'10 Keys to Healthy Living & Aging'

Editor's note:
This is the second in a series on "
The 10 Keys to Healthy Living & Aging ." )

Key No. 2: Stop Smoking!

The risks in smoking tobacco are ominous and well known: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, bone weakness and stroke. It also affects breathing, taste and smell, sex drive, and overall well-being. To improve and maintain good health, it's important to avoid using tobacco products – including smokeless products -- and avoid secondhand smoke, according to Dr. Alberto Colombi, PPG's corporate medical director.

"The dire risks are well publicized, but still about one-fourth of Americans currently use tobacco products," Colombi said. "The addiction, of course, comes from nicotine which offers short-run benefits -- such as appetite suppression -- but severe health problems in the long run. Quitting when friends or families still smoke can be extremely difficult."

Take the following steps to stop tobacco use:

Set a quit date, let people know, plan for the challenge.

• Remove tobacco products from your home, car and work location.

• Talk to your healthcare provider about getting help to quit, such as nicotine replacement therapy.

• Join a group of people who pledge to kick the habit.

For more information on how to stop smoking, visit http://www.healthyaging.pitt.edu/.

Online training related to the 10 Keys to Healthy Living & Aging is available through My Learning Connection. To access the training modules, select "Tools/Resources" from the toolbar along the top of the intranet home page, then select "My Learning Connection," "Course Catalog," and "Environment, Health & Safety (EHS)." Then select "All EHS courses by topic," and "Wellness."

Watch for more about The 10 Keys to Healthy Living & Aging:
1. Check blood pressure regularly.
2. Don't smoke.
3. Participate in cancer screenings.
4. Get regular immunizations.
5. Regulate blood glucose.
6. Lower LDL cholesterol.
7. Be physically active.
8. Prevent bone loss/muscle weakness (exercise).
9. Stay mentally sharp/maintain social contact.
10. Combat depression.

( 10 Keys to Healthy Living & Aging is a trademark of the Center for Healthy Aging, Graduate School of Public Health, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.)