For the millions of women going through menopause, I don’t think there is anything more confusing than the research and decisions surrounding hormone therapy. As a postmenopausal woman who uses a small dose of hormones, every new study grabs my attention. The latest headline suggests hormones are declared to be safe. Did I miss something? Has there been new research from randomized trials (the best form of research)?
Archive for the ‘Newsletters’ Category
I am committed to sharing with you some of the highlights in medicine and science on a regular basis. Here is one headline that caught my eye this week:
An Ultrasound and Mammogram May Be Better to Detect Breast Cancer in Women who are High Risk
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer and the most feared condition among women. Yet annual mammograms can miss early cancers, especially in women who have dense fibrocystic breasts. Recent guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest that an annual MRI scan in addition to a mammogram would improve detection of early cancers, but is worth doing only for very high-risk women. The rest of us at average risk (1 in 50 chance at age 50 is considered average risk) would have too many false positive findings on the MRI and would be subjected to anxiety and way too many needless biopsies.
HOT FLUSHES IN OLDER WOMEN, SLUGGISH THYROID DESPITE NORMAL BLOOD TESTS AND OTHER IMPORTANT HEALTH STORIESMonday, April 28th, 2008
Who would think this week would bring so many interesting stories on health-related topics? Here are just a few highlights that caught my eye:
THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE (TSH) LEVELS MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED HEART DISEASE DEATH IN WOMEN
Just last week we were warned that 1 in 8 baby-boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the years to come. It is a frightening statistic because we still know too little about who is at risk (although family history is important) and how to prevent it. We do know that physical exercise can lower our risk of dementia by improving brain blood flow and removal of dangerous brain plaques that contribute to this feared brain disease.
Calorie-conscious consumers who opt for diet sodas may gain more weight than if they drank sugary drinks because of artificial sweeteners contained in the diet sodas, according to a new study.
A Purdue University study released Sunday in the Journal Behavioral Neuroscience reported that rats on diets containing the artificial sweetener saccharin gained more weight than rats given sugary food, casting doubt on the benefits of low-calorie sweeteners.
There’s something about diet foods that changes your metabolic limit, your brain chemistry.
Though more research needs to be done to uncover more information, the study does hint at the idea that the sweeteners alter a person’s metabolism.
Very few women (and most men for that matter) worry about the state of their bones until one day a simple slip causes a broken hip and months of recuperation and physical therapy. Or when their dentist tells them that they are about to lose their teeth because the bony part of their jaw has receded. Or when their vertebrae start to crumble like old chalk, leaving them shorter, hump-backed, and in constant severe pain.
Many women have asked me about the meaning of the new report about heart disease and long-term use of birth control pills. I thought I would share my today’s HEALTHY DOSE column with you to address so many of the questions or concerns.
A recent study from Belgium suggested that long-term use of oral contraceptives or birth control pills may increase the chances of having artery plaque or “buildup” that can signal early heart disease. Even though the study is small and the details are not yet known, this is important because it is estimated that about 16 million American women currently take birth control pills and hundreds of millions have used them in the past.
OPRAH SHINES A LIGHT ON THYROID DISEASE: After Oprah shared last week her recent diagnosis of a “burned out thyroid” after suffering months of undiagnosed low fatigue and energy, I have heard from so many women complaining that they too have been misdiagnosed before finally learning what was wrong with them. I plan to write much more about thyroid disease in the future, what causes it, how to diagnose it, how to best treat it. But for now I think the most important message we can take away from Oprah’s revelation is that if we feel something is just not right – believe it – and act on it to get the most accurate diagnosis possible and the best treatment possible. Find a doctor or practitioner who takes your concerns seriously and be sure that you get the necessary tests to get to the bottom of what is going on. Don’t just assume stress is the cause of your symptoms without first exploring the possibility that an underlying medical condition that requires specific treatment exists - such as Oprah Winfrey’s hypoactive thyroid or Leslie Stahl’s iron deficiency. Read my interview “Women Must Take Charge of Their Own Thyroid Health” with thyroid expert and patient advocate Mary Shomon at About.com to learn more about thyroid disease and how to work with your doctor.
Yesterday I appeared on Weekend Today speaking about mistakes women make in their 40’s and beyond. Last week I and did an interview for iVillage on the HPV test titled, “Low-Carb Love: A guilt free guide to manhandling – without the sugarcoating”. I share with you some excerpts from both interviews including the links so you can read more.
Want to be healthy over 50? Get these tests
Dr. Marie Savard on how to avoid common medical and health mistakes
Did you ever notice that only the so-called “bad” news about menopause and hormones seems to get our attention? Yet almost daily I am reading about new research and information about the benefits of hormones – so I thought I would share with you some of the good news for a change. (Although I am not recommending estrogen to prevent heart disease in women, estrogen is used to treat the distressing symptoms of menopause and is often the only thing that really works!!)