Taking ‘Bragging Rights’ to a New High!

“Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.”  – William Shakespeare

 

We all enjoy sharing our successes with those we love, and sometimes with those we may not even like (come on, be honest, you do!) But, I’m always astounded when people blatantly – and prolongedly – brag about themselves and their families. What’s their goal? Surely, their close friends know what’s up in their lives. And why do they have a need to impress their acquaintances? Are they actually insecure about themselves, so sharing their accomplishments makes them feel more confident? 

A man I know has been a braggadocio from the day we met, many moons ago. He recently went so far as to compose a lengthy email that included the following information:

He is now living in a “14-room apartment, but with one less maid’s room” than in the apartment where he used to live. (ed note: Why do two people need a 14-room apartment, especially with one less maid’s room?)

One son lives in this man’s old apartment, and also owns the penthouse above it, so it’s “a beautiful xxx* Avenue Duplex Penthouse with wonderful, huge terraces” (ed note: notice that Duplex Penthouse was capitalized in case the reader didn’t grasp the significance of the property.) 

This son also has a “very impressive, full professor, gorgeous, blonde spouse and two very smart (as though they stepped out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement) sons.”(ed note: notice the wife is smart AND blonde).

And if all that doesn’t impress you, the son is head of what is “considered the most prestigious (and probably profitable), largest, independent xxxxx broker in the xxx xxxx metropolitan area.”  

His younger son is also “a continuing success” in the “extraordinarily difficult entertainment field,” lest the reader think that kid takes a back seat to son #1. 

Both sons “work very, very hard, participate in good charitable endeavors, and are nice, good, gentle people.” Son #2 “hosts many fundraisers and donates his time and talent to very worthy causes.” (ed note:  he then repeats that son #2 is a “very nice person,” in case the reader couldn’t remember what they read 50 words before.)

The man ends his family’s resume by telling the reader he “feels fulfilled and challenged.”   

AGE DOESN’T TEMPER SOME PEOPLE. IT ONLY INTENSIFIES THEIR OBNOXIOUSNESS. 

*PS, I’ve omitted  facts that would reveal the identity of this man and his sons. Not that you’d want to know him after reading this!

Honoring His Treatment Experience After a Leukemia Diagnosis

This post was developed in collaboration with Novartis

During a Sunday phone call 15 years ago, Mitch learned he had leukemia from a doctor who talked so fast, Mitch couldn’t make out his name. His own doctor had told him the day before that his white blood cell count was off on his recent blood tests, and she wanted him to see a specialist right away. She never mentioned leukemia. Being a “broad brushstroke kind of guy,” Mitch didn’t ask questions. He’d learn what was up from the specialist, he thought.

Engaged in his treatment: Actual patient Mitch discusses his journey with CML

When the fast‐talking doctor called, he asked Mitch a litany of questions about his health. “‘Did you ever have this? Did you ever feel that?’” Mitch remembered him asking. When Mitch responded no to all the questions, the doctor said, “That’s great, because with leukemia we tend to think of these things.” He then told Mitch to have a good day and hung up!

“My wife was out with a girlfriend and I was alone,” said Mitch, a small business owner in Biddeford, ME, who was 45 years old at the time. “I was in a mild state of shock. When you hear the word ‘leukemia’, it doesn’t exactly conjure up the idea that this will be fine.” He tried not to dwell on it for the rest of the day. “I’ll know what I’ll be facing when I see the specialist tomorrow,” Mitch remembered thinking. He never learned the identity of fast talker. He just knows that was probably the worst phone call of his life.

“It’s the classic signature of Ph+ CML, and we’ve got to get your white blood cell count down,” the specialist matter-of-factly told Mitch. “You’d be in the hospital if the count was any higher. After that, we’re going to introduce you to a drug that’s been very successful in treating this type of leukemia,” the doctor explained to Mitch.

Ph+ CML are the initials for Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic myeloid leukemia – a type of blood and bone marrow cancer which is associated with a mutation in the genes called the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome. This triggers the bone marrow to grow abnormal white blood cells uncontrollably. This form of leukemia is most often diagnosed in people over 60, but can occur in younger adults, as it did with Mitch.

The specialist made it clear that Mitch had a serious illness known as Ph+ CML in chronic phase and needed treatment. Other than feeling “a little tired and out of sorts,” Mitch said he had no other symptoms. “I was working 60 or 70 hours a week. Being tired and feeling out of sorts at times is part and parcel of the whole thing, so I didn’t think anything of it,” Mitch noted.

THE TREATMENT JOURNEY: BUMPY, THEN SMOOTH SAILING

Over the next five years, Mitch’s leukemia was treated with two drugs, and while they kept his white blood cell count in check, he faced unfortunate side effects. Fortunately, another drug – Tasigna® (nilotinib) capsules – had received FDA approval by this time, and patients like Mitch, who endured side effects with other drugs, were having some success with this one. Tasigna can cause side effects, however, such as headache, nausea and potentially other serious outcomes.

Mitch has been taking Tasigna twice a day for the last 10 years, and his white blood cell count is under control. While the experience with Tasigna is different for every patient, Mitch has not reported experiencing side effects “worth mentioning.” After his doctors cautioned him about a potential side effect called QTc prolongation, a serious and possibly life‐threatening heart problem that causes an irregular heartbeat, Mitch is careful to note if he becomes lightheaded, faint or senses an irregular heartbeat.

Mitch is proud of his role in his treatment process for Ph+ CML: Going for blood work every single week, at first, to determine his white blood count and giving bone marrow samples once a month. “It’s like ice core drilling in the Arctic,” Mitch jested. “They use a small core drill to take marrow from my hip.” He takes Tasigna twice a day, 12 hours apart. What’s more, he also can’t eat for two hours before and one hour after his dose.

“It’s my responsibility to honor the process,” Mitch advised. “You really need to be engaged in your treatment. How can I expect the most out of my doctor if I’m not giving it my best? I’m part of a club and I have an obligation to follow the rules. It’s not just about me; it’s about my family. And, it’s about the thousands of people who worked incredibly hard to bring this drug to market, which makes an impact on the lives of thousands every year.”

Mitch hopes his own experience will help others who have been diagnosed with Ph+ CML, which is why he’s excited to be part of an important Tasigna campaign called Your Blood Demands to Be Heard. “If you own your treatment journey every step of the way, as I’ve owned mine, you can have a better chance for success,” he stressed.

Mitch has inspirational overarching advice for anyone recently diagnosed with Ph+ CML: “There’s a great deal of hope, with years and years of research behind this disease. Just make sure to follow your treatment plan to a tee. Every. Single. Day!”


MITCH’S INSIGHTS

This 15‐year veteran of Ph+ CML also offered seven specific strategies on how he successfully incorporated his treatment into his life:

       JUGGLING ON AND OFF DAYS: “You will learn how to predict good days and bad days and operate accordingly. When I became tired, I’d have to be mindful that it wasn’t safe to climb ladders in my job or walk as far and as long as I once did. I knew my clients wanted to see me being engaged and energetic, so I’d reserve those activities for the good days.”

       USING KNOWLEDGE AS POWER: “I made sure to completely understand early on what I needed to do, when I needed to do it, and what was supposed to be happening with my body. Be mindful of side effects. I was probably a little more ignorant than I should have been.”

       SHOWING UP: “Monitoring your blood count is a key part of the process, so when the doctor told me to show up for blood work or other testing, I knew I had to show up.”

      ➠ MINDING THE MEDS: “You might feel so good, you decide to stop taking the meds. But you shouldn’t change your routine without discussing it with your doctor.”

