You probably know Bombas as the brand that donates one pair of its socks to a homeless shelter for each pair purchased. This became the company’s social mission when the two founders learned that socks are the most requested item of clothing in shelters.
Now the brand is carrying its social consciousness to its new underwear collection. What’s more, the Bombas marketing mavens are conscious of another important fact: Women who wear underwear aren’t all Victoria’s Secret models. When I opened up one of the Bombas emails the other day, and started looking through its online shop, I was intrigued to see the panties on the bodies of ‘real’ women. Real women with thighs, hips, buttocks, tummies and legs that don’t resemble washboards, beanstalks, and pencils.
When I launched Figure magazine for plus-size women around 2004, the bodies of the larger models we used still didn’t have a bit of hanging or bulging skin. But younger women today champion body acceptance, not body shaming.
I’m not advocating that women should accept bodies that can wreak havoc on their health. “Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers,” reports the Mayo Clinic website.
But not all bodies with excess skin (let’s say after dramatic weight loss or pregnancy) or moreheft are unhealthy or unsightly. We may not be used to seeing them on the pages of magazines and catalogs, but millions of women see bodies like this when they look in their mirrors.
I remember to this day heading to the “Chubbette” department with my parents when we went shopping for new school clothes around the end of August every year during my childhood. I don’t think I read the copy in ads like this one in 1957, when I was 10, but reading it now makes me realize why I grew up thinking myself unsexy (I wasn’t, by the way, but it took years of therapy to discover that).
“If your favorite little girl is on the plump side, dress her in Chubbettes and see her blossom into a lovely lass – as happy and self-assured as her slimmer schoolmates. Chubbettes are created for the chubby-size young figure – a perfect combination of fit, comfort and slenderizing design.”
The ad also offers parents “POUNDS AND PERSONALITY”, a free booklet that will help them understand their child’s “problems, talent development, shyness, tactless remarks, the ‘game’ of dieting, etc.” And, it was written by a woman from New York University’s School of Education.
This post was developed in collaboration with Eisai Inc.
Fit, healthy and happy, my 54-year-old friend Deni wasn’t overly concerned when she noticed occasional spotting, about 15 months after what she assumed was her final period. “I felt anxious though when it became painful to pee. I was constantly bloated, and a strange pressure developed in my pelvic area,” Deni recalled.
A few months later – after finally talking to her gynecologist and undergoing a battery of tests and procedures, Deni’s ultrasound revealed an unusual thickening of her uterine wall. Tissue samples confirmed her fear. She had cancer, endometrial cancer. Before her diagnosis, Deni didn’t even know what that meant.
While many of us are aware of ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer is, in fact, the most common gynecological cancer in the United States, accounting for 90% of uterine cancer diagnoses.
The abnormal growth of cells in the lining of the uterus, endometrial cancer most commonly occurs after menopause, although it’s on the rise among women between 20 and 49 years old.
The causes of endometrial cancer are unknown, but some factors besides age that may increase a woman’s risk are obesity, family history, a high-fat diet, a lack of exercise, and a history of irregular periods. Overweight or obese women are two to four times more likely to develop this type of cancer than women with normal weights, according to the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. So, there’s a possible link between the rise of obesity in the United States and increasing endometrial cancer diagnoses and deaths.
Fortunately for Deni, she was pronounced cancer free following a complete hysterectomy since the malignant cells were confined to her uterus. Thousands of other women, however, aren’t so lucky. Uninformed, they may relate painful urination to a urinary tract infection, bloating with using too much salt, and occasional spotting as just another nuisance after menopause. And, unlike Deni, they don’t seek help, or they wait until it’s too late!
While 84% of white women have an overall five-year survival rate for uterine cancers, the number drops to 62% for Black women. Less likely to have health insurance and adequate access to doctors, only 53% of Black women with the condition get an early diagnosis.
Besides the symptoms Deni experienced, other symptoms can include irregular or heavy bleeding before menopause, and abnormal bleeding or a brownish discharge post menopause. Having an unpleasant discharge might embarrass a woman into silence, but knowledge empowers us to take control of our own health. While these are not all of the possible symptoms of endometrial cancer, recognizing and talking about them with our gynecologists or primary care doctors may help us spot the cancer early, when it may be more treatable.
We all know that when one woman speaks up about her symptoms, other women are encouraged to follow. FORCE (Facing Our Risk Of Cancer Empowered), SHARE Cancer Support, Black Health Matters and Eisai have partnered to launch Spot Her, an initiative to help inspire all of us to know the signs of this serious cancer, spread the word, and speak to our doctors if we’re experiencing symptoms. Not next month. Not next week. But today.
