3 Health Sites for Women Only

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 41 – 4/6/15

The Center for Young Women’s Health – According to its About page, the Center’s objective is to provide teen girls and young women with well-researched health information relating to both physical/emotional development and diseases/conditions. This site is also a non-commercial site; a partnership among three medical divisions of the Boston Children’s Hospital.  There are resources for both health care professionals and parents.  An example of an article from the site’s emotional health category: Anxiety

Medline Plus – Women’s Health – a website from the National Institutes of Health, produced by the National Library of Medicine.  This site provides trusted information specific to women’s unique health concerns. The site is uncluttered and easy to maneuver; it’s also updated on a regular basis.  You can sign up for women’s health updates.  An example of what you’ll find here: Osteoporosis, the Bone ThiefThe site also provides a variety of videos and fun tools, which can be found here. 

 Society for Women’s Health Research – Founded in 1990, by a group of health professionals, the site is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary of research and advocacy for women’s unique health diseases and concerns.  Resources include women’s health topics from A – Z, clinical trials, public education, and videos. There is a link describing SWHR’s advocacy issues, and how women can take action for themselves. Example of what can be found at the site: (under the Public Education link) Research on breast cancer recurrence. SWHR can be found on Facebook and Twitter.  

Grandmother with adult daughter and grandchild in park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project for 2015!

Bea recently read in the newspaper that we’re living longer than ever. Sounds great, right? The problem is, we’re not living better. All the advances by medical science we have these days, and those of us born during the baby boomer years face more disability and chronic illness than ever.

Gen X, it doesn’t have to be that way for you ~ take charge of your aging, throw out those old stereotypes, and get ready for quality longevity! Generation X women, ranging in age from 35 to 50 in 2015, are at a prime time in their lives to take actions that will impact their everyday wellness  in positive ways.  This everyday wellness can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable aging process.

Often, all this involves is making simple choices that can be easily integrated into our lifestyles.  We just need to love and respect ourselves enough to take that first step.

Visit Bea on January 1, 2015, when she embarks on her 2015 wellness project.  Then, beginning on January 5th, come on back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each month for Bea’s health and wellness tips for Generation X women – covering the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of healthy aging. Why fear aging, when we can change aging?

Silhouette of a girl jumping over sunset

How to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season

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The holiday season is quickly approaching. Unfortunately, the holidays are often  accompanied by the dreaded coughing, sniffling, and sneezing cold and flu season. You might figure that since you’ve gotten your flu shot, you’re safe from those annoying symptoms.

But wait!  A flu shot just might not be enough. There’s so much more you can do to avoid buying all that extra Kleenex, scarfing down your favorite cold and flu medication, and above all, stop the flu IN ITS TRACKS!

You need to take action to build up your immune system. It can be done,  and Bea’s can give you some tips to do just that:

First, eat a healthier diet.   That means getting plenty of antioxidants – found in foods that do not resemble fast-food burgers or snacks like Hostess cupcakes. No surprises here: you can get immune boosting antioxidants by eating plenty of fruits and veggies. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables have higher concentrations of these antioxidants.  Eat more berries, for example: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries, just to name a few.  Add leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts to your meals.  If you love peppers, eat all varieties, yellow, green, orange and red.

The best way to eat your veggies is raw or lightly steamed, in order to keep the antioxidant advantage intact. And seriously, we need a minimum of 5 servings every day – ideally, we should be eating 9 servings. (Heck, why have one vegetable with lunch or dinner when you could have two or three?)

Secondly, take time each day to get some exercise! If the weather’s not too vile, take a brisk walk outside.   If the snow’s too deep, exercise inside, or join an inexpensive gym such as Planet Fitness. All it takes is 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day to boost our immunities. Exercise also has additional benefits. It helps reduce stress, which in turn boosts both physical and emotional health.

