Thursday, June 23, 2011

Breaking News for Women

I saw this article the other day in the paper, and I definitely don't feel that it got near the attention it deserved. I'm going to highlight the main points of it for you. This article perfectly spells out what this blog is all about--bringing you the latest and biggest news in today's health that will help you improve your facts, change bad habits, and help you live a much longer, healthier life. This is huge news for every woman (and man) that will expect or hope to expect a child sometime in their life. I think that includes all of us.

For years, many pregnant women have gone through a blood or ultrasound test that indicates a heightened risk of down syndrome, followed by a medical procedure to make a firm diagnosis by capturing DNA from the fetus. This medical procedure is usually the needle procedure called an amniocentesis, done almost four months or more into the pregnancy. Sometimes it's an earlier test called CVS, or chorionic villus sampling, which collects a bit of tissue from the placenta. Both pose a tiny but real chance for miscarriage.

But by this time next year there may be an alternative — one that offers accurate results as early as nine weeks into the pregnancy.

Companies are racing to market a more accurate blood test than those available now that could spare many women the need for an amnio or CVS. It would retrieve fetal DNA from the mother's bloodstream. And the answer could come before the pregnancy is obvious to others. For some women, that might mean abortion is a more tenable choice. For others it could be a mixed blessing. This definitely brings to the table the issue of whether this is a comfort or conflict.

Most cases are diagnosed after birth now, but if the blood test is widely adopted it could become chiefly a prenatal event.

A diagnosis before birth can pose a difficult challenge for couples as they decide whether to continue the pregnancy. It's not only about child-rearing, but also about what happens as the child grows into an older adult and may need care that the aging parents struggle to provide, says Dr. Mary Norton, a Stanford University professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

Currently, there are about 6,000 babies each year in the United States that are born with down syndrome, or about 1 in every 691 births.

Initially, doctors are expected to use the new blood test with women at risk for a Down syndrome pregnancy, such as those older than 35. A negative result would indicate a woman could skip the amnio or CVS; a positive result would suggest she get one done to be sure.

Eventually it might replace the routine screening tests offered to all pregnant women. Since the test sounds fewer false alarms than current tests, fewer women would be told they need the invasive follow-up procedures, experts say. And some suggest that with further fine-tuning, it could largely replace amnio and CVS. With no miscarriage risk, more women might be willing to take it, and so more women would find out they have a Down syndrome pregnancy.

Two California companies, Sequenom Inc. and Verinata Health Inc., hope to offer the test to doctors in the United States by next April. They say it could be done in the first trimester, with Sequenom aiming as early as 10 weeks, and Verinata as early as eight weeks. Results would be available 7 to 10 days later. None of the companies would discuss its cost.

Since the new blood test could deliver an answer so early — before a pregnancy is showing or the baby is kicking — it might make getting an abortion easier, several observers said. Women haven't bonded so much, and "they wouldn't have to explain to as many people," said Christie Brooks, who moderates an online support group for women who've gotten abortions for medical reasons.

Some say the blood test could thrust some women into a choice they didn't ask to make.

If these tests are someday replaced by the new blood test, many women may be told out of the blue not simply that they're at risk, but that in fact their baby almost surely has Down syndrome, says Hank Greely, a Stanford University law professor.

"They're going to jump directly to the final answer, which is not necessarily something they wanted to get," Greely said. So the new test poses a challenge to the medical establishment about how to assure that women get adequate counseling to make an informed choice, he said.

I hope you read this post carefully, because if this new test takes over the current test next year, it will be a great blessing to some women, and a tremendous ethical dilemma for others. It will most certainty cause a drastic change in the pregnancy of those 6,000 mothers every year.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Did you know that....

  • The skin has a total surface area of 15 to 20 square feet and weights about 9 pounds!

  • Each square inch of skin contains:
  • 15 feet of blood vessels
  • 4 yards of nerves
  • 650 sweat glands
  • 100 oil glands
  • 1500 sensory receptors
* This really makes it easy to see how incredibly complex and amazing our bodies are! The creator of our bodies really must have known what he was doing!

Did you know that there are more than 3 million skin cells that are constantly dying and being replaced! The outermost layer of the epidermis (stratum corneum) consists of about 20 to 30 sheets of dead skin cells arranged in "shingles" that flake off as dry skin! It's no wonder we have to clean the millions upon millions of dead skin cells off of our furniture and floors every week when we dust and vacuum!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh the Benefits of Running...

I'd like to start off with a simple question. Which one of these lovely folks would you like to be when you enter your twilight years?

Would you like to be in this man's shoes in the hospital facing a long list of complications?

Or would you like to be like this lovely couple, enjoying every moment of life?

