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Living A God-Glorifying Life Through Good Health.
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When I was growing up in the '50s and '60s, there was no obesity epidemic, and children were not developing old-age maladies such as heart disease. Cancer, Alzheimer's, and autism were virtually unheard of. Living a healthy lifestyle was a lot easier. More...

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Exercise and Nutrition Are Essential In Health For Women

Introduction to Health for Women

Health for women is essential. Women have special needs--needs apart from those of men. This section looks at nutrition and exercise from a woman's perspective. When it comes to women's health, a one-size fits all approach does not work.

As far as nutritional requirements and health for women are concerned, women need less vitamins, minerals, and protein than men. Generally speaking, women are smaller than men with less muscle and more body fat. This is reflected in a woman's height and weight. Barrett

Women are at risk of deficiency for vitamins B-6 and B-12. The majority of cases of B-12 deficiency is due to poor absorption. Vitamin B-12 is found in meat and fish. Vegetarians are also at risk.

Forms of B-12 equally effective are hydroxycobalamine and methylcobalamine (avoid cyancobalamine.)

Pregnant women are at risk of deficiency of folate (folic acid.) Folate can be found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, enriched breakfast cereals, beans and lentils.

Iron deficiency is common for pregnant women. Iron is found in lean meat and especially in liver. Fish and poultry are other good sources.

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Postmenopausal Women and Health for Women

The journal Epidemiology published the results of a study about the effects of women eating grilled meat and breast cancer. Postmenopausal women who ate more than one serving a week of grilled or smoked meats have a 47% greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who ate less.

Premenopausal women who consume the same amount as postmenopausal have less of a risk. Researchers reason that it takes years for carcinogens that result from grilling and barbecuing to accumulate in the body. In consideration of healh for women, avoid high-temperature cooking of meats.

Approximately 25% of postmenopausal women have fractures in one or more of their vertebrae. The fracture(s) may have mild or no effects. However, these fractures can double the risk for future fractures. And they can potentially be more serious.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of breast cancer.
You lose on average about 1% of your bone density per year. In a 2-year study, researchers discovered that the more sodium you eat, the greater your bone loss at the hip.
Eat an apple a day to reduce risk of death from heart disease.

The Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, & Neonatal Nursing recently published an article which says that postmenopausal women are at an age when the incidence and exacerbation of chronic health conditions associated with obesity become more common.

About two-thirds of American women are overweight or obese. Womens overweight and obesity rates are higher than men. Obesity takes away from health for women. It can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer, osteoarthritis, and mental health problems.

Women are at an increased risk of gaining weight as they age. As such, postmenopausal women at particularly vulnerable. "Postmenopausal women stand at a crossroad, facing the possibility of living the remainder of their lives in essentially good health or facing the probable onset of chronic diseases that might have been prevented," says author Karen E. Dennis. "By first understanding the health consequences of being overweight, nurses have a unique opportunity to work with women of all ages in fighting obesity."

Heart disease takes more than 40 times the number of lives of women than breast cancer every year. Health for women would improve dramatically if we could reduce death by heart disease.

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, postmenopausal women who get most of their calcium from foods have a greater bone density than those who simply rely on calcium pills. Health for women in general would improve if they make an effort to get most of their nutrients from food.

In a recent university study, researchers discovered that women who increased their calcium intake by as little as 130 milligrams a day lost more weight than those who didn't. In a mouse study, those who were placed on a diet with a lot calcium lost 42% of their body fat. The mice who didn't get extra calcium lost only 8%!

Since a lot of people are lactose intolerant, alternate sources of calcium are dark leafy vegetables (spinach, collard greens), salmon, mackerel, oats, and almonds.

A recent research review at Harvard University has revealed that postmenopausal women who practice tai chi have denser bones. Tai chi consists of slow, rhythmic, and graceful moves. Even newcomers to tai chi experience reduced bone loss upon starting this program.
Be cautious of drugs even if approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic discovered that taking flaxseed on a daily basis may reduce hot flashes by 50 percent. They studied 21 post-menopausal women who had at least 14 episodes of hot flashes per week, and were not taking hormone therapy.

These women sprinkled 4 tablespoons of crushed flaxseed onto yogurt, cereal, juice or water. After 6 weeks the number and severity of their hot flashes dropped. Health for women depends heavily on good nutrition.

Flaxseed is rich in fiber. In order for your body to adjust to this increase in fiber, the Mayo scientists suggest starting with 2 tablespoons of crushed flaxseed a day, and increase slowly to 4 tablespoons.

A study has shown that healthy postmenopausal women who took vitamin D and calcium on a daily basis for 4 years had fewer breast, colon, lung, lymph/leukemia, and uterine cancers than women who took calcium by itself.

Health for Women Over 50

All women over 50 years of age need 1,200 mg (milligram) of calcium and 700 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day. Women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis need 800 to 1,000 IUs of vitamin D a day.

Vitamin D assists calcium to enter your bloodstream and fuse to your bones. Your body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time. If you supplement with calcium, take no more than 500 mg doses at any one time.

According to the National Institutes of Health, caffeine will cause your bones to excrete calcium (about 2 mg per cup of coffee.) Calcium for Weight Loss...

The average age at which natural menopause happens is 51.4.
Vitamin E supplementation for women 65 and over resulted in a 49% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 34% reduction in heart attacks.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri and the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom found that post-menopausal women have a lesser ability to utilize the nutrients in food to build muscle compared to men ages 65 to 80 years of age. They surmise that hormonal changes with menopause is responsible.

This finding does not seem to affect younger women. The researchers say however that all is not lost. They state that the test results understate the importance of consuming a lot of protein from eggs, fish, chicken, and lean red meat along with weight training.

Michael Rennie, professor of Clinical Physiology at the University of Nottingham said, "Rather than eating more, older people should focus on eating a higher proportion of protein in their everyday diet. In conjunction with resistance exercise, this should help to reduce the loss of muscle mass over time..." Contrary to conventional wisdom, health for women relies on consuming more than the recommended daily amount of protein.
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Exercise in Health for Women

A George Washington University study has found that having an exercise routine can reduce your risk of uterine fibroids by 40%. Women who were active for an hour or more a day had almost half as many noncancerous tumors as non-active women. Researchers think that exercise regulates estrogen and insulin, and contributes to health for women.

Increasing your workout intensity will lower your risk of invasive breast cancer. A new study from UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) found that exercising for 45 to 60 minutes, 5 days a week boosts your cancer fighting ability.

Nutrition in Health for Women

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study looking at health for women and vitamin E. With 40,000 women participating in the study, results show that vitamin E significantly reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD.) CVD is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. This disease kills over 500,000 women annually.

The Womens Health Study (WHS) also confirmed that vitamin E is completely safe. Supplementing with 600 IU every other day does not increase total mortality for women. The Council for Responsible Nutrition was greatly encouraged by the study. This was the longest and largest study ever conducted on vitamin E.

General Health for Women

Thyroid disease affects up to 27 million Americans, the majority of whom are women. Approximately 1/2 of the thyroid cases are undiagnosed. The thyroid is a gland shaped like a butterfly located in the neck. It controls your metabolism.

Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid is the most common thyroid disease. Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain and high blood pressure. In more severe cases it can cause slowed speech and movement. Hypothyroidism has also been linked to increased rates of infertility and miscarriage.

Most experts do not recommend testing for thyroid disease until a woman has reached menopause. However, if you have a family history of thyroid problems or are experiencing weight gain, fatigue, puffiness, hair loss, depression, dry and itchy skin, and sore muscles, and you have no idea what the cause is, ask your doctor for a blood test.