      ➠ LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE: “You have to play an active part in your treatment. I’m not engaged in the minutiae, in all the numbers and information the doctors must review, but I always discuss my test results with the doctor or a nurse. I want to know whether everything looks good or whether I had a blip that month. I’m more thumbs up or thumbs down. How am I doing this week and this month? Other patients want to know every number and what it means, but that’s not me.”

      ➠ SETTING THE TIMES FOR TASIGNA: “It might take a while to establish a comfortable routine for taking the medication, since you need it two hours before a meal, and you can’t eat for an hour after the dose. Mornings are super easy for me, since I usually wake up at 6 am and I don’t typically eat breakfast until 8 am. I put the pill on the table next to the bed, pop it in at 6 am and go back to sleep. The timing is more difficult for me in the evening if I’m having dinner with a client or a friend than when I’m home with my wife. It’s not mind‐bending advice, but you have to figure it out on your own.”

      ➠ TRUSTING YOUR DOCS: “It’s more important that I trust the competence and the capability of my doctors and key members of their staff. If that breaks down, I’d look for someone else I can trust. It’s great if you like them, too, but not essential.”

Mitch says his disease is under control, but he’ll likely be on Tasigna for the rest of his life. His blood is tested every six months, and he doesn’t need bone marrow checks at this point, unless something unusual were to show up in his blood. Does he worry? “Heck yeah, every six months it’s like the biggest job interview of my life or waiting to get the biggest contract. I know that Ph+ CML will forever be part of my life, but it doesn’t have to sit at the head of the table. It can sit off to the side just as long as I recognize that it’s there,” he said.

Know your blood count, what the numbers mean, and get a treatment that can help.

To learn more about Tasigna and Mitch’s story, please visit bit.ly/39MghBg.

APPROVED USES

TASIGNA® (nilotinib) capsules is a prescription medicine used to treat:
• Adults with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome–positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase

• Adults with Ph+ CML in chronic phase and accelerated phase who no longer benefit from, or did not tolerate, other treatment, including GLEEVEC® (imatinib)

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT TASIGNA® (nilotinib) Capsules

QTc Prolongation and Sudden Death: TASIGNA can cause QTc prolongation, a possibly life‐ threatening heart problem. QTc prolongation causes an irregular heartbeat, which may lead to sudden death. Call your doctor right away if you feel lightheaded, faint, or have an irregular heartbeat while taking TASIGNA. These can be symptoms of QTc prolongation.

• Your doctor should check your heart with a test called an electrocardiogram (ECG)

• Do not take TASIGNA if you have long QTc syndrome or low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood

• TASIGNA can interact with many medicines and supplements. This may increase your chances for serious and life‐threatening side effects. Do not take any other medicine while taking TASIGNA unless your doctor tells you it is okay to do so

• Food and grapefruit products increase the amount of TASIGNA in your body. This may increase your chances for serious and life‐threatening side effects. Take TASIGNA on an empty stomach

     ° Avoid eating food for at least 2 hours before the dose is taken, and avoid eating food for at least 1 hour after the dose is taken

     ° Avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and any supplement containing grapefruit extract while taking TASIGNA

TASIGNA can cause serious side effects that can even lead to death. During treatment with TASIGNA your doctor will do tests to check for side effects. These tests will check your heart, blood cells (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets), electrolytes (potassium, magnesium), cholesterol, blood sugar, and pancreas and liver function. Your doctor may have you stop TASIGNA for some time or lower your dose if you have side effects. You should follow your doctor’s instructions. Serious side effects include:

• Low Blood Counts: Low blood counts are common with TASIGNA but can also be severe. Your doctor will check your blood counts regularly during treatment with TASIGNA. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of low blood counts including:

     ° Fever, chills, or other signs of infection

     ° Unexplained bleeding or bruising

     ° Shortness of breath

     ° Unexplained weakness

• Decreased Blood Flow to the Legs, Heart, or Brain: People who have recently been diagnosed with Ph+ CML and take TASIGNA may develop decreased blood flow to the legs, heart, or brain. Get medical help right away if you suddenly develop any of the following symptoms:

     ° Chest pain or discomfort

     ° Numbness or weakness

     ° Problems walking or speaking

     ° Leg pain or your leg feels cold

     ° Change in the skin color of your leg

• Pancreas Inflammation (Pancreatitis): Call your doctor if you have symptoms including sudden stomach area pain with nausea and vomiting

• Liver Problems: TASIGNA can increase your risk of liver problems. People who have had liver problems in the past may be at risk for getting liver problems with TASIGNA. Call your doctor, or get medical help right away if you develop any symptoms of liver problems including stomach area (abdominal) pain, yellow skin/eyes, and dark‐colored urine

• Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): TLS is caused by a fast breakdown of cancer cells. Your doctor may do blood tests to check you for TLS. TLS can cause you to have kidney failure (with the need for dialysis treatment) and/or an abnormal heartbeat

• Bleeding Problems: Serious bleeding problems and death have happened during treatment with TASIGNA. Call your doctor right away if you develop signs and symptoms of bleeding such as uncontrolled bleeding, changes in eyesight, unconsciousness, sudden headache, or sudden confusion about your surroundings

• Total Gastrectomy: Tell your doctor if you have had a surgical procedure involving the removal of the entire stomach (total gastrectomy). Your doctor may need to change your dose

• Lactose: Tell your doctor if you have a severe problem with lactose (milk sugar) or other sugars. TASIGNA capsules contain lactose. Most people who have mild or moderate lactose intolerance can take TASIGNA

• Fluid Retention: Your body may hold too much fluid (fluid retention). Symptoms of fluid retention include shortness of breath, rapid weight gain, and swelling

• Abnormal Growth or Development in Children: Effects on growth and development have happened in children with chronic phase Ph+ CML during treatment with TASIGNA. Some children and adolescents who take TASIGNA may have slower than normal growth

• Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: TASIGNA should not be used during pregnancy since it may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, tell your doctor right away. If you are able to become pregnant, your doctor should perform a pregnancy test before you start TASIGNA. Effective birth control should be used during treatment and for at least 14 days after your last TASIGNA dose. Do not breastfeed during treatment with TASIGNA and for at least 14 days after the final dose

• Treatment‐Free Remission in Adults: Your doctor will monitor your CML during treatment with TASIGNA to see if you are in remission. After at least 3 years of treatment with TASIGNA, your doctor may do certain tests to determine if you continue to be in remission. Based on your test results, your doctor will decide if you are eligible to try stopping treatment with TASIGNA. This is called treatment‐free remission (TFR)

     ° Your doctor will carefully monitor your CML during and after you stop taking TASIGNA. If your test results show your CML is no longer in remission, your doctor will restart TASIGNA treatment

     ° It is important that your doctor does frequent monitoring to find out if you need to restart your TASIGNA treatment. Follow your doctor’s instructions about restarting TASIGNA if you are no longer in TFR

• Drug Interactions: TASIGNA can interact with many medicines and supplements. This may increase your chances for serious and life‐threatening side effects. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and over‐the‐counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements

If you need to take antacids (medicines to treat heartburn) do not take them at the same time that you take TASIGNA. If you take:

     ° A medicine to block the amount of acid produced in the stomach (H2 blocker): Take these medicines about 10 hours before you take TASIGNA or about 2 hours after you take TASIGNA

     ° An antacid that contains aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide,and simethicone to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach: Take these medicines about 2 hours before or about 2 hours after you take TASIGNA

• Common Side Effects in Adults and Children Include:

    • Nausea          • Diarrhea            • Rash             • Cough

    • Headache      • Constipation      • Tiredness      • Muscle and joint pain

    • Itching            • Vomiting            • Fever             • Night sweats

    • Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat

• Side Effects in Adults Attempting TFR: If you and your doctor decide that you can stop taking TASIGNA and try TFR, you may have more muscle and bone (musculoskeletal) symptoms than before you stopped treatment. Symptoms may include muscle pain, bone pain, arm and leg pain, spinal pain, and joint pain

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of TASIGNA. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1‐800‐FDA‐1088.

