Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Menopause- Brief Description

Menopause is the normal process of the ovary ceasing to produce eggs for reproduction. As a consequence, in the absence of developing egg follicles where estrogen was previously produced, the female body attempts to adapt to the decreasing levels of estrogen. Sometimes this can be a minimally uncomfortable condition; at other times it can be very uncomfortable with numerous symptoms; the most common of which is hot flashes. Menstrual periods can change during this shutting down process, either becoming longer or shorter, flow can become heavier or lighter, and the interval between periods can become longer or shorter. Eventually the periods cease as the body enters the actual phase of menopause. If one considers the life cycles of a woman, about one-third of her life is spent in pre-puberty and puberty, one-third is spent in reproductive years, and one-third is spent in menopause. This is how the life clock is set, though certainly there are variables such as illness or surgery (hysterectomy or removal of ovaries) which can change it accordingly.

There are estrogen receptors located throughout the body. When these receptors are not joined with estrogen, they act in different ways on their various organ systems. Certainly there are large concentrations of estrogen receptors in the genital structures of the female anatomy. With declining levels of estrogen there can be a decrease in the vaginal wall thickness, and onset of vaginal dryness. This can cause problems with intercourse which are very distressing. There can also be changes in the bladder and urethra which cause leakage of urine or increased urinary infections. A very common phenomenon is vasomotor instability, or hot flashes. This no doubt arises from unfilled estrogen receptors in the blood vessels. A menopausal woman can go from comfortable to drenching sweat in a few moments. This condition is especially improved with systemic dosages of estrogen. There are other medicines which seem to help. Some are the SSRI or SNRI antidepressants. Also clonidine, which is normally used for blood pressure, can help. Gabapentin, a seizure medicine can help; there was another seizure medicine called veralipride which was effective, but has been removed from use due to adverse side effects. There are other general health measures which a woman can do to prevent hot flashes. One is to avoid all caffeine, concentrated sugars, stimulants, and alcohol which seem to aggravate the condition. (Smoking makes hot flashes worse, and on the average brings on menopause a year younger in smokers than in non-smokers). One hour of aerobic exercise per day can help with vasomotor instability. One way to make hot flashes more comfortable is to suggest that a woman dress in layers of breathable fabric materials, so she can shed extra clothing when she starts to have a hot flash. In view of the worries about systemic estrogens which came out after the Woman's Health Index studies, there is some renewed interest in herbs and phytoestrogens like black cohash and ginseng. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of herbs to help this problem.

Other estrogen receptors are in the skin. Menopause can cause thinning, dryness, decreased skin tone, and wrinkling of the skin. The hair can become thinner and more brittle. The central nervous system can show sleep disorders leading to chronic fatigue, headache, mood swings, nervousness, and irritability. Once again, anywhere there are estrogen receptors there can be a change in system function. One example which is very important is bone. Menopausal women have progressive decrease in bone density and strength, and are more prone to certain fractures, especially in the vertebrae, hips, and wrists.

There are three types of estrogen that we are talking about. Estrone is produced during menopause, to a degree by other organs such as the liver, the adrenals, and fat cells. Estradiol is the estrogen normally produced by the ovarian follicles, and is stronger than estrone. Estriol is the estrogen primarily produced during pregnancy. Systemic estrogen supplementation used to come from conjugated estrogens found in horse urine, but these are now essentially replaced by more human specific estrogens. What might be expected from giving estrogen to a menopausal woman? Well, first of all, it seems to be safest if started within three years after menopause onset. Women with heart disease, history of stroke or thromboembolism, or breast cancer are excluded right off the bat. Its use has to be evaluated yearly in reference risk to benefit ratio. But if a woman meets these criteria, she might expect relief from hot flashes, some reversal of vaginal atrophy, positive skin and hair changes, and stronger bones. As mentioned, the WHI (Women's Health Initiative) found that the addition of progesterone to the estrogen caused increased risk in several areas, including heart and vascular. Starting estrogen after age 65 seemed to lead to increased dementia and other complications.

