On this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” segment, we’re looking at all natural cleaning tips. Switching to homemade DIY cleaners might sound like a lot more work, but it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are easy to come by and last a long time.
The natural cleaning ingredients we like to keep on hand are: * white vinegar * liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners) * natural salt * baking soda * borax * washing soda * hydrogen peroxide * lemons * microfiber cloths * essential oils (optional) * a spray bottle or two (preferably glass)
Our 3 top recipes!
All-Purpose Cleaner Ingredients * 1 tsp borax * 1/2 tsp washing soda * 1 tsp liquid castile soap * Essential oils of choice – I use 4 drops lemon, 4 drops lavender, and 10 drops orange * Glass spray bottle for storage All-Purpose Cleaner Instructions 1. Place borax, washing soda, and soap in a spray bottle (preferably glass). 2. Add 2 cups of warm water. Distilled is best, but any water that has been boiled will work. 3. Add essential oils of choice. 4. Cover bottle and shake well. Use as needed. I use as bathroom cleaner, floor pre-treater, kitchen cleaner and on toys.
Glass Cleaner Ingredients * 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue) * 2 tablespoons vinegar * 10 drops essential oil of choice- I use lemon (optional- but it helps cut the vinegar smell) Glass Cleaner Instructions Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean window. I like to use a microfiber cloth to wipe windows clean with this recipe.
How to Make Washing Soda If you have an oven and are feeling crafty, try this simple method of making washing soda. Another bonus is that baking soda is typically even less expensive (especially at big box stores) and making this at home can help further reduce the cost of budget-friendly cleaning recipes. Washing Soda Ingredients * Baking Soda * A large baking dish or baking sheet (I use these stainless steel restaurant pans for this and all of my baking and cooking) * An Oven
Washing Soda Instructions 1. Turn oven on 400 degrees F. 2. Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish. 3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring 1-2 times in the middle, or until it has changed in look and feel. Baking soda has a silky/powdery feel and washing soda is more grainy and not silky. The baking soda will need to reach the full 400 degrees for this reaction to take place, so be patient. 4. Let cool and store in an air-tight jar. Use this homemade washing soda as you would store-bought in natural cleaning recipes and laundry soaps.
There’s nothing like walking into your kitchen first thing in the morning, bleary-eyed and ready for your morning cup of coffee only to find that your home has been invaded by ants. Below are some of the best natural remedies you can try to get rid of the ants infesting your space.
Cinnamon Cinnamon is an effective household ant repellent. Its smell discourages ants from entering your house and scrounging in your kitchen. According to a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, cinnamon essential oil yields positive results in both repellency and insecticidal activity. * Add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil in a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in this solution and wipe down the areas where ants may enter and dwell. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone. * You can also put ground cinnamon and whole cloves near entry points. Note: Use the cinnamon oil spray strategically in places of ant infestation; do not put it all over the place.
White Vinegar White vinegar will also send an eviction notice to ants on your premises. They cannot bear its strong smell. In addition, the smell masks their scent trails, making them lose their direction. 1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. 2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle. 3. Add a few drops of any essential oil and shake the bottle thoroughly. 4. Spray this solution around baseboards and other entry points. 5. After an hour, wipe up the ants using a damp paper towel and discard them. 6. Repeat once daily until the ants are completely gone. You can also use this vinegar solution to clean floors, windowsills and countertops to prevent ants from crawling over these surfaces.
Peppermint Peppermint is a natural insect repellent that can effectively keep ants away. Ants hate its strong smell, which also disrupts their smelling capabilities so they cannot detect food sources. * Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 cup of water. Spray the solution on all areas where ants are present. Repeat twice daily, until the ants are gone completely. * Sprinkle some dried peppermint around your doors, entryways and garbage areas to repel ants. * You can even grow peppermint plants in your kitchen garden.
Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) also works well as an ant repellent. This powder is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. The microscopic razor sharp edges of DE can cut through the ant’s exoskeletons, gradually causing their body to dry out. 1. Gently sprinkle a thin layer of DE on windowsills, beneath the fridge, under cabinets, in and around garbage cans and any other places where you see ants. 2. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone. Note: Do not wet the DE or it will not work.
In our office, we have been discussing natural alternatives to common, everyday products. These are ways of handing things like pest control, weeds, household cleaning, body products, and more, without the harmful chemicals. With all the natural alternatives that we have been discovering, we are excited to share these with you!
So without further adieu, I present “This, not that, Thursday.”
When looking for a natural alternative to herbicides, a cocktail of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap has all of the ingredients needed to quickly kill weeds. Acetic acid in the vinegar and the salt are both very good at drawing moisture from weeds. Dish soap acts as a surfactant, which is an agent that will reduce the surface tension that can cause the weed-killing concoction to bead on the leaves instead of being absorbed by the plant. On a warm, sunny day, the results of this homemade spray will be obvious in a matter of hours as weeds turn brown and wither.
Unlike some chemical solutions, this formula is not built to work its way into the root system, meaning multiple treatments will probably be necessary to keep weeds at bay. Additionally, when looking for a quick fix, sunshine makes a big difference. And remember to look for vinegar that has at least 5% acetic acid.
Natural Weed Killer • 1-gallon white vinegar • 1-cup salt • 1-tablespoon liquid dish soap
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and treat weeds at the sunniest time of day for best results.☀️
Vitamin D has long been associated with bone health in women.
A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that higher circulating Vitamin D levels appear to be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Here are some of the findings in that study:
-25(OH) D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the measurement that is made to establish circulating Vitamin D levels
-the level of 25(OH) D that is sufficient for bone health is considered to be around 55 nmol/L
-Vitamin D levels less than 30 nmol/L appear to be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer
-Vitamin D levels of 75-87.5 nmol/L seems to be associated with a 19% reduced risk of colorectal cancer
-Vitamin D levels of 87.5-100 nmol/L seems to be associated with a 27% reduced risk
-Vitamin D levels above 100 did not seem to reduce the risk even more.
Of course, more studies are needed to arrive at the proper Vitamin D guidelines but you should discuss these new findings with your health care providers.
Did you know that heart disease kills more women than all types of cancer combined thus making it the number one killer of American women every year? It is time for each of us to step up and carefully speak to the women in our lives about the risk factors for heart disease.
These risk factors include:
-a family history of heart disease
-high blood pressure
-an abnormal lipid profile
-a lack of physical activity
-a poor diet.
If you or a loved one live with these risk factors, it is time to visit your health care provider to discuss the possibility of heart disease and then consider testing, possible treatment and of course, lifestyle changes.
A recently presented study can provide some useful information for women and their healthcare providers during their discussions about labor and delivery. This study was presented at a Dallas meeting sponsored by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. It concluded that elective inductions of labor at 39 weeks of gestation were safe for the newborn and had benefits for the mother by decreasing the risk of a cesarean delivery and developing a high blood pressure problem. The study also showed that the women who were induced felt more in control of their birth experience and also rated the pains of labor less than the women who were not induced.
These findings differ from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists “Choosing Wisely” campaign which suggests that elective inductions should be considered when medically indicated.
As always expectant mothers and their health care providers should have open decision-making discussions and this new study should provide some new information to review.
Women with Turner Syndrome (TS) are a distinctive group of women who require specialized medical and obstetrical/gynecological care. TS is found in approximately 1 in 2,500 pregnancies and is the result of the loss or partial loss of an X chromosome. Normally women’s chromosomes are 45XX and with TS it will be 45X. Because of this missing chromosome women with TS can look slightly different and can have an array of possible medical conditions such as:
cardiovascular disease which could be the result of a congenital anomaly
Pediatricians and pediatric endocrinologists usually follow these patients closely during childhood and adolescence, initiating estrogen to begin puberty and normal development. Conception and pregnancy offer unique conditions which will require individualized intense care by a team of specialists and preconception counseling is a must. Because of the higher risks for various medical conditions, TS patients need to be followed carefully throughout their lives.
