Giveaway: Super Smart Relief for Vaginal Dryness

Millions of post-menopausal women have vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), which comes from the loss of estrogen stimulation on the sensitive tissue in these areas. About 30 million women, as a matter of fact, may suffer from symptoms including pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness and vaginal irritation, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

If you’re one of these women, Fairhaven Health would like you to try its new Sage Personal Moisturizer and Lubricanta non-prescription formula that can provide temporary relief from vaginal dryness. 

Simply fill out the form below to receive your gratis tube.

Four reasons you absolutely want to try Sage Personal Moisturizer and Lubricant:

  1. A clear gel, Sage is neither unpleasantly thick and gooey or so runny that you wouldn’t want to use it during the day. Its fluidity will increase comfort and pleasure during intimacy, but the formula will stay put and work for longer. 
  2. Sage supplements natural moisture in the vagina and provides temporary relief from vaginal dryness during intercourse or daily. Estrogen drives natural production of vaginal fluid, so as estrogen decreases during menopause, natural moisture declines. Sage safely mimics natural moisture and feels as natural as possible.
  3. Sage is water based – without paraben preservatives – which is acknowledged to be best for menopause-related vaginal dryness. It includes clary sage, a botanical with natural antibacterial properties
  4. pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14. A healthy vagina has a pH between 4 and 5 – similar to that of wine – which makes it naturally acidic.  Sage has a pH of around 5, which is considered healthy for women as they age. 

Complete this form to receive your gratis tube of Sage Personal Moisturizer and Lubricant. Giveaway ends on Monday, March 8th, 2021.


Giving Control to 25 Lucky Ladies

Hi Ladies, 

I might be the only woman on the planet who isn’t embarrassed to admit that I have incontinence. 

I completely understand if you don’t want to discuss it.  But, if you’re one of the 43 percent of women 50 to 64 years old, or 50 percent over 65, I think you’ll want to enter our giveaway for Femaxeen, a new plant-based food supplement that recently hit the market. 

Femaxeen is formulated with a proprietary cocktail of ingredients that work together to help the bladder function properly and support lower urinary tract health. It’s  effective on stress incontinence as well as on urge incontinence associated with an overactive bladder. 

I started taking Femaxeen two months ago and should start to see a marked improvement in the next two months

We’re giving 25 ladies four boxes each so the winners can see noticeable improvement, too. We may not be giving away Kelly handbags, but even a bag that costs $20K won’t impress your bladder.

FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW AND HAVE THE CHANCE TO GIVE YOUR BLADDER A REST. GIVEAWAY ENDS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2021


At Last, a Plant-Based Supplement for Incontinence That Works! It Really Works!

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!

Order Femaxeen For a Life-Changing Event

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 incontinence is 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 urinate occuring 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.

Femaxeen: For a life-changing event

(Enter Fab50  at checkout to purchase one or two boxes  and get an equal number of gratis boxes)

Join a Zoom Master Class on Menopause With One of The World’s Great Masters

If you’re a woman somewhere between your mid 40s and late 50s, have started to sense strange changes in your body, or see and feel actual changes, you need one thing above most everything else: The opportunity to learn what’s happening to your body, what you can do to relieve your physical and emotional turmoil during your midlife transition and a plan for your lifelong health.

Perhaps you’ve developed heart palpitations. Or you suddenly can’t sleep. Maybe you’re running to pee more often. Or gained five pounds even though you haven’t changed your eating habits one iota. Besides feeling completely unsexy, you even feel discomfort while you’re having sex. 

You’ve trusted your GP for years, but he or she either says your concerns “are normal and will pass,” tells you to exercise and eat less, or sends you to a cardiologist and urologist. So now you’re taking medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol, but still feel like a hot mess and desperately need to know if there’s anything else you can do to feel better. 

The gynecologist you’ve been using for decades doesn’t offer any solutions, either. You feel like you’re losing your mind.

↓↓Sign up below to reserve a spot at Dr. Seibel’s Gratis Master Class in Menopause

Your Great Internist Probably Isn’t A Menopause Expert

Truth is, there are excellent internists and excellent gynecologists – and yours might well be among them –  but that doesn’t automatically make them experts in the area of menopause. 