Please see the full Prescribing Information, including the Boxed WARNING, and the TASIGNA Medication Guide.

References

1. American Cancer Society. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), About Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. 22 February 2016. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8684.00.pdf. Accessed November 2019

2. Tasigna [prescribing information]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; 2019

Faithfully Observing Her Treatment Experience After a Leukemia Diagnosis

This post was developed in collaboration with Novartis

Staying positive and determined: Actual patient Virginia embraces compliance with her CML treatment

Virginia was in her late 40s when she began getting upset stomachs on and off throughout the week. Active and health conscious–her nieces and nephews call her “nuts and berries”–Virginia thought she might be perimenopausal. “When I asked my older sister if my stomach problem could be related, she said, ‘Sometimes, but everyone is different,’” Virginia recalled. After a couple of months, it got to the point where she could eat only half her meal because her stomach was burning pretty intensely, and she felt nauseous.

Between jobs, Virginia had insurance but didn’t have a primary care doctor, so she took herself to the ER in a hospital near her home in Southern California. There she learned her white blood cell count, normally around 10K, had shot up to 700K, and her spleen had enlarged to over four times its normal size. With that came the news that Virginia had Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase, or Ph+ CML, which is a cancer of cells in the blood and bone marrow that starts with a gene mutation called the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome. This triggers the bone marrow to grow abnormal white blood cells uncontrollably. A form of leukemia most often diagnosed in people over 60, it can occur in younger adults, as it did with Virginia.

“My spleen had been taking on all of the cancer, which is very uncommon, and it extended from the top of my rib cage to my groin. It was laying on top of my stomach and my intestines, which was impacting my digestion. I was lucky it didn’t erupt,” Virginia said. It took 10 days of intense chemotherapy to get her white blood cell count to a place where she could be released from the hospital. “I was devastated. I was scared. I had no idea about my future,” Virginia remembered.

“When the ER oncologist walked into the room and told me that CML is slower growing and easier to treat than some other forms of cancer, I felt a little better,” Virginia said. “‘We’re going to figure this out, and you’re going to be okay,’” said the oncologist, who has remained Virginia’s doctor to this day, nine years later. “We have a total partnership,” Virginia said.

MAKING ‘COMPLIANCE’ COMMONPLACE

Released from the hospital with a treatment plan, Virginia was instructed by her oncologist to make sure to take her medicine and have her blood drawn every three months. “At first, I didn’t understand exactly what the treatment was going to do or the side effects I could have. There’s only so much information you can absorb when you’re newly diagnosed,” Virginia said. “My oncologist didn’t want to expose me to information overload, so she said, ‘Let’s get you stabilized with this routine and see how it goes.’”

“I was on the drug for about four months, which got my numbers within the normal range,” Virginia added, “But the side effects were too great, so my doctor switched me to Tasigna® (nilotinib) capsules, which was a relatively new drug at the time.” Some patients were responding well to it, Virginia’s oncologist told her.

“I had a pretty seamless transition with Tasigna.
Though it can cause side effects for some, such as headache, nausea and potentially other serious outcomes, my numbers kept improving.

It was great to start taking Tasigna,” Virginia remembered feeling.

Virginia has been taking two doses of Tasigna, 12 hours apart, every day for about nine years. Each dose must also be taken two hours before a meal, and patients can’t eat for one hour after the dose. “I had never taken medicine on a strict routine. It was a big‐time shift for me, but my doctor and I made an agreement that I’d be compliant and take the medicine, and I have been,” Virginia explained. “Compliance is a strong word, but I like using it. You have to know you’ll be better off in the long run if you follow the treatment plan to a tee, so I do. I’m grateful that this medication actually exists and that helps me to go with it. Fasting is the hardest part,” Virginia continued.

After her “devastating diagnosis,” Virginia was introduced to a support group of CML survivors who “have walked this road many more years than I have,” she said. They gave her a wealth of good information, as well as strong emotional, practical and financial support. A national patient support group also assigned a volunteer first responder with CML to call Virginia soon after she was diagnosed.

VIRGINIA’S INSIGHTS

Virginia hopes her own experience will help others who have been diagnosed with Ph+ CML, which is why she’s excited to be part of an important Tasigna campaign called Your Blood Demands to Be Heard. “When you take the medicine and have your blood tested on schedule, you’re doing the right thing,” she stressed. A nine‐year veteran of Ph+ CML, Virginia also offered four specific strategies on how she successfully incorporated her disease and its treatment into her life:

      ➠ TIME FOR TASIGNA: “The morning dose is very easy for me because you’re supposed to fast two hours before and an hour after. I take it when I wake up and then wait an hour to eat, and then that dosage is done. Then I take it at 9 pm, two hours after dinner. I just have to be more mindful when I go out to dinner and when I travel between the coasts and have to juggle time zones. I used to set reminders on my phone, but I don’t have to do that anymore.”

     ➠ SUPPORT IS SUPREME: “Find a good support group, even if you don’t feel great, and have a friend, a family member or a caretaker help you get to the doctor, get your blood drawn, take your medicine and take care of yourself, especially during those early days.”

“Support helped me to be compliant. It gave me a place from which to operate and feel safe. When I saw other people doing well, I’d think, ‘I can do that!’ We shared our blood numbers in the support group. The group provided encouragement and accountability. I figured out a way to work with my intimate circle and my support group that allowed me to let the medicine do what it’s supposed to do. I figured out what was going to get in the way of my success, and I deflated those fears and thoughts. There’s nothing like attitude, even if I’m bummed out and having a bad day. I had to get back up and show up again. I chose to do it.”

      ➠ WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY: “Besides my positive attitude, the secret to my success is my faith and undying spirit. I eat well. I have fun. I have perspective and a tremendous amount of hope. I got a second chance at life, so I try not to stress out too much. I surround myself with people whom I love and who love me.”

   ➠ NEVER DETERRED BY HER DISEASE: “My legs and large muscle groups would feel lethargic at the beginning, but I’ve been able to get back into a healthy workout routine. I don’t push myself as hard as I once did. I didn’t let my disease prevent me from dancing, playing golf and hiking. I also love to do barre exercise classes.”

Virginia has adjusted to her new normal. Her disease has been under control for a number of years, but she’ll likely be on Tasigna for the rest of her life and will have regular blood tests.

By the way, Virginia is the vice‐president of business development and sales at a startup in the cyber security business. That’s a demanding job, but she’s up to it. “I’ve made some adjustments because of my CML, but I love what I do, which is important to me,” she said.

Know your blood count, what the numbers mean, and get a treatment that can help.

To learn more about Tasigna and Virginia’s story, please visit bit.ly/39MghBg.

APPROVED USES

TASIGNA® (nilotinib) capsules is a prescription medicine used to treat:
• Adults with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome–positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase

• Adults with Ph+ CML in chronic phase and accelerated phase who no longer benefit from, or did not tolerate, other treatment, including GLEEVEC® (imatinib)

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT TASIGNA® (nilotinib) Capsules

QTc Prolongation and Sudden Death: TASIGNA can cause QTc prolongation, a possibly life‐ threatening heart problem. QTc prolongation causes an irregular heartbeat, which may lead to sudden death. Call your doctor right away if you feel lightheaded, faint, or have an irregular heartbeat while taking TASIGNA. These can be symptoms of QTc prolongation.

