The Daily Routine Susan Is Never Going To Stop

When Susan Tolliver’s doctor told her she had Type 2 diabetes, she figured it was time to “stop spending all that money on Dr. Pepper and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and start spending it on something that’s good for me,” said the 66-year-old Texan. “My body was starting to feel so run down from eating too much sugar and not getting the nutrition it needs. My poor diet also was putting me at risk for developing other medical conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.”

Susan liked a blurb she had read from her health insurance carrier about a company that would recommend personalized, doctor-approved nutritional supplements based on her health, daily habits and goals, and the medications she was taking. “They’d also deliver them to my door, so I decided that instead of wasting my energy and my calories on food I didn’t need to eat I’d focus on what would make me feel better,” Susan reasoned.

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SMART, SIMPLE & CONVENIENT

On January 23, Susan filled out the five-minute questionnaire on www.personanutrition.com, received her supplement recommendations from a highly trained nutritionist and backed by four doctors, and placed the order. She thinks it’s “a treat” that her daily supplements are divided into morning and evening packets, which makes them easy to take. And, she can tuck a packet into her handbag if she’s planning to be out late. When Susan has a question, she’s delighted to be able to reach a nutritionist in minutes. “It’s also simple to add or cancel a supplement anytime I want,” she said.

Susan’s been taking a multivitamin and spirulina in the morning; in the evening she takes her second dosage of the multivitamin, ubiquinol, turmeric, Omega 3, garlic and a supplement for blood sugar balance. Ubiquinol replenishes an important enzyme that’s being depleted by the statin Susan’s doctor prescribed for her high cholesterol. The blood sugar balance supplement helps regulate her diabetes. Her multivitamins are split in the morning and night packs so that she can absorb more nutrients at a time. “I used to be hungry an hour after I ate, which was a sign of diabetes, “the doctor told me.  A week after I started taking the supplement for my blood sugar, I didn’t feel that hungry anymore,” Susan said.

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Susan wakes at 6 am weekdays, walks her dog, goes to work as a Geographic Information Service Manager at an oil and gas company, gets off at 7 pm, returns home, walks her dog again, cooks and eats dinner, and goes to bed. “If someone tells me I should start working out, I say, ‘When?’ ” she said.  Susan had consistently put on weight since her son was born 35 years ago. “I remember thinking it was nutty when the doctors told me after I gave birth that I’d be gaining a pound a year. But I’ve probably gained 35 pounds. I look in the mirror and say, ‘Lordy, look at the 35 pounds on me!’”

Besides cutting out the soda and Peanut Butter Cups, Susan didn’t change anything else in her lifestyle. Her latest blood test results showed she’s now a borderline diabetic, and she’s lost three pounds. “It was time to make a decision to stop eating junk food. Did I want to keep feeling mushy and have diabetes destroy my blood vessels, my eyesight, and more?” Susan considers the money she spends on her Persona supplements an investment in herself. “I felt so much better by the end of the first round of supplements, there’s no way I’m going to stop,’’ says Susan. “Each month I just feel better and better and more energetic. That can’t be just from losing three pounds!”

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A No-Nonsense Guide To Nutrients For Women

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

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

Personalized, Doctor-Approved Vitamin Recommendations in Minutes

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

          ubiquinol

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

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

  Angie Kuhn, MS, RDN

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

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


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MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS

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

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

BONES

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

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

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

JOINTS AND LIGAMENTS

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

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

HAIR AND NAILS

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

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

THE GUT,  PART 1

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

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

THE GUT, PART II

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

GENERAL MALAISE

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

THYROID

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

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EYES

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

INFLAMMATION

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

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

A FINAL NOTE ABOUT MULTIVITAMINS

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

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

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At Last, You Can Stop UTIs Before They Start

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

Nan was endlessly miserable when she vacationed in Japan with her daughter Sophie in 2010. Urinary tract infections had been tormenting her for years, and the itching and burning returned full force on the trip.  “I couldn’t enjoy even one peaceful hour,” Nan remembered.  “I finally had to confess to Sophie what was going on.”

Sophie is Dr. Sophie Fletcher, a urologist who deals with UTIs all the time, but her mom had never confided in her about her own. “She divulged that she’s been on and off antibiotics for years,” Sophie said.  Although Sophie also would have prescribed antibiotic treatment back then, she was determined to find a different way to deal with Nan’s recurrent UTIs. Antibiotic resistance was a bigger and bigger medical problem every year, Sophie explained, and she wanted to take her mother off the drug merry go round.

“Antibiotics are wonderful, and we can’t survive without them, but they are not long-term options to reduce UTIs in women like my mother who suffer from recurrent infections,” Dr. Fletcher said.  Rates of antibiotic resistance are rising dramatically all over the world, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends that physicians make it a top priority to reduce antibiotic use whenever possible, she added.  “Judiciously prescribing antibiotics will prevent further resistance to them. Besides developing resistance, patients on daily antibiotics can develop long-term, irreversible side effects.”