It is estimated that about 3 million American women take estrogen therapy. It has been proven to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

However, estrogen therapy has a down-side. It produces bad side effects such as nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, hair loss, abdominal cramps, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and more. Studies have shown that estrogen therapy can increase your risk of developing breast and endometrial cancer by 14 times! Mainstream estrogen therapy should be avoided in health for women.

A natural herb called black cohosh has been shown by studies to work much more effectively than estrogen. And in addition, there are no nasty side effects. Natural remedies are always preferable in health for women.

In one study women were divided into three groups. One group was given estrogen, another a placebo (a dummy pill), and the last group was given black cohosh. The group which received black cohosh had their menopausal symptoms relieved better than the other two groups.

Researchers also found that the black cohosh reversed menopausal changes in the vagina. In addition, there was improved muscle tone and less vaginal dryness.

Black cohosh is a natural herb which can be purchased in any good health food store. Simply take 500 mg (milligrams), three times a day. You can then say 'good riddance' to estrogen therapy!

Researchers of the Iowa Women's Health Study found that women who ate one serving a day of whole grain foods had "...substantially lower risk of mortality, including mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other causes" compared to those who ate less. This finding was reported in the American Journal of Public Health.
Your major hormones (estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, DHEA, and testosterone) are made from cholesterol. Low-fat and low cholesterol diets can be very unhealthy. If you don't receive enough cholesterol through your diet, your body will steal it from the endocrine system to use for brain function and repair. This leads to hormonal imbalance.
A Canadian study which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women over 40 years old with at least 75% breast density on a mammogram were 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with 10% density.

Breast density cannot be determined through any visual or manual (by feeling) but only through a mammogram. Dense tissue is composed of milk gland, and duct and fibrous tissue.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women aged 35 through 54 years old.

Multiple sclerosis affects more women than it does men. Research has shown that if 400 IUs of vitamin D is taken on a daily basis, you have a 40% reduced risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
High homocysteine levels can cause birth defects. Keep these levels as low as possible.
For women who are trying to conceive, or plan to conceive in the future. The following medications should be discontinued before you attempt to conceive. Talk to your doctor before discontinuing any medication:

  • Accutane- linked to mental retardation and other birth defects
  • Antibiotics- alters cervical mucus patterns and throws off ovulation
  • Antidepressants- can mix up menstrual cycles and temporarily suppress fertility; also can increase risk of birth defects
  • Antianxiety Drugs- such as Valium, Xanax; can cause birth defects in first trimester
  • Antihistamines- can dry up cervical mucus making it hard or impossible for sperm to reach the egg
  • Corticosteroids- (creams and ointments to relieve skin conditions like psoriasis); can cause irregular menstrual periods
  • High-Blood Pressure Medication- can throw off mentrual cycles
  • Ibuprofen- such as Aleve, Advil; can interfere with ovulation

  • Lead can be stored in your bones. But it is harmful to you or to you and your child if you are pregnant when it leeches out of your bones into the bloodstream.

    Lead can be leached into your bloodstream during pregnancy, menopause, or by old age thus affecting health for women. Symptoms of exposure to lead are:

  • fatigue
  • joint and muscle aches
  • anemia
  • memory and learning difficulties
  • reduced cognitive functions
  • trouble sleeping
  • impaired motor skills
  • reduced sexual drive
  • decreased sperm production
  • high blood pressure
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • increased risk of miscarriages
  • behavior problems
  • Levels of lead in the bones can be as much as 25 percent higher in postmenopausal women due to thinning of the bones. This can in turn increase your risk of heart disease.

    A Harvard bone lead expert says that calcium supplementation will reduce the likelihood that calcium, and therefore lead, will be leeched from bones. A dose of at least 1,200 mg of calcium daily has proved to significantly reduce blood levels of lead in nursing mothers. Chelation therapy may also be helpful in purging lead already in the bloodstream.

    A study published in BJOG, an international journal of obstetrics and gynecology, found that overweight and obese middle-aged women have a greater risk of hysterectomy than underweight and normal-weight women.

    An increase in weight in women between the ages of 36 and 53 were also discovered to bring with it increased rates of hysterectomy. Hysterectomies are the second most common surgery for women in the United States (the most frequent is cesarean section delivery.) Over 600,000 are performed annually.

    The hysterectomy study involved 1,790 women. Underweight women regardless of age had lower rates of hysterectomy than women with a higher BMI (body mass index.)

    From the age of 36, overweight women had higher rates of hysterectomy than normal weight women; women who were obese and over the age of 43 had higher rates than women of normal weight.

    BJOG editor-in-chief, Professor Philip Steer commented, "There are many health difficulties associated with obesity and the MRC (Medical Research Council) study shows that, particularly after the age of 36, being overweight or obese can be linked to hysterectomy in later life."

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    Pregnancy and Health for Women

    Pregnant women need about 300 additional calories a day in order to support a healthy pregnancy. A woman of normal weight should gain between 25 to 35 pounds during the duration of her pregnancy. An underweight woman should gain between 28 to 40 pounds; an overweight woman should gain between 15 to 25 pounds.

    In health for women, the first trimester should see a weight gain of between 2 to 4 pounds. After that a woman should gain 3 to 4 pounds a month during remainder of the pregnancy.

    Pregnancy is affected by the following: fluoride, chlorine, cell phones, antiseizure drug Valproate, control belly fat.
    You've heard of type 1 and type 2 diabetes but probably haven't heard of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can occur in the later stages of your pregnancy. This type of diabetes strikes about 4% of pregnant women.

    The placenta supports the growing child in your womb. It makes hormones which may interfere with your ability to create and use insulin. If this condition is not controlled, it exposes the baby to excess blood sugar (glucose.) It will later be stored as fat. And it leads to an overweight (fat) baby.

    A Kaiser Permanente study found that a mother with gestational diabetes is not doomed to give birth to an overweight baby. The study found that if the mother exercises, follows a sound nutritional plan and her doctor's plan of treatment, her children will not have an increased risk of becoming overweight. Of course exercise and good nutrition is paramount in health for women.

    Mercury in fish is a major concern in health for women who are pregnant or who will become pregnant within a year, as well as for young children. Mercury is one of the most poisonous metals known to science. Science has found that dosages as low as one-millionth of a gram is very toxic to human brain cells.

    Unfortunately, tons of mercury turns up in our streams, rivers, and oceans. The major mercury contamination is produced by the burning of coal to produce electricity. Mercury travels through the air and is deposited in our waters. Forty tons of mercury are produced in the United States every year!

    The type of mercury that winds up in our fish is called methylmercury. The elderly and unborn and newborns are especially susceptible to the toxic effects of mercury. It is very toxic to the developing brains of the unborn and the newborn.

    When eaten, mercury is stored in the body's fatty tissues. Mercury can cross a woman's placenta and harm her baby's nervous system and brain. The brain is 60 percent fat which is why it is affected to a great extent in infants.

    According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and FDA (Federal Drug Administration), tilefish, shark, king mackerel, and swordfish should NEVER be eaten. Mercury levels are just too high. Caution should also be exercised with tuna. It is eaten in great quantities by almost everyone, including children. Mercury accumulates in the unborn child in higher levels than in the mother. Health for women who are pregnant, or who will soon become pregnant, will affect the child.

    Mercury can cause brain damage in infants. A 2007 study that was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives stated that fish is positively associated with premature delivery.