Next, take time to fight off STRESS!  The holidays can lead to stress overload, and chronic stress is bad for our immune system.  Find time to relax, get a massage, meditate, just say “No” to over-demanding people, don’t watch the nightly news! You can find out about more stress relievers here.

Other healthy tips include: cooking with canola or olive oil, eating Greek low-fat yogurt, enjoying some hot, steamy chicken soup (good for your soul, as well); as well as washing your hands frequently and getting a good night’s sleep.

By taking these simple actions, you can avoid having to spend the Christmas holidays sick in bed! Unless, of course, you WANT to steer clear of your relatives; in that case, ignore all my advice)

For further reading:
20 Surprising Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu

Influenza Prevention

 

 

 

 

Is Your Thyroid Underactive?

Female doctor using her tablet computer - isolated over a white background

I went to see my doctor earlier this year for my annual exam. I got blood tests, as usual. Something was different this time – blood test results indicated that my thyroid levels were low.  My doc prescribed thyroid medication, Levothyroxine.  

Hypothyroidism - Printed Diagnosis with Red Pills, Injections and Syringe. Medical Concept with Selective Focus.

What the heck do I know about my thyroid or thyroid levels?  Not much.   So I googled it.  How in the heck did I ever survive without Google?

So here’s what I knew before I sought Google knowledge:

  • Our thyroid is located somewhere in our neck, and can be over- or under-active.
  • We can get thyroid cancer. This I knew because one of my close friends had it, and the doctor took out her thyroid surgically.

That’s pretty much it.  My knowledge of the thyroid, in a nutshell.

What I found out about the thyroid after my search:

  • It’s shaped like a butterfly and is located just below the Adam’s apple, wrapped around our windpipe.*
  • For a little thing, it’s pretty important.  The thyroid makes a hormone that affects our metabolism and  “influences every organ, tissue and cell in the body.” **  Now that’s a powerful gland.
  • Millions of people in our country have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism,** many of them women. It often affects those of us who are over the big 5-0
  • Hypothyroidism may be a contributor to high cholesterol! **
  • Other thyroid conditions include Hashimoto’s Disease and Graves Disease.

Some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism:

(1) Fatigue

(2) Weight gain

(3) Intolerance to cold (And I thought I just had an intolerance to Michigan’s long winters!)

(4) Muscle and joiht pain

(5) Depression

(6) Dry, thinning hair

(7) Slowed heart rate

(8) Difficulty swallowing

(9) Constipation

After reading that an underactive thyroid affects more women  than men, I wondered about the reasons behind this, other than the fact that women seem to suffer with more burdens in life than men do. **Sigh.** But then again, we are the stronger sex, so we can take on more burdens.

Unfortunately, several Google searches didn’t turn up much of an answer to my question. In fact, in an article at the Women to Women website, OB/GYN NP Marcelle Pick pointed out that no one really knows why women have a tendency to suffer from hypothyroidism.  She does say that there could be a connection between our thyroid hormones and our reproductive hormones.

I do know that my thyroid function is back on track, now that I’m taking medication.  If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, you just may want to get your doc to check out your thyroid levels.

Sources:

*WiseGeek

**Rodale Press. Prevention’s Ultimate Guide to Women’s Health and Wellness. 2002.

***National Institute of Diabetes and Digestiveand Kidney Diseases. Hypothyroidism. 

For further reading: 

Hypothyroidism in Women 

 

 

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Keep People Moving: Fight MS

A Little Help From Her Family (and Friends)

Yesterday, I took a walk with a woman who doesn’t take walking for granted.  She has MS, or Multiple Sclerosis, and she’s been battling it for five years.  We were walkers for the Troy, Michigan Walk for MS 2011. These walks are held in many other locations throughout the country as well.

I was one member of her team, a group of family and friends who support her and want to do their part to rid the world of MS.

I only recently became acquainted with Rici, as she is known by her family. All I know about her is that she’s the wife of a co-worker, a mom of two nice kids (a boy and a girl) and a friendly person who seems to have a positive outlook, despite having MS. She’s strong, her husband says, and doesn’t let this disease get the best of her. I like that in a person, don’t you?

When I heard about her fight, via an email at work,  talking about the upcoming MS walk, I figured it wouldn’t hurt me to get off my butt and give her, and the National MS Society, a little help.

What is MS?

MS, as you may or may not know, is an autoimmune disease – the body attacks it own cells, mistakenly believing they are poisons.  In the case of MS, the body attacks myelin, the protective substance that covers the nerves.  Wikipedia points out that this attack by the body “affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other.”  If the cells can’t communicate, the body can’t function properly.  The nerves themselves can be irrevocably damaged, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The extent of the nerve damage, and which nerves are affected, can vary for each person affected by MS.

Symptoms

The disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms, and varying degrees of those symptoms, depending how much nerve damage a person has suffered.  The Mayo Clinic also points out that MS. in its early stages, may be hard to diagnose, since its symptoms may go into remission for periods of time.

There are symptoms that affect the muscles, such as numbness, problems with balance and walking, tremors, weakness, and paralysis. People with MS can suffer with bowel and bladder problems. They may suffer from double vision, blindness, and other eye problems.  This is just a short list of how people can be affected by MS. You can read about other things that they may have to deal with at this article by PubMed Health.

Wanna Help?

If you’re interested in helping my friend, Rici, and the 400,000 (source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society) Americans who suffer from MS, check out the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. The MS Society helps further research, advocates for change through legislation, and, of course, provides support to MS sufferers and their families.

Do you like to walk?  Find out about an MS Walk event in your area at Walk MS.
Other ways to get involved, such as Bike MS,  can be found here.

 

For Further Reading:

Baby Boomers and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is devastating not only to the person who suffers from it, but also for the family members who have to watch their loved one’s mind deteriorate, day by day. 

 As the first baby boomers turn 65 this year, more and more of them face the likelihood of developing this disease.  Simply take a look at this Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report for the sad statistics. 

Interested in learning more? The Alzheimer’s Association  has recently released a report, Generation Alzheimer’s: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers. You can get that report sent to your email inbox by signing up here.

Please, share the latest news about Alzheimer’s Disease by sharing this link with your friends and family:

http://alz-news.org

 Related articles

Good Blog Find: Happy Health

Happy Health is a site that defines itself as a “Lifestyle Health Guide for 55+” and that’s a good description. 

 Whether you’re looking for 55+ recreational activities, health articles for an active lifestyle, vacation options, dating and relationship tips – you’ve come to the right place. 

Happy Health has a team of writers, each one concentrating on a different area of the 55+ lifestyle. 

Mary Albert  is the team’s health writer. Mary recently wrote a guest post for Bea Boomer’s Wellness, an article about exercising your brain to fight memory loss.

She’s written some good articles on Happy Health as well, including:

For those of us who are taking care of elderly parents, Mary has also written several articles about medical alert systems. 

Other team members include:

Jack Stewart, recreational writer:

In this article, he describes the social wellness and health benefits of yoga.

Other recreational articles for 55+ folks include:

Alice Mitchell, travel writer, talks about online travel deals in this article:

And provides some tips for newbie RV travelers in this post:

Finally, Dorthy Wilson is the relationship writer. Are you in your fifties and dating? Dorthy gives you some tips in her articles:

Happy Health also includes a link to Product Reviews, where the writers review medical alert systems. You can also sign up and get a free e-book on Natural Anti-Aging Tips.

 

Health News From U.S. News & World Report

I recently started reading the Health section of the U.S. News and World Report website.  It’s good reading if you’re looking for:

  • Current health information and research
  • The best hospitals, nursing homes, and health plans in the United States
  • Information on health conditions
  • Health related videos and slideshows
  • Fitness articles (You can even ask fitness questions by connecting to: Ask Fitness Coach)

Interesting reading from U.S. News & World Report: Health: