Falling Asleep, Staying Asleep, Staying Youthful

woman sleepingIt’s winter. In most parts of the nation, people have already begun to hunker down as the temperatures continue to drop. For many, even during long, cold winter nights that seem best for hibernation, quality sleep can feel far out of reach.

Since the 1930s, we’ve known that sleep is much more complex than it appears.  It occurs in several discrete stages, each of which plays a role in maintaining health, growth and functionality. READ MORE →

7 Tips for Women to Combat Stress

The American Psychology Association reports that women are more likely to report physical and emotional symptoms associated with stress. Findings include:

  • Almost half of all women surveyed said their stress has increased over the past five years.
  • Women are more likely to report that money and the economy are sources of stress.
  • Women are more likely to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress, such as having had a headache, having felt as though they could cry or having had an upset stomach or indigestion.
  • Married women report higher levels of stress than single women.

Although you can never completely eliminate stress, you can reduce it immensely by incorporating a few simple lifestyle changes to balance your stress hormones. Stress hormones can disrupt almost all of a woman’s body’s processes and put her at increased risk of numerous health problems including:

  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive problems and ulcers
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Obesity
  • Memory impairment
  • Worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Increased likelihood of infectious diseases

A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Healthcare
While Ageology physicians believe that a customized medical treatment plan of vitamins, nutrition, exercise and hormone therapy, and prescribed medications as needed, is essential to help women achieve optimal health, they also believe the mind and body are inextricably linked with a woman’s state of physical health. Most traditional medical doctors do not explore the link between symptoms and the spiritual and mental well-being of their female patients. Nor do they seriously offer strategies for patients to manage the impacts of challenges such as prolonged stress, depression and anxiety beyond prescribing medication.

 

Women do need to stick to an exercise regime, eat healthy and nutritious food, take vitamins to supplement their diet, and possibly undergo bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in order to age well physically, emotionally and mentally. But women also need to understand there’s another side of keeping themselves healthy. Women also need to be able to laugh at themselves, sleep away stress (even if it’s only for a few hours), practice yoga or meditate, and be honest with their friends, family and themselves.

 

Ageology physicians can and do prescribe, and help female patients manage medication, but they also work with them one-to-one, using non-traditional approaches to managing mind/body health, and helping to restore the critical balance between physical and mental self. Here’s a few examples of a mind/body approach for women:

  • Eat well: The connection between the brain and the gut cannot be understated. Every day, new research is being released on what Ageology physicians and other integrative metabolic medicine physicians have known for a long time. What you eat affects how you feel and how you think. Too often, patients get shuffled from doctor to doctor looking for the cause of their unknown malady. After an adjustment to a low allergen (gluten/dairy/nut/sugar/fruit and alcohol free) diet, within days the patient starts to finally feel better, possibly after many years or a lifetime of feeling poor.
  • Get regular exercise and plenty of sleep: Exercise is a natural de-stressor. When women are engaged in physical activity their brains can partially refocus on the task at hand vs. the 1,000 other things that seem so pressing.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Quality sleep will stabilize women’s hormone levels and give them a chance to “wind down” to normal levels after a stressful day.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: There is nothing better than yoga to release stress. Like other exercise it gives women’s brains a distraction from stressors. But any exercise is even better if you can combine meditation into your practice.
  • Foster healthy friendships: Having friends and taking care of animals has been proven to be enormous de-stressors. If you can take your dog to work with you, do it and don’t forget to make time to connect with a friend each and every day.
  • Have a sense of humor: Instead of fretting over problems try to find the humorous side of them. Friends and your partner, boyfriend, fiancé or husband are often especially adept at helping you find the lighter side of your challenges, no matter how big they may seem.
  • Balance your hormones: Your Ageology physician will use saliva testing to help determine your cortisol levels and based on the results, will help you balance those levels, using a combination of stress reduction techniques, personalized nutrition and fitness regimens, pharmaceutical-grade supplementation and bioidentical hormone therapy.

For more information on how you can get well, feel well and age well, contact an Ageology physician near you today.

 

Learn more about women’s health issues and how Ageology can help:

 

Read Ageology’s recent blog posts and library resources to learn more about women’s mind/body and integrative metabolic medicine:

Want a better memory? Spend more time with your grandkids—but not too much!

Great news! A study published in 2014 showed that grandmothers who care for their grandchildren one day per week have a better chance of preventing cognitive decline and retaining a healthy memory.

 Australian researchers had 186 (post-menopausal) grandmothers take three different tests: one to measure cognitive performance in the areas of working memory, one to measure processing speed, and one that measured executive functioning, or the ability to problem solve and plan ahead.

The researchers found that grandmothers who cared for their grandchildren just one day per week performed better on the tests that measured working memory and processing speed. Conversely, those who cared for their grandchildren five days per week or more did significantly worse on a test that measured attention, working memory, and processing speed.

Social engagement supports good cognitive function and lowers the risk for dementia, yet it seems that too much of a good thing may be worse than no engagement at all.

While spending limited time with your grandchildren, engage them in activities that involve new learning and physical exercise. Go to the park, take a walk to the local library or visit a museum for the day. Physical activity gets your blood pumping and new learning encourages the growth of new brain cells and connections—a win/win scenario for everyone!

Source: http://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Citation/2014/10000/Role_of_grandparenting_in_postmenopausal_women_s.7.aspx

 

3 Scientifically Proven Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

As of 2015, approximately 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and experts predict that this number will grow to over 7 million in the next 10 years—a 40% increase. Clearly, something must be done!

 

Some people believe that Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, cured or slowed, yet we know that there are a number of ways that you can care for your body and brain to effectively lower your risk. According to a 2011 study, up to 54% of Alzheimer’s cases could have been avoided had the individual adopted healthier lifestyle habits. The most modifiable risk factors presented in the study were physical inactivity, depression, smoking, mid-life hypertension, mid-life obesity, low education and diabetes.

 

While some of the risk factors are a bit more complex to avoid, there are a few easy ways that you can start nourishing your brain and brain today. 

 

Eat more healthy fats and veggies. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk for cognitive impairment is 42% lower in mature adults who eat a diet that is higher is high-quality fats—think avocado, coconut oil and walnuts—and lower in refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and rice. Your brain matter is approximately 60% fat, so it needs enough “good fats” to function properly. With that said, make an effort to eliminate “bad fats” such as the ones in fried and processed foods.

 

Work your buns to boost your brain. Physical activity improves circulation and blood flow, which means that there is more oxygen and nutrients nourishing your brain cells. Exercise also helps prevent heart disease, weight gain and diabetes, which are all risk factors for Alzheimer’s. If that weren’t enough, exercise is also a fantastic antidepressant! How much should you get? Brisk walking for 30-45 minutes, 3-4 times per week is a fantastic way to start. Invite a friend for maximum enjoyment.

 

Spend time with your grandchildren. Spending time with your grandchildren—particularly while engaged in physical and/or learning activities—is another scientifically proven way to maintain cognitive health as you age. These types of activities, in addition to healthy social time with friends and family, strengthen the neural connections in your brain and help you stay sharp and happy!

 

Combine all three of these suggestions for maximum results. A 2014 study showed that after just two years, people who made these changes experienced improvements in memory, executive function (planning, thinking ahead) and scored higher on cognitive skills speed tests.

 

Who says that being healthy has to be a drag? Have fun with it!

After a Diagnosis: What To Do Next?

diagnosisThis week marks the 28th Annual Economics of Diagnostic Imaging: National Symposium in Arlington, Virginia. Thousands of radiologists are meeting to learn about the latest developments in the field. The insights that come out of this conference are important to Ageology physicians because radiologists usually participate in the process of a cancer diagnosis; and unfortunately, that’s a diagnosis that is handed down to a third of women and half of men in their lifetimes. READ MORE →

Over-The-Counter Pain Reliever Risks

Side_effects_of_aspirinIf you pop a few Advil a week without thinking, here’s a few reasons why you might want to stop.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are so named because, like steroids, they reduce inflammation. Steroid drugs are far too dangerous for routine use, so it’s good that these non-steroidal drugs are readily available over the counter for reducing inflammation, pain and fever. Generally, they’re safe, but it has long been known that these medications do carry significant risks when used too often—daily or almost daily for weeks, months or years. READ MORE →

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Part Two)

Breast-Cancer-and-its-ill-effects-268x200Ageology clients who are investigating bioidentical hormone therapy (BHT) are often concerned that this therapy could increase their risk of developing breast cancer, based on what they’ve seen in the media on the subject.

That wave of negative hormone therapy press began in 2002, when researchers stopped one branch of the enormous Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study. The study indicated that for every 10,000 postmenopausal women taking a combination of estrogen plus progestin (Prempro), eight more would develop invasive breast cancer than in a similar group not using hormone therapy (HT).   READ MORE →

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Part One)

cancersheknows.com

Over 25 years ago, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Coalition (NBAC) was established as a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and a pharmaceutical company now known as AstraZeneca. These two entities are the driving force behind National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 31 days filled with  pink ribbons, monuments illuminated in pink , and, most importantly, information on the current state of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. READ MORE →

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