EXTRACTING THE TRUTH ABOUT CRANBERRIES

Dr. Fletcher’s quest led her to a research team at Rutgers University that had discovered a chemical compound in cranberry extract which prevents UTI-causing bacteria from attaching to the bladder. “Women from generation to generation have been telling their daughters cranberry juice would protect them from urinary tract infections, assuming the acidity in the juice would kill the bacteria,” Dr. Fletcher said. Turns out an antioxidant phytonutrient –-proanthocyanidins (PAC)–does the trick. Researchers also determined the body requires 36 mg of PAC to consistently protect the urinary tract and bladder walls from bacteria leading to UTIs. “Even if you munched on dried cranberries and guzzled most brands of cranberry juice cocktail all day long, you still wouldn’t get the amount you need,” Dr. Fletcher emphasized.

Fortunately, scientists developed a proprietary process to extract high levels of the potent
ingredient from the pure juice concentrate of cranberries. It’s available in a once daily, medical-grade supplement, called ellura that has 36 mg of PAC in every capsule, the minimum amount proven to prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder and developing into a UTI. ellura currently offers a powerful punch – 36 mg PAC and maximum bacterial anti-adhesion activity.

Dr. Fletcher ordered ellura for her mom nine years ago, who hasn’t had a UTI since.

Most supplements on the market contain less than 5 mg of PAC and most don’t include the PAC ingredient on their labels, just the milligrams of cranberry extract, which is irrelevant,” Dr. Fletcher said. The source of the 36 mg of PAC is also important; most supplements are made from the berry itself or from leftover seeds and stems, while ellura’s PAC is extracted from the pure juice concentrate to ensure its effectiveness. What’s more, many supplements are made with sugar and other ingredients that aren’t ideal for sensitive bladders or for diabetics. ellura has virtually no sugar.

ellura totally prevents UTIs in about 80 percent of Dr. Fletcher’s patients and significantly reduces UTIs in the remaining 20 percent. ellura is a proven solution and has the clinical data to confirm it.  Left untreated, UTIs can move up to the kidneys and cause infection, and hospitalization, especially in the older population. Take Dr. Fletcher’s advice: “It’s really, really important to see your doctor if you have symptoms, take a urine test to confirm the diagnosis, and be treated with the appropriate antibiotic. Then the ellura is a must to prevent these UTIs from coming back.”

Let Nan’s experience with UTIs help you to take control of yours…. with ellura.

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DR. FLETCHER’S ABCs OF UTIs

UTIs and Their Causes

A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the bladder and the urethra, which is the lower urinary tract. UTIs typically occur when “bad” bacteria, which normally live in the intestines, enter the urinary tract through the urethra, begin to multiply in the bladder, then take hold and grow into a full-blown infection. About 80 to 90 percent of UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria. Approximately 50 percent to 60 percent of women will develop a UTI in their lifetimes.

The Symptoms of UTIs

Symptoms come on very fast. First and foremost, you’ll feel distinct burning with urination, and pain, so you’ll know when you have it. You’ll also feel a constant pressure to urinate, but once you get to the restroom, little urine comes out. This is known as urinary frequency. Low back pain is the next most common symptom.


The Different Types of UTIs

Uncomplicated UTIs  occur in patients with normal urinary tracts, both structurally and physiologically. Once a formal culture comes back positive from the laboratory, a doctor will treat this type of UTI with an antibiotic. Most women will get one or two uncomplicated UTIs in their lifetimes. It could come from just sitting on the beach for hours in a wet bathing suit, which creates a warm, moist environment that makes it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder.

Uncomplicated recurrent UTIs are the same as uncomplicated UTIs, but occur three or more times during the year. This can be very disruptive, like it was for my mother on vacation. A physician usually gives a patient with recurrent UTIs a standing prescription for antibiotics so she can dash to the pharmacy when she feels the symptoms coming on. This is called self start therapy.

Woman with uncomplicated recurrent UTIs are sick and tired of repeated episodes of pain, trips to the doctor and taking time off from work. They’re always anxious about when their next UTI is going to strike, and they worry about what’s causing their infections. Patients frequently ask: ‘Why is this happening to me?’ We’ll always do a thorough work up with tests to make completely certain there’s nothing abnormal in a patient’s urinary tract. Unfortunately, many women are just prone to UTIs.