“If you have symptoms, listen to your body and don’t be afraid,” Deni stressed. “Call your doctor. The sooner, the better. If I had waited any longer to speak to mine, the outcome may have been completely different.”
Join us in our pledge to #SpotHerForEC. For the women we love. For the women we are. Visit SpotHerForEC.com for information on endometrial cancer and on the important initiative.
Sponsored by Merck in collaboration with American Lung Association and Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Reading a book to her six-year-old grandson, Sigrid had to stop mid-sentence to cough. “Grandma, are you ever going to stop coughing?” her grandson blurted out.
Grandma is 56-year-old Sigrid, who has been coughing since she was 39. You read that right: Coughing pretty much every day, in bouts she can’t control, for 17 years! Sigrid struggles with a condition called “chronic cough,” and it’s a part of her everyday life.
How can this be, you ask? You’ve heard coughing your whole life, from someone sitting next to you on the bus, to your significant other when he or she has a horrible cold. But you may not have heard of chronic cough.
The Facts About Chronic Cough
A reflex that protects your airway when it’s irritated from excessive mucus, dust, secondhand smoke, or even talking or laughing, coughing is considered “chronic” in adults when it lasts longer than eight weeks. Those with chronic cough commonly cough in “bouts” they can’t control, and they usually feel a powerful urge to cough before a bout begins. Chronic cough can often be associated with other health conditions, such as asthma, gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), upper airway cough syndrome (UACS) and non-asthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis (NAEB). In some patients, treating an underlying condition doesn’t resolve the chronic cough, or an underlying condition can’t be identified.
Although the condition also affects men, more women have it – typically women in their fifties.
Sigrid’s journey began in 2004 when an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) treating her 14-year-old son asked why she was “clearing her throat” so often and recommended that she return for tests. Sigrid told the doctor it felt as if something was in the back of her throat. “He thought I might have acid reflux, and recommended treatment,” she remembered.
Nothing worked for Sigrid. The throat clearing turned into a cough, which progressively worsened.
Sigrid’s healthcare provider referred her to multiple pulmonologists, allergists and internists over the years. She’s undergone a variety of tests and physical exams to try and identify the cause of her cough.
“My original doctor eventually said, ‘I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to do,’” Sigrid added.
And Sigrid’s chronic cough intensifies every year. “It can happen anywhere, anytime. There’s no rhyme or reason for it,” she lamented. It can erupt when she’s watching a movie with her husband. Taking a walk with her dog. Talking on the phone. Even when she rolls over in her sleep. “My husband and I have different sleep schedules because my cough keeps him awake at night”, Sigrid said. Some bouts are worse than others, and they make her feel constantly fatigued. She also gets tension headaches and back pain, depending on the severity of the coughing bout.
“Chronic cough has changed my life. I feel like I’m 86 even though I’m 56,” Sigrid said. “I’ve alwaysbeen an active and healthy person. It’s frustrating when you’ve never done a thing to bring this on.”
The Social and Emotional Impact
Chronic cough can have a social and emotional impact on patients. “My family has adjusted and is understanding, but sometimes they still get annoyed if they can’t watch a TV program without my interruptions, or I can’t finish a sentence and they’re in a hurry,” Sigrid explained. Once an active person (she met her husband at a gym), Sigrid now hesitates even going out in public. “Because of my cough, I feel like people stop and
stare, looking at me with contempt,” she said, “I feel like people don’t realize this is a chronic condition I can’t control.”
Now Sigrid wants to spread awareness of chronic cough and she’s sharing her story as part of The Cough Chronicles, a new support and educational program providing chronic cough resources in conjunction with a chronic cough community for patients to connect with each other.
“A lot of people think it’s nothing, just a cough. But it’s not ‘just a cough’,” Sigrid said. “I’ve only met one other person with chronic cough, so I’m looking forward to connecting with others through this program.”
I spent my 40s having uninhibited sex with E, a man from Mississippi (yes, Mississippi!) 14 years my senior. Thrilling sex. Sex that made me see stars – literally. Sex in all kinds of positions. Sometimes sex three times a night. Long drawn-out sex. Speedy sex. Sober sex. Inebriated sex. No toys. No chains, whips and blindfolds. Just me and E. Up until our first sexual union I couldn’t have even imagined sex could be so intoxicating,
E died 12 years after we met, when I was 53 years old. Although my sex life didn’t die with him, sex with new men didn’t come close to being as exciting. I didn’t care. I had left corporate America two years before to launch my own business, an all-consuming endeavor.