That’s because an entire generation of practitioners was never properly trained on the symptoms and health risks of menopause and how to treat menopausal women. This disservice to their health links back to a 2002 report on a landmark health study that falsely claimed menopausal women on hormone replacement therapy are at increased  risk for stroke, heart disease and dementia. 

Sadly, the havoc wreaked on the healthcare of these women by that report lingers on two decades later – despite the subsequent revelation that the study analysis was flawed.

Mistreated and misinformed, a majority of menopausal women, and those who will join them every year, don’t know where to turn for help.

Chances are, you’re one of these women. And you shouldn’t have to fight to feel better. It should be your right. 

You can read any one of the scores of books on menopause, which might be good for general information on the subject. But no book, no matter how well done, can help you interpret what’s going on in your unique body.

A Master Class From a Real Menopause Master

Dr. Mache Seibel has written one of these books – The Estrogen Fix: The Breakthrough Guide to Being Healthy, Energized, and Hormonally Balanced. And, he’s a  member of the Harvard Medical School Faculty. Dr. Seibel would love you to buy his book, of course, but even he acknowledges it’s no substitute for talking directly to a menopause specialist about your body.

Zoom in on Menopause With Dr. Seibel 

You can have a one-on-one online consultation with Dr. Seibel to help you understand your issues and become a partner in your own health care. Once empowered with knowledge, you can take the steps necessary to improve how you feel and move into this phase of your life with confidence. 

But more on Dr. Seibel’s menopause coaching sessions another time. We want to give you the opportunity to meet him first and get his compelling overview of the impact of menopause on a woman’s body. 

I’ve had the pleasure to get to know Dr. Seibel and I assure you that what you hear from him will be one of the most important lessons of your life. For your life. We’ll also have time for a Q and A after his talk.

Sign up here. Sign up now. 

Fill in the form below to reserve a place at Dr. Mache Seibel’s gratis 

Zoom Master Class on Menopause

Thursday, February 25th, 2021 from 3 – 4 pm ET. 


 

Life Line Screening Wants to Keep You Healthy

Life Line Screening compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write this post. Regardless, I started having its health screenings years before this, and I only recommend products or services that I believe will benefit others. Geri Brin, Founder, faboverfifty.com 

Now more than ever, it’s critical to know your risk for Cardiovascular Disease

I’m concerned about being part of a high-risk group if I get the virus that’s turned our world upside down. And, at 73, my lungs and my heart could be even more vulnerable to harm if I had problems before COVID-19 became part of my vocabulary. While lung injury and respiratory problems took center stage as the most frightening complications of COVID-19, Cardiovascular Disease  is another. 

Alarming facts: About 10 percent of patients with pre-existing Cardiovascular Disease who contract COVID-19 will die, compared with only 1 percent of patients who are otherwise healthy, according to an article in the health blog from Harvard Medical School.  

Unfortunately, the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean you’re absolutely free of Cardiovascular Disease. This new viral infection, fever, and inflammation can destabilize heart vessel blockages you didn’t even know you had. This makes it imperative for anyone in the high-risk group to take ownership of your health and do everything you possibly can to avoid hospitalizations by eating right, exercising and getting screened for stroke and cardiovascular disease. 

Even without the risks associated with COVID-19, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Now that you’re moving around a bit more freely, one of the first tasks on your agenda should be to understand your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Life Line Screening makes it easy by offering a special package of five preventative screening tests: 1) Atrial fibrillation or AFIB, a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clot, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. 2) Peripheral arterial disease, a circulatory condition in which blood vessels narrowed by plaque reduce blood flow to the limbs. P.A.D. usually affects the arteries in the legs, but it also can affect the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys, and stomach. Peripheral artery disease may be an indication that plaque is also present in other areas of the body. 3) Plaque in the carotid arteries, which are the two large blood vessels on each side of the neck that supply oxygenated blood to the brain, neck and face. The carotid artery narrows and affects blood flow to the brain when it becomes clogged with plaque, and complications can be serious. If any of the plaque breaks off, it can block the blood flow to the brain completely, causing a stroke. Plaque in the arteries can develop over time without causing a singly symptom. 4) Abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. Over time, the blood vessel balloons and is at risk for bursting or tearing, which can cause life- threatening bleeding and potentially death. 5) Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density or mass. 