• Your doctor should check your heart with a test called an electrocardiogram (ECG)

• Do not take TASIGNA if you have long QTc syndrome or low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood

• TASIGNA can interact with many medicines and supplements. This may increase your chances for serious and life‐threatening side effects. Do not take any other medicine while taking TASIGNA unless your doctor tells you it is okay to do so

• Food and grapefruit products increase the amount of TASIGNA in your body. This may increase your chances for serious and life‐threatening side effects. Take TASIGNA on an empty stomach

     ° Avoid eating food for at least 2 hours before the dose is taken, and avoid eating food for at least 1 hour after the dose is taken

     ° Avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and any supplement containing grapefruit extract while taking TASIGNA

TASIGNA can cause serious side effects that can even lead to death. During treatment with TASIGNA your doctor will do tests to check for side effects. These tests will check your heart, blood cells (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets), electrolytes (potassium, magnesium), cholesterol, blood sugar, and pancreas and liver function. Your doctor may have you stop TASIGNA for some time or lower your dose if you have side effects. You should follow your doctor’s instructions. Serious side effects include:

• Low Blood Counts: Low blood counts are common with TASIGNA but can also be severe. Your doctor will check your blood counts regularly during treatment with TASIGNA. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of low blood counts including:

     ° Fever, chills, or other signs of infection

     ° Unexplained bleeding or bruising

     ° Shortness of breath

     ° Unexplained weakness

• Decreased Blood Flow to the Legs, Heart, or Brain: People who have recently been diagnosed with Ph+ CML and take TASIGNA may develop decreased blood flow to the legs, heart, or brain. Get medical help right away if you suddenly develop any of the following symptoms:

     ° Chest pain or discomfort

     ° Numbness or weakness

     ° Problems walking or speaking

     ° Leg pain or your leg feels cold

     ° Change in the skin color of your leg

• Pancreas Inflammation (Pancreatitis): Call your doctor if you have symptoms including sudden stomach area pain with nausea and vomiting

• Liver Problems: TASIGNA can increase your risk of liver problems. People who have had liver problems in the past may be at risk for getting liver problems with TASIGNA. Call your doctor, or get medical help right away if you develop any symptoms of liver problems including stomach area (abdominal) pain, yellow skin/eyes, and dark‐colored urine

• Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): TLS is caused by a fast breakdown of cancer cells. Your doctor may do blood tests to check you for TLS. TLS can cause you to have kidney failure (with the need for dialysis treatment) and/or an abnormal heartbeat

• Bleeding Problems: Serious bleeding problems and death have happened during treatment with TASIGNA. Call your doctor right away if you develop signs and symptoms of bleeding such as uncontrolled bleeding, changes in eyesight, unconsciousness, sudden headache, or sudden confusion about your surroundings

• Total Gastrectomy: Tell your doctor if you have had a surgical procedure involving the removal of the entire stomach (total gastrectomy). Your doctor may need to change your dose

• Lactose: Tell your doctor if you have a severe problem with lactose (milk sugar) or other sugars. TASIGNA capsules contain lactose. Most people who have mild or moderate lactose intolerance can take TASIGNA

• Fluid Retention: Your body may hold too much fluid (fluid retention). Symptoms of fluid retention include shortness of breath, rapid weight gain, and swelling

• Abnormal Growth or Development in Children: Effects on growth and development have happened in children with chronic phase Ph+ CML during treatment with TASIGNA. Some children and adolescents who take TASIGNA may have slower than normal growth

• Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: TASIGNA should not be used during pregnancy since it may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, tell your doctor right away. If you are able to become pregnant, your doctor should perform a pregnancy test before you start TASIGNA. Effective birth control should be used during treatment and for at least 14 days after your last TASIGNA dose. Do not breastfeed during treatment with TASIGNA and for at least 14 days after the final dose

• Treatment‐Free Remission in Adults: Your doctor will monitor your CML during treatment with TASIGNA to see if you are in remission. After at least 3 years of treatment with TASIGNA, your doctor may do certain tests to determine if you continue to be in remission. Based on your test results, your doctor will decide if you are eligible to try stopping treatment with TASIGNA. This is called treatment‐free remission (TFR)

     ° Your doctor will carefully monitor your CML during and after you stop taking TASIGNA. If your test results show your CML is no longer in remission, your doctor will restart TASIGNA treatment

     ° It is important that your doctor does frequent monitoring to find out if you need to restart your TASIGNA treatment. Follow your doctor’s instructions about restarting TASIGNA if you are no longer in TFR

• Drug Interactions: TASIGNA can interact with many medicines and supplements. This may increase your chances for serious and life‐threatening side effects. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and over‐the‐counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements

If you need to take antacids (medicines to treat heartburn) do not take them at the same time that you take TASIGNA. If you take:

     ° A medicine to block the amount of acid produced in the stomach (H2 blocker): Take these medicines about 10 hours before you take TASIGNA or about 2 hours after you take TASIGNA

     ° An antacid that contains aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide,and simethicone to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach: Take these medicines about 2 hours before or about 2 hours after you take TASIGNA

• Common Side Effects in Adults and Children Include:

    • Nausea          • Diarrhea            • Rash             • Cough

    • Headache      • Constipation      • Tiredness      • Muscle and joint pain

    • Itching            • Vomiting            • Fever             • Night sweats

    • Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat

• Side Effects in Adults Attempting TFR: If you and your doctor decide that you can stop taking TASIGNA and try TFR, you may have more muscle and bone (musculoskeletal) symptoms than before you stopped treatment. Symptoms may include muscle pain, bone pain, arm and leg pain, spinal pain, and joint pain

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of TASIGNA. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1‐800‐FDA‐1088.

Please see the full Prescribing Information, including the Boxed WARNING, and the TASIGNA Medication Guide.

References

1. American Cancer Society. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), About Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. 22 February 2016. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8684.00.pdf. Accessed November 2019

2. Tasigna [prescribing information]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; 2019

Don’t Let Sun Damage Age You Prematurely

Ask baby boomers today about nutty things they did in the 1960s and 1970s and they’ll likely say they rubbed baby oil all over their teenage bodies before hitting the beach to soak up the sun. Those  who were really determined to get the most from the rays even spiked the oil with iodine and used sun reflectors to speed up the process. If only we knew then…

    Dr. Mary Lupo

“Sun damage is insidious. You get it from the day you’re born and throughout life, so the more you can protect yourself when you’re young, the better off you’ll be when you reach your 40s and 50s,” said Dr. Mary Lupo, Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology in New Orleans. But even if young people in 2019 are more enlightened about protecting their skin than boomers were half a century ago, they often ignore their parents warnings. “Parents can control toddlers and pre-teens. My grandchildren wear sun-protective clothing, sunscreen and hats. But when adolescents and young adults defy their parents and go out in the blazing sun without safeguarding their skin, they’re inviting the sun damage process to begin,” Dr. Lupo explained.  

KNOW YOUR A, B, Cs

When you’re soaking up the summer sun, its short Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit the top layer of your skin (epidermis) and can cause burns, brown speckling, mottling, and broken capillaries. Unprotected skin can burn in as few as 15 minutes! The longer Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays reach into the skin’s second layer (dermis) and stimulate the melanin (natural pigment), which creates a suntan that makes you glow and look ultra healthy. Ultraviolet C (UVC) rays are the shortest of all and the most dangerous, but fortunately they’re filtered out by the earth’s ozone layer and don’t reach the earth’s surface, or our skin. 

Unfortunately, repeated exposure to UVA energy over years accelerates signs of premature aging–think fine lines and wrinkles–by destroying the skin’s collagen and elastin foundation, which decreases its strength, flexibility and suppleness.  Called “photoaging,” the consequences also include age spots, freckles, ruddiness from dilated blood vessels, scaly red patches, and tough, leathery skin that feels and looks dry and coarse.