Then, year by year, sex has played a smaller and smaller role in my life. It’s not a big ticket in the lives of many of my FOFriends, either, whether or not they’re married.
A vibrator is an acceptable stand in for E, even if it doesn’t have a southern accent. Frankly, the thought of having sex with an older man who doesn’t look like Liam Neeson isn’t especially appealing. Besides, it’s doubtful Liam would fancy my current physique.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. If your interest in sex is diminishing weekly – but it distresses you – I know just the man who can help.
His name is Dr. James Simon, a prominent reproductive endocrinologist and certified sexuality counsellor in Washington, D.C. who has been called the “Menopause Whisperer” by Washingtonian Magazine. And, he’s just received the Distinguished Service Award from the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, which recognizes an individual’s dedication and commitment to the fields of women’s sexual medicine and health.
As Dr. Simon treated women in their mid-40s who were fatalistically accepting their declining libidos, he was determined to step forward. That was 25 years ago, when he opened IntimMedicine Specialists, his Washington, D.C. practice.
Now a preeminent authority on treating sexual, menopausal, and complicated gynecological problems, Dr. Simon explains there are “biological, sociological and psychological approaches to understanding low sexual desire and bringing couples closer together, rather than allowing them to drift apart.”
What’s more, “women who have successful intimate relationships, including sex, are less likely to have sleep problems or other medical problems, and even live longer,” he asserts.
Since 1996, Dr. Simon has helped thousands of women, men and couples understand their waning sexual interest and take action to reverse it. “Women feel diminishing sexual desire is a fait accompli of aging, and nothing can be done about it,” he adds. “When it is exacerbated by menopausal symptoms, sexual pain, and fear of hormones, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If neglected, additional social and inter-relational issues predominate, making treatment far more complex.”
The availability of pornography has had both positive and negative effects on sexual relationships, Dr, Simon believes. “It’s opened our eyes to new types of sexual encounters, which can help couples renew their sexual satisfaction. On the downside, explicit sexuality on the internet can raise unrealistic expectations,” he adds, “Patients ask me, ‘Why is sex so short?’ when they see it last an hour online,” he chuckles.
Dr. Simon and I have become friends, and we’re working together on an exciting initiative for mid age women – which we’ll announce later in the year. We’ve never discussed my sex life, but I’m certain that his intelligence, experience, wonderfully soothing style –teamed with his incredible ability to listen – will do wonders for yours.
I marvel at Betty White, as bubbly and zestful at 99 years old as she was half a century ago playing perky Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Lucky lady. Betty’s energy inspires me. We all need as much vitality as we can get as we age.
Everyone knows that genetics, exercise and healthy eating are crucial components of aging well. But now scientists have discovered a critical link between how and why we age and the health of the 30 trillion cells in our bodies. Giving us energy and strength, as well as supporting our immunity and overall well being, our cellular processes deteriorate with each passing birthday. We tire more easily, become weaker, have reduced mobility and stamina and are more susceptible to disease.
Known as Age-Associated Cellular Decline (AACD), the way we feel is connected to a time-related deterioration in the way our cells function that begins in our 40s and accelerates in our 60s. This journey progresses at different rates for everyone.
But here’s excellent news: Scientists at Nestlé Health Science have figured out that nourishing our cells with targeted cellular nutrients can help renew and restore our declining cellular processes.And they’ve created CelltrientTM Cellular Nutrition, a line of supplements and beveragesto help manage how our cells perform as we age. Celltrient is the first and only brand that addresses more than one of the causes of AACD through a range of targeted cellular nutrients, GlyNAC, Urolithin A and Nicotinamide Riboside.
Celltrient Cellular Energyfeatures Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), a unique form of vitamin B3 or niacin, that can help our cells replenish an important molecule for energy production, Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ is essential because it allows our cells to convert the fats, proteins and carbohydrates we eat into the energy we need to function every day. Research shows that NAD+ levels decline by up to 50 percent when we’re between the ages of 40 and 60.
Even if we do cardio and weight-bearing exercises, consume a diet of nutritious whole foods, get adequate sleep, and stay away from smoking and drinking, our NAD+levels decline as we age. “This can begin as early as our 40s and a shortfall of NAD+ can be a reason we feel less peppy and have less stamina when we’re in our 60s,” said Dr. Noelle Reid, a holistic family medicine physician in Los Angeles.
