Smoking doubles chance of losing eyesight, eye experts warn
Most people are aware of the effects smoking can have on the lungs and heart, but did you know it can also seriously damage your eyes?
On the occasion of No Smoking Day (Second Wednesday in March), eye experts at UK Optical Express are warning on the shocking effects smoking can have on your eyesight, express.co.uk wrote.
Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK, according to the NHS. Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses. Smoking is the single biggest cause of lung cancer and can also cause a number of other cancers and lung-related conditions. It also damages the heart, increasing the risk of getting heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke.
But on top of this, people who smoke are twice more likely to lose their vision than non-smokers, warned eye care specialist Optical Express.
Smoke contains over 7,000 dangerous chemicals which, according to the eye expert, can cause uveitis — a painful condition that causes inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
If left untreated, uveitis can progress into more serious conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ultimately blindness.
“Smoking can cause dry eyes because the tobacco and noxious particles from a cigarette irritate the protective film of the eye known as the conjunctiva,” said Stephen Hannan, clinical services director at Optical Express.
“As more and more destructive particles are let in, smokers are three times more likely to be diagnosed with cataracts.”
Cataracts cause the eyes’ crystalline lens to become cloudy, which in turn causes reduced vision.
“The harmful metals found in cigarettes not only damage the front of the eye but can severely affect the blood vessels that supply much-needed nutrients to the eye,” warned Hannan.
This is because nicotine and carbon monoxide interfere with the blood vessels, accelerating a condition called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis causes plaque to build up in the blood vessels, preventing them from being able to supply adequate blood to the body’s organs.
If this happens in the eyes, it can lead to a change in eyesight.
Global warming may trigger heart attack risk
Extreme temperatures can have a deadly effect on a person’s heart, new research showed.
Many heart attacks worldwide have been triggered by wild temperature swings brought on, in part, by global warming, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal, UPI wrote.
The researchers say an elevated set of risk of factors like diabetes and hyperlipidemia make people more vulnerable to death from heat.
“In the case of very high and very low temperatures in particular, this has been clearly demonstrated,” Kai Chen, a researcher at the Institute of Epidemiology at German Research Center for Environmental Health and study author, said in a news release.
“In this latest study, we wanted to see to what extent the heat and cold-related heart attack risk has changed over the years.”
The researchers compared the data of heart attack patients from 1987 to 2014 with data from 2001 to 2014. The patient data was compared to weather data from both time periods.
“Our analysis showed that, over the last few years, the risk of heat-induced heart attack with increasing average daily temperature has risen compared to the previous investigation period,” Chen said.
Chen said those with diabetes or hyperlipidemia were at greater risk during the second period, which the researchers suspect is partly
influenced by global warming — because increased heat makes is more likely that people with either condition have a health event.
Cold weather can also increase blood pressure in people poor heart health, which could lead to a cardiac event — and ultimately a heart attack.
One Swedish study showed that when it’s extremely cold, increasing the temperature by just 7.4°C can reduce a person’s risk of having a heart attack by 2.8 percent.
Conversely, extreme heat can lower blood pressure, causing a person’s heart to beat faster and putting them at risk for a cardiovascular event.
Alexandra Schneider, a researchers at the Institute of Epidemiology at German Research Center for Environmental Health and lead author of the new study, say that extreme weather events — such as the 2018 heat waves in Europe — may cause cardiovascular disease occurrence to increase. She also said there is likely going to be a decrease in cold-related heart attacks in places such as Germany, but that very cold days will continue to represent a trigger for heart attacks.
“Our study suggests that greater consideration should be given to high temperatures as a potential trigger for heart attacks — especially in view of climate change,” Schneider said.
Half of Ireland’s hospital doctors exhausted, overwhelmed by work
Half of Irish hospital doctors say they are emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed by work, while one-third are experiencing burnout, according to new research.
Just one in five say their work situation leaves them enough time for family or personal life, the study of more than 1,700 doctors shows, irishtimes.com wrote.