    However, mother and child need the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Children in particular need DHA, an omega-3 acid. Without DHA, a child's nervous and immune systems may not completely develop. A deficiency of omega-3s can cause a lifetime of unexplained emotional, learning, and immune system disorder.

    Fish that is naturally low in mercury include: clams, shrimp, crab, Wild Alaskan salmon, Wild Pacific salmon, sardines, summer flounder, croaker, haddock, tilapia, and scallops. These fish are safe options for pregnant and nursing women and young children.

    Good fish such as mackerel and lake trout should form the bulk of America's fish intake. They are full of omega-3s which are sadly lacking in the American diet.

    Omega-3s are composed of EPA and DHA. EPA provides nutrition for the cardiovascular system. It also promotes normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increases blood flow, and enhances immune function. DHA ensures healthy fat for the brain.

    Listed below are cold-water fish and their percentage of omega-3 fatty acids:

    • mackerel- 1.8%
    • lake trout- 1.6%
    • herring- 1.5%
    • sardines- 1.4%
    • albacore tuna- 1.3%
    • salmon- 1.1%

    Fruits and vegetables have natural flavonoids which offer protection against mercury poisoning. Selenium (as selenomethionine) will detoxify mercury. Chlorella is also a natural detoxing agent. Want a great alternative to fish? Read...

    Several studies show a connection between consumption of meats processed with sodium nitrite with cancer risk. Sodium nitrite is used to not only flavor meats, but to give them their characteristic red color. Hot dogs, luncheon meats, bacon and other processed meats should be avoided. I suggest avoiding all meats that are not organic and grass-fed.

    Sodium nitrite per se is not the problem. More come from vegetables than from meat. The problem arises during digestion when sodium nitrite is converted to nitrosamine. Nitrosamine is a carcinogen.

    Nitrosamine is found in foods that are pickled, fried, or smoked. It is also found in beer, cheese, fish byproducts, and tobacco smoke.

    Foods high in vitamin C stops the conversion of nitrite into nitrosamine.

    According to a Japanese study of about 1,000 children, children of women who smoked when 3 months pregnant (or earlier) were 2.9 times more likely to be obese at the ages of 9 or 10 than children of non-smoking women.

    When women smoked during pregnancy, the child may be deprived of nutrition while in the womb, and will need to be compensated nutritionally after birth.

    While the studies are not conclusive, the findings indicate smoking during pregnancy, even in the early stages, can affect children's health over a long period of time.

    Studies also find that children of mothers who regularly skipped breakfast during pregnancy were 2.4 times more likely to be obese.

    A study has shown that if a mother is overweight when she becomes pregnant, the probability is much greater that her child will have ADHD-like (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms when he/she reaches school age.

    According to a study by researchers at Newcastle University pregnant women who are also obese are much more likely to give birth to children who have birth defects. Results of 39 previous studies were compiled to give researchers a better indication of how obesity influences the risk of birth defects.

    Obese women had twice the risk of bearing children who suffered with neural birth defect such as spinal bifida than women with a body mass index of 25 or less. The risk of giving birth to children with cleft lips or heart defects was greater too.

    Lead researcher Judith Rankin said the following, "Women who are thinking about trying for a baby need to check their own weight first and then think about seeking help if they are overweight. While you are pregnant it's not the time to start a weight loss diet but it is more important to eat sensibly and healthily."

    A new Harvard study looked at a woman's diet and her odds of getting pregnant. The study used data gathered in the Nurses' Health Study which looked at over 18,000 women.

    Trans fats, among its other dangers, increased the risk of ovulatory infertility. Eating a lot of fast carbohydrates (high glycemic index carbs) can also lower your chances of getting pregnant.

    Low-glycemic index carbs (or slow carbs) such as brown rice, whole grain, and sweet potatoes were associated with increased odds of achieving pregnancy. Also, by getting more of your protein requirements from plant sources rather than animal sources (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) improved a woman's odds of getting pregnant.

    A new study found that feeding indole-3-carbinol to pregnant animals exposed to a powerful cancer-causing chemical could dramatically reduce the incidence of cancer in their offspring.

    Results showed a 50 percent reduction in cancers, which included leukemia, lymphomas and lung tumors. Indole-3-carbinol is a chemical found in cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. It can also be purchased as an extract.

    From this study and a number of others, a whole new field� preventing adult cancers by manipulating diets during pregnancy�is opening. Few mothers are told that their diets during pregnancy can determine the risk of disease their children will face in the future.

    A study in the online issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology discovered a link between high doses of caffeine and an increased risk of miscarriage. The risk of miscarriage was independent of the source of caffeine.

    The study which was conducted by researchers at Kaiser Permanente found that women who drank 200 mg (milligrams) or more of caffeine a day (two or more cups of regular coffee or five 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda) had twice the risk of miscarriage as women who didn't have any caffeine at all.

    Women who drank less than 200 mg of caffeine on a daily basis had an increased risk of miscarriage of over 40 percent. The researchers tell us that the caffeine crosses the placenta and into the unborn child's blood supply. They theorize that the unborn child cannot metabolize caffeine well because of an under-developed metabolic system.

    Researchers from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences conducted a study which showed that exercise during pregnancy benefits not only the mother, but her unborn child too. Exercise during pregnancy may have a good effect on the unborn child's cardiac (heart) programming by reducing heart rate and increasing heart rate variability.

    The following should be observed by the pregnant mother-to-be in terms of health for women: (1) avoid any exercise which might cause trauma to the abdominal area (2) avoid any exercise which requires very good balance (skiing for instance) (3) avoid any exercise which requires you to lay on your back (restricts blood flow.)

    Animal studies reveal that pregnant women who used perfumes and body creams which contain a fragrance could cause their unborn sons to suffer infertility or cancer after birth. Research carried out on laboratory rats show that the reproductive system of unborn boys could suffer damage due to certain chemicals in these products.

    To be on the safe side, pregnant should not use perfumes or fragrant body creams.

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    Premenstrual Syndrome in Health for Women

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, fluid retention, bloating, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, headaches, and sleep disturbances. It affects 75% of women. In 20% of affected women the symptoms are so severe they need medical treatment.

    Of the 20% who need medical treatment, about 8% have such extreme symptoms that it has been given a name--premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD.)

    The following substances can make PMS symptoms worse: caffeine, sugar, alcohol, stress, and lack of exercise. The cause of PMS--the reason behind the symptoms--is hormonal imbalance. The hormone estrogen increases while progesterone decreases.

    Diet, supplementation and exercise will correct the problem. They are all necessary in health for women. Eliminate ALL alcohol and caffeine from your diet. To address the sugar aspect, stop drinking sodas (including diet) and fruit drinks. Increase omega-3 fatty acids through fish such as salmon and sardines. You can also use ground flax seeds. Sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal.

    Eat whole, natural foods including organic eggs, meat, fruits, and veggies. These are essential in overall health for women. Eliminate dairy products (they contain hormones.) Eliminate all refined flour and sugar and processed foods.

    Take the following supplements:

  • magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate (400 to 600 mg daily)
  • calcium citrate (600 mg daily)
  • vitamin B-6 (50 to 100 mg) plus 800 mcg of folate plus 1,000 mcg vitaminb B-12 (take all dosages daily)
  • evening primrose oil (500 mg 2 times a day)
  • omega-3 fatty acid (1,000 mg once or twice daily)
  • a good multivitamin tablet
  • Work on avoiding stress in your life. Exercise! Many studies show that exercise can reduce stress.

