"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How much vitamin D, calcium is right?

I was really hoping when this report from The Institute of Medicine came out today that it would recommend a higher intake of Vitamin D for everyone----but that is certainly not the case. Check out this article by CNN.com (my newsfeed is flooded with articles today)-----and please, please get your Vitamin D levels checked and talk to your doctor about this. I am now taking 10000 IUs (yes, that says ten thousand IUs) of Vitamin D3 daily, as my latest bloodwork shows I am still a little below the optimal range of 70-100 ng/mL (and that's with being out in the sun all summer!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Osteoporosis isn’t just a women’s disease

While I agree with most of this article from the DuxberyTimes.com---- especially the point that men are also affected by osteoporosis, especially as they get into their 60's and beyond, I want to make one cautionary point. The end of the article says something about all patients need to be taking calcium and Vitamin D ----- please check with your doctor before starting any new supplements, particularly calcium. Patients who have a personal history of heart disease, or who have heart issues in their families, may not be candidates for calcium. I have never taken calcium, and after I got my hormones balanced, got on a regieme of Vitamin D3, and started regular exercise, my osteopenia was resolved.

Court OKs $58 million judgment

The Nevada Supreme Court just upheald a $58 million settlement against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals----finding that the drugs Premarin and Prempro caused the breast cancers of three women in Nevada. Click here to read the rest of the article from the LasVegasReview-Journal.com -----

I realize I am preaching to the choir here, but these drugs (synthetic hormones) are dangerous. That they are still on the market astonishes and angers me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Greek Yogurt Recipes

Hi everyone, I was clearing out emails earlier today and ran across a note I got from a representative of Yoplait Greek Yogurt ---- you may remember that this spring I did a blog giveaway of a gift pack that contained some coupons for packages of this brand of yogurt. I wasn't particularly even a fan of yogurt when I did the blog giveaway, but I will tell you that I really like this stuff --- I keep a container of the strawberry and usually one of the honey vanilla in my fridge for a healthy snack. Lacey from the company sent me a couple of recipes, and I am sharing them with you (and I am dying to try out the chocolate mousse one---yummy!)

Dark Chocolate Mousse
Prep Time: 15 min
Start to Finish: 15 min

1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Greek Fat Free honey vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

1. In small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup milk and chocolate chips. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. 2. In medium bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups milk and pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is well blended and thickened; stir in yogurt. 3 Blend melted chocolate into pudding mixture; fold in whipped topping. Spoon into individual dessert dishes. Top each serving with additional whipped topping and raspberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Store covered in refrigerator.

Greek Turkey Burgers With Tzatziki Sauce
Prep Time: 20 min
Start to Finish: 20 min

IngredientsTzatziki Sauce: 1 container (6 oz) Yoplait© Greek Fat Free plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed or1 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 oz)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 whole wheat burger buns, split
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

1. In small bowl, mix 1/2 cup yogurt and remaining sauce ingredients; refrigerate until serving.
2. Heat gas or charcoal grill. In medium bowl, mix all burger ingredients and remaining yogurt. Shape mixture into 4 patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
3. Place patties on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 8 to 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes, until thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160°F. Place burgers in buns with tomato slices and sauce.

How-To Broil patties with tops about 6 inches from heat 4 minutes; turn patties. Cook 6 to 8 minutes longer or until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160°F.
Substitution Finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese can be substituted for the feta cheese.

Discount at Total Discount Health Vitamins

I get some of my vitamins and supplements through Total Discount Health ----just letting you know that through the weekend, they are running a special discount of 15% off a total order (some exclusions apply) by using the promo GOBBLE at checkout. I just placed an order, and it saved me about $40 (yes, it was a big order, I am running out of a bunch of stuff!)

Have a great weekend!

Hormones Influence Our Attention

Although there is a lot of conflicting information out there about estrogens effect on the brain, it is now thought that high levels of estrogen may impair a person's ability to pay attention and to learn. I certainly subscribe to that theory, as (now) I know I was estrogen dominant for most of my life, and I am certainly ADD (I'm much better now that my hormones are balanced, but I still have a tendency to be scattered). Check out this article from PsychCentral.com to learn more.....

