Category Archives: Health Issues

How do so many people get addicted?

You’ve seen the commercials for opioid addiction. Why are so many addicted? What are opioids anyway? What do they do in your body? Let’s try to find answers to these questions.

First opioids are painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and heroin (illegal). All except heroin can be obtained legally through a prescription.

Opioids work by blocking that pain and release dopamine. Dopamine gives you good feeling, but doesn’t last. It is kind of like giving your brain a temporary reward. Other things can cause this temporary rush like doing something daring like a sky-diving trip, or something like hugging a loved one.

As people take opioids, they build a tolerance to them and have to take more and more to get that feeling of the rush of dopamine. Addiction occurs when you become dependent on the opioids due to repeated use. Withdrawal symptoms can mimic having the flu. Only harder…because you know there is one thing that can take it away quickly.

Doctors often prescribe them after surgery, or an accident. Many times they will only prescribe about 10 pills to get through a few days to try to lessen the chance of addiction.

If you try to obtain some of these drugs illegally, they can be cut with contaminants simply so they can make more pills with less of the product to make more money.

If you become addicted, seek help from a doctor. Many states have hotlines that will get you the help you need. Awareness is key.

Where to find help

Chewing Gum

Let’s find out about chewing gum. Can it help you lose weight? Does it make you gain weight? Is it nutritious or not? What happens if you swallow it? Let’s find some answers…

So chewing gum will burn about 11 calories per hour. So about 9 hours of chewing gum will burn about 100 calories. Insignificant. But maybe if you chew gum for 9 hours, you aren’t eating?

Chewing gum increases saliva flow. Chewing sugarless gum after eating can help wash away acids from your teeth. The ADA says that chewing gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent tooth decay. It is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. For the sake of your teeth, look for the ADA Seal on the gum. You will only find it on sugarless gums.

In some people, the ingredients in gum may cause bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other gut issues. So you may not be one who could chew gum for 9 hours.

If you remember chewing gum as a kid, you might remember swallowing your gum to fool the teacher into thinking you weren’t really chewing. Here’s what happens:

List of ADA approved products.

Interesting Question

Are you heavier or shorter than the average American?

A new government report looked at average weight, height, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI) of adults 1999-2000 through 2015-2016.

In 1999-2000, men averaged 189 pounds and women averaged just over 163 pounds. By 2015-2016, men averaged just under 198 while women averaged just over 170.

In 1999-2000, men averaged 69.2 inches and women averaged 63.8 inches. In 2015-2016 men avearaged 69.0 inches and women averaged 63.6 inches.

Waist Circumference:
In 1999-2000 men averaged 38.8 inches around the waist while women averaged 36.3 inches. In 2015-2016 men averaged 40.2 while women averaged 38.7 inches.

In 1999-2000 men averaged a BMI of 27.7; women averaged 28.2. In 2015-2016 men averaged 29.1 while women went to 29.6. For reference, underweight BMI is less than 18.5; normal ranges from 18.5-24.9; overweight is 25-29.9; obese is 30 or more.

So the question is where do you fall in all this? Are you concerned enough to do something about it?

Read the full study here
More about BMI

Holiday Season Precaution

Now that people are in the midst of holiday season, the CDC has put out a warning about eating raw cookie dough. People are making their holiday cookies and we already know it’s bad to dough made with raw eggs because of Salmonella, but even egg-less cookie dough should not be eaten raw.

The reason is that the flour can contain E. coli. Other germs may be found in raw flour. Raw flour made over fifty people sick in 2016. It was even a big name brand flour: Gold Medal. Make sure to throw away any recalled flour or flour products.

Further more, there were four varieties of Duncan Hines cake mix recalled last month finding they contained Salmonella. No licking the beaters!

Ever wonder how safe your water is?

You can find out how safe your water is in your area. You can go to and put in your zip code and find out what, if any, contaminants are in the water you drink. After you put in your zip code, you can select your water company. When I did that, I found there are 7 contaminants above the health guidelines along with 10 additional contaminants. The report on my water is for up to 2015 so it could be a little out of date. You can see how many ppb in your area, your state’s, and national standard.

The seven cancer-causing contaminants found were:
bromodichloromethane – formed by chlorine or disinfectants used to treat the water
chloroform – also formed by chlorine or disinfectants
chromium (hexavalent) – may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in groundwater
dibromochloromethane – also formed by chlorine or other disinfectants; may cause problems during pregnancy
radiological contaminants – radium and uranium – can be leached from minerals or mining; increased risk of cancer; may harm fetus
tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene) – dry cleaning chemical, can cause cancer
total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) – this includes the ones above that are formed by chlorine and are cancer-causing contaminants.

The other contaminants found were
1,4-dioxane – a solvent from industrial waste water
barium – mineral in rocks, too much can cause cardio-vascular issues
bromoform – a TTHM
chlorate – byproduct of disinfection
chromium (total) – natural metal that can increase from industrial uses
fluoride – added to drinking water
haloacetic acids (HAA5) – from disinfectants like chlorine
nitrate – fertilizer chemical
strontium – a metal that can accumulate in the bones – can cause cancer and leukemia
vanadium – a metal used in steels and alloys; toxic in pregnancy and childhood

We had installed a filtering system when we first moved here along with a separate drinking water filter so I do not have to worry about contaminants.