A gentle way to remove a tick

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.

Ticks Poster 1 Rev5

-Dr. P

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Another reason to encourage weight control in adolescents

kid-scale

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.

-Dr. P

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Decreasing Hormones. Decreasing Menstruation.

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.

menstrual

-Dr. P

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Why Overweight Women May Have an Increased Chance of Cancer

Why Overweight Women May Have an Increased Chance of Cancer_81946825 [Converted]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!

-Dr. P

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These Missed Signs Could Be Why Women Are More Likely to Die of Heart Disease

Electrocardiogram - Concept of healthcare, heartbeat shown on monitor - pink

The risk of suffering from a heart attack increases for women after going through menopause.  It seems that estrogen is heart protective, and after the menses stops, estrogen production greatly decreases.  Therefore, heart problems become more of a concern.

It is important to remember that more women die of heart disease each year than men.  This may be attributed to the fact that women do not seek medical attention as quickly as men when possible heart concerns develop.  When suffering a heart attack, most men will describe crushing or squeezing chest pain while women will have no chest pain or simply a fullness feeling in the chest.  Many women during a heart attack may complain of dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and weakness.woman hugging her husband

Please be alert for a woman’s special signs of a heart attack, and do not delay a trip to the ER.  Your family and close ones need you!

-Dr. P

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A New Medication to Help a Painful Menopausal Symptom

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MH900370730In February 2013, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the US approved a new drug for the treatment of dyspareunia (painful sexual relations), caused by the thinning of the vulva and vaginal tissues in the menopausal time of life.

The drug is called Osphena (ospemifene), and it acts as a tissue selective estrogen protagonist and antagonist.  This means that in some tissues, like the uterine lining and the vulva/vagina tissues, the ospemifene stimulates the tissue like estrogen, and in other tissues it acts like an anti-estrogen.

  • This is a medication in the same family as tamoxifen, which is used in breast cancer treatment and prevention protocols.
  • Dyspareunia is decreased because ospemifene has been shown to stimulate the vaginal mucosal tissue.
  • Osphena is an oral tablet which is taken daily.
  • It is contraindicated in patients with estrogen dependent cancers, a history of stroke or blood clots, or a cardiac history.
  • With this medication, there has been a reported increase in hot flushes.
  • This new medication may appeal to women who are not interested in using estrogen vaginal treatments or systemic hormone replacement therapy.

If you are suffering with this menopausal problem, speak to your health care professional because help is available, and this new medication may be an answer for you.

-Dr. P

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How Does Tamoxifen Treat Breast Cancer?

…..Science HealthTamoxifen is a common endocrine treatment for both early and advanced breast cancer in pre- and post-menopausal women.  Some breast cancer cells are stimulated to grow in the presence of the estrogen hormone.  The estrogens bind to special areas in the cancer cells called estrogen receptors, and once the estrogens are attached, the cancer cells’ growth is enhanced.  These breast cancers are called estrogen receptor positive.

 …..Tamoxifen breaks down in the body into a compound that also binds to the estrogen receptor in the cancer cell, but it does not stimulate the cancer cell to grow.  Since the binding site is filled, any available estrogen cannot attach to the cancer cell and stimulate its growth.

…..After the diagnosis and treatment of a breast cancer that was estrogen receptor positive, many patients would be placed on 5 years of tamoxifen treatment, and this would reduce the recurrence of the disease.  New studies may cause oncologists to change the protocol to 10 years of tamoxifen treatment due to the findings of better long-term outcomes.  There are currently ongoing studies which should shed more light on the possibility of modifying the protocols.

…..I would like to touch upon two other points.  As with all medications, tamoxifen can have side effects.  Endometrial cancer is increased with the use of tamoxifen, and so oncologists follow patients closely for this potential problem.  Lastly, another group of medications, called aromatase inhibitors, is now being used more frequently with these patients, but worldwide tamoxifen remains widely used.

-Dr. P

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