The NR in Celltrient Cellular Energy does its job deep inside our cells to help revitalize their natural processes, Dr. Reid explained. The level of NAD+ increases, typically within two weeks, and is sustained as long as you continue taking the supplement. Available in powder that can be mixed with most any cold beverage, the product also includes six different B vitamins, to help support energy metabolism.
If you’re already taking niacin, vitamin B3 and other B vitamins, consider tryingCelltrient Cellular Energy because it’s a unique formula and will have a greater impact on your NAD+ levels, Dr. Reid added.
PROTECTING YOUR CELLS
Now is the most important time to protect your cells. We’ve heard countless times during the last year that the older we are, the more susceptible we are to illness. Just as NAD+ declines in our cells affects our level of energy, a reduction of the antioxidant glutathione in our cells makes us more vulnerable to disease as we age. “Glutathione protects ourcells from external toxins that enter our body through food, water, air, or physical contact with skin,” Dr. Reid said. It also helps protect cells from damage caused by environmental factors, including cigarette smoke, air pollutants and industrial chemicals.
Take care of the cells that take care of you with Celltrient Cellular Protect
Less glutathione can mean less protection for our immune cells. Celltrient Cellular Protectfeatures a blend of amino acids, Glycine and N-Acetyl Cysteine (GlyNAC), that are the building blocks for glutathione, the master antioxidant we need for our overall cellular protection. It’s available in convenient mix-ins and capsule forms.
Strenuous exercise might tire us out when we’re young, but it can leave us gasping for breath and achy all over as we age, especially when we don’t consistently use our muscles. When we’re older our overall strength is impacted by the combination of reduced muscle mass and energy production in our skeletal muscle cells.
Celltrient Cellular Strength provides our muscle cells with the nutrient Urolithin A (UA), which helps cells renew their power plants and promote healthy muscle function. “Cellular Strength complements our daily exercise routines and gives our cells an extra boost,” Dr. Reid stressed.
“My journey with cellular nutrients began about four years ago, when I started taking an NR supplement. My signature high energy seemed to be decreasing, and the science behind NR impressed me,” said Geri Brin, editor of FabOverFifty.com, a lifestyle website for women. “I don’t have a scintilla of doubt that NR helped me maintain the level of energy I’ve always enjoyed. When Celltrient recently launched, I switched to Celltrient Cellular Energy because I like its additional B vitamins and that I can mix the powder into a glass of cold sparkling water,” Geri added. “I’m also planning to add Celltrient Cellular Protect to my regimen.
“It’s exciting to benefit from the advances in nutritional science that are helping us to redefine the way we manage our health.”
For more information, please visit Celltrient.com, where you can find out which Celltrient products are right for you. Use code FABFIFTY10 for 10% off your first purchase.
This post is sponsored by Avenoir Cosmetics, which compensated FabOverFifty to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers, as we’ve been doing for 11 years!
I’m 73 years old chronologically, but my millions of facial skin cells are acting younger every week since I began feeding them a seriously spectacular serum packed with restorative nutrients.My skin is firmer, brighter, smoother, and the softest it’s been in years, thanks to Avenoir Cosmetics’ Cell Repair Serum – Clinical Strength. There’s nothing remotely like it on the market. More on this in a minute.
Cellular nutrition is a hot topic these days, now that scientists have uncovered a critical connection between how and why we age and the health of the 30 trillion cells in our bodies.And, it’s anything but a fad!
Alas, the cells throughout our body start slacking off and producing less high-quality nutrients when we’re in our 40s. We tire faster and become weaker with each passing birthday; have decreased mobility and endurance, and are more susceptible to illness.The cells of our skin secrete less collagen and elastin, the proteins that kept our skin taut when we were young!Older cells also hang around. We develop wrinkles, fine lines, redness and discoloration. Our skin sags, dulls and dries out.
Feeding targeted cellular nutrients to our cells can help restart and restore their processes as we get older, scientists have learned.And the precise ingredients we need to revitalize our aging skin cells have recently been discovered by biomedical engineer Dr. Ramon Coronado while he was researching stem cells in his lab.
The Authentic Avenoir Difference
Combiningpowerful combinations of2500 growth factors and proteins that help our skin cells perform like they did when we were younger, Dr. Coronado has introduced Avenoir’s Cell Repair Serum – Clinical Strengthand Cell Repair Moisturizer.