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    Breastfeeding in Health for Women

    Despite many mother's reliance on man-made infant formula, breastfeeding is the best method for supplying nutrition to the newborn, and is best for health for women. Consider this: (1) mothers burn more calories when they breastfeed (2) mother's milk has at least 400 nutrients which are not in infant formula (3) mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and (4) there is a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and breast cancer.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a little over 30% of mothers breastfed exclusively through age 3 months; just over 11% breastfed exclusively though 6 months.

    The breastfed toddler enjoys the following health advantages:

  • lower risk of respiratory tract and middle ear infections
  • lower risk of eczema
  • additional protection against heart disease, diabetes, asthma, allergies
  • improved brain and immune system function
  • Mother's milk cannot be replicated by science. This means that infant formula is inferior in its nutritional profile. No milk, including cow's milk, has the nutrient profile found in mother's milk. That's because mother's milk is designed for humans while cow's milk is designed for calves.

    Breastfeeding has developed a few myths which some women may hold onto.

    Myth 1: Some mother's believe that they don't have enough milk to breastfeed.

    All women have sufficient milk. The more the baby nurses, the more milk a mother's body will produce.

    Myth 2: Infant milk is more nutritious.

    As I mentioned above, mother's milk contains 400 nutrients which are not in infant formula.

    Myth 3: Breastfeeding is too painful.

    Although breastfeeding may be painful for some women, it is almost always the result of the wrong position.

    Ever wonder if your child is getting enough milk? There are ways to determine if they are. During the first few days of baby's life after birth, he is getting colostrum and will wet 1 to 2 diapers per day.

    Once mother's milk arrives, usually about the third or fourth day, the baby should wet between 5 to 6 diapers a day. And for the first several months he should have 2 to 5 bowel movements per 24 hour period. Some babies though will not have as many bowel movements, but they will be larger beginning around the 6 week period. Don't allow the baby to go longer than 4 hours between feedings.

  • baby should average between 8 to 12 feedings a day
  • allow baby to determine length of feeding
  • mother should be able to see and hear baby suck and swallow while breastfeeding
  • your breasts should be fuller before and softer after your baby's feeding
  • your baby should gain between 4 to 7 ounces a week after 4th day of life
  • your baby will be alert, active, look healthy, have good color, firm skin, and growing lengthwise and in head circumference
  • (Source: Jody Reller, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Koochiching County Health Department)

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    Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Health for Women

    A new study reports that women who suffered gastroenteritis were more likely to experience IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) months down the road if their initial patient profile showed a likelihood to feel stressed-out.

    Researchers think that viral infection gastroenteritis may set off IBS (constipation, diarrhea, or both) in some cases. Once triggered, stress may allow IBS to linger. They therefore concluded that stress may be a risk factor for IBS.

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    Menopause in Health for Women

    Menopause occurs when menstruation has ended. It is when a woman reaches the end of her fertility, and has not had a period for twelve consecutive months.

    Menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. It is at this time that the ovaries stop making estrogen. The average age is 51. It can occur as early as the 30s or as late as when a woman is in her 60s.

    Lessened estrogen production is associated with fast bone loss. Women become more susceptible to osteoporosis, a process which causes the bones to become thin and porous. The likelihood of fractures increases. Up to 20% of a woman's total bone loss can happen in the years following menopause.

    Fermented soy products are good for menopausal women to consume. Soy is high in protein, and is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients (plant nutrients), calcium, and folate. Fermented soy helps to reduce cholesterol, increase bone strength, and helps alleviate hot flashes.

    To maintain health for women, avoid all unfermented soy products. Fermented products include: natto, miso, tempeh, soy sauces, tofu, and fermented soy milk.

    According to a German study, 3 hours per week of cardio and weight training relieves the symptoms of menopause almost as well as hormone therapy.
    Women who begin working out after menopause can cut their risk of breast cancer by 10%.
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    Varicose Veins in Health for Women

    Varicose veins is a condition caused by blood gathering in the veins. Between 5 and 30 percent of the population in the United States suffer from varicose veins. Women are three times more likely to develop varicose veins than men.

    Risk factors for varicoses are: age, obesity and/or multiple pregnancies, little or no physical activity, jobs which require you to be on your feet, genetic predispositions, and connective tissue abnormalities. Constantly crossing your legs will contribute to varicose veins.

    The following conditions can put you at an increased risk for varicoses, and restrict health for women: (a) a poor or restrictive diet (b) Chrone's disease (c) ulcerative colitis (d) celiac disease and other conditions that interfere with the absorption of nutrients (e) liver disease that interferes with vitamin K storage and (f) drugs such as broad-spectrum antibiotics, cholesterol drugs, aspirin.

    A new study published in the Journal of Vascular Research found that varicose veins may be caused by a lack or inadequate amounts of vitamin K. The following list shows foods that contain this important nutrient:

  • collard greens 440 mcg
  • spinach 380 mcg
  • salad greens 315 mcg
  • kale 270 mcg
  • broccoli 180 mcg
  • Brussels sprouts 177 mcg
  • cabbage 145 mcg
  • olive oil 55 mcg
  • asparagus 60 mcg
  • okra 40 mcg
  • green beans 33 mcg
  • lentils 22 mcg
  • Vitamin K comes in two primary types: K1 and K2. Vitamin K3 is synthetic and should be avoided. Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, avocados, olive oil, whole wheat, butter, and green tea; vitamin K2 is found in meat, liver, egg yolk, and in fermented foods such as natto, yogurt, and cheese.

    Vitamin K belongs to a group of vitamins called fat soluble. This means that fat is necessary for their absorption into the body. I always pour extra-virgin olive oil on my veggies.

    The following list contains proven therapies for varicose veins:

  • pycnogenel- extracted from the French Maritime Pine Bark; has polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties. In a study using 100 patients, 15 mg reduced calf cramps of 40% of the patients
  • horse chestnut
  • bilberry
  • serrapeptase- anti-inflammatory enzyme extracted from silkworms

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    Premenopausal in Health for Women

    Also known as perimenopausal; this is the period just before the onset of menopause. It occurs at the average age of 45 but can begin as early as 25 or as late as 70. Premenopause can last anywhere from 1 to 6 years.

    If you suffer from migraine headaches, you have twice the risk of stroke as those premenopausal women who don't have migraines.

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    Skin Health in Health for Women

    I think that most people realize that too much sun exposure can age the skin. What you may not realize is that eating too much sugar will lead to wrinkles and aging skin too.

    Sugar ages the skin in a natural process known as glycation. Glycation happens when the sugar in your bloodstream attaches itself to proteins, and forms harmful molecules known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs.) The greater your intake of sugar, the greater the number of AGEs that develop.

    Accumulating AGEs harm adjacent proteins in a domino-like effect. Collagen and elastin are the most susceptible to damage by this process. These proteins maintain your skin's firmness and elasticity. When AGEs damage collagen and elastin, they become dry and brittle. This leads to sagging and wrinkly skin. Obviously this affects health for women.

    According to a study that was published in the British Journal of Dermatology, AGEs skin effects begin at about the age of 35 and rapidly increase from then on.

    Excess sugar in your diet also determines the type of collagen you have. Types I, II, and III are the most abundant collagens the skin has. Type III is the most stable. Type I is the least stable. Glycation changes type III into type I collagen.

    AGEs have another devastating effect. They nullify your body's natural antioxidant enzymes which leaves you more vulnerable to the sun's damaging rays. Obviously AGEs work against health for women.