Uncomplicated recurrent UTIs only after sex are common, especially with sexually active women.  Small amounts of the most common bacteria associated with UTIs already live in the vaginal area and can get pushed into the bladder with sexual intercourse. I recently saw a patient over 50 years old who gets a horrible UTI every time she has sex with her second husband. She’s at a point in her life where her immune system could be changing for some reason, and she isn’t able to fight off the bacteria entering her vagina like she did with her first husband when she was in her 20s and 30s.

I recommended ellura to this woman, and when she came back to see me she asked if I’d send ellura brochures to her primary care doctor so other woman with recurrent UTIs wouldn’t have to struggle like she did.

Uncomplicated recurrent  UTIs in postmenopausal women might stem from a thinning of the tissue that lines the vagina and the outside of the bladder, declining cell turnover, and diminished glandular secretions as a woman ages and loses estrogen.  These conditions can make the vagina less hospitable to “good “bacteria while creating a perfect breeding ground for the
“bad” E. coli bacteria which are more likely to invade the urinary tract and bladder.  

Complicated recurrent UTIs are associated with either anatomic abnormalities of the bladder or the kidneys and will only end when the abnormality  is corrected with surgery.

Steps to Reduce The Risk of UTIs

Void normally and don’t hold your urine for long periods of time. Always use the restroom at normal three to four hour intervals.

Stay well hydrated so you can urinate sufficiently. Some people are worried that if they drink too much water they won’t be able to get to a restroom in time, but hydrating properly helps to physically flush the bladder. Good electron microscopy studies have revealed that there are constant levels of some bacteria in the urine that move in and out of the female bladder.  Those bacteria levels cannot grow once the next wave of urination comes along and you pee them all out.

Avoid sitting in a warm, moist environment for long periods of time, such as on the beach in a wet bathing suit and in a sauna.

Always wipe from front to back when you void, which moves the bacteria from the urethra back to the rectum, not the other way around. This is really important.  You can’t wipe away all the bacteria because they’re microscopic, and you can’t sterilize yourself, but you can keep the stool, which contains e coli bacteria, towards the back as much as possible.

Urinate right after sex if you’re prone to getting UTIs from intercourse. Thus will help flush the bacteria out of the bladder.

Topical (vaginal) estrogen and probiotics for postmenopausal women can help thicken the vaginal lining, increase blood flow and normalize vaginal pH so the vagina is hospitable once again to “good” bacteria, which can help block  the “bad” bacteria from adhering to it. Lactobacillus probiotics often are recommended to help prevent UTIs, but there’s no scientific evidence to support the best dosage, the best way to take them, or their efficacy.

Win a Three-Month Supply of Personalized Daily Vitamin Packs

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


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Why Is Your Face Red?



If your cheeks have suddenly become red and pimply, and you think you’ve developed acne or an allergy, please don’t try to treat it yourself with over-the-counter lotions and creams. See a dermatologist. You may be one of the 16 million Americans with a chronic facial skin condition called rosacea, and you need to get professional help because it’s not going to go away on its own. You’ll also likely do yourself more harm by playing doctor.

April is Rosacea Awareness Month, so I was pleased to interview Dr. Estee Williams about the disease and effective treatment. A board-certified New York City dermatologist in private practice, and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Williams is trained in medical dermatology, skin cancer detection and screening, cosmetic dermatology, injectables (Botox and fillers), lasers, anti-aging procedures, and pediatric dermatology.

FABOVERFIFTY   WHAT IS ROSACEA AND WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO GET IT?

Dr. Estee Williams with her patient, Amanda Lougee

DR. WILLIAMS  “Rosacea is mostly a facial skin condition of redness and sensitivity that typically affects Caucasian women in their 30s, 40s and 50s (especially those of Northern European descent).  It can, however, affect men and people with skin of color, but we don’t see it in children.

Rosacea almost always affects the cheeks, usually the nose (which may become enlarged and bulbous and may look red, swollen and distorted), and sometimes the chin. It can include flushing and blushing that comes and goes, or it can look like acne with pimples all the time.  Some pimples may heal and new ones can form. Patients across the board report that their skin is extremely sensitive, with stinging, itching, burning or a tight feeling. Their skin is dry, red and irritated, and usually not oily. At times active and at other times quiet, rosacea generally is a chronic condition.”

WHAT CAUSES ROSACEA AND WHY ARE 30-TO 60-YEAR-OLD WOMEN MORE AT RISK?

Rosacea is considered a multifactorial disease, which means it has a number of causes. First,  the nerves aren’t properly communicating with the blood vessels in a patient’s skin, and when they inappropriately signal the blood vessels to dilate, it manifests as redness. Second, high levels of inflammation in patients’ skin is believed to link rosacea to other conditions, such as high blood pressure and even migraine headaches. Third, some think that the skin of rosacea patients has a higher level of Demodex, a mite that’s actually on everyone’s skin, although this has become a controversial subject.  

