and even to address specific issues like heart disease or diabetes. But did you know that tailoring your diet can also support your mental health as well? Making some easy changes to your daily menu can actually have a hugely beneficial impact to areas such as depression, anxiety, memory loss and a host of other mental functions too. This is due to the role our gut health plays in affecting our mental state. Just like the brain, your gut has its own nervous system, and this communicates with your grey matter via the vagus nerve. If you’ve ever experienced feeling queasy with nerves, that is the link in action. It means that what we eat can really have an effect on your mood and mental state. Keeping to a diet rich in the following foods can therefore be an extremely effective part of the management of conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety and keep your mind working at it’s best:

Maintain your microbes for a mood boost. Image licenced under Creative Commons.

Fish Oils

Most people have diets severely lacking in omega-3 fatty acids. This is a problem because our brains are largely made up of fat and these essential fatty acids are not made naturally in the body, we need to take them into our bodies through what we eat. Studies have shown that a diet rich in omega-3, containing food such as oily fish like salmon, sardines and herring, flaxseed and walnuts can ease symptoms of schizophrenia, depression and ADHD. This is because they support the production of neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin. These brain chemicals regulate mood and low levels of them have also been linked to a propensity for addiction. Omega-3 can also boost learning and memory skills, so double up by altering your diet and adding in an Omega-3 supplement.

Whole Grains

Our brain energy is powered by glucose, which our bodies derive from carbohydrates. Yet many of us eat too many simple carbs like white bread and pasta. These create dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels and this exacerbates low moods and had been shown to have a similar effect on the brain to some drugs. At the other end of the scale, complex carbohydrates found in whole grains release glucose at a much slower rate, providing steady fuel for the brain a and body. A diet rich in oats, bulgar wheat, wild rice, beans and soy can help to support this beneficial effect.

Leafy Green Vegetables

While spinach might not make you super muscly in a flash like Popeye, it and other dark leafy greens have a hugely positive mental effect to offer. Romaine, collard greens, bok choi, kale and broccoli all offer essential folic acid to your body. Low levels of folate and other B vitamins have been linked with conditions such as insomnia, depression and chronic fatigue. Boost your levels with a daily green smoothie with the best green superfood powder, and pack your diet with stir fries and dishes featuring these amazing greens.

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Restoring Dental Health After Addiction

Substance abuse is something that takes its toll on the entire body. This includes the mouth. When a person is addicted to drugs the teeth can become sensitive, stained, and develop cracks and cavities. In extreme addiction cases a person may lose teeth and possibly end up with damage to their gums as well. Fortunately, modern dentistry can provide people who are recovering from addiction with a second chance at healthier teeth and a brighter smile.

Restoring Dental Health After Addiction

Meth Mouth

Meth is a drug that is particularly hard on the teeth. The reason for this is because it is highly acidic. Using meth will decrease the production of saliva. Saliva is important for buffering acidic attacks that occur in the mouth. In addition, most people who use meth will crave sugar and often have a diet that is high in sugary drinks and carbohydrates.

Highs from meth can last for up to twelve hours, which means there are long stretches when dental care is simply overlooked, with brushing and flossing regularly being highly unlikely. Meth also acts as an appetite suppressant, which means that many meth users are often malnourished. All of these factors combined can lead to poor gum health and rampant tooth decay.

Other Drugs that Affect the Teeth

While meth is one of the most well known drugs to cause tooth decay and other dental issues, it is not the only drug that can cause these issues. Crack cocaine is highly acidic as well and can also cause dental health issues. Simply drinking soda regularly can also wreak havoc on your teeth. Smoking tobacco and pot can cause the teeth to become yellow and may also cause decay.