    Diabetics suffer the most from AGEs. Because diabetes is a disease of uncontrolled blood sugar, diabetics suffer skin damage earlier than non-diabetics. Karen Grossman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and Santa Monica, CA, and chief of the division of dermatology at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, says, "Depending on how well their disease is controlled, diabetics can have up to 50 times the number of AGEs in their skin as those who don't have diabetes."

    Skin products which contain retinol can be used to build brand new collagen. Retinol is a type of vitamin A which has been used successfully in treating acne and other skin problems.

    Other steps you can take to minimize the damage caused by AGEs are: (1) control the amount of sugar that you add to foods (2) read product labels carefully for hidden sugar (c) avoid high fructose corn sugar (d) supplement your diet with at least 1 mg of vitamins B1 and B6--AGE inhibitors (e) eat more fruits, vegetables, and nuts (such as walnuts), red bell peppers, and cranberries. They are loaded with antioxidants which assist in keeping sugar from attaching to proteins and thereby promoting health for women.

    The mineral zinc is crucial for your body's immune and repair processes. Zinc is necessary for the production of collagen and elastin synthesis. It is also used in DNA repair.

    As you age, your levels of zinc decline. This interferes with the healing process. Wounds don't heal as fast as they did when you were younger--or they may heal incompletely.

    Vitamin C is used for the production of collagen. It works together with vitamin E to help repair sun-damaged skin according to recent studies. Also note that calcium is just as important as zinc for your skin's health.

    When it comes to skin health, or health for women in general, the first area of concern must be diet and nutrition. If what is being fed to the body works against its health, exercise and topical solutions will fail.

    That being said, the key to skin health in health for women is nutrition. Jamison Starbuck, ND, a naturopathic physician and lecturer at the University of Montana recommends an anti-inflammatory, anti-aging diet. This diet should consist of generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed.

    The darker in color the produce, the richer it is in antioxidants. Antioxidants are anti-aging and anti-inflammatory substances. Fruits and vegetables like broccoli, blueberries, strawberries, and spinach should be eaten frequently.

    Diets high in saturated fats should be avoided. Trans fatty acids should be eliminated entirely. Processed foods which include snack and fast foods should be reduced to once-in-a-while treats.

    Smoking and alcoholic beverages can harm the skin. Also avoid as much as possible toxic substances such as pesticides and even household chemicals. Replace chemical household cleaning products with ones containing natural ingredients. These can be purchased in stores such as Whole Foods. (Carefully check the ingredient list even though it may be labeled 'natural.')

    Don't expose your skin to harsh detergent and antibacterial soaps. Choose natural alternatives in their place. Even avoid using soaps with fragrances and dyes choosing instead naturally-based soaps. Ivory soap is excellent to use.

    Find out what skin lotion ingredients you absolutely should avoid above.

    Exercise is important for optimum skin health. It will improve the body's circulatory system in transporting blood and oxygen to the skin. It will also build firm muscle tissue and help fight against cellulite. Make sure to drink plenty of filtered water.

    How would you like to use natural food items you may have in your kitchen on your skin? Topical skin care doesn't have to consist of chemicals from Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory. Facials and skin care creams can be non-synthetic and beneficial to skin health. Note the following natural solutions in skin health for women:

    Papaya Exfoliant Mask: Place a papaya in a blender. Apply the crushed fruit to your face and leave for at least 20 minutes. You can also add ground herbs or other fruits and vegetables.

    Honey Lavender Rose Mask: Take one (1) ounce of lavender and one (1) ounce of rose and ground into a powder. Mix into consistency of honey so that it can easily be applied to your skin.

    Facial Salt Scrub: Good for all skin types; this scrub uses a rubbing action. Add salt to your cleanser or soap only at the time you will be using it.

    Vinegar Peel: Not for sensitive skin! Good for dry, flaky, or oily skin. The vinegar removes dead skin cells. Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup certified organic (with the Mother in it, the floating sediment is important to quality vinegar) to one (1) cup of pure water. Take a washcloth and cut out holes for your eyes and nose. Soak the washcloth in the vinegar/water mix and place of your face while lying down. Leave on for up to 25 minutes.

    Body Salt Scrub: Good for all skin types and to be used as needed. It removes dead skin. Place 2/3 cup of olive or almond oil into a small bowl. Add about the same amount of sea or table salt. Add enough to have a consistency to be able to rub it all over your body. Next add several drops of your favorite essential oil. Apply the mixture while seated in your bathtub. Shower the mixture off.

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    Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for Health for Women

    Hormone replacement therapy was developed to minimize the discomforts of menopause. It later was used for preventive purposes. HRT was discovered to have serious side effects.

    The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) abruptly halted its study in July of 2002 when the data found higher rates of breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots in the women who participated. This study used a combination of estrogen and progestin therapies.

    Serious side effects were also discovered in the WHI study in 2004. This study used estrogen only. It was stopped in April, 2004 when it was realized that the hormone did not offer protective heart disease prevention. Instead it increased risks of stroke and blood clots.

    Side effects of HRT include osteoporosis, blood clots, high blood pressure (hypertension), vaginal bleeding, rash and acne, and weight gain.

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    Breast Cancer and Health for Women

    It has been estimated that approximately 178,480 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer. More women die of breast cancer in America than any other type of cancer. You will be surprised!

    Risk factors such as gender, age, and family history are well beyond anyone's control. But the fourth risk factor, lifestyle, is controllable. The following are things that you should do to minimize your chances of developing breast cancer, and increase health for women:

  • maintain a healthy weight
  • exercise on a daily basis
  • do not eat trans fats at all! And limit saturated fats to under 7% of your total calories (there is a caveat to eating saturated fat; eat only the saturated fat from foods that come from organically-raised, pasture-fed animals. Meat, dairy products, and eggs from conventionally raised cows should be avoided entirely.)
  • eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • limit alcohol consumption
  • get phytoestrogens (natural estrogens from plant sources); fermented soy products are good
  • get enough vitamin D (most people are vitamin D deficient)
  • limit meats cooked at high temperatures (barbequing, grilling, etc.)
  • use the spice curcumin (the yellow spice found in turmeric and curry powder)

  • A new laboratory study published in Phytomedicine suggests that extracts from black cohosh, a plant native to North America, may halt the progress of breast cancer and further health for women. Further studies are needed to find out if the herb can be effectively used as a breast cancer chemopreventive agent.
    Findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, California point to the fact that alcohol in any amount may increase a woman's risk of breast cancer--specifically, estrogen-receptor/progesterone-receptor positive breast cancer.

    The study on which the findings were based followed over 184,000 postmenopausal women for an average of seven years. Women who had less than one drink a day experienced a 7 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer over those women who did not drink; women who have from one to two drinks per day had a 32 percent increased risk while those who had three or more drinks a day experienced up to a 51 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer. The risk was seen mostly in those 70 percent of tumors classified as estrogen receptor- and progesterone receptor-positive. This is the most common form of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

    The risk factors were not dependent on what type of alcohol consumed. They were the same whether the alcoholic beverage was beer, wine, or hard liquor. (Read more...)

    Researchers from Ben Gurion University and the University of Haifa discovered that traumatic life events make women more susceptible to breast cancer. A group of 622 women were surveyed in this study.

    Study participants were aged 25 to 42. 255 of these women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 367 were healthy. The researchers found that severe traumatic events such as the death or divorce of parents during childhood or teen-age years, or the loss of a husband, increased a woman's likelihood of developing breast cancer and reducing health for women.

