Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at the rapidly growing problem of teen vaping, the toll that anxiety and depression take on your health, and why grass-fed might not mean what you think.
Anxiety and depression as bad for health as smoking or obesity
When you go in for that checkup, you’ll probably encounter a weight check and questions about unhealthy vices like smoking. But a question they should probably ask, researchers say, is: Are you anxious or depressed?
Anxiety and depression may be an early predictor of conditions ranging from heart disease and high blood pressure to arthritis, headaches, back pain and stomach upset—similar to other risk factors such as smoking and obesity—according to a survey of the health data of 15,000 older adults over a four-year period.
The research, conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, found that study participants with anxiety or depression faced 65 percent greater odds of a heart condition, 64 percent for stroke, 50 percent for high blood pressure and an 87 percent higher risk of arthritis.
“These increased odds are similar to those of participants who are smokers or are obese,” said senior study author Aoife O’Donovan, Ph.D., of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry. “However, for arthritis, high anxiety and depression seem to confer higher risks than smoking and obesity.”
Cancer was the exception to this trend, with high levels of anxiety and depression showing no correlation with greater risk.
Researchers hope this study will make primary care doctors pay more attention to patients’ mental health.
1 in 5 high-school seniors vape
One of the most disturbing pieces of recent health news has been the rise in teen nicotine vaping—a practice that threatens to hook a new generation on this addictive substance.
New statistics released this week showed the number of high-school seniors who reported vaping nicotine climbed by 10 percentage points to 20.9 percent from 2017—the largest spike in the 44 years the survey has been monitoring teen substance abuse and double the previous record for senior vaping, according to NPR.
The survey, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found younger kids vaping, too. Nicotine vaping by 10th-graders doubled to 16 percent from 8 percent. And 6.1 percent of eighth-graders are vaping, up from 3.5 percent last year.
These increases, based on a sampling of 13,850 high schoolers nationwide, translate to about 1.3 million more teens vaping this year, researchers said.
The news prompted U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams to issue an advisory. He called teen vaping an epidemic and urged parents and teachers to educate themselves and talk with their children about the danger of e-cigarettes. He also recommend that local authorities ban them from public spaces.
“We have never seen use of any substance by America’s young people rise this rapidly,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at the news briefing. “This is an unprecedented challenge.”
Did that grass-fed steak really come from a happy cow?
This interesting piece in The Washington Post looks at what that grass-fed label really means for the meat you’re buying.
You might buy meat that’s grass-fed, grass-finished, pasture-raised and organic. But what are you really getting? Just because a label says grass-fed doesn’t mean it wasn’t given antibiotics or hormones. For that, you’ll have to buy meat with an organic label. Click through to the Post article to find out more about these labels.
Photo credit: Niklas Hamann, Unsplash