The sun’s UVA rays are just as intense during the winter, and can penetrate the windshield when you’re driving and the living room windows when you’re relaxing on the sofa. 

Sun damage can have medical manifestations, too, such as basal and squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, a fatal cancer if not caught and treated early. “And, the sun can damage the immune system cells that live in the dermis and survey for viruses, bacteria and funguses,” Dr. Lupo said. “When your immune system is weakened by the sun, you can develop uncomfortable and unsightly fever blisters.”

The best line of defense against sun damage is to faithfully shield your skin in the first place, from properly using effective sunscreen year round to driving with the sun visor down, from wearing sun-protective clothing to avoiding sun during the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm. It’s never too late to start saving your skin, but a number of treatments can mitigate the damage for the millions who already have it. It’s wisest to consult with a dermatologist who will assess your situation and recommend the most effective treatment for you, depending on your type of skin and the severity of the condition.

Dr. Gilly Munavalli

The following treatments are among those favored by Dr. Lupo and Dr. Gilly Munavalli, Dermatology, Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas. As esteemed dermatologists practicing in warm climates, both have invaluable experience and expertise dealing with sun damage. But even if you live in Minneapolis, the sun’s powerful UV rays can penetrate your car and home windows in frigid temperatures. Most everyone’s skin is a candidate for sun damage. It’s a fact of life. 

TOPICAL SKIN CARE FORMULAS

The most abundant antioxidant in human skin, vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) helps protect skin cells from sun damage. Since our bodies can’t produce it, and derive only a small amount from oral supplements, we can get vitamin C from citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables. And thanks to scientific advances in the beauty industry, it’s available in topical formulas called cosmeceuticals, which are cosmetic products with bioactive ingredients that can help repair damaged skin and prevent further damage. 

Vitamin C cosmeceuticals also promote collagen production to reduce fine lines, and have the potential to thicken the dermis; prompt an anti-inflammatory response in the skin to prevent redness and inflammation even after sun exposure; reduce hyperpigmentation at levels of 5 percent and above, and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin by strengthening our skin’s ability to repair. 

Dr. Lupo likes C+ Correcting Complex 30% from Revision Skincare, which helps brighten and even out the skin tone while protecting the skin from free radicals that can cause skin damage and signs of premature aging. The product is also shown to improve skin firmness. Almost 90 percent of users reported brighter skin and 94 percent saw an improvement in the evenness of their skin tone, according to the company’s website. 

Dr. Munavalli likes cosmeceuticals that also include phloretin, a flavonoid (plant pigment) substance that’s derived from apples and apple tree bark. Research has shown that it has antioxidant ability and can improve the appearance of discoloration and overall skin tone. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF includes 2 percent phloretin, 10 percent pure vitamin C, and .5 percent ferulic acid for protection against premature signs of aging from sun damage and ozone pollution. 

CHEMICAL PEELS 

Chemical peels can improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin by using a chemical solution to remove the outer layer of old skin. The new skin that replaces is typically smoother and appears less wrinkled. Solutions used include glycolic, trichloroacetic, salicylic, lactic or carbolic acid. During the procedure, patients may experience a burning sensation that lasts five to 10 minutes. The best candidates for chemical peels have fair skin and light hair. 

IPL TREATMENTS 

     Before & After photos of a Lumenis IPL treatment

Exciting light and laser technologies are changing the face of the beauty business for their ability to safely, gently and effectively treat a wide range of skin conditions. Devices that deliver a broad spectrum of intense pulsed light (IPL), for instance, can reduce sun-induced damage, including sunspots, broken capillaries, fine lines and thickened, dry and wrinkled skin from prolonged and excessive exposure to the sun. 

Many dermatologists across the country favor the Lumenis IPL, which lets them adjust pulse duration and wavelength depending on your skin type and what they want to treat. “I’m on my 4th IPL device from Lumenis in the past 20 years. It’s extremely versatile and can target red and brown pigmentation issues, from broken capillaries and ruddiness to sunspots,” said Dr. Lupo. “When the water in the skin absorbs the light energy, collagen renewal is stimulated and patients also see improved skin texture and overall appearance.” Besides their effectiveness, treatments with the Lumenis IPL don’t impose downtime on patients.

IPL treatments for sun damage are more effective in the short and long term than topical formulas, but using topicals after your IPL sessions will help you maintain your skin health and appearance. Each IPL treatment generally takes about 30 minutes, and patients see improvement following the first one. Minor redness and swelling tend to disappear quickly. “Patients usually need three sessions. We’ll go after the pigment during the first treatment and the redness and texture during the second. Then we’ll see what we need to revisit for the final visit,” Dr. Lupo explained.

Treating the Skin of Modern American Women with Ancient Indian Beauty Rituals

Aavrani compensated FabOverFifty to create this sponsored post, but we only recommend superior products or services that we believe will benefit women in our community. Insights and opinions are our own. All facts are fully substantiated.

   “The absolute best mask I’ve ever used.” -Geri

Visiting her grandmothers in Calcutta during Christmas, or at home in Detroit with her mother, young Rooshy Roy would often catch a whiff of turmeric wafting out from the kitchen. But the aroma didn’t necessarily mean she’d be enjoying a luscious dinner that evening. Indian girls like Rooshy grew up watching their moms concoct the creams and solutions for their faces with the same ingredients they’d gather to cook their families’ favorite meals. Now brilliant and glowing, grown up Rooshy is bringing centuries of tried-and-true Indian beauty secrets to American women through aavrani, her carefully conceived and curated collection of skincare products.

While working in finance, Rooshy rediscovered the beauty rituals she learned during her childhood. “I started to fully appreciate them in my 20s,” said the young woman whose composed manner belies her 29 years. Taught from their youth that beauty emanates from the inside out, Indian women fully embrace healthy lifestyles, from what they eat and how they sleep to the ways they center their minds and bodies. Think yoga and meditation. “We understand that how we live our lives, not only what we put on our skin, is vital to looking and feeling our most beautiful,”Rooshy told me in her downtown Manhattan office. 

Clean Recipes for Beautiful Skin Passed Down From Generation to Generation 

Determined to keep aavrani beauty formulas “as authentic to ancient Indian rituals as possible,” Rooshy uses the same clean natural ingredients, in identical combinations, favored by her mother and grandmother. “The recipes are so rooted in our culture, passed down from generation to generation, that It’s hard to pinpoint when I learned which elements work together best,” she explained. Rooshy choose the name aavrani (rani means queen in Hindi) to signify female empowerment and the celebration of natural beauty. 

                       Rooshy Roy

The aavrani collection is handcrafted in the United States from high-quality ingredients that are sourced from around the world. Organic manuka honey comes from New Zealand, for instance, because it’s the best variety for preserving hydration of the skin, Rooshy noted.  And neem comes from India. Extracted from the neem tree, this natural herb acts like a strong anti-inflammatory agent and is amazing for blemishes, redness and calming the skin, she added.  

Remaining true to ancient rituals also means sourcing naturally derived preservatives that will prolong the life of each unique aavrani formula, but won’t alter its potency and integrity. “Natural preservatives aren’t easy to find and don’t all work well with the ingredients we want to highlight, which adds time and expense to our research and development processes,” Rooshy said. “The inexpensive preservatives used in many mass market products, such as parabens and mineral oil, wind up being harmful or associated with harmful effects.” 

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A Modern Four-Step Skin Care Ritual Rooted in Ancient Traditions

Women are becoming more and more educated at younger and younger ages about what they’re putting on their bodies as well as into their bodies, Rooshy related. “We’re want to appeal to them when they’re exploring new beauty products at transitional stages in their lives, whether they’re 20-something professionals or 50-something women with new skin concerns. These women are willing to spend a little more on better quality, more efficacious products,” Rooshy maintained. 

