In the largest study of its kind, researchers once again linked the consumption of soda to an early death. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine, the study includes nearly 500,000 individuals across 10 European countries.
Indeed, it’s interesting that there appears to be little difference between diet and regular soda. Diet soft drinks seem to be just as deadly as sweet, sugar-laden beverages.
In this article, we’re going to break down the results of the study. Why and how does soda contribute to an early death? Are the results significant? Does the study accurately and truthfully demonstrate the potential harm of soft drinks? Of course, we will answer these questions and others here.
A quick note. Researchers included the following beverages under the umbrella of “soft drinks”: cola, pop, soda, fruit punch, lemonade, energy, and sports drinks (e.g., Monster and Gatorade, respectively), powdered sugar drinks (e.g., Kool-Aid), and “ades” such as lemonade.
So let’s get to it!
STUDY BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study is one of the largest cohort (“group”) studies in the world. Traditionally, cohort studies are a type of research-based study that’s designed to investigate the cause(s) of disease. Besides investigating the correlation between soft drinks and early mortality, EPIC also researches various issues surrounding the topic of disease acquisition.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), this EPIC study was conceived in order to “investigate the relationships between diet, nutritional status, lifestyle and environmental” factors and their relationship to cancer and disease.
In the paper, the authors note the lack of scholarship focusing on a potential link between disease and soft drinks. This gap in research is rather striking when one considers the proven link between sugary-drink consumption and obesity.
In a massive, oft-cited 88-study analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers directly demonstrate “clear associations between soft drink consumption and nutrition and health outcomes.” Including increased calorie intake, heavier body weight, and increased risk of “several medical problems.”
It is on the former note that this study comes out at a dubious time in U.S. history. The number of overweight and obese children and adults have reached epidemic proportions. Consider the below statistics from a huge, multi-state study.
SEVEN U.S. STATES – ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, IOWA, LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, OKLAHOMA, AND WEST VIRGINIA – RECORD OBESITY RATES EXCEEDING 35 PERCENT.
According to data in the report The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2018, the U.S. obesity rate is now hovering around 40 percent. Roughly 19 percent of children are now obese. Just two decades ago, these numbers were at 30 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
This writer’s sincere thanks go to the authors of the work.
Elio Riboli, a Professor and Director of Public Health at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, coordinated this EPIC study. Assisting Professor Riboli in coordination efforts were two esteemed cancer researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon, France), Dr. Marc Gunter and Dr. Paul Brennan.
“Consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases, and sugar-sweetened soft drinks were associated with deaths from digestive diseases.”
~ Mullee, A., et al. (source)
The EPIC program consists of 521,000 citizens across 10 European countries. Following participant recruitment and initial data gathering, study subjects were followed up after an average of 16 years. The large, multinational cohort consisted of participants from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
RESEARCHERS COLLECTED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FROM STUDY PARTICIPANTS:
Participants were administered some version of the quantitative dietary questionnaire, containing over 250 food items. Using this document, participants reported types of food consumed and estimated individual portion sizes.
Questionnaire data were collected on several variables known to impact health. Among the information recorded: job history, current employment status, illness history, education, socioeconomic status, known disorders, history of tobacco use, history of alcoholic beverage consumption, physical activity level, and reproductive history.
BODY MEASUREMENTS & DIMENSIONS):
height, weight, waist, hip circumference, body mass index (BMI), and sitting height.
Measurements for red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, white blood cells, and platelet count.
Using this information, researchers excluded individuals reporting a history of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or stroke. They also left out data they perceived to be inaccurate or incomplete details. Finally, they also disregarded data collected from individuals at-risk for certain diseases.
HERE ARE SOME STATISTICS FROM THE CHOSEN PARTICIPANT GROUP:
– Number of participants: 451,743 (86.7% of the cohort group)
– Gender: Female ~ 71% of total (321,081)
– The average age at study commencement: ? 51 years
– Average follow-up period (from initial data measurement): ? 16.4 years
– Number of deaths: 41,693 (~ 9.2% of cohort)
“The results of this study are significant. It reinforces a fact that won’t surprise anyone in the nutrition field: Processed foods loaded with artificial ingredients will never be the magic bullet to better health, no matter how low they are in sugar. Our bodies are smarter than that.” ~ Sarah Reinhardt, the Union of Concerned Scientists
The EPIC research team analyzed the experimental data from both regular and diet soda users. The key measurement was the total consumption of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks.
