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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Another fresh new year is here...
by William Arthur Ward

Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

a New Year's Resolution EVERYONE can keep!

I am not big on New Year's resolutions ----- as most of you already know, they are generally broken by mid-February, and then when you break them, you feel so bad you do something unhealthy. For me, it would be stuffing my face with a half box of Oreos just because I fell off my "diet"-----I don't "diet" anymore, I work every day to eat healthy---- some days I'm better at it than others!

However, I have one New Year's project/resolution that absolutely every one of you can keep. Before next Monday, sit down at your computer and compile (or update) your health history. Include:

  • Name, full address, and telephone number
  • Surgical history (for me this is a big one---I had 15 surgeries post accident and there is no way I could remember them all without a written list)
  • Current medications (name, dose, frequency)
  • All bioidentical hormones (names, dosages)
  • Supplements/Vitamins (complete list, this is important especially if you see more than one doctor)
  • Names, specialty, and phone number of every doctor who is treating you
  • Emergency contacts

I'm updating my list this afternoon, and I always keep a copy in my purse. I also make sure any physician that treats me has an updated copy of the list (trust me, doctors love it when a patient does this!), and I give a copy to any new physician that treats me.

Don't make excuses, don't put it off-----DO IT! And have a happy, healthy, peaceful 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Diet, exercise and vitamin D help SAD sufferers

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real condition ---- and I had it bad when I lived in Upstate NY and often didn't see the sun for a week or more at a time. It's one of the reasons I moved south.

I ran across this article from Ifpress.com that gives a quick outline of SAD, the symptoms and treatments. Note that is says besides the light therapy (that works for some people, not all, I had one of the SAD lights up north and I do think it made a difference) and getting out to exercise, it is important to have an "adequate" Vitamin D level (I would replace the word adequate with optimal, and remember Vitamin D is really not a vitamin but is a prohormone).

The Optimal Treatment for Hypothyroidism: Erika Schwartz, MD

I know that many of my readers suffer from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) along with their other hormonal imbalances. I am hypothyroid myself, so I know how lousy it makes you feel. So many women tell me that their doctor prescribes only Synthroid or Levoxyl for them, without taking into account their T3 function (T3 is the active part of the thyroid). I take Levoxly for my T4 and a compounded preparation (prescription) for my T3. Check out this article from About.com --- Dr. Erika Schwartz talks about thyroid function and the need for both T4 and T3 managment.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Yes, Virginia, it does snow in Charlotte:

I'm not a big fan of snow, in fact, I moved out of Upstate NY because I hated the long, cold, snowy winters. Charlotte gets about 5 inches of snow per year on average, but this is the first white Christmas in many, many years (since before I was born!). This picture was taken out my front door:

And these two views are looking out from my deck (very nippy out there in jammies and slippers!):

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fix vitamin D prior 
to surgery

This article from The ClinicalAdvisor.com might be of interest to you if you (or a loved one) will be undergoing orthopedic surgery in the near future. The article discusses that insufficient levels of Vitamin D can impede bone healing post operatively. Note that the levels of "sufficiency" in this article are considered to be 30 ng/mL ---- my own phyisican prefers his patients to be at an optimal level of 70-100 ng/mL---as always, check with your health care practitioner.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Menopause: Don't Let it Steal The Holiday From Your Holiday Season

I don't celebrate the holiday season (actually, I celebrate when the holiday season is over and life gets back to some semblance of normal!) but I know that many of you do. I ran across this article today from Empowher.com and it talks about the toll menopause can take on you, and the stress of the holiday season can exacerbate symtoms you may be feeling from hormonal imbalance.

However you spend it, holiday or not, I am wishing you a wonderful weekend. We may actually have a white Christmas here in Charlotte, which is kind of a big deal because anything more than a trace of snow (about an inch is predicted) will make it the third snowiest Christmas EVER in Charlotte, and the first since I think 1947. Coming from an area that routinely gets between 150-200 inches of snow----all the hoo haa about this "storm" is pretty funny! I may or may not be posting over the weekend, but by Monday I should be back on schedule. Stay warm, stay safe----

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Health Buzz: Echinacea Does Not Cure Colds

I heard this on last night's national news, and this morning the newsfeeds are full of articles about the latest findings on the herbal supplement echinacea.....this one is from USNewsandWorldReport.com. Apparently a study done with 700 participants of varying ages, the supplement was found to reduce the duration of a cold by no more than a half day (if that, that amount could be attributed to just chance) and had only a minimal effect on the severity of a cold.

I've never taken echinacea----but I have friends who swear by it. Since I got my hormones balanced and started taking Vitamin D3 (almost 4 1/2 years now), I've had only two very light colds......my immune system seems to be very good!