We all know that having high blood pressure puts you at an increased chance to have a heart attack or a stroke. We all know family and friends who take their high blood pressure pills every day to help control their blood pressure. For many years, doctors diagnosed patients as having high blood pressure if it was 140/90 mm Hg or greater on repeated testing. There is now a new definition of hypertension and this could mean that half of all Americans will be diagnosed as hypertensive.
Here are the new definitions:
Normal BP: systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80
Elevated BP: systolic between 120 and 129 and diastolic less than 80
Stage 1 hypertension: systolic between 130 and 139 or diastolic between 80 and 89
Stage 2 hypertension: systolic 140 or greater or diastolic 90 or greater
With this new information, go speak to your healthcare provider about your blood pressure profile.
Most of us have a downtime in our day approximately 7 to 8 hours after we awaken so that means between 2 and 4 pm we may not be at our mental best. The benefits of an afternoon nap are well known with 10 to 20 minutes being the most ideal. We arise from the nap with increased mental sharpness. You can increase this mental boost even greater by having a pre-nap cup of coffee. The caffeine will kick in just about the time you get up and perhaps your thinking will be even sharper. It seems there is another benefit to having that extra cup of coffee!
Starting the day off with a cup of coffee may open those eyes up a bit wider but it may also have a great health benefit, reducing the risk of many common medical problems. Scientific studies have demonstrated a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes in those who drink 3 cups of coffee per day.
Most of us have heard about the benefits of antioxidants and their ability to help the body decrease inflammation and aid in oxidation process. It is believed that inflammation is the basis of many of our common health conditions. The health benefits of coffee seems to be derived from it being rich in antioxidants especially a chemical called polyphenols.
To get the most benefit from your daily cups of coffee, freshly ground, caffeinated coffee hits the mark especially if you don’t add the fattening cream, sugars and flavoring.
It is already mid-August and many families with a college student are about to start on a new adventure. Whether the young adult is going to a commuter school and living at home or attending an away college and living in a dorm, there are many changes about to hit family dynamics and the college students lives. Long discussions should now begin about forming healthy habits that will be important for now, and more importantly, for the future. I always advise living the way your grandmother taught you. Here are some of Grandma MaryAnn’s suggestions.
Grandma MaryAnn says you must:
Get your sleep – It is important to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. During sleep your body may be resting, but your brain is busy processing all the information it was exposed to during the day. Sleep helps your immune system to stay strong and prevent colds and other infections you are constantly exposed to. If possible, shut off all your electronic devices 30 to 40 minutes before going to sleep; the light from the screens can affect chemicals in your brain that enhance getting to sleep.
Eat well – Food is your body’s fuel. In order to work hard and think clearly, you need to eat the fruits, nuts and vegetables that we all know are the right stuff. Starting with a healthy breakfast will get the brain ready for the day. Healthy snacks are a must. The crash after the candy bar will be tough to handle.
Exercise – Exercise needs to be a part of your regular schedule because it decreases stress, keeps your mind sharp, and is fun. You should think of it as an investment in yourself.
I wish all the students a great year, and remember to call your Mom and Grandma as often as you can because with loving words from your biggest supporters, there is nothing you can’t handle.
We, here on the Island, are in the middle of tick season and it is reported that there is an above average tick infestation this year. If you do come in contact with a tick, there is always the time honored tweezer method to grasp and remove it.
Another method is to take a cotton ball and put a liberal amount of liquid soap on it. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball. Rub for a few seconds and usually the tick will release and be attached to the ball. This simple method is perfect for children and upset adults.
As always, prevention is the best medicine. Please check out the 8 best ways to avoid being bitten by a tick.
Obesity is a known risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. A recent study out of Israel found that obese or overweight 17- and 18-year-olds can have an increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, and the risk may be increased as high as 50%! We now have another reason to encourage good eating and exercise habits for our children. The earlier these healthy life style habits begin, the better.
