Posts tagged with: Health

Outta my way!

Logo of the United States National Institute o...
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Dear Life,
Last week you really got in my way. You demanded attention, you were needy and I’m pretty sure you even cried a lot. I think you owe my blog readers an apology. You required so much attention, I left my readers alone for an entire week. I rarely have to do that, and when you make me do so, I feel bad. They might have missed me, they might have needed to hear about a cool workout on Wednesday, or some emotional health news on Thursday, or maybe they just wanted to be challenged on Friday; but no, you took me away. Please, I love you, life, but can you cool it? Can you stop being so emotionally needy and let me take care of my pals? I’d really appreciate it!


Dear Reader(s),
Sometimes life gets in the way of working. This was the case last week. This week I’m working on pre-posting some stuff in case of a repeat. I’ll talk a bit about what happened in either Tuesday or Thursday’s entry and shed some light on my situation. Thanks for sticking by me!

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Women’s Health in the News II

Municipality of El Nido
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Creative Commons License photo credit: Florian

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Friday 5 – 8/29/08

The Poisonwood Bible
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Instead of five challenges for the week, I’ve decided to let you in on some personal stuff about yours truly! Five things about me, you probably didn’t know!

1. For 24 years of my life, I had hair so straight you could use it to draw lines with. After my divorce, my hair changed. I don’t know whether it was stress, a diet change, new exercise, or just age, but I woke up one morning with wavy hair! I can blow dry it straight, but if I just let it air dry, my hair now has significant amounts of wave to it. I kinda like the change. Maybe in another 24 years it’ll go back to being straight!

2. I’m in the middle of some unidentifiable health woes. Since last December I’ve been achey. Some days are better than others, but for the most part, I wake up achey and stiff and get looser as the day goes on. Sometimes by the end of the day I’ve stiffened back up, though, and all I can think about is sleeping. I finally saw a physician about it last week and tests were run. I am ONE point away on lab test from being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. My doctor is sending me to a rhematologist to see about other tests, but for now I have to wait.

3. I work full-time as a bank teller. While I love my job, it isn’t my passion and so I’m planning on graduate school. My first choice is the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.  I want to go into public health – women’s sexual health education, primarily with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS prevention. THAT is my passion.

4. I read all the time. I’m always in the middle of one book. I read one book at a time. My favorite book is the book Ephesians in the Bible.  My favorite book-book is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. In fact, I love all of Kingsolver’s books and absolutely recommend them to you!

5.  I love cheese. I have never met a cheese I didn’t get along with. I feel the same way about mustard.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Craig Hatfield

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Singer Pete Doherty arri...
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Over the weekend I watched an intense HBO special/movie. Methadonia was a little about addiction a little about recovery and a lot about the stories behind addiction.

The piece was filmed over a year & a half, and followed the story of a group of eight people using “methadone maintenance” to get off heroin. In the film, many of the users are mixing benzodiazepines (prescribed for seizures or anxiety/panic disorders) with their methadone to create their own type of high. This methadone cure for heroin addiction is just as addicting. Unfortunately it seems it can be even harder to quit than the drug that got the addict started.

One story that particularly touched me was the story of Susie & Eddie … and their baby Lea. Lea was born addicted to methadone and “benzos” thanks to her mother – a long-time user. (Both are trying to get clean for their newborn child.) After two crack-induced heart attacks, a life riddled with Vicodin, bulimia, gallstones, an enlarged spleen and hepatitis C, Susie struggles to keep herself clean for the love of her brand new daughter.

This movie comes highly recommended from me if you’ve ever dealt with an addict. Whether Vicodin, methamphetimine, crack cocaine or methadone itself, this movie may shed some light on how hard it is to clean up after the messes you’ve made.

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The Power of Walking

Pw = (mg / p) [3gL / 2]1/2{1 – [1 – p2v2 / 6gL]1/2}  *

Right after napping, my favorite exercise would have to be walking. It’s easy, it’s free, you don’t need any special equipment to do it, and almost everyone can walk.

Stand up, put on some tennis shoes (please, your feet are good things!) and some comfortable clothes, put one foot in front of the other, and then repeat, 10,000 times a day.