“The concentrated serum isa cocktail for growing stem cells to help combat chronic inflammation that we all develop at some point in our lives,”Dr. Coronado explained.“It stimulates the younger skin cells, so they grow faster and overcompensate the harmful effects of the older cells as well as environmental toxins entering our skin,” he added.
A friend of Dr. Coronado saw immediate results when she used his new serum on a skin problem she had for years. Another woman used it on her age spots, and two weeks later they were gone.Fine wrinkles began fading away on theskin of a third woman. “Although each woman had a unique skin issue, it indicated that the overall health of her skin was suffering. By providing the nutrients their cells needed to be healthy and perform at their best, the serum cleared up their individual problems,” Dr. Coronado noted.
RESULTS OF A FOUR-WEEK TRIAL OF AVENOIR CELL REPAIR SERUM
of participants saw an overall improvement
saw improved skin texture (smoothness/softness)
saw improvement in general redness and irritation
reported a younger appearance
Avenoir Cosmeticsis the only company in the world using Dr. Coronado’s proprietary Cell Repair Nutrient™, as well as his confidential formula that makes the clinical strength serum incredibly effective. Since use of the ingredients has traditionally been confined to laboratory settings, they’re harder to get and more expensive than those used in other skin care products. “But well worth it,” Dr. Coronado said. “It’s virtually impossible that the serum won’t benefit your skin,” he enthusiastically added.
The Dynamic Duo
Avenoir’s Cell Repair Serum – Clinical Strengthcosts more than other products on the market, but it includes “molecularly sophisticated components and growth factors that you simply don’t find in other products,” Dr. Coronado stressed. Besides, it’s a great deal less expensive than laser treatments at the dermatologist. Meant to be used before bed, the serum will feed your cells at an especiallybeneficial time – when your body is at rest. Only a small amount is needed to do the job.
Avenoir’s Cell Repair Moisturizer has the same ingredients as the serum, but is less concentrated and can be used day and night. It penetrates deep into the layers of the skin to significantly increase elasticity and tone. Using it regularly will invigorate and nourish the skin, leaving it feeling smooth, supple and firm. The effectiveness of the moisturizer alone cannot be matched.
I’ve been using both products for one month and, as I mentioned at the start, my skin is tighter, brighter and baby soft. As the editor of a trusted website for women, I’ve tried many excellent skin care products over the years. The science behind Avenoir is second to none.
Avenoir expects to introduce a toner and products for the eyes and neck this year with the exceptional benefits of its serum and moisturizer. I can’t wait. Thank you, Dr. Coronado.
And start revitalizing aging skin cells with Avenoir’s Cell Repair Serum – Clinical Strength and Cell Repair Moisturizer.
If I was dating, I probably wouldn’t tell a new man about my condition, but otherwise I’m upfront: I have incontinence. How can you ever hope to solve your problems if you keep them to yourself? Happily, the folks who are marketing an exciting new drug-free incontinence treatment invited me to try it after they read one of my blogs. More on that in a moment.
Chances are pretty good that you also have incontinence, along with 43 percent of women 50 to 64 years old and 50 percent over 65. Yet, only about one-third of us talk to our doctors, and continue to suffer in silence. If you’re one of the embarrassed non-talkers, please learn from my experience and hopefully you’ll get relief, too.
After taking a popular incontinence drug for years, I abruptly stopped in 2017 when I read that it increased my risk for dementia. I’d rather lose complete control of my bladder than my mind! I refused to take another popular drug instead since that one would increase my risk for high blood pressure, among other side effects. My pressure is normal. So, I began wearing special padded underwear. Function over glamour, ladies!
Femaxeen, the new plant-based food supplement that recently hit the market, seemed promising. Seventy-six (of 81) participants in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study reported “statistically significant improvements” in their incontinence after taking the supplement for 90 days. (Note: Three participants didn’t follow up; and ‘treatment’ wasn’t started in two placebo patients.)
The supplement is formulated with a proprietary cocktail of ingredients that work together to help the bladder function properly and support lower urinary tract health. “Femaxeen is effective on stress incontinence as well as on urge incontinence associated with an overactive bladder (OAB),” said Oscar del Cid, whose company – DNA Biopharm – distributes it in the United States. Monaco-based Axeen Pharma produces Femaxeen. I wasn’t on a date with Oscar, so I talked freely about my bladder.
“Before taking Femaxeen, i didn’t have a sex life. I was like Niagra Falls at night. Thank you for changing that.” – Rhonda D.
A QUICK LESSON IN BLADDER HEALTH
If you’re not versed in the types of bladder issues, here’s a quick lesson.
