About one in eight women in the United States, about 12 percent, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to BreastCancer.org. Early detection is key to catching breast cancer before it spreads to help boost surviv…
by April Doyle
The pain starts in my sit bones, radiates into my pelvic area and moves up and down my spine. When I’m having a good day, my pain is a 5 or 6 out of 10 on the pain scale. Some days, my pain escalates to an 8 or 9 and I can’t fun…
Let’s just say you are around the age of menopause and begin to notice a few stray hairs growing where they don’t belong.
Then, seemingly overnight, your face becomes fertile ground for hair, sprouting an abundance from ear to chin to upper l…
With its longer days and warmer weather, summer gives you the perfect opportunity to develop good habits that will carry you into the colder months.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Summer gifts us with a bountiful selection of fresh fruits and veggi…
If you find yourself pushing too hard, stopped up, clogged, unable to go (or whatever you like to call it), it may be a by-product of menopause. When going gets tough, the tough can’t always get going.
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By Nicole KwanWhen it comes to overactive bladder, women have a particularly hard time getting their physicians to address their symptoms. If your health care provider says everything “looks good” and your urine tests are clear, the issue tends to get …
Asking whether your medications are doing what they are supposed to be doing may seem like a very simple question with a simple yes or no answer.
But the answer may not be so obvious.
Can you link a specific medical condition or symptom to each medication you take? Can you describe the risks and benefits of each one? How do you really know if a medication is working as expected?
Much of what I have been blogging about so far has emphasized the risk of taking a lot of medications. Knowing the potential risks of medications is hugely important and may be the single most important reason to convince you to either stop a medication or not start one. Read more about Polypharmacy: A Totally Modern Epidemic.
But I haven’t written much about the benefits side to medications—the very reason you may be taking them in the first place. Ironically, many people don’t even know exactly why they are taking certain medications, let alone know if they are working as planned.
Specifically, have you asked yourself, “What goal are you hoping to achieve with each medication you take?”
Knowing you have the right match between your medical condition and your medication means you and your health care professional have considered four things:
What do the scientific evidence and expert guidelines say about treating a condition or symptom in my circumstances?
How will taking this medication help me achieve my goals or treat what matters?
How can I monitor the condition to see that the medication is achieving my goal?
How do I know if I am having side effects or adverse reactions to the medication?
For example, the scientific evidence for treating diabetes or high blood pressure came from research studies focused on young relatively healthy patients and not on older adults. What does the research say about treating someone older who also has multiple other conditions as well?
Often, we just don’t know the best way to treat older adults with multiple problems who may be taking multiple medications.
The best medication mix for someone who is old or nearing the end of their life may be very different than for someone who is taking medication to ward off a single disease and wants to live as long and as well as possible.
What should always be at the heart of any medication or treatment decision you make is that you consider what matters to you. You know your health preferences and priorities.
You may want to refer to my earlier blog where I discussed the importance of knowing your health priorities and knowing what matters to you. You need to ask yourself if a medication is worth the risk. Only you can really answer that question.
I developed a daily and occasional medication form years ago as part of my Savard Health Record System. The form prompts users to list not only the name and dose/timing of the medication but also includes knowing why you started the medication and the target goal that you are trying to achieve. This form was developed because I knew how important it was for my patients to take responsibility for knowing exactly what the medication was for and how they could best monitor the condition or symptom to see that the medication was working.
Do you know the target goal you are trying to achieve with a medication? Can you measure it, and do you track this goal over time? Have you ever asked to have a medication stopped or the dose adjusted because of your monitoring? Sadly, too few people ask these important questions because they have been trained to believe that their health care professional is too busy and, anyway, “Doctors always know best.”
It’s so important to know not only what a medication is for but how to monitor the condition or symptom to see if the medication is working.
If you are taking a medication to relieve annoying symptoms such as heartburn, you probably know whether it is working or not. Your heartburn not only gets better, it will often disappear. In the case of treating symptoms, the question to ask about a specific medication is how long can I safely take this if it helps me and when should I stop? What are better or safer things I can do to avoid or treat the problem in the future?
I talked about the benefits and risks of taking long-term acid blockers such as Prilosec in an earlier post. For most people with heartburn, using Prilosec or other potent acid blockers for up to eight weeks is OK. But at that point, continuing lifestyle changes such as avoiding late-night eating should take the place of the medication for most people.
Treating medical conditions that don’t usually cause symptoms, such as high blood pressure, is another matter. Knowing that a medication you take will lower your blood pressure is not enough. You need to know the target blood pressure you are trying to achieve—how low or how high can you safely let your blood pressure go on medication. And if you can, you need to monitor your blood pressure yourself. A good and easy to use home monitor is the Omron digital monitor.
