Posts tagged with: Health

Migraines & endometriosis

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My pal Ellen posted a fantastic blog entry about the massive connections between women with migraines and women with endometriosis. As a woman with migraines and part of a family of women who live with endometriosis, the blog post both scared and enlightened me. I suggest you check it out! 

Another blog entry I also recommend is Dancing Around Endometriosis, talking about the Dancing with the Stars contestant Julianne Hough who recently left the show due to an ruptured ovarian cyst because of endometriosis.

With Ellen’s encouragement, I put together some links for endometriosis resources as well. See them here!

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Breast cancer news

Bill and Dottie...
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BBC News: Women ‘unaware of alcohol threat’ – “Women do not know about one of the biggest health risks linked to drinking too much – a raised chance of breast cancer, says a survey.”

American Profile: The Importance of Breast Exams – “‘Breast cancer survival is linked directly to early detection,’ says Connie Ziegfeld, a registered nurse at Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center in Baltimore. “If it’s found early, it’s less likely to have spread and more curable with less invasive treatment.”

TMCNet: Breast cancer awareness is part of the battle – “Early detection is important when it comes to cancer. That is why it is important for women to do self-checks and receive their yearly mammogram.”

Seattle Times: Story of breast-cancer researcher features local ties, strong cast – “Lifetime TV‘s “Living Proof” — directed by Seattle International Film Festival co-counder Dan Ireland — depicts the early trials of the breast-cancer drug Herceptin.”

East Valley Tribune: How women can wage breast cancer battle – “Early detection is the best protection. It remains critical that women not only perform monthly self-exams but also get an annual clinical exam and an annual mammogram. Also, if a woman is considered “at risk” – meaning those with 20 percent to 25 percent increased lifetime risk as determined through risk models identified by their physician, who have a family history of breast cancer and/or who carry the mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes – it’s recommended that these women receive a breast MRI in conjunction with annual mammography.”

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Vitamin D and breast cancer connection

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Image by *spud* via Flickr

A new study led by Blackmore KM & colleagues from Mount Sinai Hospital in Ontario, Canada shows that vitamin D reduces the risk of breast cancer.

The study showed that by increasing your vitamin D intake (through both diet and exposure to sunshine) is associated with a “24% reduced risk of estrogen-receptor– (ER) and progesterone-receptor (PR) defined breast cancer.”

This is positive news for all women. Vitamin D has been previously touted as a ‘wonder vitamin’ and this is simply more support for that idea. For women who live in the Northern Hemisphere (therefore receiving less natural vitamin D exposure than those in the Southern hemisphere) it has been recommended that they “ought to consider vitamin D supplementation during the summer as well.

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10 Myths of Chronic Pain

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Dawn Ashley

continued from yesterday

Chronic pain myth #6: Patients with chronic pain don’t want to get better because they benefit from their pain.

Chronic pain fact #6: Most people don’t like to hurt. Research shows that very rarely do people exaggerate their pain levels. The benefits (financial compensation or assistance) are often small and not “worth” it.

Chronic pain myth #7: You can ignore chronic pain; it will go away.

Chronic pain fact #7: Ignoring pain does not make it go away and can cause it to increase.

Chronic pain myth #8: Pushing yourself to do things will help you overcome your pain.

Chronic pain fact #8: Chronic pain patients need to know their limits, pace themselves and not push themselves too far. I know that when I push myself, I end up hurting worse than before.

Chronic pain myth #9: If you look young and well, you are.

Chronic pain fact #9: Patients with chronic pain often do as much as they can. Chronic pain is an invisible illness and there are sometimes no outward signs of pain. Just because I look like I’m feeling fine doesn’t mean that; I’m good at hiding my aches.

Chronic pain myth #10: You just “have to live with it” when it comes to chronic pain.

Chronic pain fact #10: There is no need for anyone to live with unbearable pain. There may not be cures available, but there are treatments for most patients. Pain management specialists exist for patients in need. Patients should seek these specialists and find a physician they are comfortable being completely honest with for all of their symptoms.

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10 Myths of Chronic Pain

Volume 1 album cover
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After yesterday’s post about the late Carla Anna, I felt the need to continue sharing about chronic pain.

Chronic pain is diagnosed over time and is normally considered chronic after a patient experiences the discomfort for more than six months. Pain can be diagnosed by neurological exams, nerve tests and diagnostic testing.

Chronic pain myth #1: If the doctor doesn’t find a medical diagnosis it’s all “in their head.”

Chronic pain fact #1: Chronic pain is not “in your head” (you can however have chronic head pain). Chronic pain is a legitimate and treatable medical condition that can be “maintained” by a combo of neurological, psychological and physical patterns.

Chronic pain myth #2: Only weak people seek treatment or complain about their pain.

Chronic pain fact #2: Seeking treatment has nothing to do with being weak or needy. For me, personally, I don’t want to be a burden to my physicians so seeking care for me is an act of strength.

Chronic pain myth #3: Medications for chronic pain (narcotics are often used) lead patients to become addicts.

Chronic pain fact #3: Narcotics aren’t the treatment option for patients with chronic pain. Physical dependence does occur but the majority of patients do not become addicted.