Walking for Fitness shares ideas on getting started with a walking routine, teaches you that technique does count and speed does matter. You can walk for weight loss and you can even learn to use a pedometer (it’s easy, I promise)!

Even the CDC has a healthy weight loss plan that involves starting a walking plan.  I was particularly encouraged by this website as the pictures they use of those beginning the program aren’t of Olympic walkers, they’re of REAL people!

EZine has an article (written by Connie Limon) about beginning a walking routine. I really enjoyed reading this  article because it was written for beginners – I absolutely recommend this link!

If you’re in a place where walking outside isn’t the safest, what about starting a Treadmill Walking program? I have access to a gym and plan on using this when a) the weather gets bad and b) when my foot allows me to be really active again.

*this is really the power generated by walking. I suck at math (but am pretty good with naps, words, coffee and Laffy Taffy) but think it looks cool!

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Women’s Health in the News

Actress Jane Seymour, 1994
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Creative Commons License photo credit: Stig Nygaard

For those of you who didn’t know, I have a heart for Africa and especially African women’s health. I keep my eyes out for African women’s health news and I was encouraged to see that cervical cancer is becoming a news headline in Ghana. Ghana News – Women’s Health: Cervical Cancer. If you’re at all interested in African women’s health, you should drop me a line, I’d love to talk more with you!

I found a fantastic site that shares Medical Briefs on certain days of the week and I was able to pull up some Women’s Health Medical Briefs for you all. Check out the article about Dr. Quinn (Medicine Woman … aka Jane Seymour) speaking at the 22nd annual Integris Women’s Health Forum.

Most women are uncomfortable talking about urinary incontinence, but an interesting report was just released, a prospective cohort study (certain group of people followed for a certain amount of time into the future). The Hordaland Women’s Cohort studied incontinence and “other urinary tract symptoms” for women in middle age.

An interesting situation in Greece on Saturday – Senator Joe Robach was condemned by the National Organization for Women. The Rochester branch is quoted saying “Robach is consistently anti-choice and has stalled on allowing even the most basic measures, such as age appropriate sex education, from passing the Senate.” Read the well-blogged piece here at The Albany Project.

Women’s Health News shared the newest report from the Census Bureau on American Women’s Fertility if that’s something that you’re interested in learning more about.

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Friday 5 – 8/22/08

happy harvest pot pie
Image by tobyleah via Flickr

So, how did last week go?

I didn’t manage to go for a walk since I was on crutches, but I did manage to get the rest of my goals taken care of. Did you join in? Did you write your hand-written note? I did, a thank you note to a friend. Did you hide your $1? I did. I’ll find it later, I’m sure. My TV is off as I’m writing this – I normally have the TV on for background noise while I blog! I drank more than my 8 glasses of water each and every day this week, too. I’m darned proud of myself!

This week I issue the following challenges to you!

1. Cook all of your meals. Don’t eat out, don’t go through the drive-thru, and even if you have to, cook some pot pies or box mac n’cheese. By cooking your own meals you’ll save some money as well as probably eat healthier!

2. Spend a half an hour with someone close to you. Laugh with them, cry with them, just sit around and read magazines together. Company is good for our souls, and if you haven’t been seeing your friends or family regularly, you’re missing out!

3. Do these three stretches every day – your neck deserves it!

4. Leave a comment on a blog where you’re normally intimidated to do so. I am normally intimidated to talk to some bloggers, but I am making it a goal to comment on at least ONE blog this week I’m normally shy on. You should, too!

5. Hug your child, your spouse, your best friend, your boss even, for at least 10 seconds. Let them know that you appreciate them and that they are loved. (Well, okay, maybe not your boss … but you get the point.) You’ll feel better, your hugee will feel better and physical contact is good for you!

Let me know how it goes, okay!

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Panic & Anxiety

Desi Sangye Gyat...
Image via Wikipedia a few weeks, on Thoughtful Thursdays, I’m going to address anxiety and panic, and the disorders that accompany them.  I don’t believe that the conditions are becoming more common, but I do believe the diagnoses are becoming more readily assigned to those seeking help. Both are being diagnosed more and more often and myths surrounding the conditions that I’d like to set some things straight.