If you are an older adult who is taking medication for high blood pressure, treating your blood pressure will be important to you, but staying safe and living independently is likely your highest priority.
Even brief episodes of low blood pressure can lead to dizziness and dangerous falls. Avoiding low blood pressure is far more important than occasional high blood pressure readings. Knowing what the safest blood pressure reading for you is important.
I often hear my internist husband on the phone with a worried patient who is calling about one or more high blood pressure readings. He often reminds them that an occasional high blood pressure reading is far less worrying or dangerous than a low one.
It takes months to years of continuous high blood pressure to cause serious problems. But it can take only a few minutes of lightheadedness or dizziness to fall and break your hip when your blood pressure is too low and you stand up quickly. Read more about the hazards of low blood pressure.
Knowing your medication target goal is not just important for older adults. We all need to size up what we take and confirm that everything we take treats a condition that matters to us, is safe, can’t be replaced with a safer alternative, and, of course, is working as anticipated.
You may be taking a medication for a condition or for symptoms that are no longer present. If you had chronic heartburn, do you still need the Prilosec now that you have lost weight and avoid eating or drinking late at night?
If you are taking medication to lower your bad or low-density cholesterol (LDL or unhealthy cholesterol), what is your target goal for the LDL cholesterol? Do you know what your LDL cholesterol test result is? Have you achieved your goal? Do you have any side effects? Does the dose of the medication need to be changed or a different medication tried?
What if you are having troublesome symptoms? Can you link your symptoms with a medication side effect? Often the symptoms or side effects are not easily linked to one specific medication but rather due to the combination of all of them.
Any medication can cause any symptom. Don’t be fooled just because a symptom doesn’t appear on a list of side effects for a particular medication.
Most research and tools for spotting harmful medication interactions involve the comparison of only two medications. Medstopper.com is one helpful tool, but no tool or chart can reliably predict the potentially bad effects of taking multiple medications.
To make things more complicated, every medication has the potential to react differently in each person. And even if a medication has worked safely for years, as we age and our metabolism and health condition changes, medications that worked well may no longer work or be safe for us.
Artificial intelligence is helping us to sort out what could happen when taking multiple medications. But for now, often the only way to know whether or not a symptom is a drug side effect is to temporarily stop the drug(s) if your doctor agrees.
I talked about this common saying in medicine before but it can’t be said too often:
Any symptom in an older adult on multiple medications should be considered a medication side effect until proven otherwise.
Can you match each condition you have with the medication you take? Are you taking medication you may no longer need? Are you having troubling side effects but not sure which, if any, of your medication may be causing it?
Marie Savard, MD, is a trusted voice on women’s health, wellness and patient empowerment. She currently writes a blog called Ask Dr. Marie, where this column first appeared. Her blog focuses on the challenges of medication overload in older adults and what caregivers can do to help. Dr. Savard is a former ABC News Medical Contributor and author of four books including her most recent, Ask Dr Marie: What Women Must Know about Hormones, Libido, and the Medical Problems No One Talks About. She lives in Philadelphia with her physician husband and has three grown sons.
As you may have noticed, products with CBD are now touted for all sorts of conditions, including pain relief (for fibromyalgia, for example), anxiety, depression, insomnia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. But how effective is CBD, what risks …
It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to lose a parent. The death of a parent can profoundly impact your life whether you were BFFs, estranged or something in between. The passing might impact your living situation or financial stability. It can make you feel sad, angry, alone, scared, shocked, depressed or guilty. Here are some tips to help you cope with grieving the death of a parent.
Know you’re not alone.
You may feel afraid and isolated. Still, many other people have gone through the same experience. Yes, it may be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever deal with. But it will get easier. Surround yourself with loved ones who make you happy. Ask for those who knew your parent for stories to keep her/his memory alive. Read about 10 things about you that change when you lose your parents.
Take your time.
Don’t try to rush through the grieving process just because you think you should’ve moved past it already. No fixed timeline or cut-off point exists for the grieving process. For example, a reminder of the loss can reignite the grieving process. Be patient. Embrace and acknowledge your emotions. Don’t feel like you have to move on or get over your feelings.
Be aware that sadness will come and go.
It’s normal for your feelings to come in waves. Sometimes you’ll feel low. And other times just fine. Push through the low times by remembering your strength. Talk about your feelings with others so they know what’s going on. People want to support you but they likely just don’t know how or don’t want to bring up feelings and upset you.
