HealthWise at 5 for 1.14.09 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/14/08

HealthWise at 5 for 1.14.09

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Lung Association Wants Government to Do More About Smoking

The American Lung Association says the US didn't do enough in 2008 to encourage Americans to quit smoking.  The Senate did not pass a bill that would have given the FDA authority to regulate cigarettes and the federal cigarette tax remained at 39 cents a pack.  The ALA wanted more, saying that raising cigarette taxes and providing more funding for smoking cessation programs will help cut smoking rates.  Statistics show tobacco-related diseases are still killing nearly 400,000 Americans each year.

Tanning Beds Won't Cure the Winter Blues

According to researchers at the Skin Cancer Foundation, if you're feeling the "Winter Blues" you won't find relief at the tanning salon.  They are concerned that some tanning salons say their services will prevent "Seasonal Affective Disorder", which is basically a fancy name for the winter blues, but is a real problem that affects nearly 15 million Americans.  The foundation experts argue that while light therapy is a proven treatment, the UV light in tanning beds will not help.  Only visible light, like what we get from the sun or a sun lamp, will actually treat the condition.  Researchers add that people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

Is Blood Pressure Linked to the Seasons?

According to a new study, when the temperature drops in the winter, your blood pressure goes up.  Researchers in France looked at the link between blood pressure and outdoor temperature in 8000 adults age 65 and older.  They found blood pressure was higher in the winter, with 33% of participants diagnosed with hypertension during cold months compared to 24% in the summer.  In a majority of cases, blood pressure dropped in those who had their first measurement taken in the winter compared to a follow-up check in the summer.  Researchers say there is no evidence cold weather causes high blood pressure, but there is a definite association that doctors should be aware of, especially when treating elderly and high-risk patients. 

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