    Moderate life events such as joblessness and financial difficulties also impacted breast cancer risk. Women who experienced 2 or more traumatic events were 62% more likely to develop breast cancer. On the other hand, women who were optimistic had a 25% reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

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    Estrogen Dominance and Health for Women

    The term estrogen dominance was coined by Dr. John Lee. In women between the ages of 35 and 50, there is a 75% decline in progesterone production; between the same ages there is a 35% decline in estrogen. This is termed estrogen dominance.

    Estrogen promotes the female characteristics at puberty. It also promotes cell growth. Not commonly known is the fact that estrogen is not a single hormone, but is actually three-estrone, estradiol, and estriol. The average ratio for these hormones is: 90% estriol, 7% estradiol, and 3% estrone.

    According to Dr. John Lee, expert in hormone therapy, the ratio of progesterone to estrogen should be between 200 and 300 to 1 for optimum health. Herein lies the problem. Excess estrogen can lead to:

  • endometrial cancer
  • increased risk of breast cancer
  • loss of bone mass
  • increased risk of autoimmune diseases such as lupus
  • fibrocystic breasts
  • fibroid tumors
  • depression and irritability
  • PMS symptoms such as cramping and bloating
  • menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes
  • lessened sex drive
  • increased body hair and scalp hair thinning
  • migraine headaches
  • impaired thyroid function, including Grave's disease
  • increased body fat
  • increased blood clotting
  • impaired blood sugar control
  • puberty beginning at ages 9 to 10 instead of 14 to 15 in young girls
  • The answer to estrogen dominance which severely affects health for women is supplementation with natural progestrogen, and avoidance of products containing estrogen and estrogen-mimicking substances. Progestrogen naturally balances estrogen.

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    Ovarian Cancer and Health for Women

    Ovarian cancer has long been known as the 'silent' killer because there were no known symptoms in its earlier and treatable stages. However a panel of cancer experts and advocacy groups have very recently identified symptoms.

    Barbara Goff, MD, director of gynecologic oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and lead author of several studies on ovarian cancer said, "Just recently we've been able to distinguish the symptoms of early-stage ovarian cancer from seemingly benign symptoms many women experience from time to time."

    Experts recommend that if any of the following symptoms persist daily, or close to a daily basis, for periods longer than 2 weeks, women should see their doctor:

  • bloating or an increase in abdomen size
  • pelvic or abdominal pain (typically below the navel, on one side or the other, and made worse by exercise and intercourse)
  • hard time eating or feeling full quickly
  • urinary symptoms including urgency and frequency
  • "We all have some of these symptoms from time to time," said Dr. Goff. "But, if there is a symptom that is new for you or it persists for more than a couple of weeks, we recommend you go to your doctor. Odds are it won't be cancer... but it is worth having it checked just in case."

    The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be 22,000 new ovarian cancer cases, and 15,000 deaths from it this year. Since there is no screening test for this deadly cancer, attention to these symptoms is critical.

    Risk factors for ovarian cancer are: (1) family history of ovarian or breast, uterus, colon, and rectum cancers (2) over 55 years of age (3) never being pregnant (4) taking estrogen without taking progestrogen for menopausal hormone therapy.

    Acrylamide and its impact on health for women

    According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, women who eat about one portion of potato chips daily have twice the risk of developing endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterine lining in the womb) or ovarian cancer as women who eat less food containing acrylamide.

    Examining the cancer rates of 62,000 women, researchers discovered that women who ate 40 mcg (micrograms) or more of acrylamide every day had twice the endometrial and ovarian cancer risk of women who ate much less. The women were examined 11 years after being given an initial dietary questionnaire.

    A spokesperson from the European Union said the following, "General advice, resulting from this project, is to avoid overcooking when baking, frying or roasting carbohydrate-rich foods. French fries and roasted potatoes should be cooked to a golden yellow rather than golden brown color."

    A Dutch study which used 120,000 women showed that acrylamide consumption doubled a woman's chance of developing uterine or ovarian cancer. As little as 40 milligrams a day was enough to double a woman's risk.

    Acrylamide can be found in bread, coffee, breakfast cereals, French fries, potato chips, as well as meats which are grilled, fried, roasted, or barbecued. Burnt toast and French fries contain large amounts of acrylamide. Though popular food items, health for women can seriously be affected by these foods.

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    Testosterone Hormonal Balance and Health for women

    Both men and women have testosterone and estrogen. The difference is that men have a lot more testosterone than women. Testosterone levels need to be at the proper levels in both men and women for total health.

    In men and women, testosterone is responsible for:

  • pumping up your energy levels
  • fueling your sexual desires
  • escalating levels of sexual satisfaction
  • hair growth and prevention of baldness
  • building muscle
  • burning body fat
  • helping to make better circulation possible
  • Testosterone levels in men and women begin to decline at around the age of 30. In actuality what happens is that the amount of free circulating testosterone decreases. More of it gets bound to albumin (plasma protein) and SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin.) Once testosterone becomes bound, it is unavailable for use by the body.

    Too little SHBG protein causes the body to make too much testosterone and estrogen. This in turn increases a woman's chances of developing acne, polycystic ovaries, uterine cancer, heart disease, and can lead to infertility.

    An increase in SHBG is associated with a 40% to 60% decrease in free testosterone levels. This can happen to women who take, or have taken, oral contraceptives such as birth control pills. A study reported in the January 2006 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed this effect.

    When a woman's testosterone levels drop, it affects her sex life. (At menopause, a woman's testosterone levels may decline as much as 50 percent.) Specifically there is a loss of (1) energy (2) will to do anything (3) interest in spouse (4) libido (5) fulfillment from sex (6) muscle (7) a gain in body fat (8) hirsutism (hair grows where you don't want it-face, legs and (9) increased risk of breast cancer.

    Certain herbs can prevent and even reverse the binding of testosterone. Saw palmetto, wild oats, and nettles are especially effective. These herbs can increase the levels of free testosterone by an amazing 105%!

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    Weight Loss and Health for Women

    Pectin and health for women

    Pectin is a connective fiber commonly found in fruits and vegetables (apples, plums, oranges, carrots, etc.) Researchers conducted a study to see if this common fiber has any impact on weight loss in women.

    Researchers from the University at Buffalo, New York found that pectin helped weight loss dieters feel more full. They monitored the diets of 29 overweight or obese dieters to find out if calorie intake would be affected by the consumption of 2.8 grams of pectin (the amount found in one large apple.)

    The women were given 2.8 grams of pectin before breakfast and before lunch. The women who benefited the most from the supplemental pectin were those who had the hardest time losing weight. The additional pectin seemed to have helped the women eat 12 percent fewer calories during the day and 22 percent fewer calories at night.

    Researchers think pectin absorbs water in the gut slowing down the absorption of sugars and fats, and creating a feeling of satiety. Other studies seem to indicate that pectin is a prebiotic fiber which fortifies the 'good' bacteria in the intestinal tract.

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    Heart Disease and Health for Women

    Believe it or not but heart disease, not breast cancer, is the leading cause of death by disease for women. Approximately 350,000 women in the United States die every year from this disease. More women than men die from heart disease. Heart disease is therefore a major concern in health for women.

    The major and often predominate symptom of heart disease for men is chest pain. Not so for women. Their symptoms may include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, profuse sweating, and pressure in the lower chest that may feel like heartburn or indigestion.

