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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feeling lonely? It may increase risk of early death

Although I love my solitary time, I am a social creature. I love to spend a day with my friends, and as often as I can, you will find me with a group of friends having lunch, movies, socializing, perhaps shopping (not usually all in the same day!) I am one of those people who get life energy from my relationships, and I believe that the word "Friend" should always be spelled with a capital F.

Turns out being a social creature is good for my health.  A study detailed in this article from USA Today that people who are lonely face a 14% increase in risk of an early death.  It doesn't surprise me; I know of a few people who I would consider to be lonely (not transient loneliness, but those who don't have many friends and a lot of relationships in their lives).....and I truly believe that their isolation will shorten their lifespan.  I thought it interesting that lonely people have a higher level of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.  My cortisol level several years ago was very, very high, but I have made conscious steps (along with some supplement help) to bring the level down. Ironically, one of the factors that has helped me bring the level down is getting some awful, nasty women out of my life.  Most people can say that they know someone who makes them sick, in my case, I have blood work results to back it up!

Medicines Made in India Set Off Safety Worries

Almost all of us take some form of prescription medication, so this article from the NY Times is important reading.

I take thyroid medication, two different kinds for my T4 thyroid and my T3 thyroid.  The T3 medication is compounded and I get it from a compounding pharmacy.  Until last year, I was taking Levoxyl as my T4 medication, until production of the drug was suspended. I then switched over to Synthroid, and found (like many patients) that it does not work as effectively for me....I had to adjust my dosage upward twice to get my blood levels back to optimal. Dr. Carr has always insisted that his patients take brand name thyroid medications, as many of the generic drugs are not as effective and the dosing is not as consistent. Sadly, many insurance companies will only pay for generic forms of drugs if they are available, and in too many cases, the brand name drugs are out of financial reach for most people.

Many years ago, before I got my hormones balanced, I took the antidepressant Paxil.  I was unknowingly switched to the generic version after taking it for several years, and I had a very bad reaction.....it was almost like withdrawing from the drug cold turkey (which is something you should never, and I repeat, never do with an antidepressant!)  My anxiety level went through the rough, my depression deepened, I had a feeling of skin crawling, it was awful.  At the time, I wasn't even aware of how far off the generics can be from the brand name drugs....and even different manufacturers of generic drugs can vary widely in efficacy.

If you have been taking a drug that has been effective and all of a sudden it's not effective, check and see if you have been switched to a generic, or if you are taking a generic and it doesn't seem to be working, if there could be ea problem with the drug itself.  Talk to your doctor and your pharmacist with any and all concerns.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A little funny to get you through the week.......

I shave my legs weekly all the time because even in cold weather, I generally wear shorts to the gym.  One of my friends posted this on her Facebook page, and I just burst out laughing, so I thought it would be fun to share with all of you.  In the winter, I try to put cream (CeraVe Cream works best for me) on my feet every night, but sometimes, I just want to be lazy and skip a day or two.  I keep myself motivated with the thought that sandal season is just around the corner (here in NC, I can start wearing sandals at least some days starting in mid to late March, and through at least mid to late October, sometimes later!) and that I want my feet to look pretty when they are half naked.  I have a thing about lizard feet, women of any age who wear sandals should make the effort to keep their feet as soft as they can.  It's also a safety issue....cracked skin on the heel (or anywhere) is at risk of infection, and can making walking very painful.

Last week at this time we were on winter weather watch/snow storm warning, and today it hit 63 degrees! Made me a little giddy, although I know that we are expecting another blast of cold next week.  Tomorrow it may reach 70 degrees!  Our average high this time of year is about 55 (which is why I live in the south now...I'm originally from Upstate NY.)  Bring it on, I am ready for sun, singing birds and blooming flowers!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Had to share this with you.....

When I looked at this picture, my absolute first thought was "my brain is organized?"  And for the record, I am definitely a right brained being.....very emotional and very creative!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend....I was out and about today for the first time since Tuesday (I made it to the gym Tuesday morning, but shortly after I got home the weather moved in and I had been housebound since).  A great day, I had lunch with four of my friends (the Saturday Lunch Bunch), then stopped at the rubber stamp store to say "Hello" to another friend, then a quick stop at JoAnn Fabrics, and then home for the day.  I'll be back tomorrow with a "real" post.....until then, enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Smoking Can Speed Menopause for Some Women

Good morning! Happy Valentine's Day to all.............

