Eight vices to avoid for your health

We all have them.

Habits can be hard to break, and some might even affect your health. You may know not to smoke, tan or eat fattening foods. But other seemingly harmless vices can be risky too.

Here’s a look at eight habits you might think are innocent but could mean trouble.

First up: nail-biting. When you chew your nails, bacteria underneath can enter into your mouth.

"The biggest problem is infection,” said Dr. Sharon Bergquist, assistant professor of medicine at Emory University.

Next up: wearing contacts too long. As many as 67 percent of contact wearers do it. But failing to change your lenses can damage your cornea.

"You can also change the shape of your cornea, and that will start distorting, your vision,” Bergquist said.

Bad habit number three on our list: rubbing your eyes. Doing this too much could mean even more bad news for your corneas by causing them to thin out.

Many people enjoy loud music, but it can also be dangerous. About 20 percent of rock musicians have permanent hearing loss.

Wearing high heels may get you style points, but doing it too much could also give you multiple health problems. Frequently wearing high heels 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,” cautioned Bergquist.

Another no-no is eating too fast. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to recognize that the stomach is full, making it easy to overeat.

Moving on to bad habit number seven – skimping on sleep. Getting less than six hours a night can double the risk of heart attack and stroke.

And rounding out our list of vices to avoid is possibly 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.

Remember, whatever your weakness, moderation is key.

"Any vice can be dangerous if you overdo it,” said Bergquist.

If you’ve been reading this list and noticing that you have some of these habits, do not worry. You can make up for past mistakes.

For instance, if you quit smoking your risk of death from lung cancer is almost equal to that of a nonsmoker within ten years.

REPORT #1999

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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