Life Line has provided preventive screening to millions for 25 years – and at remarkably fair fees – precisely what convinced me to first have its tests in 2010.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In response to COVID-19, Lifeline is taking precautions to protect its customers and employees by following all CDC, state and local guidelines for cleanliness, personal protective equipment and social distancing. Masks are required for everyone; appointments are limited, and temperatures are taken prior to entering a facility.

Life Line Warned Me. I Didn’t Listen

I wasn’t overly concerned when I learned my right carotid artery had mild fatty plaque since it wasn’t a dire threat to my health, at least not immediately. Uncharacteristically, I dismissed the report recommendation to follow up with my doctor, too preoccupied with launching this website at the time. I felt good and had no signs of a problem. My weight was reasonable. I exercised. Didn’t smoke or drink. 

My blasé attitude had troubling consequences. 

By last year, my weight had spun out of control, I was working out less, and a new ultrasound showed a dramatic increase in the plaque. Now the bad stuff was narrowing the right carotid artery somewhere between 59 and 80 percent. That got my attention, even if there wasn’t a single symptom. If a piece of plaque broke off and blocked the blood flow, I could have a stroke. To make matters worse, my cholesterol numbers were dismal. My doctor started me on statin therapy right away to lower my cholesterol, told me to lose weight, start exercising again, and to take low-dose baby aspirin every day.  

Ironically, most doctors won’t recommend screenings for carotid artery or peripheral arterial disease for asymptomatic patients with no family history of stroke or heart attack. What’s more, Medicare doesn’t cover the tests unless someone has experienced symptoms. Without coverage, it’s costly to have tests like this done at a hospital. The United States health system isn’t a shining example of how to practice preventive medicine. 

Having no reason to suspect any cardiovascular problems a decade ago, I actually arranged for the first ultrasound through Life Line Screening as a preventive measure. When the original results showed mild plaque, it should have been fair warning not to let myself go. After all, that’s what preventive health care means. That’s what makes Life Line a smart idea.

The Life Line Screening Difference

View of right carotid artery

When Life Line recently contacted me about introducing its screening service to my FOFriends, I didn’t hesitate. After all, they discovered the plaque in my carotid artery at an early stage, not to mention early bone loss, and suggested that I see my own doctor. Pretty foolish not to heed their advice. “Every day we find people across the country with significant carotid artery and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Keith Coffee, Chief Medical Officer at Life Line. 

Only $149 For All Five Screenings

“We discovered about 62K overall health risks in 2017 alone,” Dr. Coffee said. A team of highly qualified, board-certified radiologists throughout the country, led by a vascular surgeon, reads all ultrasound images as well as the electrocardiograms for AFIB. 

“These are screenings, not diagnostic tests,” Dr. Coffee stressed. “We encourage patients to share their results with their doctors so they can together discuss the appropriate treatment, if necessary.” (Remember, that’s what I didn’t do!)  Life Line doesn’t have physicians available who can discuss the test results with patients, and it doesn’t interact with patients’ physicians. They do provide a summary of the results that you can share with your doctor. “We simply provide the incentive for patients to take the right steps for their health,” Dr. Coffee noted. 

If Life Line Screening discovers a life threatening condition, however, such as an aneurysm that’s about to rupture, it will send someone right to the ER and call for an ambulance if they wish. “Our customers tell us that we’ve possibly saved their lives. We get letters all the time from people who had no symptoms and thought they were just fine, but were at risk for having a large aneurysm about the rupture,” Dr. Coffee said.

In and Out In 90 Minutes Or Less

Life Line serves 60 cities across the country each day. Teams at the screening sites include at least two ultrasound stenographers who hold certificates in ultrasound technology, and two medical assistants who are cross trained to perform tests including electrocardiograms for heart rhythm, fingerstick blood tests, and peripheral pulses. A nurse practitioner joins most of the teams to see people 65+ years old for Annual Wellness Visits, which are covered under Medicare.

