By Irfan Mansuri, M.D.

It’s no secret that smoking and drinking are bad habits, but did you know there are several other common habits that could be slowly killing you? Many of these habits lead to similar potentially deadly circumstances, so getting these habits in check could truly help save your life.

Smoking

Smoking is the hardest habit to break for most people and it’s also one of the deadliest. There are several health risks from smoking such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the main health risks are lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Smoking causes just about 90% of deaths from lung cancer, around 80% of deaths from COPD, and roughly 17% of deaths from heart disease. Out of the 4,000 or more chemicals found in cigarettes, at least 60 cause cancer. Studies have shown that men who smoke died 10 years sooner than men who never smoked.

Drinking

We all know that drinking can lead to death due to drunk driving, but did you know that excessive drinking can also lead to your demise? Habitual drinking increases your risk of cancer and adding tobacco in that equation creates an even higher risk. Heavy drinking can also cause cardiomyopathy, a potentially deadly condition where the heart muscle weakens and eventually fails. Heart rhythm abnormalities, such as atrial and ventricular fibrillation, are also caused by heavy drinking. Atrial fibrillation can cause blood clots that can trigger a stroke, and ventricular fibrillation will cause rapid loss of consciousness which can lead to sudden death.

Tanning

People in Houston love the summer months despite the harsh heat, and laying under the sun is something that feels good. But exposing your skin to those UV rays can do more than just cause wrinkles and age spots; it can kill you. Exposure to sun causes precancerous and cancerous skin lesions resulting in skin cancer.

Overworking

Have you ever felt like there aren’t enough hours in the work day? That pile of reports just keeps adding up, right? I am sure everyone has felt workplace stress at some point but overworking to try to catch up can single-handedly cause you to have a heart attack.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep. We all need it, and some people just don’t understand how valuable it is until they start to see the negative effects it has on their body and mind. Lack of sleep causes irregular heartbeat, heart disease, heart failure, and fatal heart attacks.

Sitting All Day

Do you have a desk job? Do you often find yourself glued to your desk due to the amount of work you have to do? You may think sitting all day is harmless, but, surprisingly sitting for long hours is linked to a higher risk of death from heart disease.

Ways to Be Healthier Moving Forward

Some of these bad habits can be simply moderated, while others should be eliminated. . You only get one life. Take care of yourself so you can have a happy, healthy future.


Dr. Irfan Mansuri is a Family Medicine physician who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Pasadena Clinic. Relieving patients of their symptoms is what makes his day. He considers the trust patients place in him a privilege.

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