It is reported that marijuana use in pregnancy is on the rise with possibly 4-5% of pregnant women using marijuana for recreational or medical reasons. The nausea problem of early pregnancy seems to be the main medical condition for this rise.
Let us review some information:
The marijuana used today is much stronger than in the past with the active chemical ingredients reaching much higher concentrations.
Cannabidiol is the chemical that may be responsible for decreasing nausea.
The active chemicals of marijuana readily cross the placenta and enter into the fetal circulation. With chronic use these chemicals can be stored in the fat cells of the mother and fetus and this can prolong the exposure to the fetus.
Marijuana’s effect on the fetus is constantly being studied and many potential problems are being found especially with fetal brain development.
The American College of Ob-Gyn recommends against marijuana use in pregnancy and pre pregnancy. It also advises that it should not be used for the nausea of pregnancy.
If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, please discuss marijuana use with your health care provider because your baby’s health should always be your number one concern.
Lemon Icebox Pie with Graham Cracker – Coconut Crust
We took Grandma Antoinette’s easy old-fashioned lemon icebox pie takes dessert up a notch, by adding coconut in the crust, which boosts both flavor and texture. For the brightest hit of citrus use fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Look for graham crackers made with 100% whole-wheat flour to get the most fiber.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: nut free, soy free, vegetarian
Author: Grandma Antoinette
9-inch pie pan
1cupgraham cracker crumbs9 whole graham crackers
⅓cupunsweetened shredded coconut chips or flakes
8large egg yolks
1¾cupsnonfat sweetened condensed milkfrom two 14-ounce cans
Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes & lemon slices for garnishoptional
Preheat oven to 325°Lightly coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, coconut, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is set, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
Beat egg yolks and zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until pale and foamy, about 4 minutes. Whisk condensed milk and lemon juice in another bowl until combined. Whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Pour into the crust.
Bake the pie until the center jiggles slightly, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with coconut flakes and lemon slices, if desired.
To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Seeing graham flour on the nutrition label, that’s coarsely ground whole-wheat.
Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out under cold running water and remove all fat. Pat dry with paper towels.
Put chicken into a small baking pan. Rub with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, paprika and cayenne pepper together and sprinkle over chicken.
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and continue roasting to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 40 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes and serve.
In this low-carb spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, garlicky broccoli, spaghetti squash and cheese are combined for a healthy take on a favorite casserole. This bakes right in the squash shells for a fun presentation.
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450°F.
Place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic and red pepper (if using); cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring, until the broccolini is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl. Place the shells in a broiler-safe baking pan or on a baking sheet. Stir ¾ cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide it between the shells; top with the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.
2skinless boneless chicken breast halvescut into cubes
2sweet potatoespeeled and chopped
½poundwhite button mushroomsthinly sliced
1pinchcrushed red pepperor more to taste
1pinchpaprikaor more to taste
1pinchsea salt or more to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach, crushed red pepper, paprika, and sea salt with the onion and garlic in the saucepan. Pour as much chicken broth into the saucepan to make the mixture as soup-like or stew-like as you’d like it.
Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
“Use an array of colorful veggies to make this healthy shrimp salad pop. Cooking the shrimp with fresh herbs and garlic infuses them with flavor without coming off too strong for a light dinner salad that’s perfect for summer entertaining.”
1¼poundsraw shrimp21-25 count, peeled and deveined
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
10sprigs fresh thyme
3large heirloom tomatoeschopped
½cupchopped fresh basilplus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Toss shrimp with oil, thyme and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the shrimp are pink and firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl (discard thyme and garlic). Add lemon juice and stir to coat. Gently stir in cucumber, tomatoes and basil. Arrange the shrimp and vegetables in a serving bowl. Serve drizzled with any dressing left in the bowl and garnish with more basil, if desired.