Stress urinary incontinenceis the involuntary loss of urine during physical activity, such as coughing, laughing or lifting. This happens when the pelvic floor muscles that support the urethra (the tube carrying urine out of the body) and the urinary sphincter muscle (controlling the flow of urine from the bladder) are weakened or damaged by events including menopause, childbirth, trauma and hysterectomy. (I fit into all but the trauma category.) Of the approximate 18 million people affected, women represent 85 percent.
OAB is a sudden, strong and frequent need to urinateoccuring when the smooth muscle in the bladder wall (detrusor) destabilizes and involuntarily contracts while the bladder is storing urine. A normal detrusor muscle will relax during the storage phase and will contract when we pee. OAB may be associated with urine leakage if you can’t get to the bathroom in time. Approximately 13 million women are affected by OAB with incontinence. The exact cause is unknown, but it’s thought that risk factors include vaginal birth delivery, age, obesity and chronic constipation.
“I had to call you. For the first time in over 10 years I wore skimpier shorts because I didn’t have to hide my diaper.” – Donna B.
Our urinary system does its job well when muscles and nerves work together to hold urine in the bladder and then release it at the right time. Nerves carry messages back and forth between the bladder and the brain to signal when the bladder is full and tell muscles when to tighten or release. If these nerves don’t work properly, your bladder won’t either.
Made from UriCyTonin®AFU&I, an exclusive blend of purified pollens extracted from a flower found in Sweden, Femaxeen works with nerves and muscles to support bladder health. The formula also includes pumpkin seed extract for the health of the pelvic floor muscles that control urine flow, and Vitamin E to help protect cells against oxidative stress.
I’ve been taking one Femaxeen tablet daily for the last month – with absolutely no side effects – and can expect to see a marked improvement in my incontinence after about four months, Oscar told me. The results will take longer for women with more severe incontinence, he added. “Many of us want to see results overnight, but the benefits of the formula build up over time,” Oscar stressed. “It’s important to be patient. The outcome will be worth it,” he added.
To inspire us to keep taking Femaxeen, even if we don’t see an improvement as fast as we’d like, Oscar is giving every woman who purchases one or two boxes an equal number of gratis boxes. Shipping and returns are free, too.
This post was developed in collaboration with Lundbeck.
If it’s true that “not all heroes wear capes,” then those who care and advocate for loved ones are among those who best fulfill this adage.
One of the most strenuous and stressful roles one can play is caring for someone with a chronic condition. This situation becomes even more taxing when caring for someone with a lesser-known condition that takes years to diagnose, which was the case with MaryGail.
As the primary care partner for her father, Ralph, MaryGail and her father struggled to find an explanation for her father’s symptoms when he fell ill. In honor of National Caregivers Awareness Month, MaryGail shared her care partner story and her relentless pursuit to find answers and treatment for her father when she suspected that something wasn’t quite right.
The Early Signs
My dad was a construction foreman, always outside and working with his hands. He was also in the Navy and served his country during the Vietnam War. As most in the armed services would agree, you’re conditioned to be neat and tidy – and dad was the embodiment of this – from the clothes he wore to the way we kept our home. So, when I began noticing that he wasn’t keeping up with the house and was spending more time lying on the couch, I became concerned.
One day, as I was cleaning up, I found medication bottles for Parkinson’s disease (PD). When I confronted him about it, my father told me that he had been recently diagnosed with PD, but brushed it off like it was insignificant.
Soon after, he began talking to me about symptoms he was experiencing, specifically getting dizzy when standing up or feeling like he would pass out when getting out of bed. His symptoms were causing him to be leery of standing or walking, feeling much safer lying down and, unfortunately, that’s why he started spending more time on the couch and in bed. His condition was causing him to change his lifestyle out of fear.
I knew something wasn’t right. Yes, he had PD, but the symptoms he was experiencing just didn’t sit well with me. Over the course of the next few years, he was continuously in and out of hospitals and rehab centers. We talked to countless doctors. Cardiologists would say he needed to see a neurologist, and neurologists would argue it was a cardiac problem. No one seemed to agree or genuinely take the time to listen to my father.
After yet another trip to the emergency department, his neurologist decided that he didn’t have PD but, rather, a different neurodegenerative condition called multiple system atrophy. I had enough. None of what we were being told made sense. No one could explain their rationale to me or provide a straight answer, and I was asking all the important questions.