Child/Teen Sexual And Physical Abuse Linked To Fibroids In Premenopausal Women

Interesting article about an increased incidence of uterine fibroids in premenopausal women who were subjected to sexual or physical abuse early in life----click here, the article is featured on RedOrbit.com.

Vitamin D tests not covered for most Ontarians

I am willing to bet this news from CBCNews.com is going to start getting a bunch of play here in the US with our big debate over healthcare reform. As of December 1, the Health Ministry of Ontario Canada will no longer cover Vitamin D testing unless the patient has a diagnosis of osteoporosis, rickets, etc. I suspect the US insurance companies are going to pick up on this and start refusing to pay for Vitamin D testing ---- bad move, in my mind.

Trust me when I tell you that most of my friends have heard me go on and on about the benefits of Vitamin D, and they all know that even with supplementation, my levels were way too low this spring (which frustrated the hell out of me!). I get from them "well, I take Vitamin D in my multivitamin" (yeah, right, maybe 400 IUs ---- my doctor has most of his patients on 5000 IUs, and this winter, I am on 10000 IUs daily), "oh, I get out in the sun, I don't need any supplements" (spare me, I live in NC, and in the summer bake outside without sunscreen for at least 40 minutes 4-5 days a week in the pool), "my doctor says testing me is a waste of time" (get another doctor.) After I get the first two excuses, some of these women have had a doctor check their Vitamin D3 levels, and ----- gasp! ------ tell me in a shocked tone of voice that they are Vitamin D deficient. You think? If the insurance companies stop paying for the test (and it's pretty inexpensive now, usually between $25-45 at most of the major labs), I'm afraid the Vitamin D deficiency problem will just get worse.

No Vitamin D from the sun here today in NC, very dreary and gray---two days in a row. I know that I live north enough that even in a full sun day, I will not get enough Vitamin D from the sun, but sunny days are just plain nicer! Hope whatever you are doing this holiday weekend (no, I am not hitting the Black Friday sales----I do not celebrate or observe the holidays, so I am just waiting for all this madness to be over) you are staying warm, healthy and safe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just want to wish you all-------

a happy, healthy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for your support this year ----- this blog is a blessing in my life, and I learn so much from it and from all of you. Eat joyfully today (she says as she munches on a pumpkin donut!)---the gym and calorie counting will be there tomorrow (and besides, I bet a bunch of you will burn calories out Black Friday shopping!) Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Middle-aged Americans unhappy about sex

The results of this study as described in the TheStarOnline.com are pretty typical of what I am hearing from a lot of my readers --- sexual dysfunction and problems are very common in women of peri/menopausal age. Some of it is hormonal and the physical changes that come with it, some of it is psychosocial (married a long time, empty nest syndrome, exhaustion from caring for aging parents are just a few examples), but it is a growing concern. I have detailed in earlier posts how few women are willing to talk with their doctors about vaginal dryness and other urogenital problems, and of course this lack of communication makes finding a solution even more difficult. Ladies, if you feel you cannot talk to your healthcare practitioner about sexual issues, it may be time to start looking for a new practitioner who is more responsive to your needs. Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Genetics Determine Winter Vitamin D Status

When I saw Dr. Carr a couple weeks ago, one of the things I was most interested in was my Vitamin D level. It was very low last spring (30 ng/mL) despite faithfully downing 5000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily (I use the Ortho Molecular brand). I upped the dose to 10000 IUs for 60 days, and this summer I was busy out in my condo pool (outdoors) at least 4 days a week, so I knew I was getting additional supplementation from the sun. My latest lab level shows that I have more than doubled my level to 62, but I am still a bit below the optimal level of 70-100 ng/mL. Rats. Back to 10000 IUs daily through the winter.

This article from MedicalNewsToday.com caught my eye this morning ----the study results indicate that our winter Vitamin D levels are more the restult of our genetics, whereas our summer results are more influenced by our lifestyle choices (sun exposure, etc.) I moved to NC in 2004 from Upstate NY partially because I could no longer take the dreary, gray, long winters up north---my depression issues would get way worse in the winter time (this was before I got my hormones balanced----I had been on antidepressants for at least 10 years before that). Living here in Charlotte, the sun in the wintertime still doesn't give me adequate Vitamin D levels without supplementation, but our winters are generally pretty mild with a fair number of sunny days, so I can get out most days and not get holed up in the house (I don't mind one "in" day because of weather, but more than two and I start getting very antsy---not to mention wanting to scarf down junk food!).