Do things your way.
Some days will be harder than others like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Think about how you want to honor your parents on these days. Create new rituals or participate in traditions. You may just want celebrate his life, light a candle, tell stories. Remembering the good times can make it easier to cope on these days. Regardless, observe these days in a way that is comfortable for you.
Grieve in a way that’s best for you.
How you handle your loss is unique to you. There’s no one particular way to grieve. How your friend dealt with a similar situation or how your sister is coping with the death of your mom may differ from your grieving process. And that’s ok.
It’s ok not to cry.
While a death can bring up fond memories, it can also conjure painful ones. Your last memory may have been a bad one or maybe you had a complicated relationship. Regardless, it’s common not to cry. You may just want to shut down feelings that are too overwhelming to deal with.
Talk it out.
If you’re having a particularly hard time, consider getting professional therapy from a grief counselor. It’s a safe space where you can talk about your emotions with a third-party listener. Or try support groups, where you can connect with others going through the same thing. These methods of support can give you the tools to deal with what’s going on.
HealthDay News — It’s long been known that sugary drinks help people pack on unwanted pounds. But new research suggests that sweetened sodas, sports drinks and even 100% fruit juice might raise your risk for some cancers.
READ: Signs You Have a Suga…
Our mouths are very busy. Between all the chewing, spewing, grinding and other demands we put upon our oral cavity, problems can happen, like bad breath and more. It’s not just about a pretty smile.
Here are some great ways to keep your mouth in good working order and how to avoid bad breath!
For when you are afraid you’re offending those closest to you …
It’s not always a matter of being self-aware or covering up bad breath by popping a mint. Sometimes you have to get swishy and use some good mouthwash. This one by Listerine kills bacteria without a drop of alcohol and without drying out your mouth (both a dry mouth and bacteria are often culprits behind bad breath). Learn more about the connection between bad breath and menopause.
For when you’re on the go and can’t brush …
Chances are good that once in a while (OK, maybe more than that), you’re eating on the go, without access to a sink where you can properly clean your teeth. And while you know you should brush after every meal (or at least twice each day), you can’t always follow this golden rule. Carry these preloaded, disposable mini brushes and brush surreptitiously on a plane, on a train, on a date or in a tent—and emerge with gleaming pearly whites.
For when there’s some food stuck …
Ugh, isn’t it the worst when you have spinach stuck between your teeth (and no one tells you)? Slip away to “powder your nose” and carry these gentle dental picks with you. In addition to removing the offending food particles, they give your gums a nice, gentle massage.
For when you want healthy gums …
Floss, floss, floss. That’s what dentists tell you, and that’s what you may (or may not) be doing. Flossing once a day helps dislodge errant food particles, reduce food decay and eliminate sticky bacteria (aka, plaque), which can cause gum disease. Here’s a primer in doing it right, and here’s a no-brainer type if you hate to floss. Tip: It’s best to use floss before you brush, rather than after.
For when you want to give your tongue equal time …
Consider a tongue scraper. That’s because your tongue can also harbor harmful bacteria, which contribute to decay, gum infections and bad breath. After brushing, flossing and rinsing, run the scraper over the surface of your tongue once or twice—a quick and simple way to get a squeaky-clean mouth.
For when you need a quick spritz …
For when your mouth is dry, and you just can’t take it anymore …
Age and certain foods and medications can slow our saliva production, leading to dry mouth, which can cause bad breath and other oral woes. These lozenges help moisturize the tissues of your mouth while freshening your breath with their minty flavor. An added plus: They contain xylitol, which helps kill bacteria, often a byproduct of dry mouth.
The opioid epidemic in the United States continues to undermine the health of women and their families. Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a critical women’s health issue as the Mayo Clinic succinctly reports because: “Women are more likely than men t…
Everyone just seems so happy in the summertime. Besides the fact that it’s warm out, people get to spend time in green spaces and nature. Even a few minutes outdoors offers respite from the craziness of daily life. It promotes lower stress levels…
Natalie Hayden is a #teamHealthyWomen Contributor and this post is part of HealthyWomen’s Real Women, Real Stories series.Hey IBD mamas and moms-to-be—this article is for you! I wanted to share 5 of my “life…
MONDAY, July 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many packaged foods have the potential to give you vitamin overload, especially if you’re already taking a daily multivitamin. Here’s what you need to know.
Manufacturers have been adding nutrients to foods for decades. In fact, it started nearly 100 years ago with the addition of iodine to salt. Vitamins and minerals are added to foods in two key ways.