While most people opt for the basic, five-test package I described earlier, many decide to get their cholesterol and glucose checked during the same appointment, Dr. Coffee told me.  Life Line Screening offers 15 preventive screening blood tests, including thyroid function, vitamin D, and hemoglobin A1C for diabetes. It also provides a take-home test for detection of colorectal cancer. A call center with 300 trained employees helps participants decide what tests are right for them, based on their age, risk factors and medical history.

Testing is done in churches, at community centers, fraternal organizations and occasionally in hotel ballrooms. When Life Line works with affiliates, such as hospitals, anyone with abnormal results is referred back to the hospital. It also offers exclusive screenings for employees of large corporations as part of their healthcare plans. “Our goal is to get people in and out in 60 to 90 minutes, which includes paperwork and waiting time,” Dr. Coffee said. 

The Results Are In

A results package arrives in the mail about three weeks after your screening. It reports on every test you took and on your risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease in general, taking into account factors including smoking, high cholesterol and family history. “We give you all the information we can to help you make lifestyle changes and modifications if you need to,” Dr. Coffee explained. If a major issue such as AFIB is discovered, a Life Line representative will call you directly, rather than having you wait for the results package. 

People generally have their first Life Line screenings at 50 years old. “We have patients in their 40s who just want to know where they fit healthwise, or maybe they have a family history of early strokes. And, we have people in their 90s,” Dr. Coffee said. Returning patients account for about half of Life Line’s annual screenings, and close to 90 percent of all patients have their own physicians. 

Get preventive screenings once you’re age fifty, whether or not you have symptoms. And pay attention to what you learn.

Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms or Something Else? MaryGail’s Care Partner Story of Determination to Find Answers for Her Father

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.

Taking Control

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning for supine hypertension or go to www.NORTHERA.com.

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.

©2020 Lundbeck. All rights reserved. NORTHERA is a registered trademark of Lundbeck NA. Ltd. DRX-B-100397

Use Your Flex Spending Account for a Stroke & Cardiovascular Disease Risk Screening

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.

The New & Only Authoritative Directory of Leading Menopause Specialists In The United States

Dear FOFriends, 

MENOPAUSE is a fact of life for women. For every single woman. Over 2M women enter menopause every year.

But millions of us – including women with PhDs – are caught completely off guard when the myriad – often troublesome – symptoms of menopause hit us. 

No surprise! 

Medical schools – even elite institutions – give little attention in their curriculum to the menopausal transition in our lives, not to mention to our  emotional well being in general.  Many gynecologists give short shrift to older patients’ distress about everything from trouble sleeping to weight gain, hot flashes to night sweats, declining libido to painful sex.  

And, we’re not talking about octogenarians when we say “older.” The majority of women begin noticing changes in their bodies during their 40s, but it’s entirely possible for a woman to enter perimenopause in her 30s. 

Fewer than 100 doctors nationwide can truly be called menopause mavens (MM)

Further complicating matters is the hesitation of many women to even bring up our experiences with our doctors. We’re embarrassed. We assume our difficulties will “pass.” Or, we figure we must grin and bear this “normal” – if not troubling – course of events. 

So, instead of enjoying this exciting and wildly productive period of our lives, we’re bedevilled by the miseries of menopause. 

Big mistake, ladies! 

Whether you suspect you’re experiencing a symptom related to this momentous transition in your life, or in the heat of it (literally and figuratively), the best thing you can do for yourself is to see a MM. There’s so much to know about this normal transition in our lives that unless you see one of these specialists, you’ll likely be misinterpreted and misdirected. 

But, up until now, finding a true MM  was no easy exercise. Google “Leading Menopause Doctors” and  you come up with a mishmash of listings covering doctors in different states. Many of them aren’t menopause specialists at all! Their websites include the popular SEO term “menopause,” so Google’s algorithms spit their names out at us. 

Even the directory on the website of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is riddled with names of members who “have asked to be included on the list,” but are about as qualified to treat menopausal women as a dentist. I don’t want to disparage NAMS, but, like many professional associations, it is severely limited in its ability to market to and help real women. 

