CanDrugstore's February 2011 Better Health News                           (Click here if you cannot read this page)
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Sleep Deprived and Unhealthy!

Sleep is one of the most undervalued parts of our lives; it is an essential part of weight control, good health, athletic performance and more! It is hard to imagine that 70 percent of people don’t get the right amount of sleep each night. There are negative effects of getting too much and too little sleep in one night. It is important for our bodies to cycle through the five stages of sleep four or five times a night.

The first four stages are important for maintaining a healthy metabolism, memory, and learning ability. The fifth stage is important for regulating mood and forming emotional memories. If we miss a cycle or two when we sleep, our immune system, heart health, brain function, and more can suffer. As stated before, there are negative effects on getting different amounts of sleep.

More than eight hours

Surprisingly enough, it is possible to get too much sleep. Getting more than eight hours of sleep can disrupt blood sugar levels and increase risk of getting type two diabetes.

Fewer than seven hours

Getting less than seven hours of sleep is when weight gain becomes a concern. Our bodies produce more ghrelin (appetite-promoting hormone) when we are low on sleep. You are also three times more likely to get a cold when you have less than seven hours of sleep.

Six hours or less

A lot of people say they feel fine during the day getting such a little amount of sleep. While you may feel like yourself, sleeping like this is quite dangerous to your health. Sleeping this way for a period of about two weeks will impair your memory and reaction time in the same way as staying awake for up to 48 hours would.

Five hours or fewer

Believe it or not, there are many people who get five or less hours of sleep in a night. This is an incredibly unhealthy way to treat your body; averaging such a small amount of sleep weakens your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This lack of regulation may double your risk of type 2 diabetes. People who sleep five or fewer hours a night are fifty percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who get more than six.

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Texting Links to a Teenager's Behavior

A recent study suggests teenagers that text more than 120 times a day were involved in sexual behavior, drugs or alcohol. Dr. Scott Frank, the lead author in the study says that, “If parents are monitoring their kids’ texting and social networking, they’re probably monitoring other activities as well.”

In a recent experiment, 4.200 students from 20 public high schools in Cleveland were surveyed on how much they were texting. Results showed that one in five students were texting 120 messages a day or more. It also showed that one in nine were hyper-networkers, those who spend three or more hours a day on a social networking website.

Studies also found that those who text more than 120 text messages a day were three times more likely to be involved in sexual behavior than their peers that texted less than 120 a day. Dr. Scott Frank’s study is billed as one of the first studies to look at texting and social networking and link it to teenagers’ behavior.

Preventing Adolescent Hypertension

Adolescent hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is similar to adult hypertension in many ways. The causes, symptoms, and treatment of hypertension are a lot alike. However, despite the similarities there is a significant difference; adolescents go through various hormonal changes where puberty can impact high blood pressure.

Although it has not been proven, it has often been found that those who hit puberty at an early age are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure. Teenagers whose parents or close relatives have high blood pressure are also at a higher risk.

The most prevalent form of elevated blood pressure seen among adolescents is primary hypertension. Primary hypertension refers to when the cause of high blood pressure is not known. It is usually a combination of many things. Lifestyle choices that can cause hypertension include: smoking, alcohol consumption, body weight, high levels of cholesterol, and little physical activity.

High blood pressure in teenagers can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition. For example, being overweight can cause high blood pressure. In fact, this condition specifically is responsible for much of the hypertension present among children and teens.

Adolescent hypertension should not be taken lightly due to the fact that it usually leads to adult hypertension. Having high blood pressure at a young age also puts one at a high risk of developing coronary artery disease early on in life. It is for all these reasons that creating a health environment is necessary.