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prehypertension linked to low vitamin D

Check out this article from EndocrineToday.com---it discusses a research study done to see if there was a correlation between prehypertension (the borderline area before a patient is diagnosed with hypertension/high blood pressure) and low levels of Vitamin D3. Just one more reason to keep up your Vitamin D3 levels! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday---it's beautiful here in Charlotte--got in a fitness walk this morning!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Infant Estrogen Levels Tracked Through Diaper Research

I've found quite a few articles on this topic over the last few days ---- hormone levels in infants. It's being studied now by using fecal matter found in the babies diapers....and may provide some important clues about hormonal development from infancy forward. It doesn't particularly relate to menopausal issues, but I find it interesting nonetheless---check out this article from HealthNewsDigest.com.

Choosing apples over cookies may help bone health

Yeah, but the cookies taste better (just kidding, calm down.) Here's a study published by the American Journal of Nutrition that seems to indicate a correlation between healthier eating and bone density (not that it's a big surprise). I'm glad I finally got my act together and started taking care of myself before my osteopenia (former osteopenia) got any worse---I'm seeing an increase in fractures in women not that much older than my sprightly 52 years. I do not want to be in that category. Check out this article from The VancouverSun.com for more details----and then go eat an apple!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gwyneth dances great on 'Glee,' despite osteopenia

I'm a fan of Glee---and I really enjoyed Gwyneth Paltrow's appearance on the show Tuesday night. However, it never occured to me that her dance moves were "despite" her osteopenia. This article in the WashingtonPost.com caught my eye when it popped up on the newsfeed yesterday.

Osteopenia, for those of you who aren't familiar with the term, is a condition that is a precursor to osteoporosis, thinning of the bones, making patients more susceptible to fractures as they age. I had mild osteopenia about 4 years ago, just before I started bioidentical hormones, exercising regularly (and it has to be resistance/weight training, just walking won't help and neither will swimming--although each has its benefits), Vitamin D3, and eating healthier (I'm not perfect but way better than I used to be). I had a repeat bone density test done in the summer of 2009---and it showed that not only do I no longer have osteopenia, but that my bone density was comfortably in the normal range. Both Dr. Carr and my pain management doctor, Mark Hines, were thrilled!

I just had a Vitamin D test done with my regular blood work, and it showed that my level was 62 ng/mL (and that was after a summer of being out in the condo pool at least 4 days a week for 45 minutes, and 5000 IUs of Vitamin D daily). Dr. Carr likes his patients to be at a range of 70-100 ng/mL, so I am now on 10,000 IUs daily at least through the winter.

Good news, ladies: Estrogen makes you smarter

Oh, I have so many smark aleck remarks I could make about the headline from this article on MSNBC.com----but I will refrain. I think you will be hearing more about this in the upcoming months, as scientists are desperately looking for solutions to Alzheimer's and dementia.

How to Sleep Through Menopause

Even with hormonal balance, my sleep is not quite where I would like it to be, but far better than it was. I share that issue with a huge percentage of menopausal women---and next to hot flashes, sleep disturbances are the most common complaint I hear from my "hormonal" readers.

Check out this new article by Saness Jonekos from The HuffingtonPost.com. One of the points that struck me is that many menopausal women (including the author) have not discussed their sleep disturbances with their doctor. You are paying your practitioner to take care of you---there should be no topic concerning your health that you do not feel comfortable talking about. Sleep is hugely important to your physical and mental well being---I cannot overemphasize this point enough ----- and believe me, I speak from first hand experience! The article also has some good tips for what is known as "sleep hygeine"---keeping the room dark and cool, don't exercise too close to bedtime, things like that. I take Melatonin every night, and it has helped me (along with the balanced hormones) far more than any of the prescription meds I used to take (and with no side effects, something none of the sleeping meds can claim).

Sweet dreams to all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm back!

I've been away from the computer for a few days ---- as I am sure you have noticed! I flew to Rancho Mirage, CA last Wednesday (11/10) for a visit/consult with my hormone physician John Carr. It was a great experience---I finally got to meet Audrey, Dr. Carr's medical assistant:

She is utterly delightful!