Aavrani provides solutions for every woman’s essential skin care needs, including anti-aging, brightening, resurfacing, hydration and moisture retention, Rooshy said.  Seeing her brand as the pioneer of iBeauty, her mission is to introduce Indian beauty rituals to American women in a way that has never been done. Unlike K-Beauty (Korean beauty), which can have up to 20 steps and intimidate women who are looking at their skin in new ways, the complete aavrani ritual takes only four steps. 

STEP 1:  GLOW ACTIVATING EXFOLIATOR

             The wonderful four-step aavrani ritual

Aavrani’s hero product, formulated with organic turmeric, neem, jojoba and honey, this acts as a cleanser and mask to gently exfoliate, brighten and even skin tone. Neem is an “amazing and superior alternative to alcohol because it doesn’t irritate the skin and can be used on sensitive skin types,” Rooshy said. 

STEP 2:  BALANCE RESTORING SERUM 

Formulated with tea tree oil, cucumber extract, chamomile flowers, and witch hazel, this toning polish removes toxins, reinstates the natural moisture barrier of our skin, and enables aavrani Hydra-Whip to work more effectively. 

STEP 3:  SOFTENING HYDRA-WHIP

Formulated with coconut, meadowfoam and rosehip seed oils, plus shea nut and lavender extract, this ultra-hydrating yet lightweight solution locks in moisture, nourishes, and soothes skin. “We wanted to create a moisturizer that maintained the hydrating benefits of coconut oil but didn’t feel heavy and greasy or clog pores. You only need to apply a pearl-sized amount for the entire face, and it will last for hours and hours,” Rooshy explained.

STEP 4:  EYE REJUVENATING ELIXIR 

Formulated with sweet almond oil, rosewater, avocado oil and vitamin E, this revitalizing eye treatment minimizes dark circles and puffiness, stimulates collagen production, and decreases the appearance of fine lines. A metal rollerball at the top is cooling and depuffing. 

“This set is amazing for women of all ages. Dryness and wrinkles all come down to lack of hydration. The aavrani ritual can maximize your skin’s ability to retain water and make it look its best,” Rooshy said. 

The aavrani Complete Ritual Set of skin beautifiers comes in TSA-friendly amounts so you can experience the ritual before purchasing the larger sizes. And, it would make a distinctive Christmas gift for the important and beautiful women in your life. Check out the hundreds of outstanding reviews online.

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A No-Nonsense Guide To Nutrients For Women

It’s hard enough keeping my mind–and my mouth–away from warm homemade biscuits slathered in butter and almond croissants. I’m not the least bit motivated to dig up the Nutrition Facts on everything I do eat every single day to see if I’m getting the nutrients my body needs to keep me healthy. I’m pretty certain I’m not. I can go for days without whole grains or vegetables passing my lips, even though I know they’re good for me. Healthy fish? Cooking it smells up the house for days, so I don’t. I once loved almonds, which are filled with massive amounts of nutrients, but I always consumed a mountain of those crunchy little things in one sitting, so now I stay away from them.  

Scarily, my inadequate diet raises my risk for developing certain medical conditions as I age, from soft bones to inflamed intestines and heart disease!

Personalized, Doctor-Approved Vitamin Recommendations in Minutes

I know I should take nutritional supplements to help compensate for my sorry diet, but investigating which ones I need, and in what amounts, would be another head-spinning exercise.  When an online supplement service called Persona contacted me, I was intrigued by its promise that I could get “personalized, doctor-approved vitamin recommendations” simply by completing  a five-minute questionnaire about my health, lifestyle and the medications I’m taking. I filled it out right away, anxious to learn which supplements Persona would advise me to take.  

          ubiquinol

My Persona appraisal included a recommendation for ubiquinol, a supplement that I unequivocally need because I’m on statins to reduce my blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease. When I chatted online with a Persona nutritionist, she explained that some prescription drugs can harm one body function at the very same time they’re helping another. Taking statins has dramatically improved my lipid numbers, but they’re also depleting a critical enzyme that helps protect my body’s cells from oxidative stress, which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, even heart disease. Persona recommended ubiquinol because it will replenish that vital enzyme.  Without it, I could wind up with heart disease anyway. Sounds crazy to someone like me, who wasn’t a gifted biology or chemistry student, but it’s true!

My doctor hadn’t told me about ubiquinol because not every medical doctor is well educated on supplements.

  Angie Kuhn, MS, RDN

Whether you’re currently taking supplements or haven’t started because you’re confused by the constantly changing reports about what’s beneficial, I urge you to consider the recommendations of Angie Kuhn, Persona’s director of nutrition support and research. I decided to interview Angie once I learned more about Persona and started taking the supplements it recommended.

Angie discussed the common signals our bodies will send us if they’re not getting the essential nutrients and other things they need to help keep us in tip-top shape as we age.


Take your 5-minute assessment and get your Persona recommendations today!

MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS

Let’s say you’re a 51-year-old woman who has never taken a single supplement in your entire life and have the standard American (anything-but perfect) diet. You’ve started to experience symptoms of menopause: You’re not sleeping well, you’ve gained weight and you’re getting dreadful hot flashes. The Persona questionnaire will ask you a number of questions related to these symptoms.

“These are signs that your hormones are imbalanced and you could use a supplement to help regulate your symptoms,” Angie said. “Persona’s Menopause Support supplement is a blend of three different root extracts that can help with many symptoms of menopause. It includes EstroG-100, which has been clinically proven to relieve hot flashes, help manage mood and energy swings, alleviate night sweats, promote restful sleep, and even improve vaginal dryness,” Angie told me.  And it doesn’t affect your weight.

BONES

Any woman would be wise to have a bone density test by the time she enters menopause because estrogen loss can seriously affect her bones. Other risk factors include smoking, drinking, and calcium and vitamin D deficiency. If you’re like I am and don’t eat enough foods like fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and orange juice, you probably need a vitamin D supplement. And, if your diet isn’t providing the recommended 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium every day, you’ll want to take a calcium supplement.

“A woman’s calcium needs generally go up as she gets older, but women need other nutrients, like vitamin K2,  to help ensure that the calcium gets to their bones, instead of building up in blood vessels and kidneys,” Angie explained. Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, romaine, and green leaf lettuce supply vitamin K, as do brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. I don’t know about you, but none of these are part of my regular lopsided diet.

Decreased grip strength, height loss, cramps, muscle aches, bone pain and lower overall fitness are signs of weakening bones.

JOINTS AND LIGAMENTS

Sore joints and ligaments are common as we age, especially if you’re not as active as you should be. I often become so engrossed in my interviewing and writing during the day that I’ll be sitting at my computer for hours on end. And when I get up, my entire body feels stiff, tight and sore until I start moving around.

The production of collagen, the primary structural protein in cartilage that gives it strength and toughness, slows down after we turn 30. Persona’s UC-II supplement is derived from chicken sternum cartilage and consists of Type II collagen to help support healthy joints and promote flexibility. Studies also have shown that prolonged use of collagen can increase the elasticity of our skin.   

HAIR AND NAILS

Hair and nails are made of structural proteins known as keratin, which is why protein deficiency can be one of the main causes of thinning hair and brittle, splitting nails. If your diet doesn’t include foods packed with proteins such as fish, chicken, red meat, eggs or dairy, you may want to try Persona’s exclusive Hair, Skin & Nails Formula, Angie said. Besides protein, it contains collagen and horsetail plant extract, an herb that has been shown to support hair and nail health.

Take your 5-minute assessment and get your Persona recommendations today!