The team reached the following conclusions:
– Individuals who consumed two or more glasses of soda per day had a 17 percent higher chance of early death.
– Drinkers of artificially sweetened soft drinks run a 26 percent higher chance of premature death.
– Science proves a relationship between sweetened soft drinks and death from circulatory diseases.
– Sugary drinks were tied to higher rates of death from digestive diseases. Other disorders correlating with sugar-sweetened beverages include appendix, intestines, liver, and pancreas disease.
The team factored another interesting finding out of the analysis. people who drank more soda tended to be higher in body mass index (BMI). Soda drinkers were also more likely to be tobacco smokers. However, says the study’s lead author, Neil Murphy, these findings did not influence the results. “We made statistical adjustments in our analyses for BI, smoking habits, and other mortality factors,” says Murphy.
So after adjusting for such factors, the research team concludes that smoking habits and BMI do not strongly influence the correlation between soft drinks and mortality rates.
FINAL THOUGHTS: SOFT DRINKS ARE PLAIN BAD
“There are 4.2 grams of sugar in a single teaspoon. Now, imagine scooping up 7 to 10 teaspoons full of sugar and dumping it into your 12-ounce glass of water. Does that sound too sweet? You may be surprised to learn that’s how much added sugar is in the typical can of soda.”
~ Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (source)
Study after study, scientist after scientist, and parent after parent continue to rail against the health effects of soft drinks. In fact, thousands of academic studies over the past fifteen years reach the same conclusion: soft drinks cause weight gain, increase the risk of chronic diseases, and complicate underlying health problems.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER NATIONS?
According to Harvard University, soft drinks are the top source of added calories and sugar in the U.S. diet. But what about other countries? Do these places also experience the same adverse health issues from soda and soft drink consumption?
In countries where soft drink consumption has risen, so has the incidence of disease. Such describes the rather recent phenomenon of soft drink consumption and an increase in diabetes cases in Asia.
In a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers cite a direct correlation between “epidemic proportions” of type 2 diabetes in Asia and “increased consumption of soft drinks, juice … and other sweetened drinks.”
Moreover, the research team cites the proven correlation between poor health outcomes and soft drink consumption in the U.S. as ample evidence. One of the statistics included in the study worthy of pause: Type 2 diabetes mellitus in Asia is 3-5 times higher than it was just 30 years ago.
Because this increase in diabetes prevalence is very similar to that experienced in the United States between 1980 and 2010. In fact, around 2.5 percent of the population had a diabetes diagnosis in 1980. However, this number rose to around 7 percent by 2010.
The evidence is rather overwhelming. Soda and other soft drinks adversely affect health. Continuous and excessive consumption of soft drinks also certainly contributes to chronic disease, obesity, and early death.
In other words, soft drinks are just plain bad.
For years, the benefits associated with taking aspirin every day were widely praised by physicians.
And this sentiment was even backed by several well-regarded studies, including one that was published in Lancet, one of the world’s oldest weekly peer-reviewed general medical journals. The study revealed that a daily dose of 75 mg to 100 mg of aspirin helped individuals weighing between 110 and 153 pounds lower their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Does this sound like a reason to rejoice? Not so quick. The same study also noted a downside. This same aspirin regimen had little to no effect on individuals who weighed over 154 pounds.
So a daily aspirin regimen can protect some individuals against a heart attack or stroke. However, it might do more harm than good for others. This is one of the reasons why, in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outright refused a request from Bayer AG, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, to market aspirin as a means of preventing strokes and heart attacks. In the minds of the FDA, the risk of internal bleeding when taken excessively outweighed the usefulness.
THE POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE OF FOLLOWING A DAILY ASPIRIN REGIMEN
Although the FDA chose not to officially endorse aspirin as a way to reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, it doesn’t mean that the medication is the void of therapeutic value in this regard. Instead, individuals should speak with their physicians before taking it upon themselves to start a low or even high-dose daily aspirin regimen.