So, in summary, it might be said that we live in a culture where youth and secondary sexual characteristics are highly promoted and valued. Entry into a new and different life phase is a bit daunting, and certainly brings on sadness and a sense of uncertainty. Work with your doctor to make it as comfortable as possible. Have a thorough physical exam to be sure that other medical problems such as thyroid or diabetes are not adding to the symptomatology. Discuss the benefits and risks of hormone replacement. There are other medicines to increase bone strength and integrity, and other medicines for hot flashes. Take care of yourself: exercise regularly, keep your weight down, and remember that caffeine and alcohol can make hot flashes worse. As they say, 'Ĺ“this is something you're going through,' and there are many things that can make the passage more comfortable.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Choose Healthy Diets And Stay Healthy

People engage in diets for the purpose of losing weight. What they don't realize are the other benefits that arise upon engaging in healthy diets. The positive effects include higher energy levels, stronger immune systems, as well as looking great.

There are a lot of diets that that are easy to get into. In fact, most of them guarantee rapid weight loss in a matter of weeks. But how do you really determine if a diet is right for your body weight?

The first tip for an effective diet is calorie counting. Depending on your body mass index and proportion to your height and weight, the limit for daily intake of calories should only be 2,000 especially if you have very limited physical activity.

Healthy diets are composed of the right portion of fruits, vegetables and meat portions plus drinking a lot of water. Diets are not meant to deprive the person of the normal food intake, rather focusing on the food that the body needs to function. Diets also improve a person's self-control and discipline. A normal person who's not on a diet will tend to overeat thinking to satisfy his appetite even if he goes overboard. A person on a diet is more conscious of how he looks and what he eats and ends up achieving a balance.

Carbohydrates play an important role in diets because they energize the body and affect a person's blood sugar levels. When a person is on a diet, he should identify bad carbohydrates and the good ones. Foods that are rich in bad carbs include refined sugar and white rice. These are not good for the body because they elevate sugar levels and can lead to weight gain. Good carbs on the other hand are fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods. Luckily, whole-grain pasta is now available in supermarkets as alternatives to those who are engaged in diets.

Fiber is a good source of energy because they take time to digest and they don't make us feel as hungry. Foods rich in fiber also even out the blood sugar levels and have other benefits to the colon, aiding to the digestive process.

When eating vegetables, go for the green leafy ones because they contain more nutrients. Bright colored veggies like carrots and lettuce are also good for the body. If you must eat salads, it would be healthy to avoid the dressing because these are fattening and contribute to weight gain.

Protein is also essential to the body because of the amino acids. Foods rich in protein include dairy products like milk and cheese. Walnuts, tofu and soya milk are also some of the healthy proteins that should be included in a diet.

Healthy diets with exercise are a must. When the body is active, it can cause us to lose weight more easily because exercise speeds up metabolism and enables us to digest food better. Sweating is also good for the body because it releases the bad toxins which are also harmful to the helth.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Healthy School Lunches For Overweight Kids

Things to Consider

Keep in mind that the school's menu is not near as healthy as some may claim and what you pack will be healthier. Don't purchase chips, cookies and white bread to go into your child's lunchbox. Instead, place nuts with colorful, sweet coating in the bag; not too much since they can be considered unhealthy when consumed in large quantities.

Also, keep in mind that a number of the "kid-friendly" lunch items are "designed for kids" by simply adding a lot of sugar. Instead of kid yogurt, send an "adult" version. Replace fruit snacks with whole fruits, and so on.

And drinks! Stay away from juices, sodas, chocolate milk or whole fat milk, and some sports drinks. Water is always great. You can throw some small water bottles in the freezer the night before. By lunchtime,they'll be thawed, icy cold and refreshing. Sports drinks that are better than most are G2 or Power-Aid Zero, though I haven't found the Power-Aid Zero in the smaller containers.

