Cancer Risk: Poisoned By a Tattoo

Millions of Americans have decorated their bodies with tattoos. And other than the risk of hepatitis and other infectious diseases, most people think that tattoos are harmless.

Millions of Americans have decorated their bodies with tattoos. And other than the risk of hepatitis and other infectious diseases, most people think that tattoos are harmless. 

But the FDA does not regulate tattoo pigments. Those pigments were originally developed to color paint and industrial products, and they’ve actually never been tested in humans for safety. It turns out that tattoo pigments contain toxic metals like lead, cadmium and mercury.  And worse, they contain some really bad chemicals like phenol and toluene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons derived from petroleum that are often carcinogenic. Over the last decade, doctors have started seeing skin cancers, particularly squamous cell carcinomas, arising from tattooed skin. 


You might read this and think that you’re better off undergoing laser tattoo removal. Unfortunately, while the tattoo might be erased by the treatment, blasting away that pigment releases it into the body a second time. So, I won’t make many friends in the medical community by saying that until we better study the fate and toxicity of tattoo pigment, I don’t think it’s such as good idea to have tattoos lasered off. 

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, and that’s between you and your mother, you should consider using a safer pigment called InfiniteInk that does not contain toxins and can be easily removed. It’s available in a few dozen tattoo establishments now. I’m sure it will cost more, but wouldn’t you want a pigment that was developed to color medicines, rather than paints?

High Blood Pressure: Why You Shouldn't Ignore This Silent Killer

About one in five people have high blood pressure and they don't even know it

For those of you who love murder mysteries, there just may be a silent killer wreaking havoc inside of you. Untreated hypertension, or high blood pressure, can go undetected for a long period of time, mainly because most people with elevated blood pressure do not experience any symptoms. In fact, about one in five people with high blood pressure are walking around unaware that they even have high blood pressure. Left untreated, hypertension can place you at a significantly increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms tearing open, heart failure, kidney failure, blockages in your legs, dementia, vision problems including blindness, and sexual dysfunction (I bet that last one got some of your attention).

How to Read Your Blood Pressure Numbers

Your blood pressure is made up of two numbers. The top number, called the systolic blood pressure, is the pressure inside your arteries when your heart contracts. The bottom number, the diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure inside your arteries when your heart relaxes. Both numbers are important and should be monitored. As people age, both numbers tend to increase, mainly due to increased stiffness in large vessels. Frighteningly, many studies have demonstrated that just a 20 mm Hg (units used for blood pressure) increase in the systolic number, or a 10 mm Hg increase in the diastolic number, doubles one's risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

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