First: Anxiety is different than fear.

When you are afraid, your fearfulness is directed towards an outside entity or situation. When you are anxious the focus is more than likely internal instead. It seems to be a response to something distant, even vague and quite possibly unknown. Anxiety affects your whole being causing a psychological, behavioral & physiological reaction. Rather than leaving all anxiety treatment up to medication, a patient must be willing to address all three aspects of the anxiety:

  1. Change how you talk to yourself. This “self-talk” can disrupt your entire life,
  2. Reduce the way your body physiologically reacts to anxiety, and
  3. Stop avoiding the anxiety-causing situations.

We’ll address these at a later date, but for now I’d like to go back to the issue at hand; anxiety.

Second: Panic attacks are real. There are many different levels of anxiety, from a smidgen of worry to full-blown panic attacks. Panic attacks may bring about certain reactions in particular situations.

If you encounter a situation which induces these feelings, on more than one occasion, you should address your primary care physician. Next week we’ll spend some time dissecting general panic disorder in comparison to panic attacks. Stick around for some more fun!

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Training while injured

Minor abrasion injury.
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Creative Commons License photo credit: IntangibleArts

Last week I tore a tendon in my left foot. Since then I’ve been on & off crutches (mostly off because a) they make me sore and b) they make people stare at me), resting ice on the foot and keeping it as elevated as I can. The part of this that’s killing me though is that I’ve not been able to exercise. I’ve been told to stay off the foot as much as I can so that I don’t tear it even more, and that’s driving me batty.

What can you do if you’re stuck on your bum after you’re used to training pretty hard?

1. Limited upper- or lower-body exercises. Use your free/hand-weights and work on your arms, shoulders and back while your foot is resting above your heart. If you can stand it, do some rowing while your lower body is stationary. If your shoulders are bothering you, ride a stationary bike and keep your upper body as stable as possible. Even while running, you can keep your upper body relatively stable if you concentrate on it.

2. Use your stability ball. Work on your abs while your foot or your shoulder heals. Use it to strengthen your core while your other muscles get a bit of a break.

3.  Swimming. Swimming is relatively easy on all of your body parts, and even just “walking” in the water can be easy on your legs. While my back was healing from a previous injury, I wore a floaty-belt and “walked” around the 8-foot-deep pool for an hour. I was more fit after healing than I was before being injured!

4. Try some extra stretching. See how flexible you can get your lower body while your back heals. See if you can relax your back and neck enough that you’re pain-free while your rolled ankle takes care of itself.

There are definitely options for physical activity if you’re injured, you may just have to be creative with your ideas. Have you ever been injured and wanted to continue working out? What did you do?

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Abortion, partner violence and overspending

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No evidence that single abortion causes significant mental conditions, APA task force report says – “An American Psychological Association task force review of more than 150 studies has found that although women who choose to terminate unplanned pregnancies might have feelings of grief and loss, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy …”

New study highlights importance for women to know their risk of heart disease – “A new study published in the July/August 2008 issue of Journal of Women’s Health highlights the importance of women knowing their own risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and cautions that a frequently used risk assessment tool could lead to false reassurance that a woman is at low risk for heart problems.”

Partner violence – huge reproductive health impact – “Three-quarters of women who had been beaten while pregnant had been beaten by the same person (usually the father of the child) before they were pregnant. For most of these women, the violence stayed the same or got worse after they became pregnant.”

Breast cancer is women’s top health concern – “… developing breast cancer is women’s top health concern, with 51 percent stating they worry about it versus those who worry about heart attack (48%), diabetes (42%) and lung cancer (31%).”

Women shopping themselves bankrupt – “Ignoring empty bank balances and poor economic forecasts, the “urge to splurge” generation of 18- to 35-year-old women have become binge shoppers, caught in a web of spiralling debt. Driven by a new wave of influential high-end fashion magazines and celebrity role models, they are maxing out their credit cards on uncontrolled shopping sprees.”

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