After all, in addition to being an over-the-counter pain reliever, aspirin is also a blood thinner. And this means that the more you take it, the higher your chances are of experiencing internal bleeding. Of course, it should be noted that the dangers of a daily aspirin regimen do not end there.
Similar to ibuprofen, naproxen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, taking too much aspirin can lead to the development of peptic ulcers. What are peptic ulcers? They are sores that can form in the mucosal lining of the esophagus, stomach, and the small intestines.
HOW DOES TAKING TOO MUCH ASPIRIN LEAD TO INTERNAL BLEEDING?
All of the things that make aspirin a go-to for preventing strokes and heart attacks are the same ones that can potentially trigger internal bleeding. Over time, the medicine starts to interfere with the blood’s ability to form clots. When this happens, the risk of excessive bleeding in the stomach, brain, and even within the blood vessels can increase significantly, especially among those who take the medication daily. To further put this into perspective, we need only take a look at a study published by Reuters, an international news organization headquartered in the United Kingdom.
According to researchers and scientists involved in the study, which was comprised of more than 164,000 adults, those who took aspirin to reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke were 0.47 percent more like to experience severe internal bleeding. Of course, there is also some good news worth mentioning. The study participants who were already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and took it daily reduced their chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack by 0.38 percent.
HOW DOES TAKING TOO MUCH ASPIRIN LEAD TO PEPTIC ULCERS?
Now we are a little more familiar with how taking excessive amounts of this OTC tablet links to internal bleeding. So let’s take a look at how too much of the medication can also give way to peptic ulcers. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, taking too much nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine is the second most common cause of peptic ulcers behind Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria known to trigger fatigue, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
When taken excessively, especially at high doses, these tablets can make it difficult for the stomach to protect itself against gastric acids. Although a certain amount of these acids are needed to support good digestive health, too much can lead to ruptured capillary blood vessels and bleeding in the stomach. If left untreated, this bleeding can eventually give way to open, ulcerative sores in the mucosal lining of the stomach, a condition commonly referred to as peptic ulcers. So while a daily dosing regiment might keep heart attacks and strokes at bay, it could also invite serious stomach problems.
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO DEVELOP PEPTIC ULCERS?
The risk of developing peptic ulcers is high for anyone consuming excessive amounts of acetaminophen, according to most physicians. However, some individuals are more susceptible to this medical condition than others. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, individuals who consume aspirin excessively and meet any of the following criteria have an above-average chance of developing peptic ulcers:
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE INTERNAL BLEEDING?
Similar to peptic ulcers, the risk of internal bleeding caused by excessive OTC pain reliever consumption is higher for some individuals than others. That being said, common factors that can increase one’s chances of experiencing internal bleeding include
LIVER DAMAGE AND OTHER OVER THE COUNTER PAIN RELIEVERS
Taking an excessive amount of any over the counter pain relief (aspirin, acetaminophen, etc.) links to toxic hepatitis, a clinical term used to describe inflammation of the liver. Toxic hepatitis not only causes permanent scarring of liver tissue but also increases the risk of liver failure. Some of the most common symptoms associated with toxic hepatitis include the following:
HOW TO EASE PAIN AND REDUCE THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE NATURALLY
If your goal is to lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, making a few lifestyle changes can help. Some of these changes include
1 – ESSENTIAL OILS
Along with helping to ease feelings of anxiety, essential oils, such as rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender, for example, contain anti-inflammatory properties that can resolve mild to moderate pain.
Diffuse your favorite oils in a warmer. Or, mix them with a carrier oil and massage them into your skin for a bit of relief you can take with you.
2 – CAPSAICIN
For years, capsaicin has been a go-to for individuals seeking a natural way to ease painful arthritic symptoms. When applied topically, capsaicin works by tamping down pain in the nociceptor fibers of the skin and other tissues.