That’s why I decided to research and compile a directory of the 100 top menopause specialists in the country.  As editor of a website for women 45+, I knew about 25 doctors off the top of my head. But after that I had to comb through hundreds of bios, websites and multiple Google listings to determine who else qualifies for the list.  It took over 100 hours to pull it together. 

Although some of these doctors work with bioidentical hormones, I assiduously tried to avoid putting someone on the list whose only specialty was HRT (hormone replacement therapy.) Many women simply don’t wish to treat their symptoms with hormones – bioidentical or otherwise.

You may live in a city that isn’t terribly convenient to the doctors on the list, but I encourage you to meet with the closest one. Many doctors are offering telehealth sessions, or you can chat with a doctor on the phone. 

I trust there are doctors who probably should be added to the list (and maybe some who should be removed). I was hard pressed to come up with even one doctor in a couple of states, but I wanted every state to be represented. I encourage you to email your recommendations to me at geri@faboverfifty.com 

I can, however, attest to the fact that this is the best list you’ll find.

 

Become a Sage Woman 

I gratefully thank Ethan Lynette, partner, and Suzanne Munson, VP of product development, at Fairhaven Health, who sponsored this worthwhile project. They had absolutely no input into the names of the doctors on the list.

Fairhaven, a manufacturer of vaginal care and comfort products for each of a woman’s life stages, recently added Sage Moisturizer & Lubricant to its product lineup. It offers relief for everyday vaginal dryness and short term lubrication for increased pleasure during intimacy.

Sage is water based – without paraben preservatives – which makes it best for menopause-related vaginal dryness. It includes clary sage, a botanical with natural antibacterial properties.

I recommend that you try Sage.  You can read more about it here. 

 

ALABAMA 

Dr. Jimmy Sparks
Sparks & Favor
OB-GYN
2006 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Suite 700
Birmingham, AL 35209
205.397.1286 

 

Bringing over 30 years experience to caring for his patients’ overall wellness, Dr. Sparks long-time interests include the menopause transition, osteoporosis, gynecologic surgery, and screening and risk-reducing strategies for women’s cancer. 

University of Alabama School of Medicine

 

ALASKA 

Dr. Maude Vance
Denali Obgyn Clinic 
OB-GYN
3976 University Lake Drive, Suite 300
Anchorage, AL 99508
907.222.9930 

 

Recognizing that every woman has different care and communication needs at each stage of life, Dr. Vance believes strongly in individualizing patients’ care. She has a special interest in perimenopause and menopause, which are often overlooked but can greatly impact a woman’s life.  

University of California, Davis, Medical School 

 

Ericka Mulder
Anchorage Women’s Clinic 
Providence Alaska Medical Center, C Tower, 4th floor
3260 Providence Drive, Suite 425
Anchorage, AL 99508
907.561.7111

 

Ericka is passionate about empowering women to put themselves first and wants to help them look at the small thing to enhance their own health and well being. She gives patients the tools to help themselves and actively listens to their concerns, working together with them to improve their lives. 

University of Alaska Masters of Science in Nursing

 

ARIZONA 

Dr. Paru S. David
Mayo Clinic 
Women’s Health Internist – Menopause Specialist 
13400 East Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
480.301.8000

 

Dr. Paru has studied menopause symptoms in women over 60 years old, and believes that increased awareness of the issues these women face can help healthcare providers improve the quality of their life. 

University of Missouri Medical School 

 

Dr. David L. Greenspan
Caring for Women’s Health
OB/GYN 
600 West Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
602-562-5925 

 

As a leading OB/GYN in Phoenix, Dr.. Greenspan helps women manage their menopause symptoms by providing an array of care and treatment options that reduce symptoms as well as the risks of serious diseases.

Drexel University Medical School 

 

Dr. Kathleen M. Norman
St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center
OB-GYN
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
602.406.7564

 

Dr. Norman’s expertise includes menopause management, bioidentical hormone therapy, laparoscopic hysterectomies and medical aesthetics. 

University of Minnesota Medical School

 

Living in the Dark: Gail’s Story of Finding an Explanation for Her Mysterious Symptoms

This post was developed in collaboration with Lundbeck.