Foods and beverages can be “enriched.” This means putting back nutrients lost in processing, like the longstanding practice of adding B vitamins to packaged breads and cereals made with refined flours. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily make them as nutrient-dense as foods made with whole grains, because not every natural micronutrient lost in processing can be replaced.
Foods and beverages can be “fortified.” This means adding one or more nutrients not normally found in the food in its natural state. Sometimes this is helpful — adding hard-to-get vitamin D to milk, adding calcium to non-dairy milks and orange juice for those who are lactose intolerant, and adding omega-3 fatty acids to eggs for people who don’t eat enough fatty fish.
But some foods are fortified with levels of nutrients that exceed limits set by the Institute of Medicine. And sometimes they’re just not necessary for you. For instance, according to a University of Toronto study, the most common vitamins added to fortified waters are already abundant in the average diet.
A report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that vitamin-fortified snack foods are among the most misleading. Researchers found that people are less likely to look past front-of-box claims on snack foods to read the Nutrition Facts label, and they choose fortified snacks over healthier products. When shopping, always remember that adding nutrients to a food that’s full of empty calories doesn’t make it healthy.
Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
By Allison Ivie
While 47 percent of U.S. adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, the majority (60 percent) never seek treatment.
One factor in this equation has been lack of mental health insurance coverage—something t…
Job burnout is more than just a bad day or a tough week at work. Every job has one of those. Burnout is when you just don’t have any good days. And it goes on for a long time. Left unchecked, burnout can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relations…
It seems that ever since menopause hit, so has bad breath. I’m feeling more and more self-conscious whenever I have a conversation with someone, thinking that my breath is offensive. Is it my imagination? Am I crazy? Can bad breath be connected to menopause?
Don’t Wanna Have Halitosis
The good news is that it’s not your imagination. And you’re not crazy.
But I suppose that’s the bad news, too.
Menopause and its bearing on your breath is not so different than that same association in other phases of life: puberty, pregnancy and your periods. All of these things affect more than just your reproductive system; they affect your breath, too.
If that’s news to you, it is to a lot of us, too!
What’s happening is that your body is going through many biological and endocrinological changes around these times. Here’s something most people don’t know: There are actually estrogen receptors in the mucous membranes of your mouth, and hormones have a strong influence on your oral cavity—so much so that a study published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health makes the point of advising medical practitioners like gynecologists and dentists to be mindful of this association and make women aware of their dental needs around this time.
You see, menopause not only causes things like a dry vagina, but can also cause a dry mouth. And when your mouth is dry, you don’t have enough saliva, and it’s saliva which helps cleanse your mouth and fight the bacteria in it.
Learn more about The Health Risks That Come With Menopause.
By the way, It’s not just your breath that a dry mouth can affect. It can change the foods you choose to eat because it can cause a metallic taste; it can change the way you speak (try talking and enunciating with a heavy, pasty tongue); and it may make it more difficult to swallow.
Inadequate amounts of saliva can also contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. And since saliva contains an enzyme called amylase, which helps break down starches, not having enough can even affect the way the nutrients in your food are broken down.
There’s more (sorry you asked, aren’t you?). A dry mouth can lead to ulcerations (known as canker sores) or little cuts inside your mouth, making acidic foods—like certain fruits and veggies—burn when you eat them. These sores are usually harmless but can be painful and annoying. They will usually clear up on their own in about a week to 10 days.
Yes, it’s a mouthful of information, but now is a good—and important—time to pay more attention to the health of your mouth and be especially diligent with flossing, brushing and dental visits.
And, to best treat that bad breath, here are some things you can do:
Brush your teeth, tongue, roof of your mouth and gums with toothpaste at least twice each day.
Gargle with water.
Avoid food and drinks that linger, like garlic and alcohol.
Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free mints to help increase saliva flow. Veggies like celery, carrots and cucumbers can also help. So can chewing on a spring of parsley and other herbs and spices like tarragon, coriander or cilantro, rosemary and cardamom.
Swish with mouthwash to refresh your breath.
Use special dental rinses to help increase saliva production.
Drink green tea to help fight mouth bacteria.
By Nicole Kwan
An overactive bladder can disrupt your relationships, social life, and overall quality of life, but it’s not a diagnosis that has to upend your life.
It’s important to understand what overactive bladder is. The term refers …
On December 14, 2018, HealthyWomen hosted a Science, Technology and Innovation Roundtable in Baltimore, MD to discuss Migraine Therapies in Women. Participants addressed women’s experience with current migraine treatments and explored the availability …