letters to the editor
Alcohol cessation’s effect on cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death around the world. There were 17.9 million people who died from CVDs in 2016. In 2014, the main cause of death in the Pee Dee Region was CVDs.
Thankfully, most CVDs can be prevented by decreasing bad habits like smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use causes CVDs. Therefore, to stop drinking alcohol has many benefits to your health.
More than four drinks on any single day and more than 14 drinks in a week for men, or more than three drinks on any single day and more than seven drinks per week for women is known as heavy alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use causes high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeats, heart failure and death.
An increase in alcohol use from just one drink a day to two drinks a day can increase your risk of CVDs by 63 percent. Even if you have normal heart activity, your heartbeat can become abnormal with heavy alcohol use. This abnormal heartbeat can lead to death.
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is another type of heart problem that you can get if you use alcohol. It causes your heart muscles to become bigger than normal. Your heart function becomes weaker, and you will go into heart failure.
Now that we know the bad side effects of alcohol on the heart, this is the time to make a change. Stop using alcohol completely is the best way. Even small to medium decrease in alcohol use will improve blood pressure, reduce weight, and improve heart function.
To increase your chance of success in quitting, you should write down your reasons to stop drinking. You should make a simple goal for yourself. For example, you can start out slowly with one less drink a day. Once you reach that goal, you can move on to decrease to two less drinks a day, and so on. Do not be discouraged. Always go back to your reasons to stop drinking when you are thinking of giving up. Before you know it, you will be free of alcohol, and able to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
Danh Nguyen Florence
Breast cancer awareness matters
Have you had a mammogram lately?
A mammogram is an x-ray test used to check women for breast cancer. Studies show South Carolina ranks 19th for new cases of breast cancer. It is the most common cancer among women in the Pee Dee. According to SC Department of Environmental Control, over 750 women in the Pee Dee will find breast cancer this year. Over 150 Pee Dee women will die.
Experts made changes to guidelines a few years ago. This left many women confused about when to start mammograms. How often to take mammograms? Also, when to stop mammograms? Despite the changes, studies show starting mammograms at age 40 saves more lives. Many experts say yearly mammograms lead to finding smaller cancers. This leads to fewer treatments. Furthermore, many experts believe women should keep having mammograms if they are healthy and want to stay that way.
Studies show that about 20 to 30 percent of women do not take mammograms. Many women are scared to have a mammogram because they heard negative things about them. It is a quick test and can find breast cancer up to two years before you can feel it.
Some women do not have a mammogram because they do not have insurance. If this is you, call 1-800-450-4611 to see if you qualify for a free mammogram through the Best Chance Network. Also, call your local hospital to see if any grants are available.
Many women say their provider does not send them for a mammogram. Studies show combining mammograms with clinical breast exams finds more breast cancers. Did you know many hospitals would allow you to schedule your own appointment for a screening mammogram? Call your local hospital for more details.
Many women believe if breast cancer does not run in their family, they do not need a mammogram. Up to 85 percent of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history. There is a chance you could be the first person in your family.
Screening mammograms are taken before you have any problems with your breast. If you find any lumps, nipple changes, swelling, or redness of your breast, go to your provider. They will send you for a mammogram with extra testing. You should talk with your doctor about your risks and benefits.
Also, what you could do to lower your chances of getting breast cancer. Some you can change and some of them you cannot. The following factors may increase your chances of getting breast cancer: Getting older, taking hormones, being overweight, never having children or having your first child after the age of 30, starting your period before age twelve or stop having your period after age 55, having dense breast tissue makes cancers harder to see, smoking or drinking too much alcohol, and having a close relative to have breast cancer.
Early detection with mammography and clinical breast exams by your provider is the best way to find breast cancer before it finds you.
Hunter Chestnut Conway