THE GUT,  PART 1

We know pretty quickly when our digestive system is out of whack, because we experience gas, bloating, constipation, or indigestion, among other symptoms. “Perhaps you’re moving less than you used to, drinking less water, and exposed to numerous environmental stressors that are throwing off the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can aid your overall wellness and immunity by helping to stabilize your gut flora (that’s the complex community of microorganisms that live in our digestive tracts),” Angie explained.   

There’s a mind-boggling range of probiotics on the market. Persona recently added one called Culturelle with LGG, reportedly the world’s most studied probiotic strain since 1990, when it was first used in dietary supplements. Studied in hundreds of clinical trials, LGG has been shown to help get the gut flora back in balance and assist in immunity and digestive health.  “Probiotics also have been linked to brain health, so if you’re fatigued and not thinking as clearly as you used to, it could be linked to your gut health,” Angie said.

THE GUT, PART II

As we get older, our ability to digest certain nutrients might decrease. “If you’re no longer able to absorb the sugar (lactose) in milk, for example, your body can’t create lactase, the enzyme it needs to break down the sugar. Or you might not be able to digest certain types of vegetables and beans,” Angie explained. You’ll also experience gas, bloating and constipation. Digestive enzymes can help give your system what it needs to properly absorb foods.

GENERAL MALAISE

If you’re fatigued and lack energy, you might not be eating enough animal products, which could give you a vitamin B12 deficiency. “An energy drink isn’t going to solve the problem, so you’ll want a B12 supplement. We recommend B12 for vegans and vegetarians, who should also take iron supplements because it’s common for them to be anemic,” Angie said.

THYROID

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate as well as heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood and bone maintenance. Its correct functioning depends on having a good supply of nutrients such as zinc and iodine from the diet. “If your thyroid isn’t working properly you might gain weight, feel fatigued, become sensitive to cold and see your hair thinning, and you may just need a boost of these nutrients,” Angie said. Persona offers a Thyroid Support supplement with selenium, zinc, iodine and ashwagandha.  “It’s important to see your doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms,” she stressed.

Take your 5-minute assessment and get your Persona recommendations today!

EYES

Perhaps you can’t see as well as you did, have trouble driving at night because you can’t make out the road signs, or have been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Supplements with the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin can help reduce the risk or improve a range of vision-related problems, Angie said. “Americans also get an average of 11 hours of computer screen time each day, which exposes us to a lot of blue light. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help lessen the harmful effects of this light over time,” she added.

INFLAMMATION

Acute inflammation, the body’s response to injury, works to heal wounds such as cuts. That’s good inflammation.  Chronic inflammation isn’t so good. It might happen when the immune system is trying to defend itself against a serious infection like Crohn’s Disease, but failing.  Or it can occur when the immune system senses that something isn’t right, such as the buildup of plaque in the lining of an artery, but can’t fix it and might even make the situation worse.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation include joint pain, skin rashes like psoriasis, low energy and poor digestion. If your body is sending you signals like these, get a blood workup and assess with your doctor whether you should change what you’re eating and how you’re exercising so you minimize inflammation. Probioticsturmeric, resveratrol and fish oil supplements are known to help fight inflammation.

A FINAL NOTE ABOUT MULTIVITAMINS

“Many people think they just need a standard one-a-day multiple vitamin, but the nutrients in many of those aren’t very bioavailable. This means that not enough of their nutrients are absorbed by the body’s circulatory system to be actively effective,” Angie said. “Persona has developed its own multivitamin with bioavailable nutrients, many of which are hard to find in other multivitamins, such as methylated folate,” she added.  A form of vitamin B, folate is responsible for cell division, the conversion of carbohydrates into energy, and the formation of DNA and other genetic material, which makes it pretty important. But many women actually can’t absorb folate properly, so a common multivitamin with standard folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) won’t work for them.  Methylated folate, the natural, active form of folate, will work. It is especially important for the growth and development of fetuses.

“As a Registered Dietitian I firmly believe in getting your nutrients through whole foods, but it is often difficult to do that every day, unless you’re eating 10 different fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lots of green leafy vegetables and healthy fats. Multivitamins with highly bioavailable nutrients and other supplements based on lifestyle factors, age and medications provide reassurance you’re getting what you need,” Angie concluded.

to take your 5-minute assessment and get your Persona recommendations today!

Plus, an additional 50% off your first order

Finally, a Proven Solution for Leg & Foot Cramps

This is a “sponsored post.” Theraworx Relief compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

I never had a single warning sign.  I’d suddenly awake from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, the muscles in my right or left calf tensed up and knotted in excruciating pain. There was no telling when one of these muscle spasms would strike. After an episode, (sometimes it would last about 10 minutes), I’d often toss and turn until the morning, which would wipe me out for the rest of the day.

Nighttime leg cramps are more common as we age.

If you’re still reading, chances are you’re one of the 50 percent of American adults who get nighttime leg cramps, which are more common as we age, according to American Family Physician.  Andthese debilitating muscle spasms affect more women! An exclusive faboverfifty.com survey of 310 women in its community revealed that a whopping 98 percent of them experience leg or foot cramps! 

So, what causes these pesky muscle cramps? According to the Mayo Clinic, cramps are associated with aging, diet, dehydration, too much exercise, or not enough exercise, poor blood circulation, or simply holding a position for a prolonged period. Dr. Drew Pinsky has said that “Muscle cramps can be among the side effects from certain medications that treat issues such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, asthma and osteoporosis,” But the exact cause of most leg cramps is simply unknown! (more…)

A New Generation Spa That Makes You Beautiful From The Inside Out

  DR. KAVITA BERI

We all know how tedious it can be to fill out paperwork when we visit a doctor for the first time, but one form Dr. Kavita Beri hands to you is probably different from any you’ve seen before. And, it’s definitely not boring!  Instead of requesting your address and health insurance, this questionnaire–called a Dosha Quiz--wants to know lots about your personality and habits, from how you sleep (poor and disturbed; moderate but sound; heavy, prolonged and excessive) to how you walk (quick, light and hurried; medium paced and purposeful; slow steady and calm).  It even questions your temperature preferences (craves warmth, dislikes cold and dry; loves coolness, dislikes heat and sun; dislikes cold and damp, prefers heat) and finances (poor, spends rapidly; moderate, buys luxuries; rich and thrifty).

Even though Dr. Beri does ask for your email and what medical plan covers you on another form, that information isn’t going to help her determine the best treatment she can provide for your skin. Your answers to her Dosha Quiz will. “Based on a science of ancient India called Ayurveda (the knowledge of life), Dosha gives us an understanding of our body’s constitution,” said Dr. Beri. Her next-generation “Regenerative” med spa, BE Mind/Body/Skin, “incorporates western, cutting-edge aesthetic treatments–such as laser rejuvenation and radio frequency skin tightening–with ancient eastern traditions–including yoga and Ayurveda–to detoxify the body for graceful aging,” Dr. Beri explained.

“This complete approach to rejuvenation, which heals the body from the inside, allows us to respond better to external skin treatments and laser procedures. You can have facials every month, but they won’t make a different unless you do your healing on the inside. We recognize the importance of spiritual harmony and well-being to our appearance,” says Dr. Beri,  a board-certified physician and scientist in the field of regenerative medicine, not to mention a yoga teacher. “You can’t look good if you don’t feel good. You need to feel good about yourself, your place in the world, and how you interact with the world. We call this the Circle of Positivity.”

Ayurveda recognized what science confirmed thousands of years later– the inseparable connection between the mind and the body–and it “continues to be the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems,” writes Dr. Deepak Chopra, the famous author, speaker and advocate of alternative medicine. Nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realizing their full human potential,” Dr.Chopra explains.

SO, WHAT’S A DOSHA?