3 – ACUPUNCTURE
For those who are not averse to needles, acupuncture is yet another way to get rid of pain naturally. According to a study published by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, this all-natural alternative to acetaminophen can help resolve the following:
4 – LOSE WEIGHT
Losing weight can be a two-in-one winner for both pain relief and an increase in your cardiac wellness.
If you suffer from inflammation of the joints, the excess weight adds pressure to the load they bear. A UK study of the connection between obesity and knee pain, for example, made a firm conclusion.
“Obesity accounts for a substantial proportion of severe disabling knee pain.” (NIH study)
Furthermore, a separate NIH article supports losing weight as a means of avoiding heart disease and stroke. Plus, the report states, nutrition can eliminate the onset of osteoarthritis, another reason that people take OTC pain relief.
5 – MEDITATION
Do you take a daily aspirin to help remain free of heart disease? Then consider trying meditation, instead.
This practice helps to center your mind on positive thinking. In turn, you alleviate stress, one of the primary causes of heart disease. Indeed, even the experts at the American Heart Association agree! In 2017, they published findings that support the notion that meditation, when combined with other good practices (weight loss, nutrition, etc.), can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
FINAL THOUGHTS: NATURAL WELLNESS TRUMPS ASPIRIN IN TERMS OF LONG-TERM RESULTS
In summary, most doctors agree that OTC pain relief, including aspirin, is useful for resolving minor pain. However, long-term use for heart health can have devastating consequences. Furthermore, while it might lessen pain in the short-term, it does not address the root cause of the symptoms. So if you’re thinking about a daily regiment to ease pain or to fend off cardiovascular disease, speak with your doctor first.
The thyroid gland, shaped like a butterfly, sits quietly in the front region of your neck. Despite its somewhat odd choice of residence, this gland is essential for producing hormones, many of which will affect your overall metabolic rate and your efforts at the gym. If it doesn’t function well, you’ll shortly notice the signs of thyroid problems.
Thyroid issues are surprisingly common, affecting more than 20 million people in America alone. But what do you need to know about it?
5 REASONS WHY PEOPLE GET THYROID PROBLEMS AND HOW THEY CAN AVOID IT (CAUSES OF THYROID PROBLEMS)
The thyroid glands don’t work alone – they cooperate with your adrenal glands to produce hormones. Adrenal glands are responsible for releasing cortisol, which is a stress-management hormone.
Excess amounts of stress can strain the adrenal glands, causing them to produce excess cortisol that you become increasingly more resistant to. This imbalance causes your metabolism to slow down, leading to weight gain, more stress, insulin resistance, blood sugar issues, and slowed-down or halted thyroid function.
You can manage stress by:
Autoimmune conditions are the most common cause, arguably, for thyroid problems. Autoimmune diseases are disorders where your immune system mistakes you for a threat and starts to attack the rest of the body. Common conditions (and medical circumstances) that lead to thyroid problems are:
Chronic inflammation is the start of many, many diseases – and thyroid problems are one of them. Normal soreness is healthy and occurs when you get injured – hence why cuts “burn” or muscles feel sore after a workout. They are inflamed and, therefore, healing.
But when the gland has to produce inflammation constantly, it can wind up developing into chronic inflammation. This condition can trigger cortisol production in the body, and it also leads to higher production of certain hormones in your body.
Here are some ways to reduce chronic inflammation:
There are toxins everywhere, and they all cause hormone functions to suffer, leading, then, to the suffering of the thyroid gland itself.
The most common toxins that affect people this way are polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDE, polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB, and many, many more. As a rule, it’s a good idea to stay clear of any product unless you know its ingredients for sure.
5. OVERDOSES OR UNDERDOSES OF VITAMINS
In many cases, a lack of nutrition is what leads to diseases. In the case of thyroid problems, overdoses are also a common factor to take into consideration. Here are some common vitamin over- and underdoses that lead to thyroid issues:
Yes, you need iodine for hormone production, and a lack of it can also cause thyroid problems. But did you know that consume an excess of 400 mcg of iodine per day can lead to many complications, including to the thyroid?
For the thyroid to carry out its peroxidase function healthily and positively, it needs iron. Without it, thyroid hormones cannot be synthesized, and iron-deficiency anemia opens up the door to many different diseases, too.