Restore smile

Fixing your Smile

For those who are recovering from a drug addiction or even a soda addiction, getting your smile back can go a long way when it comes to building confidence. It is important to note that a smile revision cannot occur if a person is still using. It is best to wait to see a dentist until after the substance use has been completely stopped. It is actually dangerous for someone who is actively using meth to undergo anesthesia or to be given nitrous oxide to undergo dental care. This is why dentists require a patient to be well into recovery before providing any type of care. In fact, smile rehabilitation can help motivate a person to stay sober.

Types of Treatment

The treatment for fixing a person’s teeth after addiction will vary based on the individual. How the dentist will fix the teeth will depend on the person’s health history as well as how much damage has been done to the gums and the teeth. The very first step to fixing your smile will be to see the dentist for an evaluation. From the evaluation the dentist will be able to create a treatment plan that will help stop further dental decay. A thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums will likely be the first step. Cavities will be filled and possibly root canals and extractions.

In some cases, a dentist may recommend fixing your teeth with braces. This will be decided on after your mouth is freed from disease. Dentures and implants may also be a necessary part of your smile reconstruction.

While it may take some work to reconstruct your smile after addiction, it can be done. The first step is to recover from your addiction and then move on from there with your dentist along to help you at each step of the way.

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Feeling Like ‘You’ Again After Overcoming Addiction

Addiction is hard on the body, and in turn is hard on our looks. Once you make it through to the other side, you’re not the same person you were when you started either mentally or physically- and so finding ‘you’ again isn’t always something that comes easy. When you have an addiction this often comes ahead of anything else, including your health and appearance, and so spending time and effort on yourself again once you’re clean and sober might take some adjusting to. However, doing so can actually be very beneficial. Of course there’s more to a person than their outside appearance, but the way you look can really affect your self esteem and confidence. Feeling like yourself again after being detached from that for a while can be a nice feeling and it’s good for you both physically and mentally. Here’s how you can get back to being yourself.

Photo source

General Health

It might have been a while since you visited the doctor and there could be symptoms you were either ignoring or didn’t’ notice due to your addiction. If you’re a woman, you should book in for a smear test if you need one. Since alcohol has been linked to skin cancer (as well as drugs on a less direct level just as they weaken the immune system) you could book into a skin clinic if you have any concerns. Moles that have appeared or changed in shape or size are reasons to be checked out. Have your GP check your weight, blood pressure and blood sugar and make sure things are in check- if not, they can advise you about what you need to do to get these things in order. If you have been using needles or having unsafe sex, a blanket blood and sexual health test will help to give you peace of mind or let you know what kinds of treatments you need. Once you’re healthy and well again, you’ll be feeling much more like yourself.




Hair, Skin and Teeth

Addiction, particularly those that involve physical dependence such as substance abuse tend to cause issues with skin, hair and teeth. This is partially due to the addiction meaning you don’t take as good care of yourself and your maintenance regimes can slip, and they can also be a direct result of the drink or drugs. Alcohol for example is full of sugar and can cause tooth decay, and the toxins in both drink and drugs can lead to breakouts, dull skin and unhealthy hair. After addiction, take steps to put these things right. You could go to a beauty salon and have a facial and have them recommend some products. Visit a dentist about your oral health and look into cosmetic work if you need it. Go to a hairdresser and have them give you a cut and colour that suits you and makes the most of your locks. Just these things alone can massively improve your appearance and self esteem.




Do Things You Enjoy

Finally, a big part of what makes you ‘you’ is your hobbies and interests. These were likely put on hold when you were caught by addiction but are something now you can take up again. Not only will these be enjoyable but you could meet like minded people and it gives you something productive to do and takes your mind off your past addiction. It could be anything from dance to a sport to a craft or something else entirely, but throwing yourself into hobbies can prevent relapse and help you feel back like yourself again.

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How To Start Your 2018 Health Kick Right

2018 HealthWe all do it; we start the year off with so much promise; then we slowly let our standards slip through the year until you don’t even recognize the person shoving toddlers out the way as you head for your third helping at the family Christmas dinner. Well, January is just around the corner, which means it’s time for an overhaul of your fitness program. Below are some key things to  consider when you renew that gym membership in the New Year.