I decided to take matters into my own hands. As a care partner, sometimes you need to put your foot down and take control of the situation. My dad went through a spell of about three days where he was constantly sleeping and not getting out of bed. I was working in the healthcare field, so I asked my colleagues who had loved ones with Parkinson’s for their advice. One of the doctors informed me that I needed to get my dad to a neurologist who specialized in movement disorders.
Finally Finding Answers
After explaining his symptoms of being dizzy when he stood up and the feeling like he was going to black out, our new neurologist, who specialized in movement disorders, took his blood pressure readings in different positions, both lying down and standing up. This was the first time anyone had ever taken this approach.
The neurologist immediately knew what was going on after seeing his blood pressure readings. We were told that my dad did in fact of PD but also a separate, and manageable condition from PD called neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH), which often presents itself in patients with neurodegenerative conditions. Best of all, there was a medication that could help manage his symptoms, NORTHERA® (droxidopa). Please review the full Use for Northera and Important Safety Information below, including a boxed warning for Supine Hypertension.
What we learned was that nOH is a dysfunction in a person’s autonomic nervous system, which causes blood pressure to drop significantly when trying to stand or when changing positions, causing people to feel dizzy or lightheaded. For some, they feel like they’ll black out. Learning of nOH’s symptoms explained why he felt safer lying down and would constantly feel dizzy when he stood.
I had never felt more relieved to know that my father may not have to live the rest of his life experiencing the symptoms of nOH. Of course, NORTHERA might not be right for everyone, so I would encourage anyone to speak with their physician about treatment options that might be right for them.
This long journey has left me with three pieces of advice for anyone who is caring for a loved one and trying to find answers:
Be assertive. You know what is right for your loved one and what they need. Don’t be afraid to ask for it, there is nothing wrong with being firm.
Ask questions. A lot of them. There is no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to the health and safety of the person you are caring for. If you don’t feel comfortable with what you are being told, get a second or third opinion.
Trust your gut. At the end of the day, you are the one spending the most time with your loved one, observing them, and listening to how they are feeling. Sometimes you know best. Trust the feeling.
Caring for a loved one isn’t easy, but it’s an important and meaningful role, especially to the person for whom you are providing care. I often say “we” when I speak about my father’s diagnosis journey because even though he was the one being treated for nOH, we went through it together.
USE OF NORTHERA (droxidopa) CAPSULES (100 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg)
NORTHERA (droxidopa) is a prescription medication used to reduce dizziness, lightheadedness, or the “feeling that you are about to black out” in adults who experience a significant drop in blood pressure when changing positions or standing (called symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH)) and who have one of the following:
− Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that causes slowness in muscle movement as well as shaking in the hands
− Multiple system atrophy (MSA), a Parkinson’s-like disorder with more widespread effects on the brain and body
− Pure autonomic failure (PAF), a neurodegenerative disease that results in frequent drops in blood pressure upon standing
− Dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency, a condition where the body cannot make enough of the hormones that help regulate blood pressure
− Non-diabetic autonomic neuropathy, an inability to maintain blood pressure upon standing that can be caused by a number of rare diseases
Effectiveness beyond 2 weeks of treatment has not been established, and your doctor will decide if you should continue taking NORTHERA.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: SUPINE HYPERTENSION (this is high blood pressure while lying down)
When lying down, elevating the head and upper body lowers the risk of high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure in this position prior to starting and during NORTHERA treatment. If you experience high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about your NORTHERA treatment.
Do not take NORTHERA if you have a known allergy to NORTHERA or its ingredients.
NORTHERA may cause high blood pressure when lying down, which could lead to strokes, heart attacks, and death. To reduce this risk of supine hypertension, take your late afternoon dose of NORTHERA at least 3 hours before going to bed.
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a rare but potentially life-threatening side effect reported with NORTHERA. Call your doctor right away and go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these signs and symptoms: high fever, stiff muscles, movements that you cannot control, confusion or problems thinking, very fast or uneven heartbeats, or increased sweating. NORTHERA should be stopped immediately if NMS is diagnosed.
If you have coronary artery disease, irregular heartbeat, or heart failure, NORTHERA may worsen the symptoms of these disorders. Call your doctor if your symptoms become worse.
NORTHERA may cause allergic reactions. Stop taking NORTHERA and contact your doctor right away, or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience any signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction such as: fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, swelling, trouble breathing, hives, or rash. NORTHERA contains tartrazine (FD&C Yellow No. 5), which may also cause an allergic reaction, especially if you have had a reaction to aspirin.