· VITAMIN A
Vitamin A is capable of binding to the hormone receptors in the thyroid, increasing one kind of hormone but not the other, more desirable one. You can lose as much as two-thirds of your thyroid hormones by not paying attention to vitamin A!
The thyroid needs selenium to convert certain types of hormones to others. This nutrient helps to protect against autoimmune diseases and also works to encourage healthy thyroid function. A deficiency may lead to hypothyroidism.
The more selenium you take, the more chromium you excrete. As such, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your daily intake of this lesser-known vitamin.
AVOIDING THYROID PROBLEMS
1. AVOID TOXINS
Many chemicals can be toxic to the thyroid gland, and these are chemicals you’ll want to avoid. These chemicals are often called endocrine disruptors, and they often severely affect your hormonal system, as that term suggests. Chemicals to avoid are:
Fad diets are popular for their quick effectiveness, but they’re objectively terrible for your body in many ways. Not only are you likely to gain all the weight back the second you stop the diet, but you’re also slowing down your metabolic rate and opening yourself up to thyroid issues.
According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, fasting causes your primary thyroid hormone that regulates metabolism to decrease efficiency by 53%. Many other thyroid hormones also saw a decrease in levels. In addition, cortisol levels leap up when you starve yourself, causing stress to you because it thinks your body is in danger. You may begin to retain a lot of fat as a result.
So don’t do starvation diets – no liquid cleanses, no super low-calorie days, nothing at all that could cause your body to believe it is starving.
3. EAT WELL
A healthy diet is one of the most crucial parts of keeping your thyroid in good working order. This is because a whopping 71% of the body’s autoimmune system lives in the gut. They’re called gut-associated lymphoid tissue, or GALT, and researched has linked their inflammation to thyroid diseases.
Many doctors recommend a Mediterranean diet for managing inflammation. It’s not strictly necessary, but your meals should include:
· PROCESSED FOODS
These foods are full of sugars, dyes, added preservatives, trans fats, and all sorts of dangerous ingredients. They’re bad for the entire body, too, not just your thyroid.
To be fair, soy has plenty of positive benefits for overall health. Unfortunately, more and more research has shown that soy affects the body’s ability to absorb levothyroxine, which can interfere with hormone-related medication.
· RAW CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES
Yes, even these veggies, commonly touted as extremely healthy, but be wary of eating them raw. Raw cruciferous vegetables have goitrogens, which are natural chemicals that can cause thyroid system issues. Examples of these veggies are Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, watercress, and cabbage.
4. REDUCE ENDURANCE-BASED EXERCISE
Endurance exercises, such as spin classes, long-distance running, and other similar forms of activity, may be harmful to your thyroid if you’re doing it in excess. This is for the same reason that starvation diets are bad for you – your cortisol levels skyrocket, your hormones produce less, and you begin to store fat and get hungry quickly.
So, what kinds of workouts can you do? High-intensity workouts, especially circuit training, are good options. Short exercises of up to 40 minutes can work best, allowing for maximum fat burning without the excessive, cortisol-boosting cardio.
5. STOP SMOKING
Cigarette smoke is packed with toxins, including thiocyanate, which disrupts iodine processes, thereby blocking the thyroid from producing its natural hormones. Smoking can also change the way you produce hormones, and research indicates that smokers have a higher risk of Graves’ disease, which is one of the leading causes of hyperthyroidism around the world.
Of course, kicking an addiction to smoking is easier said than done. Don’t be afraid to seek help from a doctor. With medical understanding, positive thinking, and a genuine desire to quit, you can leave your smoking days behind.
6. BE CAREFUL OF X-RAYS
The gland of the thyroid is susceptible to radiation, and it’s among the most sensitive organs to this situation. Remember, X-rays aren’t just the stereotypical kind you see in movies! They also include:
But you can’t avoid X-rays, so what can you do? Whenever you need to go through a procedure involving radiation, ask for a thyroid shield! It is basically an apron made from lead that drapes over your neck as the technician takes the image.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON REASONS WHY PEOPLE DEVELOP THYROID ISSUES AND HOW THEY CAN AVOID THEM
Thyroid problems are the first step in a vast host of other diseases. It is wise to start now in living a healthier lifestyle, so your risk for developing this condition is much, much lower. You don’t have to be the perfect model citizen – just take care of yourself and make sure you eat well, exercise smartly, are careful about X-rays, and never miss an annual check-up!