I had a wonderful visit with Dr. Carr, we went over my lab work, and my numbers looked great (including a further drop in my cholesterol---yes, I am bragging!) He was impressed and excited over my weight loss (over 110 pounds altogether)----I told him without being hormonally balanced, it never would have happened, and I am very grateful.

I am finally, officially post menopausal----my FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is now 34 (up from 5.4 in the spring), and my estrodiol level is 40.6 (down from 89.5 in the spring). Since I am not having symptoms of estrogen deficiency (hot flashes, night sweats, etc) I don't need any further estrogen supplementation. All my other levels were great----but I need to up my Vitiamin D3 intake for a while, I am still at the low end of optimal, and of course, this winter I won't get as much D3 from the sun.

After my appointment, I headed off to San Diego to visit the zoo and do some sightseeing---it was a wonderful, fun trip (will share the vacation photos in a separate post). I'm pretty jet lagged today, so bear with me, I will be back on track in a couple days with articles to share with you!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menopause and insomnia

Oh, believe me, from first hand experience I know how awful insomnia in menopause can be! I still struggle some with sleep issues, although I am far better now that I am hormonally balanced (I have a chronic pain issue from my back that makes sleeping tough). Check out this article on menopause and insomnia from BellaOnline.com ---- some good suggestions for what is known as sleep hygeine.

Women better at surviving trauma than men

More good news about being a woman--and from the Johns Hopkins Newsletter, no less! It seems that the hormone estrogen helps women survive trauma better than men (in fact, according to this study, their high levels of testosterone work against them). I'm very curious to ask my doctor about this, as I survived a very bad car crash almost 19 years ago, and I have been way estrogen dominant all of my adult life.

Estrogen Not Associated With Lung Cancer Incidence and Mortality Among Postmenopausal Women, Study Finds

Two caveats in this study reported by ScienceDaily.com --- one, the study was conducted on a small number of women (about 10,700---not a large number for a study this size) and two, the hormones they are talking about these women taking are NOT bioidentical hormones---the progestin discussed in the article is far different than bioidentical progesterone.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lack of vitamin D in patients with leukemia 'ups death risk'

I sure hope none of you are dealing with this issue (or ever have to, be it personally or with a loved one) ---- but check out this article from NewKerela.com. It deals with a study on the correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and progession of decline in leukemia patients. I was just giving the Vitamin D3 "pep talk" to one of my friends last night!

Have a great weekend everyone! It's very chilly here in NC----

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sex 101 -- for Midlifers

Good grief, I thought Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) was old back when I was a teenager (and she first became popular in mainstream culture) but she is still going strong. I enjoyed reading this article she wrote for FamilyGoesStrong.com about how to incorporate the changes, both physiological and psychological that come with midlife into our sex lives. Read it with your partner!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hormones and Breast Cancer: The Latest Findings from WHI

I want to thank my friend and reader Jane for passing this article along to me from Health Watchers News and Views (I got a broken link on it from my own newsfeed, so this link was doubly welcomed!) ---- important clarification about all the media hype on HRT and how it differs from BHRT (bioidential hormone replacement therapy) as it relates to the risk of breast cancer. Be sure to read it---and enjoy the rest of your day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

I'll be back later with a real post-----but I wanted to share this picture with all my readers.

My mom would have been 90 years old today (she passed in 1998)---and this picture is her being awarded the Bronze Star while serving as a nurse in World War II. That was at a time when women didn't have the opportunities that they have today, and I always say a lot of people can say their dads/granddads were in WW2, but not an awful lot can say their moms were!

Mom, her brother Jack, and sister Betty (I called her Aunt Rocky) were all in the service at the same time---I cannot imagine what my maternal grandmother went through. Mom never talked much about her time in the Army (she had me about 12 years after she was discharged, she married relatively late in life) but I am so glad I have these pictures. I love you and miss you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Doctor appointment tips every patient can use

I'm working on Dr. Carr (my hormone physician) to write a guest post for me about the top 10 questions you should ask a new bioidentical hormone physician. I can guide you as to how to find a doctor, check his board certification status, and any activity with the state medical board, but Dr. Carr's input into what makes a good hormone physician will be a valuable tool for every patient. Don't worry, I am tenacious and will keep after him

Meanwhile, I found this interesting article on KevinMD.com --- written by a nephrologist. Some very good tips for working with any doctor, new or familiar. Check it out, well worth reading.