Image Source

Diet

Potentially the most important aspect of your health regime; your diet is what keeps your body healthy and well fueled. It has often been said that you can’t outrun a bad diet, so make sure your diet is working with you, and not against you. It can be very tempting to drastically cut back on your portion sizes when you’re trying to lose weight; however, this is more likely to hinder your progress. When you don’t eat enough, your body enters into ‘starvation mode’ and is actually more likely to keep hold of the fat you are trying to burn. Instead, focus on keeping your diet as balanced as possible, this way you don’t have to completely cut anything out of your diet, and can still enjoy the odd treat. Ensuring you have a quality breakfast every morning can set you up for a more productive day. You should aim for around 60% of your daily calorie intake to be from carbohydrates (yes, even for weight loss). Try to eat more complex carbohydrates, so your body has to work to get its energy, and keep simple sugars to a minimum to keep your body fueled all day long.  Whilst fruit is a great way of getting vitamins into your body, try to avoid excessive amounts of fruit smoothies. They typically have more sugar than fizzy drinks, and the liquid form means that your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get the energy. Around 20% of your calories should be protein, and 20% should be fats. Fat is an important part of your diet, so avoid reduced-fat products (they’re normally pumped full of sugar instead). You should also try to keep your saturated fat levels as low as possible in your diet. Stick to the more healthy, unsaturated, fats as much as you can.




Exercise

Another excellent way of shifting those excess Christmas calories is to get your heart pumping. There will be many articles and workouts telling you that their way is best. However, the truth of the matter is that so long as you’re exercising, it doesn’t matter how you choose to do it. The important thing is that it’s something you enjoy doing and can stick at consistently. You should definitely consider incorporating some resistance training into your routine. Not only is it a great way to sculpt and tone your body, but it also burns more calories than cardio does. This is due to the fact that cardio only burns calories whilst your exercising, whereas resistance training burns calories even after you finish (your body needs extra energy to help your muscles recover). If you do choose to start utilizing resistance training, it may be worth educating yourself using online tutorials or a personal trainer. The last thing you want to do is spend the next six weeks in physio because you overdid it at the gym.




Rest

After all the effort at the gym and time spent preparing meals, you’re likely to be well and truly drained. Allowing your body to fully recharge each night is extremely important to making the most of your workouts. Good quality, deep sleep is needed to allow your body to fully rebuild itself each night, so ensure you get a solid eight hours. Don’t leave it too late before you get into bed either; the more time your body has to rest before midnight, the better. Turning off the technology an hour or two before bed is a good way to let your mind switch off, ready for a good night’s sleep. The artificial lights can play havoc with your circadian rhythm and disrupt your melatonin production all of which can make it difficult to be fully rested when your alarm goes off in the morning.

Try to research as much as possible to avoid misinformation when looking for diet tips. It’s easy to get sucked into fad diets that promise so much but deliver so little. It’s better to make small changes to your lifestyle that you can commit to for a long period of time, than it is to make drastic alterations that only last a few weeks. Follow this advice and, hopefully, your 2018 will be a year full of personal growth and targets achieved.

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5 Ways Nutrition Plays A Vital Role In Recovery From Addiction

Everything that you put into your body has an effect on your physical and your mental well-being. Taking drugs and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol not only cause damage to your body, but they also often prevent your body from absorbing the vitamins and minerals your body so desperately needs from the food that you eat.

A very common consequence of addiction is that addicts and alcoholics eat very little while using. It is also very common for addicts to vomit during binges so the little food that they have managed to consume is lost.

Depending on the drug the addict may also binge on food, such as marijuana addicts.




Whatever the addicts habits their relationship with food is bound to be unhealthy, causing even more havoc to their body in addition to the physical damages from the alcohol and drugs.

Getting clean from drugs and alcohol is not an easy process and the role that good nutrition plays is often overlooked. When looking for treatment for addiction it is a good idea to ask what emphasis they put on nutrition before choosing a treatment center.