First off, I am keeping everyone in the path of the latest snowstorm (33 days until spring) in my thoughts. Here in NC, we are slowly digging out, it was so bad here mail delivery was suspended yesterday! Schools are still closed today, and the early commute was a nightmare (not many cars on the road, fortunately...lots of closings and delayed openings with local businesses) but the temperatures are warming and the sun is out! I may venture out this afternoon, even if it's just to drive over to the drugstore and pick up my prescription at the drive through window!

I suspect this does not apply to many of my readers, but if you need another reason to quit smoking, check out this article from NBCNews.  Women who are smokers and have a certain genetic mutation can experience menopause up to 9 years earlier than women who do not smoke.  Nine extra years an awfully long time to go without hormones, which as you know, affect every system of the body.  That's on top of all the other health risks smokers face.

Will probably post again later today.....I have about 3 articles bookmarked to read and share.  Stay warm!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yep---we got it.

This is what it looked like out my front door this morning----I live just north of Charlotte, NC.  For the  most part, the area has handled the storm pretty well, and most people have heeded the pleading of our Governor and the local media to stay off the roads.  It snowed yesterday, then it transitioned to sleet and freezing rain last night, then big, fat, fluffy snowflakes this morning.  It's above 32 degrees right now, I can hear it dripping outside. Much of this will refreeze tonight, making roads bad again tomorrow morning, but then the warm up arrives.  By next week we will be near 60 degrees.  I'll be back later with a hormone post (I have a couple good articles to share with you), but until then, stay safe, stay warm....I know this storm is hitting the Mid Atlantic and Northeast now!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sex Matters-Drugs Can Affect Sexes Differently

Good morning from snowy North Carolina! It's snowing lightly here now, but we are expecting a big snow and ice storm tomorrow.  I headed out to the gym this morning and it was packed...I think everyone is figuring this is the last gym workout for several days.  I'm tucked in the house with plenty of projects to work on and plenty of (mostly healthy) food to get me through the next few days!

I have tried several times to embed the video from last Sunday's 60 Minutes report about how drugs can affect men and women differently.  I wasn't able to successfully embed, but if you click this link it will take you to a video of the segment.........it's important reading. It will also make you kind of mad.

This afternoon I have a bunch of newsfeed articles to go through, and I hopefully will have several more posts for you this week.  Until then, if you are in one of the affected areas of the storm...please stay safe, and for goodness sake, if you don't have to be out driving in the bad weather, stay home!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Groundhog Day---Happy Super Bowl Sunday....

And in my little corner of the world----happy day after Syracuse University beat Duke in NCAA basketball!  So excited, I am very "rookie" basketball fan, but lived in the Syracuse area for many years so SU it is! It was a great game, when it went into overtime in the final seconds, I wasn't sure my heart could take it! Speaking of hearts....

February is National Women's Heart Health Month! You are wearing red next Friday, February 7, aren't you?   From the Mayo Clinic, a list of signs and symptoms of heart disease in women (the classic symptoms of chest pain are not always present in women having a heart attack).  I went to a Women's Heart Health Fair yesterday and picked up some great information that I will share with you this month.  One of the many reasons I take testosterone is that testosterone strengthens muscles, and remember, the heart is a muscle.....so I am making my heart stronger!

Interesting article in MedPageToday.com about the link between low Vitamin D levels and increased severity of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  I continue to be amazed at how many people tell me they have never had their Vitamin D levels checked.  It's a simple and easy blood test, and costs usually less than $50.  I have my levels checked about 2-3 times a year, and the last time it was a nice, healthy 78 ng/ml (Dr. Carr likes his patients to be between 70-100 ng/ml.)  I take 10,000 IUs vitamin D3 this time of year (from October to mid April), then I cut to 5000 ng/ml for the summer months (I swim in an outdoor pool about 4-5 days a week in the summer.)  

Do not forget to drink plenty of water....every time of the year, actually, but particularly when it's been so cold (we went down to 5 degrees here in NC, which for us is very, very cold!)  I can tell how dry the air has been by how chapped my lips get, and I am lotioning my feet religiously so I avoid dry, cracked heels.  I'm making sure I get plenty of water too.....don't wait until you are thirsty!  

I hear the Groundhog saw his shadow this morning so there will be six more weeks of winter.  Some areas of the north will be happy if it's only six more weeks of winter, I am anxious for spring! Have a great week, everyone!