Okay, I know that was cheesy, but my point is this: If you want a high quality of life in your later years, then you need to develop the right habits in your younger years and stick to them. I'm talking to everyone here, because everyone has later years ahead of them. It is a fact that most people who have good exercise habits in their later years developed them in their younger years and stuck to them.

In my schooling in the nursing program and in my job at the hospital, I have seen so many people in their 50's on their death beds with all sorts of health problems. If I were to interview each of them, I would be surprised if any of them could tell me that they have kept up a consistent, and well balanced exercise program for most of their lives.

So how can you ensure that you will still be out with your spouse and friends traveling the world, going golfing, shopping, skiing, etc.. when you hit your later years? Keep reading...

Just because I like you, I am going to tell you the secret. I would like to reveal to you what the fountain of youth is. Are you ready? RUNNING!!!

Do you have any idea just what running can do for you and your health? Well strap yourself down, cause your about to find out...

  • It lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels, and raises HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels. Basically, it makes you less fat, sign me up please.

  • It lowers blood pressure and insulin resistance (which will help keep you from developing type 2 diabetes)

  • Greatly reduces the risk of congestive heart disease and failure

  • Increase's your libido

  • It helps lower stress, which does wonders for you and your body. Exercise is one of the top ways recommended by professionals to relieve stress.

  • It is a major anxiety reducer. Anxiety is often treated with medication, but many people choose to try exercise before resorting to prescription drugs. Running has an antidepressant effect on runners, reducing anxiety and increasing serotonin levels.

  • Runner's high!!! Running releases endorphins that make you feel good. Running can give you a feeling of happiness that lasts for hours.

  • Major confidence booster! You may notice that your clothes fit better and that your body is tighter.

  • It helps you reach goals. Finishing long runs or reaching goals builds confidence and helps you get used to success. Once you've reached the ultimate goal of finishing that race, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment you can't get from anywhere else.

  • Improves your Memory. Running can help your mind stay as sharp as your body. Running improves your ability to retain information as well as to perform problem-solving tasks.

  • It will help you decrease feelings of fatigue. It will make you feel more energetic. Being tired is one of the top reasons people choose to skip a run. This is a mistake, as running will actually have the opposite effect.

  • It helps you develop positive relationships. Runners who run with another person or in a group often make new friends and develop strong relationships with other runners which is very important for your long term health believe it or not. People live longer if they have strong social ties with others. People who run in groups help each other work out problems as well as reach physical goals.

  • It helps maintain the elasticity of the arteries which lowers your blood pressure. As a person runs, his or her arteries expand and contract more than usual, keeping the arteries elastic and the blood pressure low.

  • It helps maximize the lungs’ potential, as it keeps them strong and powerful. While deep breaths force the lungs to use more tissue, the 50% of normally unused lung potential is utilized.

  • It helps slow down the aging process.

  • It reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer
Okay, I just need to put an end to this list so you can go on with your day, but the list truly is endless. These were just some of my favorite. When I think of what running can do for you, I always think of my 70 year old human anatomy teacher that used to come to school during the summer in his 5" long shorts and teach us like he was in his 20's.

He ran in many races, he ran to school a lot, and he even offered a certain amount of extra credit to students according to how much they could beat his time in a race that they would run in with him. This guy was as sharp as a tack and could probably have beaten me up. I want to be just like him when I get his age.

So lets all start the wonderful habit of running consistently, because I want to go skiing and hiking with you when I'm 90, not to your funeral.

There truly is a time when running transforms from a painful and dreaded torture into a wonderful and rewarding experience.

Running is not about who can run the furthest and the fastest. It is a place where we can escape our problems and enter into a world where we are invincible!!!

Summer Time!!!

Now that mother nature has decided that it's almost time for SUMMER, here are some facts your going to want to know this summer to make it great.

It is well known that cumulative sun exposure positvely correlates with skin cancers. Many skin cancers can be prevented by limiting exposure to risk factors. Here's what you need to know:
  • Minimize sun exposure between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM, when ultraviolet rays are the strongest
  • Apply a waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more at least 30 minutes before every exposure to the sun

  • If swimming or sweating heavily, reapply every hour.

  • One of the biggest myths out there is that clouds completely protect you from the sun's UV rays: Apply sunscreen not only on sunny days but also on cloudy days (ultraviolet rays can penetrate 70% to 80% of the cloud cover

  • Use sunscreen and protective clothing when you are on or near sand, snow, concrete, or water (they can reflect more than 50% of the ultraviolet rays back onto your skin)

  • Avoid tanning booths; UVR emitted by tanning booths damages the deep layers of the skin, not just the superficial layers
  • SLIP on a shirt

  • SLOP on 15 SPF or higher

  • SLAP on a hat

  • WRAP on sunglasses before exposure to the sun