Work stress is reported by over 80 percent of those who participated in the study while almost 30 percent of doctors say they are insufficiently able to cope physically and mentally with the demands of work.
The extent to which Irish doctors are experiencing exhaustion is higher than in the UK, Australia or the US, prompting the study authors to call for a critical review of the their working conditions.
The study, published in BMJ Open, surveyed 1, 749 doctors and is the first national survey conducted on a group of hospital doctors working within the same health system in Ireland.
Managerial burnout —whose responsibility is it?
Lead author Blánaid Hayes, former dean of the faculty of occupational medicine at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) said the results give ‘great cause for concern’.
“Surprisingly, in a milieu where evidence is the key driver of patient treatment, the evidence on the relationship between workplace
psychosocial environment and employee health is paid little attention by those who fund and manage healthcare organizations. It is buried under the constant refrain of ‘putting the patient first’ with little regard for those who are instrumental in providing care.
“When work poses excessive demands with little control and support, its impact on both physical and mental health can be negative, leading to stress-related disorders, depression and other common mental health issues.”
The data was collected in 2014, following a period of cutbacks in the health service.
Low levels of work-life balance and high levels of stress were apparent among doctors of all grades. However, burnout was highest among male doctors, younger staff and doctors who were less able to cope, had a greater over-commitment or had a lower desire to practice.
Just over 70 percent said they had a strong or very strong desire to practice medicine.
A failure to deal with these problems will lead to doctors retiring early or developing health problems, the authors warn. This will cost the State money and contribute to ‘intolerable’ vacancy rates for consultants, they warn.
RCPI president Professor Mary Horgan said the college was pursuing ‘innovative approaches’ to support doctors’ health and to raise awareness of the importance of caring for them.
Fertility issues raise risk of cancer in women
Infertile women are at greater risk of getting cancer, according to researchers.
A study has found that women with fertility problems are 18 percent more likely to get cancer, in particular womb and ovarian cancers, dailymail.co.uk wrote.
That may be because women who need IVF are given powerful drugs which alter their hormone levels.
Infertile women may also have genetic problems which raise their risk of cancer as well as childlessness.
Researchers tracked more than 64,000 women with fertility problems over almost four years, comparing their medical records with those of 3.1 million fertile women.
The results show two percent of infertile women were diagnosed with cancer in that time, compared to just 1.7 percent of women without fertility problems.
Dr. Gayathree Murugappan, lead author of the study from Stanford University School of Medicine, said, “We do not know the causes of the increase in cancer that we found in this study — whether it might be the infertility itself, the causes of the infertility, or the infertility treatment.
“We can only show there is an association between them. In the future, we hope that we will be able to understand why infertile women are at higher risk of cancer, for example, by identifying a common, underlying mechanism that can cause cancer and infertility.”
Fears have been raised over the drugs infertile women are given during IVF, which are needed to boost their ovaries so they can produce extra eggs to be fertilized in the laboratory and create a baby.
These change levels of hormones in a woman’s body which could help to trigger breast, ovarian and womb cancers.
The study did not find infertile women had higher rates of breast cancer, but they were 78 percent more likely to be diagnosed with womb cancer and 64 percent more likely to get ovarian cancer.
However, having a baby may be the solution for women wanting to reduce their risk of cancer.
The study found infertile women who managed to get pregnant and had a child saw their danger of ovarian, womb, lung, liver and gallbladder cancers fall to around the same level as fertile women.
Having a baby also has an effect on hormones linked to some types of cancer.
The study found the greater risk of womb cancer seen in infertile women may be explained by some infertile women having polycystic ovary syndrome.
The researchers also stressed that infertile women’s increased cancer risk is still small, with senior author Dr. Michael Eisenberg stating: “The low overall incidence of cancer among these women means that one in 49 infertile women would develop cancer during the follow-up period compared to one in 59 women in the women who were not infertile.”
A study conducted by French National Institute for Health and Medical Research on more than 70,000 women over 22 years found that they were 21 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they found their jobs mentally tiring.