All vitamins are essential for the body to perform an incredible amount of daily functions. Behind good vision, an effective reproductive system, and healthy skin lies vitamin A. It’s present in a wide variety of foods but the risk of having a deficiency of it exists, mainly in pregnant mothers, babies, and children in the early stages of growth.
Bright Side wants to inform you about some physical signs that could indicate the presence of a vitamin A deficiency in the body. Don’t miss the bonus feature at the end where we’ll recommend useful foods that can help you enrich your diet.
1. Dry skin
Vitamin A is one of the main elements the body needs to repair skin tissue and in turn, keep it hydrated. A very common symptom of a vitamin A deficiency is the appearance of eczema, which occurs when the skin becomes so dry that it gets reddish in color as if you were injured. It also gets very itchy.
2. Night blindness
The following signal is one of the most frequent. Also known as nyctalopia, this is an eye problem that makes it difficult to see in the dark. In dimly lit environments, the acuity that the eye system should have is weakened and it becomes impossible to process dark images.
As mentioned above, vitamin A is one of the great repairers of skin tissue. In the absence of it, the face can become dry and due to this, produce excessive oil which can trigger the appearance of pimples. This is why vitamin A can be used to treat acne-related problems.
4. Problems with conception
If you’re having trouble conceiving, a lack of vitamin A could be the cause. Reproductive systems of both men and women work best if vitamin A is consumed. Eating foods rich in vitamin A can promote fertility. In addition, pregnant women should include it in their diets, as pregnancy loss has been linked to a vitamin A deficiency.
5. Poor wound healing
The body tends to heal wounds in a short time thanks to the production of collagen. This protein is found in healthy organisms and thanks to it, skin and blood can remain healthy. Vitamin A helps to produce it. So if you notice that your skin is having trouble healing wounds, you should check to see if you’re eating enough foods with vitamin A, such as carrots, oranges, milk, and red meat.
6. Slow growth
This is one of the signs we should pay the most attention to, especially in babies and children. It’s important to consume vitamin A from the third month of pregnancy and to give it to the child during their first years of life. It’s responsible for the development of the child’s eyesight and immune system as well as the growth of the child’s body and physical changes in the mother.
7. Dry eyes
One of the most important signs of this deficiency is the inability to produce tears and moisturize the eyeball. If this discomfort persists, it can lead to the total weakening of the corneas and loss of sight.
Bonus: foods in which you can find vitamin A
Include the following foods in your diet and you will notice changes in your body quickly!
You can win your battle against throat cancer with a positive attitude. But first, it’s critical not to ignore the signs of cancer in your throat. This form of cancer is highly treatable – especially if you catch the condition early. Small tumors in the throat can be removed with relatively little damage.
The Mayo Clinic defines cancer of the throat as cancer of the throat, voice box, or tonsils. This cancer, which is not as common as other cancers, usually begins in the flat cells on the inside of the throat, the pharynx. Throat-related cancer can also damage the epiglottis, which is the cover of the windpipe.
If cancer spreads before being detected, the prognosis is less positive. To eradicate the cancerous cells, surgeons might have to remove parts of your vocal cords, jaw, voice box, tonsils, and oropharynx. Therefore, it’s essential to check with your doctor if you develop symptoms that persist for a long time.
RISK FACTORS FOR THROAT CANCER
Men are more susceptible to throat cancer than women. Key lifestyle habits can put you at higher risk. These risky behaviors include:
The Mayo Clinic offers these five tips for reducing your risks of developing any cancer and improving your general health:
That means eating raw foods, avoiding added sugars, and consuming whole grains. Lower your consumption of red meat, fats, and processed food.
Take up a hobby or sport that keeps you physically active – even if it’s just going for a walk in different parts of your hometown. Older people can make social connections and get healthy exercise in a safe environment by power-walking at a local mall in the morning.