The most common side effects with NORTHERA are headache, dizziness, nausea, and high blood pressure.
Taking NORTHERA with other medications may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if you take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
You should not breastfeed during treatment with NORTHERA.
If you plan to become or are currently pregnant, talk to your doctor as it is notknown if NORTHERA could harm your unborn baby.
Take NORTHERA the same way each time, either with or without food.
If you miss a dose of NORTHERA, take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not double the dose
A new guilt-free, great-tasting nutritious drink to help us stay physically active and mentally alert
Celery stalks and carrot sticks have never been my go to snacks. I’m more of a chocolate bar and popcorn kind of gal. Sadly, I often get carried away – then sulky when I invariably gain weight.
My kitchen is 15 feet from the living room, where I work. And, ever since Covid began nine months ago, snacks and sulks have pretty much become the orders of the day for me.
The timing couldn’t have been better to try a new plant-based nutrition drink – Perennial Daily Gut & Brain – that’s crafted especially for the FabOverFifty generation. The name may not be romantic, but I love what the ingredients of this “mini meal” are doing for my body. And I love its pure, rich chocolatey taste and smooth milk-like consistency, even though it doesn’t have a drop of dairy.
Perennial is packed with 8 grams of plant-based protein, including pea, rice and non-gmo soy protein; 5 grams of prebiotic fiber; 11 essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, B6, D3 and E, and folate, and Algae oil – a valuable source of essential Omega-3 fats.
Thoughtfully blended into a tasty and convenient drink, these super healthy ingredients perform two essential tasks as we age: 1) Feed and stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in our digestive system so the nutrients in our food are properly absorbed and converted into energy, a key function for longevity. 2) Help us stay mentally focusedwith a unique and nourishing nutrient complex to support brain health.
Interestingly, our gut and brain are actually connected by a major nerve called the vagus. When our digestive system metabolizes food, chemicals are released that talk to our brain to boost our mood and reduce inflammation. The antioxidants and prebiotics in a glass of refreshing Perennial also help support our vitally important immune health.
“Nutrient absorption is one of our key pillars, and we wanted each vitamin and mineral in Perennial to enhance the absorption of another. This ensures that they stay in our bodies and increase our energy,” explained Sara Bonham, a food science expert who conceived and formulated Perennial.
Our bodies experience many changes as we age, such as a decrease in digestive enzymes, which can lead to issues including lactose intolerance and bloating. Plant-based Perennial is lactose and cholesterol free but fills in food gaps we may develop.
I grab a Perennial when I crave a mid-morning snack to tide me over until lunch, or for physical and mental boosts at around 3 pm. It’s satisfying, low in carbs, and does a whole lot more for my body than chocolate or popcorn. It also comes in vanilla, which is great in a smoothie or icy cold over Grape Nuts, my fave cereal. Nice for my weight, too, since it’s low in sugar and only 140 calories.
The compact 8-ounce package slips into my purse, and I keep one in the car. Shelf stable, it stays fresh for a really long time.
Formerly involved in food development for giants like General Mills and Mars, Sara felt no one was championing the health of today’s older adults who are aging better than prior generations. Sara knows that we’re still working, starting our own businesses, and striving, And, we want to stay at the top of our game as we age.
Sara says her 60-something, working mom is Perennial’s perfect target customer. “She cares about staying mentally sharp and active. Physical and brain health are both important to her,” Sara said.
Perennial was born from Sara’s inspiration to help people like her mom to live their best lives and give them a new sense of freedom. “We’re a human health science company dedicated to targeted plant-based nutrition for today’s modern 50+adults,” she said.
Enter code 20FABOVER50 at checkout for 20% OFF Perennial Daily Gut & Brain Sample Pack from January 8 (12:01 am) until January 31 2021 (11:59 pm). One time only.
As the year comes to a close, many of us are busy with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But make sure not to overlook the remaining funds in your Flex Spending Account (FSA). Unlike a Health Savings Account (HSA), an FSA has a “use it or lose it” policy.
One of the easiest ways to prevent FSA funds from going unused is to invest in your health with Life Line Screening. A $149 Screening Package assesses your risk for Stroke and Cardiovascular disease by checking for Carotid Artery Disease, Peripheral Artery Disease, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), Atrial Fibrillation, and Osteoporosis.
Screenings are easy, non-invasive and painless. Life Line Screening is offered throughout the year at more than 13,000 locations across the country. Over 9 million people have been screened since Life Line was introduced more than 20 years ago.
Get screened for Peace of Mind or Early Detection.