8 Vices to Avoid

You probably know not to smoke, not to tan, and not to eat fattening foods. But other seemingly harmless vices can be ruining your health!

First on our list: Nail-biting.  When you chew, bacteria under your nails can enter your mouth.  "The biggest problem is infection," Sharon Bergquist, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, told Ivanhoe.

Next up: Wearing contacts too long. As many as 67 percent of people do it, but not changing your lenses can damage your cornea. "You can also change the shape of your cornea, and that will start distorting your vision," Dr. Bergquist explained.

Bad habit number three: Rubbing your eyes. Doing it too much can thin out the cornea.

Loud music is a vice enjoyed by many, but it can be dangerous. 20 percent of rock musicians have permanent hearing loss.

Wearing high heels all the time can cause bunions, hammer toe, varicose veins, and more.  "The inner part of your knee gets a little more wear and tear, and you can get premature arthritis in your knee," Dr. Bergquist was quoted as saying.

Another vice to avoid: Eating too fast. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to recognize the stomach is full, so it's easy to overeat.

Bad habit number seven: Skimping on sleep. Getting less than six hours a night can double the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Our final vice to avoid, and maybe the most dangerous: Constant sitting. Women who sit more than six hours a day have a 37 percent higher death rate than those who sit less than three.

Whatever your weakness, remember: Moderation is key.  "Any vice can be dangerous if you overdo it," Dr. Bergquist explained.

Here's some good news: You can make up for some past mistakes. If you give up smoking, within ten years, your risk of death from lung cancer is almost equal to that of a nonsmoker. If you baked in the sun as a teen stopping now can reduce your risk of cancer. You can also give your skin a daily boost with a cup of green tea. A recent study found women who drank it every day for 12 weeks had greater protection from UV rays.

BACKGROUND: Vices, or bad habits, whatever you call them, we all have them, from biting our nails to smoking, to drinking, or picking our nose. Some of our habits are not only crude, but some can affect our health and the health of those around us, but did you know some "bad: habits could actually be good for your health?

NAIL BITING: BAD AND GOOD?  When you chew on your fingertips, bacteria or possibly even pinworm eggs under the surface of the nails can enter your mouth. This can be bad. However, biting your nails can also be good for you, unless your hands are filthy, the "bugs" we encounter when biting our nails can actually help boost our immune system. This is because our immune system has a memory, making a note of how to fight every bug it has ever encountered. When a bug is encountered a second time, the immune system reaches into its memory and releases weapons -- called memory lymphocytes -- that it knows will beat it. (SOURCE: www.oprah.com/health; www.dailymail.co.uk/health)

BURPING:  A loud burp -- or belch -- though offensive, may in fact protect your body against damage from stomach acid. Burp gas is formed of a mixture of substances. As well as containing air we swallow when we bolt down food, it also contains carbon dioxide. This natural gas release -- the belch -- is a normal part of digestion, and suppressing it can cause problems.  "If you don't belch and the gas stays on the stomach, this can cause the valve that separates the gullet and the stomach to relax, allowing stomach acid to splash up into the gullet, triggering heartburn," Dr. Nick Read, a consultant gastroenterologist for the charity the IBS Network, was quoted as saying. (SOURCE: www.dailymail.co.uk/health)

PASSING GAS: As with burping, it's important that we pass gas. Most of the gas comes from the fermentation of protein and carbohydrate. Releasing the gas eases pain and bloating, especially if you have a sensitive stomach that becomes bloated regularly. (SOURCE: www.dailymail.co.uk/health)

KNUCKLE CRACKING: The loud pop of someone cracking their knuckles makes most people wince, but though it sounds harmful, it has no effect on the health of our joints and may make the joint feel more flexible. (SOURCE: www.dailymail.co.uk/health)

For More Information, Contact:

Emory School of Medicine
Emory Health Connection


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