Nutrition Recovery Addiction

Here are some vital ways that nutrition impacts your recovery from addiction:

1 Detoxing from alcohol and drugs

Coming off your drug of choice and going through a withdrawal period is inevitable if you want to get clean. You will need to detox from drugs.

Depending on the drug you are coming off this process can be relatively simple with a small amount of discomfort, or it can be a traumatic and painful process if you are coming off a drug like heroin which has serious withdrawal symptoms and very often has to be medically supervised.

The foods that you eat during this time won’t magically cure you from withdrawal symptoms but you can lessen symptoms significantly by ensuring that you are eating properly.

One of the most important things to do during this time is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Stay away from high caffeine drinks such as coffee and avoid drinking sugary carbonated drinks. If you struggle to drink a lot of plain waster a great option is to drink sugarless iced tea which you can make yourself using an iced tea maker. It is a much healthier option than Coke or Coffee which is what so many addicts drink in recovery!

2 Repairing Body Damage

Drugs and alcohol cause significant damage to your body. While there are some things that won’t be able to be undone such as cocaine damage to your nose, a lot of your body’s internal organs will start healing to some degree once you stop using.

Getting in vitamins and minerals to your body will now be vital to helping your body to recover from drug abuse.

Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and natural foods will give your body the boost it needs. Focus on getting in foods high in protein, fiber and natural fats.

Stay away from processed foods and foods high in sugar.




3 Healthy Living Habits

While in active addiction addicts often don’t look after themselves in any way. They are often dirty and malnourished. Part of being in recovery is changing your lifestyle and habits. You need to learn to look after yourself properly.

Eating regular, healthy meals is a huge part of this process along with good personal hygiene habits, good sleep habits and exercise.

Recovery from addiction is about change, it is about moving from an unhealthy mindset and lifestyle to the a healthy mind and life.

4 Mental Well-being

While many may think that addiction is just a physical problem this is incorrect. While there definitely is a physical craving for drugs this is not the deeper problem. The mental state of an addict is what needs the most work.

Getting over the physical cravings very often is they easy part, getting over the physical withdrawal and cravings happens in a short space of time.

Staying clean and being mentally well is much harder and has to be maintained. Good nutrition plays another essential role here. By eating properly you can control your blood sugar levels which will help to keep your moods stable.

Eating correctly can help to combat depression and anxiety which can greatly impact your chances of being successful in your recovery from addiction.




Many addicts have a dual diagnosis, meaning that they often get diagnosed with a mood disorder along with addiction. This makes paying attention to your mental health so important since your mood disorder can affect your recovery from addiction and in turn your addiction can affect your mood disorder.

It is important to stay focused on both of these issues and treat them both simultaneously. Good nutrition and healthy eating habits aids you in your recovery from addiction and is highly beneficial to your mental health.

5 The Dangers of Cross Addiction

The importance of healthy eating is not just to help the addict to get physically and mentally well. It is also essentially important to educate the addict against the dangers of cross addiction.

When an addict is withdrawing from a substance, even from cigarettes, it is common to crave unhealthy foods such as foods with high sugar or caffeine. While this may help the addict in the short term to pull through withdrawals there is the possibility that the addict can then form a cross addiction into food.

People can become addicted to anything, from the more obvious things like drugs and addiction, to things like gambling, sex, food, online dating, online games, work and exercise.

With food often being the only thing left that an addict has access to when in treatment for recovery from addiction this needs to be looked at.

Teaching an addict to have a healthy relationship with food is therefore essential on so many levels and can have a direct impact on the addict’s recovery from addiction, both short term and long term.


About The Author

My name is Eva Swain, I am the founder of Women’s Guide. I have a passion for keeping up with the latest information and providing the audience with the facts they need to make better choices in their lives. I started Women’s Guide for women who want to advance both for themselves and the greater good. Follow Eva @EvaCSwain


 

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