Chronic pain myth #4: Medications used for chronic pain turn people into “zombies.”

Chronic pain fact #4: The side effects of many narcotic pain killers are tolerable, treatable and can fade with time.

Chronic pain myth #5: Medications used for chronic pain need to be continually increased to treat pain due to tolerance.

Chronic pain fact #5: Increases in doses normally occur because of increases in physical (or psychological) pain status.

… to be continued …

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Never say never

The human brain
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Creative Commons License photo credit: WirosI’ve had people remind me “no one ever died from pain” before after I’ve complained that I hurt, and I’ve learned to take it with a few grains of salt (normally one isn’t enough). Earlier this week while at my “other job,” I came across a Health Central post that shocked me. I don’t know what to do from here. I just know I am miserable frightend me because in it, I saw myself. “I am a 29 year old woman trapped inside of the body of a 100 year old woman,” are the type of words I use on a day-to-day basis. This woman took words from my heart when she wrote “the real condition I have is chronic pain. It is chronic, but unfortunately, it is not terminal. People look at me and see a healthy girl. They say, ‘You are so young, you have your whole life ahead of you.’ Those words are the most depressing thing I have ever heard in my whole life. Telling me that I have another 40 to 50 years of this? Please, please just stab me in the chest. Over and over.”Chronic pain is hard to understand, sometimes it’s simply impossible to figure out. Oftentimes the source of the pain is hard to pin down, and sometimes patients are treated as though it’s just in their head. Even when the medical community knows where the pain is coming from, it’s not always curable, and the treatments aren’t always ideal. While medicines can numb the pain, it can also numb your brain. I work with numbers and my job requires absolute accuracy; if my brain is numb, a mistake could cost me my job.Ellen from WEGOHealth brings up some good points for those who know someone with chronic pain.

  • Listen to them.
  • Seek to understand them, but consider them innocent until proven guilty.
  • Assist them in finding the relief they need.
  • Stand up for them if they cannot for themselves! You can be their voice when they cannot speak for themselves, or if in speaking they are ignored. If they’re not finding relief, it’s not what they need.
  • Don’t give up on them. They need your strenth, your friendship, your love. If you think you’re sick of it, consider how tired of it they are.

It is tragic that it takes a death to bring chronic pain into the news, but it offers me a chance to remind readers of the other 1 million people who live with chronic pain and what they can do to help out.

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New approaches to preventing HIV/AIDS needed

Request for HIV/AIDS Grant Proposals
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Creative Commons License photo credit: gbaku

Know what kind of news totally makes my day? Positive news regarding HIV/AIDS.

Know what kind of news totally makes my week? Positive news regarding women with HIV/AIDS.

While Global Challenges :: Women’s health advocates call for new approaches to preventing HIV/AIDS isn’t the specific type of positive news that would make my month/year/life*, it is encouraging to hear that people are finally really recognizing that women’s HIV/AIDS prevention is so very important. “Bernice Heloo, president of the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa said that women that more women are contracting HIV because of several factors, including gender inequality. “Women are already marginalized, and HIV and AIDS have worsened their plight”.

*The title of that artcile will one day read: HIV/AIDS Cure Discovered

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Blogging – it’s good for you

A Princess is Born
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Blogging – it’s good for you: Scientific American has released an article showing that blogging is a healthy activity. Not only can you make a few extra dollars a month, writing can improve memory and sleep, boost your immune cell activity, can speed healing after surgery and even reduce the viral load in AIDS patients. I am blown away that such a free and easy-to-do thing can tackle such health issues.

One thing in the article that made me giggle is the fact that “blogging might trigger [a] dopamine release similar to stimulants like music, running and looking at art.”Apparently, blogging, like running, can give you a “high.”

Do you blog? Do you feel better after you blog? Do you think that sharing your emotions and feelings is truly healthful for you?

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Caffeine consumption not linked to breast cancer risk

Chemical structure of Caffeine.
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I drink probably a dozen cups of coffee each week. I don’t drink coffee every day, but sometimes I drink six cups a day. I am pleased to read a recent Washington Post article letting me know that Caffeine consumption doesn’t raise overall breast cancer risks.

Caffeine, which is found in sodas, some medications, coffee, chocolate and in some teas is probably the worlds most used drug and thankfully “consuming caffeine in any of its forms was not found to be significantly associated with breast cancer risk.” What great news for breast cancer awareness month, right?

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Doubling the Vitamin D recommendations

Gaby Harari (L) and Joey...
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Just recently, the vitamin D supplementation for children has been doubled

“The leading children’s medical organization in the United States on Monday announced that it has doubled the amount of vitamin D recommended for infants, children and adolescents.”

Instead of 200 international units (IU), the recommendation has been increased to 400 IU/daily. 400 IU may be the minimum, and could possibly be increased again in the future.

“We know 400 IU a day is safe and prevents rickets,” Greer said. “We don’t have any idea if that amount of vitamin D is enough for other diseases. We also don’t know if anything over 400 is safe” says Dr. Frank Greer, a lead author on the report and chairman of the AAP National Committee on Nutrition.

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