The Romanesco broccoli is technically an edible flower and is easily recognized by its eye-catching fractal appearance. It is grown in the region of Lazio, home to Rome and hence its name. In Italy, you find it typically consumed raw, steamed, boiled, roasted or sauteed. It has a delicate nutty flavor making it easily adaptable to various preparations and is a favorite ingredient in Italian soups just like this one.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: low fat
Author: Grandma Antointte
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
2small carrotfinely chopped
1rib celeryfinely chopped
7ouncesRomanesco broccoli (a large head)tough parts discarded, chopped
4small potatoespeeled and chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrot, shallot, and celery; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Romanesco broccoli and potatoes.
Pour hot water into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until broccoli and potatoes are soft, about 40 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
These wedges of juicy watermelon are topped with nondairy coconut yogurt and berries that make for a crisp and refreshing dessert. For kids snacks, leave the wedges blank and let everyone add their own toppings to the yogurt.
"My favorite recipes are ones with few ingredients that I normally have on hand, you'll love it too!
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free
Author: Grandma Antoinette
2large bell pepperssliced into thin strips
1/3cupred wine vinegar
1 1/2poundsflank steakcut into thin strips
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, bell peppers, and garlic in oil until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour soy sauce, honey, and red wine vinegar in pan, then add beef. Cook beef, stirring frequently, until done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cooked vegetables, and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
Grandma’s lighter take on eggplant parmesan maintains all the flavors of the classic dish but is baked instead of fried. This is a household favorite here & is bound to be in your house too. Besides being delicious, there are 11 grams of filling protein in this hearty vegetarian dish.
Preheat oven to 400°Coat two baking sheets and an 8-by-11½-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut eggplants crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Whisk egg whites and water in a shallow dish until frothy. Combine breadcrumbs, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, salt and pepper in another shallow dish. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg-white mixture, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. (Discard any leftover breadcrumbs and egg white.) Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.
Stir basil into tomato sauce. Spread about ½ cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add a layer of the remaining eggplant slices and top with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 to 20 minutes
A common complaint of the majority of menopausal women is the hot flash. It is also called hot flushes or night sweats, and the medical term used would be vasomotor symptoms (VMS). Most women will relate a feeling of great heat that overtakes their entire body, and this can last up to 5 minutes. These flashes can begin a few years before menopause and can last for many years after. There is great variability as to the number and intensity of these flashes, but most women who experience these hot flashes all consider them a problem that is disruptive to their lives. The exact cause of these flashes is not completely known, but the decrease in estrogen in menopause plays the main role.
Read more about menopause hot flashes and menopause.
As a woman ages, her ovarian function begins to decrease, and as the follicular activity starts to wane, the production of estrogen and progesterone goes down. The decrease in these hormones will eventually lead to no more menstrual cycles, and menopause is defined as 1 year of no menstrual bleeding. This is a natural part of every woman’s life as the 50’s approach and the average age of menopause is 51 to 52. With our ever increasing life spans, women may spend 30 to 40 years in this postmenopausal state.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects approximately 10% of women during their reproductive age. It is often characterized by obesity, irregular menses, and impaired insulin function. Obesity may play a role in the etiology, and with weight loss, there has been reported improvement in some of the clinical findings.
There is a recent large study that suggests a Carnitine supplement may be of benefit for these patients. L-Carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys. It helps the body turn fat into energy, and your body usually can make all the Carnitine it needs. In this study, the diagnosis of PCOS was made using the Rotterdam criteria. To make the diagnosis, two of the following findings needed to be present:
Irregular menses over 35 days or less than 8 menses per year caused by a problem with ovulation
Signs of hirsutism indicative of increased testosterone
Polycystic ovaries with 12 or more follicular cysts in each ovary
In this study, when 250 mg of L-Carnitine was given to women with PCOS, who were also on metformin, there was a significant reduction in weight based on BMI changes. There was also an improvement in glycemic control. The Carnitine was given for over 12 weeks.
Remember to always speak to your health care provider before considering starting any supplement.
Most of us are aware that being overweight has been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and hypertension, but it can also increase a woman’s chance of breast and uterine cancer. By using a person’s height and weight, a BMI (body mass index) can be determined. A measurement of 25 to 29 is considered overweight and 30 or higher is considered obese. According to a recent study, 40% of American women meet the clinical definition of obesity.
The exact relationship between obesity and certain female cancers is not perfectly understood, but there seems to be three factors that may play a role:
A body being in a state of chronic inflammation is pro-carcinogenic, and obesity is considered a chronic inflammatory state.
There are enzymes in fat cells which increase the production of estrogen, and an elevated level of estrogen has been associated with a higher risk of breast and endometrial (uterine) cancer.
Fat cells produce hormones that may stimulate tumor growth.
Please speak to your health care provider to determine your BMI, and start using the walking shoes your loved ones gave you for the recent holidays!
Last week, I attended our yearly national conference on anti-aging, and as always, there was so much new and exciting information! One of the world’s experts on brain aging gave a statistic that we should all think about carefully.
If you live to 85 in our country, there is a 50% risk of developing a mental cognitive disease, including Alzheimer’s disease. This risk can be decreased by 5% yearly for every working year after age 65. This may mean that if you work until 75, your chance of cognitive loss decreases to 25%. What happens if you work to 90? This may cause us not to accept that gold watch at 65, so starting a new business endeavor at 70 may be perfect!
Last week, I attended a daylong conference at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The event was the State of the Art Ovarian Cancer Conference. It was wonderful to hear of all the advances in the treatment and care of the women who are fighting this terrible disease.
Being associated with a special gynecologic oncologist for many years, I saw firsthand the benefits of the initial surgery for ovarian cancer and the need for an extensive surgical procedure. At the conference, this was especially emphasized and the long-term benefits were so significant.
It is important to remember that if a loved one or you find yourself in a battle with ovarian cancer, you must find a gynecologic oncologist for your initial surgery and get the best results possible.
As you know, Pokémon Go is a hot new game being played by countless people. There have been mixed reviews on this augmented reality game from concerns about safety to praises about increasing physical activity. I posted this video to give you a very detailed description about what your children are involved in, and I believe it is important to have a discussion with them about the possible dangers to look out for while playing a game like this.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently updated its guidelines concerning the testing of pregnant women who have a possible Zika virus infection or exposure. It must always be noted that most people with the Zika virus infection are either asymptomatic or have mild clinical symptoms. Mild clinical symptoms can be an acute onset of a fever, a rash, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis.
There is new data suggesting that the virus can be detected in the blood and urine for 2 weeks after the infection begins. This testing of the urine and blood for the virus should be performed for:
Symptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after the symptoms begin
Asymptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after a possible exposure
After this 2-week window, blood testing should begin for the Zika virus IgM antibody, which the body makes in response to a new Zika virus infection. If this is found to be positive, there was definitely an infection and close fetal evaluation should begin.
As always, you should discuss the Zika virus problem with your health care provider so you can get the best possible care.
Are you approaching or in menopause and are concerned about its symptoms? My office manager and I are here to help! We discuss bio-identical hormone replacement therapy questions and answers. You will hear an introduction about the therapy, and I will help you understand it with more depth.
At the moment, there are no approved drugs or vaccines for the Zika infection, but scientists are working on a vaccine. Since the infection itself seems to be mild and short-lived, fluids and Tylenol are mostly recommended.
Testing to determine if you have had the virus is mainly confined to pregnant women and symptomatic travelers who have visited the areas where the virus has spread. At this time, testing is done at only a state or federal lab and getting results can take weeks.
3. How It Spreads
The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and through sex with an infected partner. It is important for pregnant women to know the travel history of their sexual partners.
Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to protect yourself from this virus. Use the time-tested methods of bug sprays and cover-ups, and eliminate any standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs. You should check your window screens and keep the air conditioners on if possible because mosquitoes hate the cold.
Today, the Zika virus is on the mind of almost everyone; pictures of the children affected by the virus are seen constantly in the news. Beginning today, I will try to keep us up to date on the latest information available.