Gail had symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness and nausea for most of her adult life, but had trouble articulating them to her doctor.

“It felt like a black cloud was following me. I would experience extreme dizziness and nausea after I stood up, and it felt like I was going to black out. When I would talk to my doctors about what I was experiencing, they would say it was because of my thyroid or that I needed a B12 shot.”

Gail’s health issues also affected her career.

“Before I retired, I was an elementary school music teacher and the symptoms I was experiencing greatly impacted my life. I started to hide my symptoms at work by spending most of my day sitting. The symptoms were making my world smaller and smaller. I started staying in my house more and avoided driving as much as I could.”

Gail was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1999. She figured the reason why she had been experiencing the symptoms of dizziness, nausea, and the feeling like she was going to black out for all of those years was because of her undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease, but she came to find out that wasn’t the case. “After I retired and moved to Florida in 2000, I had to find a new neurologist. At one of my appointments, I mentioned my symptoms which prompted him to take my blood pressure readings in

different positions, including both sitting and standing, whereas my previous specialist would only take them while I was sitting down.”

It was after this appointment that she learned that the symptoms she had been experiencing all of her adult life weren’t typical for everyone with Parkinson’s.

“Ten years after my Parkinson’s diagnosis, my neurologist told me I had symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, or nOH. I felt total relief when I found out that my symptoms were not from my Parkinson’s, but from a separate condition that is associated with neurodegenerative conditions, like Parkinson’s. The best news of all was when he told me that the symptoms could be managed.”

Gail’s neurologist informed her that there was a clinical trial starting for a drug called NORTHERA® (droxidopa) and he thought she would be a good candidate for it. “I was glad to know there was something I could try, to see if it would help manage my symptoms. I decided to participate in the clinical trial and fortunately for me, taking NORTHERA has helped relieve my symptoms, though NORTHERA might not work the same for everyone.” Please review the full Use for Northera and Important Safety Information below, including a boxed warning for Supine Hypertension.

Gail was so motivated to help others advocate for themselves that she decided to become an nOH Champion. nOH Champions are a network of patients and care partner ambassadors dedicated to educating and supporting others living with or caring for someone who has nOH. As an nOH Champion, Gail has the opportunity to share her story and raise awareness of this lesser-known condition, while empowering others at various stages of their journey. The nOH Champion program is a national program and is sponsored by Lundbeck, the manufacturer of NORTHERA.

“When people think about Parkinson’s, they tend to focus on the motor aspects of the disease, including tremors, loss of balance or difficulty moving. I wanted to share my story to encourage others who might be living with Parkinson’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases to talk to their doctor if they are experiencing symptoms like I was. There may be a way to treat these symptoms, you just need to ask the right questions.”

      Dr. Salima Brillman

To learn more about nOH and how NORTHERA® helps treats it, Salima Brillman, MD, Neurologist and Movement Disorder Specialist from the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center of Silicon Valley, provides the following information:

What is nOH?

“Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension is a lesser-known condition that can be associated with several neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy and pure autonomic failure. It’s due in large part to

the fact that the body does not release enough norepinephrine upon standing. As a result, blood vessels are unable to tighten as they should, preventing the blood from circulating back up to the heart and brain. This deficiency is what causes symptoms like lightheadedness, dizziness or the feeling of blacking out, among other symptoms.”

How prevalent is nOH in people with neurodegenerative conditions?

“Symptomatic nOH can present itself in about 20% of people living with Parkinson’s disease, 80% of people living with multiple system atrophy and nearly 100% of people with pure autonomic failure. Like Gail, many people don’t realize they are living with this manageable condition, which is why it’s so important to raise awareness of it.”

How is nOH diagnosed?

“As Gail mentioned, one way that nOH can be diagnosed is by a physician taking blood pressure readings while standing and sitting or during a tilt-table test, along with monitoring heart rate. If there is a sustained drop in blood pressure without an increase in heart rate, it’s suggested that the symptoms are from nOH.”

What is NORTHERA and how does it work?