Sexually transmitted infections are common among those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners, and these viral and bacterial infections can weaken your body – even when there are no visible symptoms. Avoid any practices that tear the skin or cause bleeding.
It’s essential to know your partners, avoid drugs and alcohol that impair your judgment.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF CANCER OF THE THROAT
The top 10 early warning symptoms of cancer of the throat, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, include:
1. SORE THROAT
The early stages of disease almost always generate a sore throat. Unlike cold- and flu-based soreness, the pain doesn’t go away in a few days.
2. WEIGHT LOSS
Any form of cancer usually results in loss of weight. Throat pain can make it even more challenging to eat and swallow normally so that weight loss can be fast and severe.
3. VOCAL CHANGES
Your voice often changes when you develop cancer in the throat. That’s where the voice box resides. Both laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers can cause hoarseness and changes in the sound of your voice.
According to the Rogel Cancer Center, laryngeal cancer often targets the vocal cords, but the good news is that these tumors are relatively easy to find and remove. Cancer that doesn’t start on the vocal cords is usually more developed by the time hoarseness occurs. Slurred words,
4. PROBLEMS SWALLOWING
It’s common to have difficulties swallowing food normally. Food often reels as if it sticks in the throat. You might feel a burning sensation when you try to swallow.
5. FINDING A LUMP IN THE NECK
Enlarged lymph nodes are a significant symptom of many types of cancer. The nodes in the neck are located right below the back of the lower jaw on each side. There are many possible causes of enlarged lymph nodes, which include the common cold. Nodes that keep growing and don’t swell and shrink are critical signs to see your doctor.
Persistent coughing that doesn’t improve is a telling symptom – especially if you begin to cough up blood. Smokers should be able to detect the difference in smoker’s cough and cancer-related coughing.
7. TROUBLE OPENING YOUR MOUTH NORMALLY
You might develop problems opening your mouth and chewing your food.
8. LUMP IN THE JAW, NECK OR MOUTH
It’s not just the lymph nodes that are symptoms of oral cancer. If you find a bump anywhere in the mouth, jaw, throat, or neck, you should see a doctor immediately.
Nosebleeds are common symptoms of oral cancers – especially if you’re not usually susceptible to them.
Headaches are frequent, and they can range from behind the eyes to full-on migraine-type events. The pain might extend into the neck and shoulders.
If you develop any of these symptoms that persist for more than a few days, you should see your doctor immediately. Throat cancer can be treated with great success in the early stages, but don’t give up hope if the disease is in the advanced stages.
THROAT CANCER TREATMENT OPTIONS
Treatment options for cancers of the throat include the standard arsenal of cancer treatments:
During surgery, the surgeon will attempt to remove all traces of cancerous growths on the pharynx, larynx, and tonsils.
A course of chemical therapy is used to kill cancerous cells and tumors.
Radiation TherapyDoctors use radiation to kill cancerous growth while hoping not to damage healthy tissue. Radiation is often used to treat chronic cases of cancer in the throat.
This treatment combines the benefits of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It’s often used for laryngeal cancer to preserve the voice box. The technique is also used as a substitute for surgery.
PAIN MANAGEMENT FOR THROAT CANCER
Despite medical advances, cancer diagnoses are still horrifying causes of stress and anxiety. According to one research paper, managing the pain of cancer is still a tricky guessing game. Less than half of patients get what they feel as adequate pain medication.
Substandard pain management can prove extremely debilitating, and the lack of energy aggravates cancer. It’s been proven many times that staying active is one of the best ways to fight the disease. You might want to consider mind-body control techniques to manage your pain – such as yoga and breathing exercises.
A recent study discovered a new option for managing pain, which is called cryoneurolysis treatment. During this therapy, nerves are frozen to block them from transmitting pain signals.
USING TRADITIONAL HEALING METHODS IN FIGHTING CANCER
Mental energy can often marshall your physical resources to prevent or fight cancer. There are no clinically proven ways to avoid cancer of the throat – except these four strategies, outlined by the cited Mayo Clinic article: