Previously, it had been established that having a heart attack raises the risk of having atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition that produces an irregular and/or fast heartbeat. Now, researchers have determined that the connection appears to work both ways, and that having AFib is associated with an increased risk of … Read More
Although men and women share symptoms and treatment of myriad diseases, there are some ailments unique to the female gender, chiefly cancers of the reproductive system and breasts.
It’s acknowledged, however, that the primary task of successful aging for women entails pushing back other conditions and concerns that also affect them most intimately. Some of those conditions include:
Osteopenia and osteoporosis: With time, the bones become weaker, more brittle, and likely to fracture. Doctors can determine the amount of bone lost with a bone mineral density (BMD) test. Results are expressed as a T-score, which is based on a comparison to the bones of a healthy 30 year old. People with normal bone density have a T-score that is within 1 standard deviation (SD) of a 30 year old’s score. A score 1 to 2.5 SD below a young adult’s (-1 to -2.5 SD) is considered low bone mass, or osteopenia. Osteoporosis is diagnosed in anyone with a score of -2.5 SD or lower. People with osteoporosis need to take medicines such as bisphosphonates to strengthen their bones and prevent fractures.
Ovarian cancer is the most deadly reproductive cancer in women. Often, it’s caught at a late stage because no screening tests exist. Ovarian cancer symptoms include abdominal bloating, pain in the abdomen or pelvis, and a rapid feeling of fullness while eating.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (or COPD, for short) is a lung condition that makes it harder to breathe. COPD is not one, but two conditions: emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Depression goes far beyond the occasional feelings of sadness. The depression definition that mental health experts use is a persistently down mood and loss of interest that affects a person’s day-to-day life, and can even lead to thoughts of suicide. The condition is also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, and it affects nearly 15 million Americans. Although depression typically starts in the 20s or 30s, it can affect people of all ages. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to depression because of illness and the loss of loved ones.
With diabetes, both genes and environmental factors play a role. Being overweight can also increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, because excess fat increases the body’s resistance to insulin.How do you know you have this condition? Increased thirst, frequent urination, and hunger are all signs of diabetes. Other diabetes symptoms include unexplained weight loss, fatigue, frequent infections, and blurred vision.
Along with a lack of sleep and overwork, fatigue causes range from illnesses to medications. Anemia, thyroid disease, and heart failure are all common conditions linked to fatigue. Taking certain medicines—including antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, and anti-anxiety drugs—can also contribute to fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome causes consistent fatigue that doesn’t go away, along with vague complaints such as muscle aches, headaches, memory loss, disrupted sleep, a sore throat, and joint or muscle pain.
Glaucoma is another common vision problem that affects older adults. In glaucoma, a buildup of pressure inside the eye damages the optic nerve and can eventually cause blindness. Looking for glaucoma symptoms alone won’t always catch the disease in time, because the condition often causes no pain or vision loss until the damage is already significant.
Dementia symptoms vary by type, but can include difficulty remembering names and events, trouble communicating, depression, poor judgment, confusion, behavior changes, and sleep disturbances. People who are suspected of having dementia will undergo a series of dementia tests, or Alzheimer’s tests, to determine whether they have lost memory and cognitive function. Doctors will ask the person and his or her family member about any memory problems and trouble completing daily activities. Other tests will be done to evaluate memory, attention, problem-solving, and language skills. During these tests, the health care provider will ask the person a series of questions and assign tasks, such as remembering the names of common objects or drawing a face of a clock. Brain scans such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET) may also be done to assess brain structure and function.
Migraine headaches are a common source of chronic pain, affecting 1 in 10 Americans, most of them women. These are not just everyday headaches. Migraine symptoms also include nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, auras, and other visual disturbances. Because doctors still don’t fully understand what causes migraines, they haven’t been able to develop a cure for this condition. Treatments aim to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and relieve symptoms when they start.
Fibromyalgia is another poorly understood condition. The estimated 5 million Americans who have this condition experience fatigue and pain in particular spots around their body. Other fibromyalgia symptoms include sleep problems, headaches, sensitivity to heat and cold, bowel issues, and memory problems.
Everyone feels stressed out from time to time. The leading causes of Americans’ stress include finances, work, family responsibilities, and health issues. Constant stress can lead to worry or anxiety. In people with anxiety disorders, the worry is constant, and detrimental.
Q: What is your opinion of the “wheat belly” diet, in which the author warns against eating all forms of wheat?
A: The book The Wheat Belly Diet was written by a cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, who claims that wheat is the culprit behind “central obesity”—the visceral fat in the abdomen … Read More
If you are one of the 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer annually, how you are treated will depend on the type of cancer you have, how far it has progressed, your age, and your overall health, among other things.
As you and your doctors decide what course of treatment is … Read More
Did you know women are twice as likely to die from stroke than from breast cancer? Many women think of stroke as a man’s problem. They don’t know the symptoms of stroke, or that seeking emergency care is critical when these symptoms occur.
But what they don’t know can make all … Read More
If you are overweight or obese, weight loss is key for better health. Carrying extra weight takes a big toll on your body; it can cause joint pain, increase your risk of heart problems, and even make you more likely to experience cognitive difficulties. Losing weight is an uphill battle … Read More
Are you having trouble remembering a name? Using the wrong word in a sentence? Forgetting where you put something? Having difficulty staying focused?
If your answer is “yes” to one or more of the questions above, you may be among the 10 to 15 percent of adults over the age of … Read More
Higher heart risks linked with inflammatory bowel disease
People who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly women, are at an increased risk for stroke and heart attack, according to a study presented in October 2013 at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. Among patients with IBD, risks for … Read More
Items related to health and well-being appear on many lists of New Year’s resolutions. Here is a simple list of “to-do’s” to help you take optimum care of your health in 2014:
First, be sure that all your screening tests are up to date—mammogram, colonoscopy, skin and gynecologic exams. Also, a … Read More
In November 2013, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines on management of cardiovascular risks that herald a new approach, with less emphasis on cholesterol numbers and more emphasis on the constellation of factors that determine a person’s risk of heart disease, heart attack and … Read More
The risks associated with consuming industrially-produced trans fat, which is present in all foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), are well documented: Eating trans fat raises LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
In late 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a preliminary determination that … Read More
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