NORTHERA is a prescription medication that has been shown to improve symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness and the feeling of blacking out. It is the only FDA-approved treatment specifically studied in patients with symptomatic nOH. The exact way it works is unknown, but it has been shown to have a small and temporary increase in norepinephrine. It’s important to talk with your doctor before starting or stopping any medications. Your healthcare provider should always be your first source of information and care.”

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 not known 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.

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning for supine hypertension, or go to www.NORTHERA.com.

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.

©2020 Lundbeck. All rights reserved. NORTHERA is a registered trademark of Lundbeck NA. Ltd. DRX-B-100390

Life Line Screening Wants to Keep You Healthy

Life Line Screening compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write this post. Regardless, I started having its health screenings years before this, and I only recommend products or services that I believe will benefit others. Geri Brin, Founder, faboverfifty.com 

Now more than ever, it’s critical to know your risk for Cardiovascular Disease

I’m concerned about being part of a high-risk group if I get the virus that’s turned our world upside down. And, at 73, my lungs and my heart could be even more vulnerable to harm if I had problems before COVID-19 became part of my vocabulary. While lung injury and respiratory problems took center stage as the most frightening complications of COVID-19, Cardiovascular Disease  is another. 

Alarming facts: About 10 percent of patients with pre-existing Cardiovascular Disease who contract COVID-19 will die, compared with only 1 percent of patients who are otherwise healthy, according to an article in the health blog from Harvard Medical School.  

Unfortunately, the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean you’re absolutely free of Cardiovascular Disease. This new viral infection, fever, and inflammation can destabilize heart vessel blockages you didn’t even know you had. This makes it imperative for anyone in the high-risk group to take ownership of your health and do everything you possibly can to avoid hospitalizations by eating right, exercising and getting screened for stroke and cardiovascular disease. 

Even without the risks associated with COVID-19, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Now that you’re moving around a bit more freely, one of the first tasks on your agenda should be to understand your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Life Line Screening makes it easy by offering a special package of five preventative screening tests: 1) Atrial fibrillation or AFIB, a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clot, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. 2) Peripheral arterial disease, a circulatory condition in which blood vessels narrowed by plaque reduce blood flow to the limbs. P.A.D. usually affects the arteries in the legs, but it also can affect the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys, and stomach. Peripheral artery disease may be an indication that plaque is also present in other areas of the body. 3) Plaque in the carotid arteries, which are the two large blood vessels on each side of the neck that supply oxygenated blood to the brain, neck and face. The carotid artery narrows and affects blood flow to the brain when it becomes clogged with plaque, and complications can be serious. If any of the plaque breaks off, it can block the blood flow to the brain completely, causing a stroke. Plaque in the arteries can develop over time without causing a singly symptom. 4) Abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. Over time, the blood vessel balloons and is at risk for bursting or tearing, which can cause life- threatening bleeding and potentially death. 5) Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density or mass. 

Life Line has provided preventive screening to millions for 25 years – and at remarkably fair fees – precisely what convinced me to first have its tests in 2010.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In response to COVID-19, Lifeline is taking precautions to protect its customers and employees by following all CDC, state and local guidelines for cleanliness, personal protective equipment and social distancing. Masks are required for everyone; appointments are limited, and temperatures are taken prior to entering a facility.

Life Line Warned Me. I Didn’t Listen

I wasn’t overly concerned when I learned my right carotid artery had mild fatty plaque since it wasn’t a dire threat to my health, at least not immediately. Uncharacteristically, I dismissed the report recommendation to follow up with my doctor, too preoccupied with launching this website at the time. I felt good and had no signs of a problem. My weight was reasonable. I exercised. Didn’t smoke or drink. 

My blasé attitude had troubling consequences. 

By last year, my weight had spun out of control, I was working out less, and a new ultrasound showed a dramatic increase in the plaque. Now the bad stuff was narrowing the right carotid artery somewhere between 59 and 80 percent. That got my attention, even if there wasn’t a single symptom. If a piece of plaque broke off and blocked the blood flow, I could have a stroke. To make matters worse, my cholesterol numbers were dismal. My doctor started me on statin therapy right away to lower my cholesterol, told me to lose weight, start exercising again, and to take low-dose baby aspirin every day.  