The virus is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda, Africa, where it was first discovered in the late 1940s. Since then it was not considered to be a major problem because it usually caused mild flu symptoms, which soon passed rather quickly. Then last year’s reports came from Brazil about a major invasion of the virus. There were pictures of the many affected newborns that had been infected, and the resulting congenital microcephaly was seen everywhere.
Why is this virus now causing all these problems? Where has it been the last 60-70 years? Some experts believe the virus has mutated, and some think it has always been there, but was quietly going unnoticed.
As the summer approaches and the mosquitoes return, the Zika virus will certainly be a concern in the mainland of our country. Puerto Rico already reported about a 1000 confirmed cases, including approximately 100 pregnant women. With the travel season upon us, the numbers of our family and friends who will be exposed to the virus is staggering, so being aware of the latest information is paramount in our quest to be safe.
Just yesterday one of my patients asked me about the effectiveness of the morning-after pill in a woman like herself, who was overweight. I knew that obesity could be associated with a decrease in the effectiveness of the birth control pill and the morning-after pill, but I could not give her better information.
Recently, there were a few review articles showing that studies are limited. Let me give you some questions to ask your health care provider about this situation, especially since about 25% of women in the childbearing age group are considered to be obese based on their BMI:
How effective is the birth control pill in overweight women?
Being overweight, is there a pill that could be more effective?
Could a vaginal ring or IUD be a better consideration?
Is the risk of blood clots increased with the pill?
Does bariatric surgery have any effects with the use of the pill?
I hope these questions will open the door for a good discussion so that the best medical treatment plan can be established.
Depression and anxiety disorders are a common problem found in pregnant women, with about 10-15% of these women taking a class of medications known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Prozac and Paxil are two of the medications found in this group. Studies of the children who had been exposed to these medications while in utero have been mixed in their findings.
There is now a new study out of Finland which may shed some new light. It is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The findings showed that the adolescents of women, who took SSRIs during pregnancy, had about 4 times the chance of becoming depressed by the age of 15, as compared to the children of women who suffered anxiety/depressive disorders and did not take the medications during their pregnancy.
I encourage all women who receive prescriptions for SSRIs to discuss with their health care providers the risks and benefits of these medications during pregnancy, before becoming pregnant. It is better to have a plan of care so you can have the best pregnancy for you and your baby.
Let us continue our update and review of vaginitis from my last post about this topic.
To better understand why vaginitis occurs, let us look at the vaginal environment. The lining of the vagina is made of squamous epithelial cells. These are flat and stratified, which means that there are multiple layers of these calls. These cells are rich in glycogen – a storage form of glucose. Remember, glucose is the most important simple sugar, and it is used as a source of energy for all human functions.
The squamous cells are continuously being shed from the lining and the glycogen in these becomes the energy for the lactobacilli that are naturally found in the vagina. These bacteria convert the glucose into lactic acid, which keeps the vaginal environment in an acidic state, helping to maintain the normal vaginal bacterial flora plus preventing abnormal organisms from growing.
If you disrupt the normal community of organisms, vaginitis can occur. There are many factors that can affect this natural environment:
Estrogen levels, for example, a menopausal state where estrogen levels are decreased
Different phases of the menstrual cycle
Sexually transmitted diseases
Different medications such as oral contraceptives and antibiotics
If you are on a regular walking program as part of your exercise plan, the recent snowstorms may hold you back for a while. It may be time to revisit your stairs at home or at work to continue staying in shape.
Try to vary your ascent by speed and the number of steps taken. Before you begin each climb at home, you may want to add stretching and doing a plank or push-ups. Before your descent, consider 10 jumping jacks. Also, always remember to speak to your health care provider before beginning any exercise program!
Last week, Mary Ann and I attended the World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine in Las Vegas. This is a meeting we attend annually, and each year we return with new and exciting information.
My focus was again on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and I am never disappointed with my time spent with the world leaders in this field. The overall philosophy of this branch of medicine is to help our patients prevent disease and to maintain function throughout their lives, long into old age.