Monday, December 20, 2010

How Much Vitamin D? What's Missing From the New Recommendations

Hi Everyone, sorry I haven't posted in a few days. This time of year the Internet is scarce of good articles on hormones and related issues!

I did find this article by Dr. Mark Hyman this morning on TheHuffingtonPost.com. He talks about the recent report from the Institute of Medicine and their (in my opinion woefully conservative) recommendations for Vitamin D3. Dr. Hyman points out a number of issues with the study. Two in particular I want to point out:

Paragraph 4 " An important distinction to keep in mind is that the DRI's are intended as general population based guidelines. They do not differentiate or take into account a person's unique medical history, genetics, dietary intake, clinical symptomatology, environmental conditions including sunlight exposure or biochemical and nutritional assessment."

Bullet point #3 "An important distinction to keep in mind is that the DRI's are intended as general population based guidelines. They do not differentiate or take into account a person's unique medical history, genetics, dietary intake, clinical symptomatology, environmental conditions including sunlight exposure or biochemical and nutritional assessment."

As I always cautioin my readers, check with your doctor about what Vitamin D3 level is right for you, but by all means, have the discussion, and don't let him/her put you off with "don't worry, your levels are normal". It's normal for us to have hormonal imbalances as we age, too, but it certainly isn't in the best interest of our health.

I don't celebrate or observe the holiday season (and honestly, I can't wait until all the hoopla is over and the holiday commercials disappear!) but for those of you who do celebrate Christmas, may it be filled with great times, great memories, and abundance of love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The sanity pause

I'm a big believer in meditation ---- I have used it for pain management and stress management. I don't celebrate the holiday season (and that's its own stress!) but I know that from talking to my friends over the last few weeks, many are feeling overwhelmed by all that they have to do/participate in over the next few weeks. I ran across this article in today's Charlotte Observer that explains a few of the basics of meditation.

Another meditation tip if you have an IPhone ---- I have downloaded several apps from ITunes from Andrew Johnson. They are meditation programs, I have one for losing weight, one for sleep and another for positivity. His voice has a Scottish brouge that I just love, and I find listening to one of his podcasts really helps me to focus. There are a bunch of different apps out there, you just have to find the best one for you.

Rainy and cold here today in Charlotte, hope everyone is staying safe and warm!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Resolve to make your menopausal health a priority

First of all, today is a good day. One of my friends had a health scare, but she got great news today---no cancer. Whew. Double whew!

The title of today's article from KPVINews.com caught my eye ---- Resolve to make your menopausal health a priority. Normally I do not make resolutions because when I don't keep them I feel like a failure, but I believe every woman who is not already doing so should resolve/promise themselves that they are going to take care of their peri/menopausal health in 2011. Many of you already are (pats on the back to you!). Some ideas for making menopausal health a priority:

  • Learn all you can about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy so that you can discuss it with your doctor intelligently (and I am willing to bet that some of you could actually educate your doctor about bioidentical hormones, way too many doctors still don't know much about it!)
  • Make a list of questions to take with you to your next office visit. I even do this when I have a phone consult with Dr. Carr---I email him the list of questions ahead of time, then we can go over the answers and I can take notes.
  • Understand that no question is too embarassing to talk to your doctor about, and if you find it embarassing and/or uncomfortable (or he or she does!), think about finding another doctor!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Too Many Women Being Prescribed High Dose HRT

Check out this article from Bio-HormoneHealth.com ---- far too many women are being prescribed high doses of synthetic hormones, according to a recent study out of the Stanford School of Medicine. This frustrates me to know end, because with all we know (and if I know it as a lay person, why can't the medical community at large figure it out?) We as consumers need to be proactive---learn all we can about the choices for hormones and challenge doctors who routinely hand out anti-depressants and/or synthetic hormones to combat menopausal symptoms. We have definitive data that shows an increased risk of health issues for women who use synthetic hormones, and as my physician has said more than once "patients at the peri/menopausal transition have a hormone deficiency, not a Prozac deficiency."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No, no, and NO!

The only thing I want you to take away from this article from MyHealthNewsDaily.com is that the hormone therapy they are talking about in this article is using SYNTHETIC (or as I refer to them, MONSTER) hormones, not biodentical hormones. I am so, so angry that this article refers to "progesterone" when what it really is they are talking about is progestin. Big, big, difference, and this kind of blatant, obvious error in mixing up the two words is inexcusable. As I always caution patients, talk to your doctor about your hormone regeime, and I stress, find a doctor who is knowledgeable about bioidentical hormones.