Ironically, most doctors won’t recommend screenings for carotid artery or peripheral arterial disease for asymptomatic patients with no family history of stroke or heart attack. What’s more, Medicare doesn’t cover the tests unless someone has experienced symptoms. Without coverage, it’s costly to have tests like this done at a hospital. The United States health system isn’t a shining example of how to practice preventive medicine. 

Having no reason to suspect any cardiovascular problems a decade ago, I actually arranged for the first ultrasound through Life Line Screening as a preventive measure. When the original results showed mild plaque, it should have been fair warning not to let myself go. After all, that’s what preventive health care means. That’s what makes Life Line a smart idea.

The Life Line Screening Difference

View of right carotid artery

When Life Line recently contacted me about introducing its screening service to my FOFriends, I didn’t hesitate. After all, they discovered the plaque in my carotid artery at an early stage, not to mention early bone loss, and suggested that I see my own doctor. Pretty foolish not to heed their advice. “Every day we find people across the country with significant carotid artery and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Keith Coffee, Chief Medical Officer at Life Line. 

Only $149 For All Five Screenings

“We discovered about 62K overall health risks in 2017 alone,” Dr. Coffee said. A team of highly qualified, board-certified radiologists throughout the country, led by a vascular surgeon, reads all ultrasound images as well as the electrocardiograms for AFIB. 

“These are screenings, not diagnostic tests,” Dr. Coffee stressed. “We encourage patients to share their results with their doctors so they can together discuss the appropriate treatment, if necessary.” (Remember, that’s what I didn’t do!)  Life Line doesn’t have physicians available who can discuss the test results with patients, and it doesn’t interact with patients’ physicians. They do provide a summary of the results that you can share with your doctor. “We simply provide the incentive for patients to take the right steps for their health,” Dr. Coffee noted. 

If Life Line Screening discovers a life threatening condition, however, such as an aneurysm that’s about to rupture, it will send someone right to the ER and call for an ambulance if they wish. “Our customers tell us that we’ve possibly saved their lives. We get letters all the time from people who had no symptoms and thought they were just fine, but were at risk for having a large aneurysm about the rupture,” Dr. Coffee said.

In and Out In 90 Minutes Or Less

Life Line serves 60 cities across the country each day. Teams at the screening sites include at least two ultrasound stenographers who hold certificates in ultrasound technology, and two medical assistants who are cross trained to perform tests including electrocardiograms for heart rhythm, fingerstick blood tests, and peripheral pulses. A nurse practitioner joins most of the teams to see people 65+ years old for Annual Wellness Visits, which are covered under Medicare.

While most people opt for the basic, five-test package I described earlier, many decide to get their cholesterol and glucose checked during the same appointment, Dr. Coffee told me.  Life Line Screening offers 15 preventive screening blood tests, including thyroid function, vitamin D, and hemoglobin A1C for diabetes. It also provides a take-home test for detection of colorectal cancer. A call center with 300 trained employees helps participants decide what tests are right for them, based on their age, risk factors and medical history.

Testing is done in churches, at community centers, fraternal organizations and occasionally in hotel ballrooms. When Life Line works with affiliates, such as hospitals, anyone with abnormal results is referred back to the hospital. It also offers exclusive screenings for employees of large corporations as part of their healthcare plans. “Our goal is to get people in and out in 60 to 90 minutes, which includes paperwork and waiting time,” Dr. Coffee said. 

The Results Are In

A results package arrives in the mail about three weeks after your screening. It reports on every test you took and on your risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease in general, taking into account factors including smoking, high cholesterol and family history. “We give you all the information we can to help you make lifestyle changes and modifications if you need to,” Dr. Coffee explained. If a major issue such as AFIB is discovered, a Life Line representative will call you directly, rather than having you wait for the results package. 

People generally have their first Life Line screenings at 50 years old. “We have patients in their 40s who just want to know where they fit healthwise, or maybe they have a family history of early strokes. And, we have people in their 90s,” Dr. Coffee said. Returning patients account for about half of Life Line’s annual screenings, and close to 90 percent of all patients have their own physicians. 

Get preventive screenings once you’re age fifty, whether or not you have symptoms. And pay attention to what you learn.