Remember, don’t overlook your heart!

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
-smoking
-an abnormal lipid profile
-being overweight
-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.
-Dr. P

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Are you at your mental best? No? Maybe you need a cup of coffee and a nap.

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!

Morning 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.

Marijuana and Pregnancy

mmIt 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.

-Dr. P

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Will Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Affect Your Child?

Will Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Affect Your Child-655793_640Depression 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.

-Dr. P

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Aspirin to Prevent Preterm Labor

One Viable Method to Prevent Preterm LaborPreterm birth rates continue to rise in the United States and are a major cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality.  Low-dose aspirin has been researched as a possible inexpensive and safe medication to help reduce the incidence of preterm birth.

Aspirin helps by reducing uterine contractility and inflammation.  Many medical issues such as the fetus being too small for gestational age, preeclampsia, placental insufficiency, and spontaneous labor may be reasons to consider protocols to help prevent preterm births.  In these instances, the effects of aspirin may be very helpful.

Many studies have shown a decrease in preterm births in patients taking low-dose aspirin prior to and during pregnancy.  It can be especially helpful to those with a history of a previous pregnancy loss.

The possibility of decreasing the incidence of preterm labor is very exciting.  Additional research is necessary to fully observe and understand all of the effects of low-dose aspirin on pregnancy.  Always remember to speak to your health care provider to discuss your particular concerns and to see if low-dose aspirin can be beneficial to you!

-Dr. P

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