“No one knows exactly why women 30 to 60 years old constitute the largest rosacea population, but there’s definitely a hormonal component, and this is when women experience significant hormonal changes. Rosacea tends to quiet down once a patient is around 55 or 60. The same is true for adult onset acne, which usually affects women in their 30s through their 50s.”

DOES ROSACEA AFFECT A PATIENT’S MENTAL STATE?

“Studies from the National Rosacea Society show that up to 90 percent of patients report they have low self-esteem and low self-confidence due to the condition. It’s not a life-threatening or a dangerous disease, but it can take up a lot of a person’s attention. Imagine if you’re going to an event or on a job interview and have to cover up a very red face or bumps. It can affect your social interactions because that’s what people see.”

HOW IS  ROSACEA TREATED AND CAN IT BE PERMANENTLY CURED?

I enjoy treating this condition because we have therapies that work really well, from the right sunscreen to prescription pills that are FDA approved specifically for Rosacea. The FDA also has approved an antiparasitic cream that kills skin mites.

“I also like to use lasers and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Devices, particularly the Lumenis M22. It’s my favorite IPL device, which I use it pretty much on all my rosacea patients who are willing to try it. The treatment is safe and works great.

“Treatments can achieve full clearness of the disease but there’s still always the potential for a flare up. There’s no cure, so patients must continue on treatments.”

PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THE LUMENIS IPL WORKS ON ROSACEA.

“We first cover the face with a very cold coupling gel to keep a patient comfortable and give her goggles. The Lumenis IPL produces a series of different wavelengths of light that we use to target and heat up the blood vessels, which causes them to spasm and close up. Sometimes, I even see a tiny little blood vessel turn purple in real time, which tells me that the blood inside the vessel has clotted.”


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE ROSACEA TO DISAPPEAR AND HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?

“It takes a few weeks for patients to see a significant improvement, especially if they’re very red.  My most severe patients will come in about every six weeks. Someone with a quieter rosacea can evenly space their treatments throughout the year.

It also depends on what medicine a patient is taking.  Some patients prefer not to take any medications, so the M22 is their only rosacea treatment and they come in more often. Other patients also take pills and use creams, so they don’t have to come in as often, maybe every few months.”  

HOW LONG IS EACH TREATMENT?

“Seven to 10 minutes.” 

WHY IS THE LUMENIS M22 YOUR FAVORITE IPL DEVICE FOR TREATING ROSACEA?

“IPL machines aren’t uniform from office to office. I love the M22 because I can crank up the energy and make it stronger, or I can keep it light, depending on the patient’s needs. I can customize the wavelengths of light depending on the redness of the different areas of the skin. Many of my rosacea patients want to go back to work right after their treatments, so I generally won’t go too strong to avoid bruising.

“I also can use the M22 to remove hair, freckles or sunspots, and for acne scarring.  I like the IPL for a full-face treatment because of its other benefits.”

WHAT IS THE COST OF IPL TREATMENTS AND ARE  THEY COVERED BY INSURANCE?

“A treatment can be $350 or $400 with a dermatologist in New York, less in other parts of the country.  Some insurance covers IPL treatments up to 90 percent. If a patient is on a budget, and her insurance doesn’t cover the treatments, I’ll start with medications and/or creams and see how well it goes.  We can add the IPL later.”

CAN ONLY MEDICAL DOCTORS PERFORM IPL TREATMENTS?

“The laws vary from state to state. In some cases it’s not necessary to have a medical background to use an IPL. But you absolutely have to be educated to properly fire the wavelengths of light. You just don’t plug in the settings and flash lights.  You also must carefully observe how the patient’s skin is responding during the treatment. These are serious treatments. I have extensive training and I’ve used the IPL on many patients. I do all the treatments myself.”

 

NEAR YOU!

How to Easily Locate Your Kegels And Finally Exercise Them Correctly

YAY! I’ve finally learned how to tell if I’m doing kegel exercises correctly. My teacher, Amy Stein, is a doctor of physical therapy and the founder of Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in New York City. Amy specializes in treating pelvic floor dysfunction, which can cause bladder and bowel issues, lower back and pelvic pain, and discomfort during sex. “We see a lot of incontinence, but also bladder urgency, retention, and incomplete emptying,” Amy told me.

“Kegels are essential for quality of life for anyone with urinary incontinence. You just have to do them,”  Amy said. When our pelvic floor muscles lose elasticity as we age, we need to exercise them, just as we need to exercise muscles all over our body to maintain our strength and flexibility.

                    Dr. Amy Stein

Before I share Amy’s expertise on doing perfect kegels, I wanted to pass on her description of our pelvic floor from her practical and worthwhile book Heal Pelvic Pain, A Proven Stretching, Strengthening, and Nutrition Program for Relieving Pain, Incontinence, IBS and Other Symptoms Without Surgery.  

