“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald (via itsmicca)
“Empathy isn’t just remembering to say ‘That must really be hard,’ it’s figuring out how to bring difficulty into the light so it can be seen at all. Empathy isn’t just listening, it’s asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination. Empathy requires knowing you know nothing.”—Leslie Jamison, “The Empathy Exams,” The Believer (via specialedition87)
In the 1970s, Michael Crichton wrote a book called The Terminal Man, about a man with a chip in his brain who becomes addicted to rage and violence. A few experiments done in the 1990s suggest that we actually can get addicted to anger, and to venting that anger in violent ways.
This is why I don’t reblog angry screeds, even if I agree with them; because working yourself up into a rageball doesn’t solve anything and makes you more likely to lash out at people. I think if everyone had to wait 24 hours before posting something angry half the drama on this site would disappear.
Please stop and think before you type angry— remember, Screwball Ninja loves you.
Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer. But smoking is also strongly linked to cardiovascular disease.
The link between smoking and cardiovascular disease
Smoking is a major cause of atherosclerosis — a buildup of cholesterol, fatty cells and inflammatory deposits (called plaque) on the inner walls of the arteries that can restrict blood flow to the heart, legs, brain, kidneys and other organs leading to peripheral or coronary artery disease. The decrease in supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart or brain can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The Bad News: A recently published study that examined the hazards of smoking and benefits of cessation has found that smokers lose at least one decade of life expectancy compared with people who have never smoked.
The Good News: The study also found that people who quit smoking by age 40 reduce their risk of smoking-related death by an astounding 90 percent.
So if you are thinking of quitting—there’s no time like the present.
“The reduction in death rates continues into an individual’s late 50s, although obviously not as profound,” says Lee Kirksey, MD, Cleveland Clinic vascular surgeon and an expert in peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Smoking increases the risk of death from lung cancer, heart attack and stroke by 200 percent.
“We have always counseled patients to quit smoking to avoid these negative consequences,” Dr. Kirksey says. “We now have very compelling evidence that patients who make the prudent decision can effectively add years to their life expectancy.”
Smoking cessation at any age is, of course, beneficial. While the benefits of stopping at about 40 years of age are significant, the healthiest choice is to not pick up the habit in the first place. About one in six former smokers who quit before age 40 and who die before age 80 would have lived longer if they had never smoked.
Dr. Kirksey calls the recent report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a “landmark study” and says it will change the way that he and his colleagues counsel patients who smoke—especially those who may resist smoking cessation claiming that the damage is already done. “These data will allow us to continue to promote smoking cessation in a much more positive way,” he says.
The best way to manage heart health is through diet and exercise and, when necessary, the use of prescription medications. But there are certain heart attack triggers that might surprise you. In general, we think of the four “Es” as follows: exertion, exposure to cold, emotion and eating.
Too much exertion, too quickly
We all know that a regular exercise program is good for us, but it is important to work up to a level of fitness and not just “jump in.” If you are not used to regular aerobic exercise, sudden and strenuous physical exertion can lead to a heart attack. This can include everything from playing a competitive game of basketball with friends to going hunting and carrying an animal. Too much exertion could also come from sex with a new partner/sexual activity, running or shoveling snow.
“You should avoid being over strenuous in activities such as these if you are not used to exercising, have cardiac risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, for starters. Testing your ability to exercise, especially in weather extremes, can be a dangerous proposition,” says Curtis Rimmerman, MD, of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.
Cold temperatures add to an increased risk for heart attack because they cause the arteries to constrict, which can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure. Combine this with physical exertion and the effects could be dangerous.
Dr. Rimmerman says people need to remember that shoveling snow is hard work and puts extra strain on your heart. Each year, shoveling snow sends more than 11,000 people to the hospital. While most have orthopedic injuries, 7 percent have cardiac problems, and many of these are heart attacks.
It turns out that extreme emotions, both good and bad, can have an impact on the electrical impulses of the heart. Studies show that the stress spanning extreme happiness to acute grief has the ability to spur a heart attack. This is due to the body’s involuntary and sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure brought on by a surprising event.
Recent studies of grief have shown that the risk for heart attack is greatest within the first 24 hours of losing a close loved one and can remain high for a month after the person’s death. And sharp anger is another emotion with real consequences for the heart. In a 36-year study at John’s Hopkins, it was discovered that men who are quick to anger are more likely to develop premature heart disease and five times more likely to have an early heart attack.
Eating a big meal
Studies have shown that a heavy meal can trigger a heart attack within a 26 hour period following the meal. The recent death of actor James Gandolfinifrom a heart attack brought this topic to the public domain. Researchers believe that this could be because eating raises levels of the hormone norepinephrine, which can increase blood pressure and heart rate.
Studies show other triggers for people with compromised heart function include excessive drug and alcohol use, too much caffeine and severe air pollution.
Knowing that these and other events can lead to heart attack just points out how important it is to keep your heart as healthy as possible with a carefully selected diet, regular exercise and medications, when necessary.
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death, take care of yourself.
The gross and ever-increasing degree of economic inequality in the United States has become a phenomenon that even the country’s elites can no longer ignore since the explosive publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century.