Archive for April, 2011

What Do You Think of THIS Exercise Program ??
April 25, 2011

 Recently I attended a breast cancer conference and exercise was discussed in several presentations. The big news take-away was that the total body needs to be exercised for optimum health. That includes the brain. Leisurely walking or walking the dog while listening to music on the same walk everyday is better than sitting on the couch but it is not utilizing your Total Body, your time or exercise optimally.

To exercise your brain and your body you need to change up your routine so your brain is challenged along with your muscles. Some examples are participating in a new dance class. Learning steps and practicing gets your total body exercising. Changing the intensity of your work-out for 6 minutes with-out a break or adding weights is recommended.

Also recommended are 2.5 hours per week of aerobic exercise of moderate intensity AND 2.5 hours per week of strength training. That addition you just did in your head is correct, 5 hours a week!

Form is important, machines not needed but variety is imperative. Muscles feeling tight or hurting at first is common but by week 3 the tightness should subside. No time line data available if brain power also improves so quickly.

The best news is data shows the benefits of exercise can be had if done in short blocks of time. Speaking of benefits, stronger muscles can prevent muscle weakness that can lead to poor balance or falls and breaks of bones. It is daunting to think that you have to block out 5 hours per week to exercise or you will fall and break something and lose your brains to boot, but if you chip away everyday a 10 minute exercise block, and attend a couple of classes and take every set of stairs in your path, THIS exercise program goal is reachable.

Are you ready to try a new dance step, weight lifting program or exercise class?

www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger

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Genetic Risks; To Test or Not to Test That Is The Question
April 18, 2011

Recently I attended a conference on breast cancer and listened to a seminar on genetic risks. The take-away from this session was assessing risk and making informed decisions based on your risks.

Here is a much abbreviated overview of genetics. Mutations occur and the body has mechanisms to repair or kill the mutations but sometimes the cells cannot get the job done. Sometimes people are born with a genetic make-up that has a mutation. Sometimes mutations are acquired.

So the question is; would you have a test done to see if you have a genetic mutation?

The test I am referring to is for BRACA 1 and BRACA 2. These genes if positive have a known predisposition for ovarian and or breast cancer much higher than the general public.

There is a group of women who don’t get yearly mammograms because they are afraid. Even though breast cancer when diagnosed and treated early has a 98% survival rate and the test is free in many states, and image centers are open early, late and on Saturday, still some women resist.

You say there is no breast/ovarian cancer in your family so no need to worry. Less than 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a ‘Known’ family history. But looking at your family history do you really know the cause of death of your Great Grand Mother or Great Grand Father? More than 30 years ago cancer was lumped together if labeled at all. Stomach problems, women’s problems, wasting away were known causes of death before this generation. If your family heritage is from Iceland or Ashkenazi Jewish you are at a higher risk than the general public. If you notice a cancer trend in your family background would you take a genetic test? Could you do it for yourself or for your children?

Menopause Happens
April 11, 2011

You know how Mother Nature brings in Spring? Cold one day and Hot the next and you don’t know how to dress? Well think of that every day. Hot flashes during the day  Night sweats at night and chilled by damp clothes or too light of clothes when not having a flash and you have one of the most common side effects of menopause.

What you say, I am too young for menopause! Think again. Here is the long and the short of it; Menopause happens to every woman. The side effects are the variable. Do you remember puberty? Hormones raging, bad skin, mood swings, crying jags, greasy hair? Menopause symptoms are similar but due to estrogen decreasing. Mood swings, crying jags, thinning hair, dry skin, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and CRS. (Can’t Remember Shit).

Have you ever been talking and forgot a name but it will come to you later? Have you walked into a room and forgot why or what you were after? Have you ever wondered as you drive off to work if you left on the coffee maker, or shut the cat out, or locked the door? Does this happen frequently? CRS!

If you ever experienced after a pregnancy some of the side effects I listed for menopause that is just a taste of what can go on for years. Starting around 35-45, little changes are happening. Your menstrual cycle may change in frequency and intensity. This period has a name, ‘Peri-menopause’. You can take replacement hormones but they are linked to cancer. The medical protocol is if side effects of menopause are ruining your quality of life the smallest dose for the shortest amount of time of hormones can be prescribed. Bottom line; talk with your doctor, your friends, your family and find what can work for you!

Many women will not admit they are menopausal because they equate menopause with being old. I ask would you rather be old or dead?