Our pelvic floor serves three vital purposes: 1) It holds up and cushions the urinary, digestive and reproductive organs within the pelvis and lower abdomen. 2) It controls continence by signaling elimination urges to the bladder and bowel and by opening and closing the urethra and anal canals to allow voiding. 3) It controls sexual function by contracting the muscles around he female and male genitalia to respond to arousal and enhance enjoyment!  “These are big and important jobs, which may be why so many thick, closely connected muscles are involved,” Amy writes.

Our pelvic floor muscles are attached to our skeletal frame, and we voluntarily and consciously control them, unlike the smooth, involuntary muscles of the bladder, intestines, lungs, and blood vessels. When we contract our pelvic floor muscles, the energy of the contraction applies force to the tailbone.

The pelvic floor muscle fibers come in two “speeds”: 1) Slow-twitch or slow-contraction fibers, which fuel endurance, provide support and resist fatigue. Accounting for about 70 percent of all pelvic floor muscles, slow-twitch muscles are slow to tire and persistently supportive. 2) Fast-twitch fibers help control the contraction and relaxation that open and close the bladder and bowel and serve sexual function. These “sprinter” muscles provide a quick jolt of power when needed.

“Although both the slow and fast-twitch muscles lose strength as the body ages, the fast-twitch muscles do so more readily.  In a sense, the power to endure remains, while the power to perform some of the key functions of the pelvic floor can diminish. It’s no exaggeration to say that a healthy pelvic core is a major component of a healthy you, so it’s important to pay attention to any pelvic pain or disorder that could be signal something is wrong,” Amy explains in her book.  

FINDING THE RIGHT MUSCLES

Kegels are “absolutely basic” to strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, but “half of those doing kegels are doing it wrong,” Amy said. Before you learn how to do them the right way, first find the muscles by using one of these methods: 1) Take a mirror, squeeze, and look to see if the anal opening is “winking.” This is called The Anal Wink. 2) Insert a finger and feel the movement 3) While urinating, stop the urine from flowing by tightening or squeezing the muscles, which are the muscles that need to be clenched and unclenched when you do Kegels. If you find that clenching the muscles minimizes but doesn’t totally stop the urine stream, you’ve found the right muscles, but you’ve also learned that they’ve very weak.

DOING THE KEGELS CORRECTLY

Lie or sit down, wedging a pillow under the small of your back if you want. Find the muscle you identified using one of the techniques above and clench it, then relax. Clench it again, then relax. One clench-and-relax constitutes a repetition, and both elements are important, so relax as deliberately and for as long as you clench the muscle.

Each repetition will increase the strength of the muscles. Do them three times a day if you have urinary issues.

Strengthen your slow-twitch pelvic floor muscles by tightening and holding for 10 seconds, then relaxing for 10 seconds.  Do 10 repetitions. Strengthen your fast-twitch muscles by tightening and holding for two seconds, then relaxing for two seconds. Do 10 repetitions.The two different basic Kegel exercise differ only in timing, not in the process. When you perform both of them you’re strengthening both your endurance (slow-twitch) and sprinter (fast-twitch) muscles.

Learn more about Amy’s book, Heal Pelvic Pain, as well as a two-hour DVD on the subject so you can see the exercises she recommends. Amy advises that you also see a pelvic floor therapist to help guide you.

Don’t Wait: Get a Proven Solution for Leg & Foot Cramps Today. Plus $4 Off!

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

Like most women my age, I’ve experienced agonizing foot and leg cramps. I’d wake with a jolt in the middle of the night, the muscles in one calf tensed up and knotted in excruciating pain. The agony could last as long as 10 minutes, then I’d toss and turn until morning, and be wiped out the rest of the day. I tried everything, from soaking my legs in mineral salt baths to slathering on over-the-counter pain creams and ointments, but nothing worked.

Last year, I heard about a foam product called Theraworx Relief that’s been clinically proven to quickly relieve leg cramps, even prevent them!  I was skeptical at first, but to my delight Theraworx Relief actually worked!

At last, my legs are cool and calm all through the night! I rub the super light Theraworx Relief foam onto my calves every day (it has a lovely green apple scent, by the way), it absorbs in a jiffy, and I haven’t had a single cramp in over a year. Theraworx Relief contains an exclusive blend of safe and gentle ingredients and can be applied daily. But even if you don’t use it every day, you’ll get quick relief by applying it the moment a muscle acts up. Rest assured!  Best of all, I can get Theraworx Relief at Walmart and most drug stores, so it’s easy to pick up a new bottle whenever I need it!

I reached out to the folks at Theraworx Relief, and they’re offering my readers a $4 in-store coupon so YOU can get relief from muscle cramps starting today. But get moving now! This is a limited-time offer!  