    Heart disease can be prevented. Here are numbers you should be concerned about:

  • blood pressure- under 115/75 mm/Hg
  • cholesterol- HDL greater than 40 mg/dl (the higher the better. LDL is not as important, but ideally it should be under 100 mg/dl
  • blood sugar- under 100 mg/dl
  • waist size- measure at your navel (belly button); it should be half of your height. If your height is 5'4" (64"), your waist size should be 32"

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    Stroke and Health for Women

    CNN reported today (February 21, 2008) that middle-aged American women ages 35 to 54 are at an increased risk of strokes. A survey conducted between the years 1999 to 2004 saw stroke rates triple.

    Almost 2 percent of the women aged 35 to 54 reported having a stroke during the 1999 to 2004 survey. That number rose from 1/2 of 1 percent reported in a survey which was conducted 1988 to 1994.

    This spike in strokes corresponds to the rise in obesity. Womens' waists have increased almost 2 inches since 10 years ago. Researchers have found no other risk factors which would account for this increase in that age group. Typical risk factors for stoke include smoking, heart disease, and diabetes.

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    Lung Cancer and Health for Women

    Women are much more vulnerable to lung cancer than men are. About 80 percent of the non-smokers who develop lung cancer are women. This cancer has taken the lives of more women than ovarian, breast, and uterine cancers combined!

    Women need to be aware of the following warning signs of lung cancer:

  • a cough that changes in frequency or severity
  • a cough that awakens you at night
  • shortness of breath
  • blood in sputum (mucus or phlegm mixed with saliva)
  • High levels of vitamin D are important to maintain lung health. Other studies reveal that high levels of vitamin C is also necessary to maintain lung health.

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    Osteoporosis and Health for Women

    Osteoporosis is a disease of the weakening of the bones. It primarily affects older women. However, there are steps which can be taken to fight osteoporosis. Listed below are the major causes of this affliction:

  • A lack of daily resistance exercises (weight lifting)
  • Lack of sunlight exposure (vitamin D-3 deficiency)
  • Acidic diets (high in red meats)
  • Diets deficient in vegetables and fruits (alkaline diets)
  • High intake of excitotoxin food additives (MSG, hydrolyzed proteins, etc.)
  • Overall nutrient deficiency (especially a lack of zinc, selenium, vitamin K, boron, and potassium
  • Exposure to fluoride in water, medications, dental treatments, toothpaste, and mouthwashes, and high-fluoride foods, like processed cereals and sodas

  • In the past, osteoporosis was expected and diagnosed in frail and elderly people. But with the onslaught of drugs from the pharmaceutical industry, osteoporosis became more pervasive and envelope postmenopausal women. And now there is an off-shoot of osteoporosis called osteopenia which is defined as: bone mineral density which is low but not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis.

    The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has put out a warning for a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates which can cause severe bone, muscle and/or joint pain. There are other reported side effects such as a hard time swallowing, esophageal problems, gastric ulcer, and bone tissue death of the jaw. Another type of osteoporosis drug known as selective estrogen receptor modulator increases the risk of blood clots and stroke.

    A recent report in the British Medical Journal states that pharmaceutical companies regularly blur the line between osteoporosis and osteopenia in order to sell more drugs. "This move to treat pre-osteoporosis raises serious questions about the benefit-risk ratio for low-risk individuals, and about the costs of medicalizing and potentially medicating an enormous group of healthy people" (Dr. Alonso-Coello.)

    The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following to promote healthy bones so necessary in health for women:

  • make certain to get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet; guidelines for adults over 50 for calcium and vitamin D are calcium: 1,200 mg, vitamin D: 800 to 1,200 IU.
  • lift weights
  • walk
  • don't smoke and minimize drinking
  • Also remember, osteopenia is quite different from osteoporosis. Dr. Alonso-Coello strongly advises people who seek to take drugs only as a preventive measure--especially if the treatment is long term--to get a second opinion. Medication should be employed only as a last resort.
    Beware of osteoporosis drugs and their effect on health for women

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    Belly Fat and Death Risk in Health for Women

    Belly fat has never been good for health for women. Researchers from Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that women who carry excess fat around their waists are at a greater risk of early death by cancer or heart disease than are women with slimmer waistlines. This is true even if the women with excess fat are of normal weight.

    Although more evidence accumulates that excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for developing long-term conditions like diabetes and heart disease, the relationship between belly fat and death risk has not been widely studied.

    According to the study, women with waists greater than or equal to 35 inches were approximately twice as likely to die of heart disease as were women with waists under 28 inches, regardless of their body mass index (BMI.) The same statistics apply to cancer.

    Women with bulging waistlines are at the greatest risk of premature death. A healthy waist size for women is considered to be 35 inches (40 inches for men.)

    "Although maintaining a healthy weight should continue to be a cornerstone in the prevention of chronic diseases and premature death, maintaining a healthy waist size should also be an important goal" (the study's authors.)

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    Postpartum Depression and Health for Women

    A study carried in Reuters states that as many as one in five women in the United States suffers from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a more severe form of depression which can develop within the first six months of a woman delivering a baby. Symptoms include strong feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and sadness.

    This conclusion was based on an analysis of survey data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. This system is an ongoing surveillance project that collects self-reported information on pregnancy-related issues.

    Postpartum depression is more likely to effect women with a low educational level. Five possible risk factors for this type of depression recognized in most states are:

  • use of tobacco late in pregnancy
  • physical abuse before or during pregnancy
  • partner-related stress during pregnancy
  • trauma during pregnancy
  • financial stress
  • It has also been determined in 13 of 16 states with available data that non-Hispanic white women were less likely to have postpartum depression than women of other ethnicities.

    Many women are being told that postpartum depression is psychiatric. They are then prescribed antidepressant medication such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. But in the vast majority of cases, the cause is physiological.

    The symptoms of postpartem depression are rooted in progesterone. Progesterone is the major hormone that helps you regulate your menstrual cycle each month and support a healthy pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman's body produces anywhere from 350 to 400 mg of progesterone per day.

    Fifty percent of your progesterone receptors are located in the brain. It gives a feeling of euphoria -- makes you feel good. It keeps your estrogen levels balanced too.

    Progesteone levels plummet after you give birth, and remain low during the postpartem (after-birth.)

    Excess estrogen interferes with the production of progesterone. A woman not only has to be concerned with excess estrogen, but estrogen-mimicking compounds in the environment. These compounds are in plastics, shampoo, detergents, perfumes, moisturizers, etc.

    Postpartum depression can be treated without the use of prescription drugs and their dangerous side effects.

    The procedure involves a doctor measuring your progesterone and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) levels checked; you then need to find out the status of your thyroid (whether its under- or over-active, or normal.)

    Get your progesterone measured. The best time to get your levels checked is a couple days after childbirth. Interpretation of progesterone levels depends on the reason for testing and requires knowledge of where you are in your menstrual cycle or pregnancy. If your levels are low, you can supplement. And you don�t have to worry about progesterone affecting your baby if you plan to breastfeed. Progesterone doesn�t have sex characteristics like estrogen and testosterone which could interfere with your baby�s development.

    Get your CRH levels checked. Your body produces CRH during pregnancy and childbirth. That�s because CRH increases cortisol in the blood. Cortisol raises blood pressure and helps to maintain normal blood pressure -- to prepare the body to cope with the stress of labor and delivery. But sudden, out-of-balance levels of these stress hormones can lead to depression. A recent University of California Study looked at 100 women and found 16 had postpartum depression ... and they were the ones with the highest levels of CRH.

    Get your thyroid checked. It�s common for doctors to medicate depression and overlook thyroid problems because the symptoms are so similar. But they occur in as many as 10 percent of new mothers.

