death risk

  1. No such thing as sitting pretty

    Never before in human history has it been so easy to get through each day with so little movement -- and it's literally killing us.

    Before I tell you about the latest research on this, think about your own day for a minute and how much time you spend sitting.

    Many people spend between six and eight hours a day on their rears at work, not to mention an hour or more during their commute and a couple of hours a night in front of the TV.

    I know folks who turn the TV on during primetime and don't get up again until Leno says goodnight -- except maybe to get a snack.

    It adds up fast... and if that sounds a little too much like your typical day, find a way to work more movement into it -- because a new study out of Australia finds that eight hours of daily sitting will increase your risk of death in the next three years by 15 percent.

    More sitting adds up to even more risk, with 11 sedentary hours a day causing the death risk to shoot up by 40 percent, according to the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    When you hear about something like this, the temptation is to pull the laundry off the treadmill and start using it again.

    But that's not the answer. People who sit all day and exercise at the beginning or end of it tend to have many of the same health risks as those who sit and don't exercise -- and in the new study, they had the same exact death risk.

    That means you have to get up, get moving, and take a walk every couple of hours if you can.

    If you have a "smart" phone, there are even some apps out there that will remind you to stand and move if you've been sitting too long. Some will also count your daily steps to make sure you're spending enough time on your feet.

    Kind of ironic, isn't it? Technology brought us desk jobs and hours of TV, causing us to spend too much time on our bottoms in the first place... and now technology can help us get up and get moving again.

  2. Dying to get some sleep

    Some people are lucky enough to fall asleep the moment their head hits the pillow.

    I've never been one of them, but I've never had to rely on sleep meds to get my rest, either, and that's a good thing: The latest warning finds that these drugs come with one whopper of a death risk.

    People who take them the most are 5.3 times more likely to die than people who don't take them at all, according to a new look at data on nearly 35,000 people. As a "bonus," sleeping pill users are also 35 percent more likely to get cancer.

    You don't even have to hit the pill bottle particularly hard to face a dramatic increase in the risk of death, because the researchers found that just 18 pills a year can make you 3.6 times more likely to die.

    Since some 30 million Americans take these meds every single year, the researchers say their study suggests the annual death toll from these drugs is between 320,000 and 507,000 in the United States alone.

    Compare that to the 443,000 U.S. deaths blamed on smoking each year, and that makes these drugs as bad as (or even worse than) cigarettes.

    And that's just crazy, since no one needs these drugs to get some sleep in the first place.

    I asked Dr. Mark Stengler what's keeping so many people up at night, and he said the answer can vary from person to person -- but whatever the reason, most people can find a little short-term help in the form of melatonin.

    He recommends the sublingual form of the so-called "sleep hormone." And if you're having trouble staying asleep, you'll want to get a timed-release version so the melatonin keeps flowing throughout the night.

    In addition, there are some natural herbs -- include the classics like chamomile and passionflower -- that can help you get the rest you need without the risks of meds.

    But Dr. Stengler cautions that these aren't cures so much as temporary fixes.

    "Melatonin won't necessarily treat a sleep problem," he told me. "It'll just help you get to sleep."

    He says the next step is working with your doctor to find the underlying cause of your nighttime woes -- and once you fix that, you won't need anything other than a comfortable pillow to get the rest you need.

  3. The fastest way to boost your health

    Close to 50 million Americans can dramatically reduce their death risk by making one simple change right now -- and it won't cost a cent. In fact, it'll save you thousands of dollars a year. Despite that fact, most people can't (or won't) make that one simple change. You may have guessed by now that I'm talking about smoking -- more specifically, quitting smoking.
  4. Deadly warning over common meds

    Pharmaceutical drugs are supposed to help you... not hurt you. Yet every time I turn around, there's ANOTHER report about ANOTHER way these meds can kill you. Here's the latest.
  5. Heart drug in death risk

    Here's an urgent warning for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who've taken the heart drug Multaq: The FDA says it may double the risk of death in some patients.
  6. TV linked to death

    A new study finds that those of us who spend the most time tuned in are most likely to check out early: Two or more hours of TV a day can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and an early death.
  7. Antipsychotics boost death risk quick

    A new study finds these meds, already linked to a spectacularly high death risk, can actually do their damage within months.
  8. Nighttime bathroom runs linked to early death

    Waking up often to use the toilet is more than just a sleep-interrupting inconvenience--it can also be an indication of a more serious problem.

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