Ayurveda asserts that every single thing in creation, from the trees to our bodies, contains five elements–ether, air, fire, water, and earth–and although all of us possess these elements, they show up in different proportions in each one of us, Dr. Beri says. That’s what gives every human being his or her unique personality.  Your Dosha is one of three energies, or mind-body types, that defines your makeup. When Dr. Beri discovers your distinct Dosha, based on your answers to her Dosha Quiz, she can help you make the best lifestyle choices–from the food you eat and the exercises you perform, to the supplements you take–so you can live a healthier, more balanced life.

If you’re a Pitta Dosha,  you’re fiery, fast and furious, according to Dr. Beri. You thrive on challenges, and express your opinions, anger, hate and jealousy. If you’re a Vata Dosha, you’re hyperactive, but tire easily. You’re imaginative and bored with routine, and tend to be anxious and nervous. Those of you who are Kapha Doshas are more relaxed and content. You’re good natured, easy going and reliable, but can be greedy. Our positive and negative habits come from our Dosha, so when we do things like eat six cookies in 10 minutes, or go to bed at 3 am, it could lead to the start of disease, Dr. Beri says. Once you know and appreciate your Dosha, it’s easier to take better care of yourself, because you’ll be better able to keep some bad tendencies in check.

Dr. Beri’s signature method of analyzing your constitution based on ancient Ayurvedic medicine allows her to approach your body’s aging in a personalized manner. She believes that beauty is not merely the surface of your body, but is “the outcome of a healing process that starts with your soul and your deep connection with the world around you.”

HOW YOUR DOSHA AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH  

“You have a signature from the moment you’re born, which comes from your parents, the environment, and your own makeup. You can have a lot of Pitta and a little bit of Kapha, or a lot of Vata and a little Pitta,” Dr. Beri explains. It’s understood in Ayurveda that if there’s too much of one thing, it will overflow and could cause disease. If you have too much Pitta, for example, your anger could produce an inflammatory condition that starts in the gut, and shows up on your skin as excess sebum (oils) and breakouts. If you’re overloaded with Vata, you could develop eczema or atopic dermatitis because you’re stressed out and depressed, Dr. Beri notes.  “Your mind is very powerful, and can control how your gut is working, as well as your overall experience is in life and your relationship to the environment. And, your gut is connected to your skin, liver, and kidneys. Everything is interrelated,” she adds.

You probably know about the trillions of good bacteria that we have in our gut, which can help protect us from disease, and about the foods that are good for our guts, but scientists now are discovering that millions of “very intelligent bacteria” sit on top of our skin and connect with our immune system to influence how our body is working, Dr. Beri asserts. “We always said ‘eat good food and your skin will glow.’ Now we know there’s a real connection. The ideal situation is for all the bacteria on the skin, in the gut and in the brain to be in harmony.”

BALANCING YOUR DOSHA

Dr. Beri gives each of her patients a “lifestyle card” after she evaluates her Dosha, which lists dietary choices, lifestyle recommendations and Yoga postures that incorporate the mind-body-skin connection and will be most beneficial. If you’re a Pitta, for instance, you should eat vegetables including Brussel sprouts, cucumbers and beets; fruits such as sweet apples, pears and watermelon, and dairy products such as cool whole milk and homemade cheese. Pitta personalities also should enjoy activities such as listening to pleasant music, moonlit walks, and the company of good friends. Pittas will do well with the cobra and camel poses when it comes to yoga.  

Dr. Beri does a Clear Lift treatment on Geri

Pitta women also tend to break down collagen quicker and age faster because they’re so fast and furious, Dr. Beri says.  That’s why she often recommends a series of Alma’s Clear Lift regenerative laser treatments to them, which lower the Pitta. The doctor alternates chemical peels with the laser treatments to exfoliate the skin and help create a clearer and brighter complexion. “Most of my treatments are mild for your skin,” she adds. A glycolic peel, for instance, removes the top, dead layer of skin, which stimulates the collagen and cells beneath it so the new cells come to the top and the skin is more buoyant and tighter.

Although this skin exfoliation happens every four weeks on its own, the process slows down as we age, so peels can kickstart it. “By the third or fourth monthly chemical peel, your skin will be glowing,” Dr. Beri says. She also recommends microdermabrasion with infusion, another exfoliation treatment that uses a tool with an abrasive diamond or crystal tip to “sandpaper” your skin, after which the dead skin is suctioned out, and the new skin is infused with a blend of grape seed extract, green tea, and kojic acid.

 

CHECK OUT DR. BERI‘S AWESOME WEBSITE!

Is Your Family As ‘Perfect’ As Theirs?

Do you ever study other families–in the park, at a restaurant, on a train ride, in a photo–and think “now, that’s a perfect family,” even if you don’t know a single member? I confess I do. Here’s what I daydream these “perfect families” have in common:

They hardly ever ask each other irritating questions; if they do, they don’t get hot and bothered. 

They overlook one another’s irksome habits.

They don’t have unnatural expectations of one another.

They know just what to say when someone in the family is having a hard day.

They intently listen to one another.

They find every opportunity to spend time with one another.

They give one another thoughtful little gifts throughout the year.

They genuinely want to know how one another is doing.

They go out of their way to help out one another.

They hug and kiss one another.

They express their love for one another.

They don’t try to outsmart, outshine or outdo one another.

They make one another laugh.

They make one another think.

They don’t keep a scorecard about who does what for whom, and how often.

They actually want to vacation together, at least sometimes.

I imagine many of you must be saying I’m delusional. There isn’t a single perfect family on the face of the planet, you say, with absolute certainty. Perfect families exist only in fairytales. So, I thought it would be fun to visit the website www.quora.com to  see how some folks answered the question: What is the perfect family like?

“A perfect family is when the parent(s) love their children and the children love their parent(s). There is mutual respect and they stick together in the hard times and enjoy the good times. The family face the uncertainties of life together and help each other. That is the perfect family,” wrote Chris Summers.

“A perfect family is a family where there is unconditional love and acceptance. There may be differences among the members, but it should never be prolonged for more than few minutes. Policy of forgive and forget should always be kept in mind,” Jaya Rajgopalan commented.

Chris and Jaya’s  answers are unpretentious and simple. They say to me that perfect families don’t actually have to be perfect. Love, respect and acceptance trump irritations, hurtful actions or comments, and perfect families don’t even have to hug and kiss one another.  Although that helps.

But, love, respect and acceptance don’t always come easily, and sometimes they don’t come at all. Or, they evaporate into thin air, and then the family evaporates along with them.

Please tell me how you define “perfect family.”

Finally, a Proven Solution for Leg & Foot Cramps




This is a “sponsored post.” Theraworx Relief compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

I never had a single warning sign.  I’d suddenly awake from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, the muscles in my right or left calf tensed up and knotted in excruciating pain. There was no telling when one of these muscle spasms would strike. After an episode, (sometimes it would last about 10 minutes), I’d often toss and turn until the morning, which would wipe me out for the rest of the day.

Nighttime leg cramps are more common as we age.

If you’re still reading, chances are you’re one of the 50 percent of American adults who get nighttime leg cramps, which are more common as we age, according to American Family Physician.  Andthese debilitating muscle spasms affect more women! An exclusive faboverfifty.com survey of 310 women in its community revealed that a whopping 98 percent of them experience leg or foot cramps! 

So, what causes these pesky muscle cramps? According to the Mayo Clinic, cramps are associated with aging, diet, dehydration, too much exercise, or not enough exercise, poor blood circulation, or simply holding a position for a prolonged period. Dr. Drew Pinsky has said that “Muscle cramps can be among the side effects from certain medications that treat issues such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, asthma and osteoporosis,” But the exact cause of most leg cramps is simply unknown! (more…)