It may seem like you're eliminating the good parts kids like in their lunchbox but you don't have to be. In lieu of cookies, pudding and more, give your child a mini-sized candy bar that can be found in a number of varieties such as Snickers, Butterfingers, Almond Joy, etc.

Here's a few good, healthy lunches that fit the bill perfectly:
No Bread "Sandwich"

2 oz of good quality lean ham, chicken, or turkey breast (from the deli, not packaged

1 string cheese (low fat)
1 whole fruit
1 vegetable item - something your kid likes, try to stay away from dips like ranch dressing
2 Hershey's kisses or "fun size" candy bars
Small bottle of water or Gatorade G2

Yogurt Pack

1 low fat yogurt (see above note on types to choose)
Granola sprinkles for the yogurt (mix a little flax seed in the granola sprinkles... they'll never notice!)
1 Apple (Gala reigns supreme!)
Flavoured rice cake mini's
2 Hershey's Kisses or mini-candy bars

Egg Pack

1 egg (hardboiled, make sure to peel it for them since kids often do not get more than 15 to 20 minutes for lunch break)
Carrots (baby Supremes do just fine)
Fruit (any kind)
Trail mix (small handful)
1 to 2 mini-candy bars
Water (in water bottle)

It is important to be creative and also talk to your child about what they like and what they don't like. There is no sense in sending a healthy, well planned lunch every day of your child will not eat it. One way to empower your child to make the right choices in things they eat is to send them to a weight loss camp where they will learn these skills. Armed with the knowledge they gain here, they'll be prepared for a life full of healthy eating decisions.

Monday, 12 July 2010

You Can Program Your Weight Loss In As Easy As A Week

Yes, you can program your weight loss in as easy as a week. The idea of the program is to be able for you to develop a consistent approach to weight loss as well as a healthy endurance when exercising. The program's objective is to get rid of the excesses in your body, the excess fat. Not the healthy and lean muscle tissues and body fluids.

The program first requires your focus and dedication, so therefore you need to be prepared in both mind and of course body. It is highly advised that you first visit your doctor for a check-up before embarking on any weight loss program.

It is important that when starting on any weight loss program, one should be positive enough to work for the results. Some people get impatient easily but long-term effects are assured as long as one sticks to the weight loss plan at hand.

Stretch, stretch and stretch some more. Before actually doing those exercises and working out those muscles, a little stretching is needed in order to avoid any injury or soreness in your body.

It is also not advisable for anyone to try too hard. Everything should be done in moderation. Find the level of exercise and training that suits you. It should be enough for you to be comfortable in but not too convenient that it will not be much of a challenge.

The first week

The first day of the program involves a long and steady walk in a little over twenty minutes. After the walk, follow it up with a good stretch. This takes so little of your time for the first day. In less than an hour you have taken that first step to a weight loss program that could work to your advantage.

By the second day, it is good to focus on an upper body workout. This maintains your strength to be able to go through the whole program for the week. On the third day, a brisk walk or jog for ten minutes is in order. For beginners, a lower body workout should be done in the evening.

In the fourth day, a good rest is in order, as well as a good stretch. This lag time should be used wisely though to sort out any negatives in your mindset. The fifth day starts with a good ten-minute walk. Exercise the lower body in four sessions of workouts; follow this up with another ten-minute walk, and another four sessions of lower body workout.

The sixth day should be spent on a low impact exercise such as swimming. To avoid boredom, do not be afraid to try something new. The last day of the week is a time to solicit the support of the people you care about. Spend time with them or get them to be with you in your long walk. Again, follow up your walk with a light upper body workout.

This is just the beginning though. If by this first week you are able to stick to the program, you have a great chance to further boost your weight loss and stay with the plan until you achieve your desired result. Try as much as possible to be unlike the people who give up easily just because they could not see the result they want at the time they want like this moment, today, now! Patience is a virtue. The same way it took your body time to gain all that weight, think about it as the time your body will have to exert just to get rid of it.