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I always check reviews before buying or recommending products, so I was happy to see over 2,000 reviews for Theraworx Relief, with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars! Many pharmacists, doctors and chiropractors also recommend Theraworx Relief to their patients.  “In my 34 years of practice, I’ve never seen anything that works quite as well in relieving muscle spasms and cramps,” said Dr. Richard Buchanan, a chiropractor. That’s pretty impressive, considering he’s used Theraworx Relief on over 1,000 patients during the last couple of years. What’s more, Dr. Buchanan hasn’t had any cramps or spasms in his legs or feet since he started using it himself.

Debilitating muscle cramps are extremely common as we age, affecting 50 percent of American adults, especially women, according to American Family Physician.

Theraworx Relief is a dream come true, or should I say an end to my nightmares! I simply rub two generous pumps of foam onto the cramping muscle groups in my thighs, feet, hamstrings or calves, wait until it absorbs, then repeat. The process takes less than a minute, isn’t sticky or oily, and leaves no residue at all. And, if I feel a cramp coming on, I just grab the Theraworx Relief, and it will immediately stop the cramp.

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Dr. Drew Pinsky was so impressed with the results of Theraworx Relief that he became a spokesperson for this exciting product!  “As a practicing physician, I’ve been searching for the answer to the mystery of muscle cramps for years,” Dr. Drew said. “Theraworx Relief is an example of a next-generation smart solution that delivers on its promise. Preventing and finding relief from muscle cramps with Theraworx Relief is a no-brainer, and I love that.”

Sixty one percent of the 310 women responding to a FabOverFifty survey said they’ve never tried medications or home remedies for their leg or foot cramps, but 81 percent reported that they’d definitely be interested in learning about new solutions to relieve them of their often debilitating episodes. They’ll be excited to hear they can get relief starting today!

 

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Women’s Sexual Health: Anything But Simple, Says Simon!

Ladies, meet Dr. James A. Simon, a Washington, DC-based physician who treats women from adolescence through the menopause transition, and beyond, encouraging his patients to be part of their own wellness, disease prevention, treatment and recovery. An esteemed clinical researcher, Dr. Simon’s interests include clinical management of peri-and postmenopausal women, female sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis, contraception and reproductive endocrinology. He has served as principal investigator on over 300 clinical trials, research grants and scholarships in the area of women’s health, which enables him to offer his patients one-of-a-kind opportunities to experience the latest innovations in the field.

                          Dr. James A. Simon

Former president of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), Dr. Simon currently serves as president of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH). He is co-author of the 2001 book Restore Yourself: A Woman’s Guide to Reviving Her Sexual Desire and Passion for Life. Determined to advance the cause of women’s sexual health in the United States (“it’s a disaster,” he says), Dr. Simon won’t rest easy until he does.

I had the privilege to attend the ISSWSH annual meeting in Atlanta, GA, a few weeks ago, where Dr. Simon talked about “How US Governmental Agencies Inadvertently Conspire Against Women’s Sexual Health: A Personal Perspective.”  Bear in mind, this is Dr. Simon’s “personal perspective, not a government or organizational perspective,” he emphasized.

If you’d like to make an appointment to see Dr. Simon or one of his colleagues, you can call INTIMMEDICINE Specialists at 202-293-1000.

 

MEDICARE CARES ABOUT MEN’S SEXUAL HEALTH, NOT SO MUCH ABOUT OURS

“About 60 million people receive Medicare benefits in the United States, which is about 18 percent of the entire population, yet up until December 31, 2018, women didn’t enjoy the same rights as men from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While Medicare paid for penile implants for men with difficult-to-treat erectile dysfunction, it didn’t pay for medical treatment for menopausal women who experienced painful sex, although up to 75 percent of postmenopausal women report they find sex painful.

When ED drugs such as Viagra don’t work on men who had prostate cancer, for example, penile implants can help them return to their old sex lives. The implants cost upwards of $30,000 without insurance. But women had to pay out of pocket to treat their painful sex. “If a woman chose to alleviate her pain, the CMS considered it a ‘lifestyle choice,’ which is just weird. Who do they think the men with penile implants were supposed to have sex with?

“So a large group of us lobbied the CMS and told them, ‘You can’t have older men with penile implants having sex with wives, girlfriends or intimate partners with significant pain. It’s just not fair.’ When they didn’t agree with us, we said ‘either you’re going to fix it or we’re going to go public.’  Fortunately, they fixed it, as if women didn’t have vaginas until then. Medicare now mandates that all secondary drug plans have some coverage for vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA) or Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause for painful sex after menopause. They have to cover the class of meds that make an older woman’s vagina capable of having sex with her partner without pain.”