    Most of the time your thyroid will return to functioning normally after you have a baby. If it doesn't, you can increase your intake of iodine.

    The easiest way to do this is to season your food with iodized sea salt. You can also try eating edible marine plants, such as wakame and nori, which are high in iodine. Or you can take iodized oil capsules and supplements. I recommend getting 150 mcg of iodine daily. If your condition is severe, you should discuss bioidentical hormone therapy with your doctor.

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    Back Pain and Health for Women

    Research has linked back pain in older women to low vitamin D levels. According to Dr. Gregory E. Hicks of the University of Delaware in Newark, "...given that low vitamin D status is fairly prevalent in older adults and that there are significant functional consequences to untreated chronic pain, these findings argue strongly for querying adults about their pain and potentially screening older women with significant back pain for vitamin D deficiency."

    The fact that back pain applies mainly to women could be due to the fact that lack of vitamin D can cause osteomalacia (bone softening) which is more common in women. It frequently reveals itself as back pain.

    Heart Attack and Health for Women

    Read this first -- women and heart disease.

    Symptoms or warning signs of heart attacks differ between men and women. I was forwarded an email about a nurse who experienced a heart attack. It is very descriptive and informative.

    This experience is in her own words as she seeks to warn women to be especially wary and know what to do and what not to do if faced with a similar situation.

    "I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might've brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

    A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation---the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

    After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasming), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

    This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we?!' I said aloud to myself and the cat, 'Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!'

    I lowered the footrest, dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself:

    If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else ... But, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

    I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics ... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

    I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the Cardiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stents to hold open my right coronary artery.

    'I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the Paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was all ready to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.

    'Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.'

    1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men's symptoms, but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up ... which doesn't happen.

    My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

    2. Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics.' And if you can take an aspirin, ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road. Do NOT have your panicked husband drive you, who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road. Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and, if it's at night, you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.

    3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure) MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive.

    A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.

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    Fibroids and Health for Women

    Common in women, fibroids are benign hard and soft tumors occurring in the female pelvis. They are he leading reason for hysterectomies (removal of the uterus. According to research, 80 percent of women will develop fibroids sometime in their lifetime. But, they are more common in African-American women (50 percent.)

    Experts say the reason fibroids occur more in African-American women than in any other ethnic group is that these women genetically predisposed to it, and they generally have a higher body fat percentage.

    Ordinarily fibroids happen in women between the ages of 30 and 55. Many go unnoticed because there are no symptoms.

    A not so well known procedure to treat fibroids is uterine fibroid embolization (UFE.) This uses a laser to cut off the blood supply to the tumors causing them to shrink.

    "Surgery is not an absolute must. UFE replaces the need for surgery...It's one of the biggest breakthroughs for women. Many women don't know this is an option because they haven't been told by their physician. Only an experienced interventional radiologist can perform it and not the gynecologist" says Dr. John Lipman, medical director of the Center for Image Guided Medicine at Emory Adventist Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Quick facts about UFE (uterine fibroid embolization):

  • gynecologists are not trained to perform UFE, interventional radiologists are
  • this procedure can treat any number and size of fibroid tumors
  • 85 percent of women undergoing this procedure will not need any other treatment
  • women can become pregnant after UFE
  • Interventional radiologists can be found through the following website: Look for interventional radiologists.

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    Staying Regular and Health for Women

    According to many surveys, 15 percent of American adults report chronic constipation. Constipation or irregularity happens more often to older adults, and it is twice as common in women despite age.

    Every year $750 million is spent on laxatives; constipation results in 8 million trips to the doctor, and $7 billion is spent for evaluation and diagnostic testing.

    Experts define constipation as having no more than two successful bowel movements a week.

    Joanne Slavin, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, conducts research on fiber, whole grains, and the phytochemicals in grains. She says that the reason that twice as many women have constipation as men is that, partly, the less food that is eaten, the less there is to move things through the digestive system. Women tend to eat lower calorie diets.

    One study has shown that when men and women are given the identical amount of fiber to eat, women experienced longer transit times (it took longer for food to move through the digestive system.) However, hormones may also effect transit time. Women have reported changes in laxation during pregnancy and menstrual cycles.

    Dr. Slavin says that the answer to regularity in health for women is to get more calories from plant foods such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Fiber has the greatest impact on regularity.

    Processing makes fiber less effective. Older studies show that wheat bran is better at forming stool than ground up wheat bran. Even though the fiber content is identical, unprocessed wheat bran is key.

    As you probably know, there are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble has been thought to be better for laxation than soluble. However, there is no conclusive data which shows one is more effective in promoting regularity than the other. Oat bran is very good and it is soluble; the psyllium in Metamucil is also effective and it is soluble.

    As far as health for women is concerned, woman 50 and under needs 25 grams of fiber daily; a woman over 50 years of age needs 21 grams per day. A man 50 and under needs 38 grams of fiber daily while a man over 50 needs 30 grams. The average American gets only about half the recommended daily fiber.

    Did you know that raisins contain more fiber per gram than grapes? Legumes (beans) are packed with fiber. Some types of beans have 6 to 7 grams of fiber per half cup.

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    Cellulite and Health for Women

    Cellulite is a type of fat found on the thighs, stomach, and butt of women and girls, and some men. It typically resembles cottage cheese. Cellulite pushes against the connective tissue of an individual's skin giving it a lumpy or dimpled look. Ninety percent of all women, even the lean ones, have it.

    Factors such as your genes, age, how much body fat you carry, and skin thickness will determine how much cellulite you carry. It is less noticeable on a person with a dark skin color. According to the experts, a combination of aerobics and strength training, along with weight loss, are the best weapons against cellulite.

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    Endometriosis and Health for Women

    The website defines endometriosis as "...a painful, chronic disease that affects 5 1/2 million women and girls in the USA and Canada, and millions more worldwide." It usually attacks women in their 20s and 30s.

    Endometriosis comes about when tissue such as that which lines the uterus, known as endometrium, develops outside of the uterus. It usually occurs on the fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; the area between the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic cavity.

    Other parts of the body on which endometriosis develops may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal surgical scars. Less commonly they are found in the lung, arm, thigh, and other locations.

    Endometriosis symptoms include:

  • Pain before and during periods
  • Pain with sex
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Painful urination during periods
  • Painful bowel movements during periods
  • Other Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea.
  • Many women also suffer from frequent yeast infections, chemical sensitivities, and allergies.

    The exact cause(s) of endometriosis remains a medical mystery. Research which came out in 2004 associates the consumption of red meat such as beef and ham with this extremely pain affliction. Red meat increases a woman's risk of developing endometriosis anywhere from 80 to 100 percent.

    Traditional Western treatment for endometriosis include pain medication, hormones, and surgery. All of these standard treatments have side effects.

    Now some doctors are including Chinese herbal medicine in their arsenal. A review of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) by British scientists, and published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concludes: "...treating endometriosis with Chinese herbs may not only relieve symptoms of the disease, CHM appears to have comparable benefits to drugs and even laparoscopic surgery with fewer adverse effects."

    Health for women Main Menu

    | postmenopausal | women over 50 | exercise | nutrition | general health | pregnancy | premenstrual syndrome | breastfeeding | irritable bowel syndrome | menopause | varicose veins | premenopausal | skin health | breast cancer | estrogen dominance | ovarian cancer | testosterone hormonal balance | weight loss | heart disease | stroke | lung cancer | osteoporosis | postpartum depression | back pain | heart attack | belly fat and death risk | fibroids | staying regular | cellulite | Endometriosis |
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