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Smoking, Caffeine a Dangerous Combination

Once upon a time, the most dangerous thing that could happen when smoking and drinking coffee is their combined effect on one's attention span while driving a car. A recent multi-tiered study found the combined effect of smoking and caffeine consumption is far more damaging, however.

During the first phase of the study, the smoking-caffeine combo temporarily increased stiffness in the aorta, the main artery that moves blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Scientists soon found both did far more damage TOGETHER than either one did alone.

The immediate effects that caffeine and smoking have on the aorta may have to do with the release of certain hormones and central nervous system chemicals that affect artery function, blood pressure and heart rate. Stiffness in those large arteries contributes to high blood pressure and forces the heart to work harder to meet the body's needs which can eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes.

In the second phase, scientists found longtime smokers who drank caffeine had the greatest stiffness in the aorta, meaning both work in tandem to harm arteries over the long haul.

The solution to the problem -- quit smoking and drinking coffee -- sounds like the perfect thing to do, but at the heart of both of these problem habits is addiction. One's hard enough, but trying to conquer both can be overwhelming. I can't think of a better tool to help you conquer your addictions and maintain a healthy lifestyle than the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Yahoo News November 2, 2004

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