Just one cigarette can harm DNA, Surgeon General says

Even before I started making major steps to improve my health and get my life back on track, I was vehemently anti smoking. I can't even stand to be around it, and I consider people who smoke around their children to be commiting child abuse (and yes, I know, back in the day everyone did it, including my father). Turns out even a small amount of second hand smoke can be harmful, check out this article from USAToday.com. Do not tolerate family members or friends smoking anywhere near you. Period.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sorry I haven't posted today-----

I was out of the house all day today, one of my friends is having a medical issue and I took her into Charlotte for a medical test. Keep her in your thoughts/prayers.

I know many of you join me in sadness at the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. I had the absolute joy of meeting her once; she was in Charlotte in 2006 for a book signing. She spoke to the audience for about 30 minutes before she signed the books, and she was just an absolute delight, warm, funny, articulate, and loving. I was still into rubber stamping at the time, and I had made a bunch of pink bookmarks to give to my friends to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I took three of the bookmarks to the signing, and gave them to her---one for her, one for Cate (her oldest daughter) and one for Emma Claire. She grasped both of my hands and told me how blessed I was to have such talent, and how much she appreciated handcrafted gifts. I thought about that exchange yesterday and both smiled and cried. I hope the outpouring of affection and respect for this great woman will sustain her family in the days ahead. Blessed be.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Getting Women To Wake Up And ... Discuss Insomnia

Read this article from MediaPostPublications.com blogs and see if it frustrates you as much as it did me. It talks about a study done that shows 61% of menopausal women have sleep issues (I'm a little surprised the percentage isn't even higher.) What makes me crazy is that of those women who are having sleep issues, 62% of them have not bothered to talk to their doctor about it! Sleep deprivation is bad enough on its own, but it can also contribute to/exacerbate other health problems.

I know it's hard because I have been there (I used to think I attracted jackass health care professionals), but you have to be able to talk to your doctor about your health issues, and if you can't, you need to reevaluate your relationship with your doctor. If she/he seems too busy to be bothered with you, that's detrimental to your health and you need to look at finding another health care provider.

Many Men Over 75 Still Sexually Active: Study

I'm not entirely sure if this is good news or not......check out this article from BloombergBusinessWeek.com.....but it's an important study, especially in light of the fact that we are living longer lives. Being hormonally balanced (men or women) will increase the chances of having a healthy libido in our later years. Sexual health is important!

Great quote for the day!

"When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care far more profoundly about other people. The more alert and sensitive we are to our own needs, the more loving and generous we can be toward others."

- Eda LeShan

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Doctors Persist On Prescribing High-dose Menopausal Hormone Therapy

A couple things to take away from this article in MedicalNewsToday.com... Number one, the hormones being discussed in this article are synthetic hormones (Premarin, Prempro), the ones used in the Women's Health Initiative study in 2002. High or low doses, bioidentical hormone therapy is absolutely preferable to synthetic hormones, and there are a ton of studies out there to prove it. Secondly, this is a clear example of an all too common physician mind set ---- if this is the way we did it in medical school, this is the way we do it 20, 30 years later.

I still remain steadfast that we will look back on this in another 10-15 years and wonder why bioidentical hormones were so controversial --- my heartfelt wish is that they will be common place and we will hear no more about synthetic/monster hormones like Premarin and Prempro. We will see that BHRT is not just for hot flashes, it's about optimizing to the greatest extent possible overall health and vitality, as we know that hormones affect every system in the body.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone---good grief, it snowed yesterday here in Charlotte (ugh!). It's cold but pretty sunny this morning. I have a busy day ahead--lunch and movies with friends (we are going to see Burlesque), and then this evening I will be at a 60th birthday party for one of my other good friends. Whatever you do, be safe, be healthy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pregnancy Loss and Thyroid Levels

I'm pretty sure most of my readers are not trying to get pregnant, but this article from Empowher.com is interesting from a couple of standpoints: it talks about thyroid balance, something I know affects a lot of peri/menopausal women, and the information in this piece may be important to a loved one or friend who is trying to get or stay pregnant.

A short post today, I was up early for a hair stylist's appointment (my hair looks too cute!), then a double workout. I'm tucked in for the day now, after a late lunch (I didn't realize the time, no wonder I'm hungry) I'm going to rest my back for the remainder of the day. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the pain managment doctor (that's ok, I really like him), then later in the day I am going to have lunch with about 8 of my friends (there can never be too much friend time for me), and then we are going to see Morning Glory. I love days when I get out and about with the ladies for quality time. Hope everyone has a great week---stay warm, it's really nippy here in Charlotte today!