VAGINAS ARE VERBOTEN  

“Now let’s talk about the FCC, the agency that controls what we hear on radio and what we see on TV.

Photo: Melissa Moseley : NETFLIX

Although the FCC says you CAN SAY the word ‘vagina’ or TV, it can’t be used to describe anything titillating or related to sex. Now, I know that the vagina is for birthing babies, but I also know it’s an organ to have sex, and hopefully pleasurable, not painful, sex. So how do you advertise a medical device or a medication that’s meant for improving the health of the vagina, especially the sexual health of the vagina, considering how the FCC restricts the use of the word?

“Imagine if a fireman couldn’t say the word ‘fire.’  Would he have to make a call to get his troops out by saying ‘there’s red hot flamy stuff everywhere’? It’s a little bit challenging for us. There’s a big gap between talking about the vagina as a sexual organ and talking about it as sexual organ that’s indecent, which is what the FCC is trying to avoid.

“This is why none of the products we prescribe for sexual pain are advertised on TV. Yet, there are plenty of women with vaginas.”

THE ABORTION ABERRATION

“The executive branch of the government recently called for new rules that will eliminate Title X funding for those agencies that provide health services to the poor and disadvantaged, in particular,  Planned Parenthood.

“The government doesn’t want to be seen as paying for abortion services, but all abortion services provided through Planned Parenthood are typically funded by private donations and grants, not by the government.  Yet, if you make it difficult for poor and disadvantaged women to get contraception and other family planning services, you’re more likely to see unintended pregnancies. For this, I like to quote Dr. John Guillebaud, an emeritus professor of family planning from London, who said:  ‘Most accidents are caused by humans and most humans are caused by accidents.’”

LORDY, THOSE DANG DRUG LABELS

“I have a lot of problems with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about a number of women’s health issues, but let’s talk about the labels that are required to be placed on low-dose vaginal estrogen products to treat women who have VVA, or painful sex.

“The labels must say that these products cause an increase in endometrial cancer, stroke and deep vein thrombosis, an increase in probable dementia, and an increase in breast cancer when used with a progesterone-like drug. Now, that sounds pretty terrible.  Why would anybody who has painful sex exchange it for a heart attack, stroke, dementia, or breast cancer? It just doesn’t sound like a fair exchange. The problem is that none of those things is true.

“The FDA originally came to this determination because some of the increased risks I just mentioned were found to be true in a Women’s Health Initiative government study from 1993 to 2005 where large numbers of women were getting systemic treatment like pills and patches with estrogen and progesterone. It subsequently came to light, however, that a branch of this study involving women taking low-dose estrogen, only in the vagina, for painful sex after menopause, had not experienced an increase in any of the risks.

“Despite the publication of this new information, the FDA still requires the warning label for low-dose vaginal estrogen products, including on a product that was recently introduced.

“The experts from the NAMS and ISSWSH filed a citizen’s petition in 2015 to have that labeling requirement changed, but in mid-2018 the FDA said they’re not changing it.”

THE IRS GETS INTO THE ACT

“No one likes the taxman, whether the IRS or the state tax assessor in the first place. But what would you say if I told you that the IRS or most states are  hurting women’s sexual health? You’d probably say, ‘Come on, Dr. Simon.’ Well, they are  hurting women’s sexual health because our government taxes Tampons and other sanitary products. Only 10 states don’t have the tax, including Nevada, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida and a bunch of states in The Northeast.

“I do a lot of research on women with heavy menstrual bleeding. Many of them can’t even be employed because they aren’t able to leave the house for one week a month, when they’re bleeding so heavily. And many of these are poor or African American  women, or both, who have uterine fibroid tumors.

“Canada removed this so called ‘tampon tax’  in 2015 and India removed its 12 percent tax in 2018. We still have it.”

Patients In the Dark About a Proven Treatment For Their Chronic Pulmonary Diseases

This post is sponsored by the Live Better campaign, a project of the non-profit American Thoracic Society.  Opinions are my own.

My late mother-in-law Gerry was slender, ate super sensibly, and played tennis into her late 70s, but she never again picked up a racket when she began having breathing difficulties and was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Although she was under the care of a prominent pulmonary specialist in New York, he failed to tell her about a proven treatment that would have reduced her symptoms and enhanced the quality of her life. Distressing!

The third-leading disease-related cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as COPD, affect approximately 16 million people, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, it’s the only cause of death that’s on the rise. Even more alarming, it’s estimated that as many as 14 million additional cases are undiagnosed because sufferers don’t speak up about their symptoms and don’t see health professionals.

Shockingly, 62 percent of those diagnosed with chronic pulmonary disorders don’t know about pulmonary rehabilitation, a safe exercise and education program that improves patients’ exercise capacity and decreases symptoms, revealed a survey commissioned by the American Thoracic Society (ATS). And, symptoms can be severe, often preventing patients from even walking from one side of their home to the other, preparing meals, or washing their own hair, said Dr. Carolyn L. Rochester, professor of medicine, pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.

The 500 patients who participated in the survey of patient attitudes, conducted by Wakefield Research, suffered from either COPD or pulmonary hypertension, interstitial lung disease, and other chronic pulmonary disorders. Although almost two-thirds of them had never heard of pulmonary rehabilitation, 70 percent did know about oxygen therapy and 61 percent knew about medicinal interventions such as long-acting inhalers. While only 38 percent of patients know about pulmonary rehabilitation, a study of patient data reported that only 1.9 percent of those hospitalized for COPD actually received it within six months of their discharge.

How — And Why — Pulmonary Rehab Works

Although chronic respiratory diseases can’t be cured, they are manageable. Pulmonary rehab, a comprehensive six- to 12-week program, uses breathing techniques and gentle, supervised exercise that strengthens the muscles to ease the burden on the lungs and teaches patients how to manage their breathing. They not only feel better, but can resume many activities they’ve been avoiding. Fifty-seven percent of the survey respondents said they’d stopped climbing stairs, half didn’t carry anything when they walked, and 43 percent didn’t leave their homes to do errands such as grocery shopping. 

Shortness of breath causes COPD patients to become sedentary and out of shape, which only worsens their shortness of breath. Pulmonary rehabilitation gives people the tools to manage the disease themselves,” Dr. Rochester explained. 

Why Patients Don’t Know About This Proven Treatment

Ignorance isn’t bliss for COPD patients, and one of the primary reasons they’re uneducated about pulmonary rehabilitation as an effective treatment option is that many don’t talk about their disease to their families or healthcare providers. Some patients are or were smokers who suffer their symptoms in silence. Some are embarrassed by their habit or resigned that they’ll never be able to quit, let alone feel better. Even when patients are diagnosed with COPD, 40 percent don’t know that their condition is life-threatening, according to the ATS survey. In fact, participants ranked stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s over chronic respiratory diseases as leading causes of death.

Complicating the problem is the simple fact that doctors — like my mother-in-law’s — may not be familiar with the latest science on pulmonary rehab. Or perhaps they aren’t sure about reimbursement, the referral process or whether there are programs in their area.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is safe, effective, and often covered by Medicare or the patient’s insurance, emphasized Chris Garvey, a nurse practitioner at University of California in San Francisco who has been coordinating pulmonary rehabilitation programs for over 25 years. Patients often are treated with long-acting maintenance inhalers, yet pulmonary rehab is not recommended, Garvey added; however, rehabilitation is ultimately more helpful in terms of reversing both frailty and musculoskeletal dysfunction.

Pulmonary rehabilitation has been established as the standard of care “to improve shortness of breath, functional capacity, ability to exercise and be active, as well as quality of life and mood, including depression and anxiety in persons with chronic lung disease,” Garvey emphasized. Even patients with severe COPD can benefit from rehabilitation, she added.

“Living Your Life Again”

“It’s critical to raise awareness of pulmonary rehab, which is similar to cardiac rehabilitation for patients with chronic heart conditions, so that individuals can advocate for themselves,” said Dr. Rochester.  Consider the experience of Lynn Markwell, who completed pulmonary rehab a year after being diagnosed with interstitial lung disease. “I was told I didn’t have long to live, but if you do the exercises, learn to manage your breathing and know your medications, you can feel better and start living your life again.”

Although it saddens me that my mother-in-law didn’t know about pulmonary rehabilitation, I am pleased to get behind the ATS campaign to help spread the word.  Anyone with chronic lung disease deserves to access a treatment option that no one ever offered to my mother-in-law.

Learn more about pulmonary rehabilitation and find a program located near you at livebetter.org

PS And be sure to head to the FabOverFifty Facebook page next Wednesday, February 27th, at 1 pm ET, when we’ll be live at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to show you, first-hand, pulmonary rehab at work!

The Must-Read Report Before Your Next Mammogram

Depending on who you are, there is more to breast cancer testing than having a mammogram. This exclusive report clearly and concisely presents the facts you need to help you wisely  approach the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

It’s for you. Your daughters. Your sisters. Your nieces.  Your friends. All you need is one single copy to help you spread the word.

This Exclusive Health Report on breast cancer from Yale Medical School reveals:  

  • The leading risk factor you can’t control

  • The risk factors you can control

  • How to interpret your family history

  • The surprising role of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes

  • When to see a genetic counselor

  • How to make sense of the confusion surrounding mammograms  

  • The meaning of breast density

  • And more. Much more.

GET YOUR EYES ON IT NOW.