Do routine mammograms really help in the fight against cancer? Are they worth the personal or health care costs? Keep reading today’s guest article by Brooke Chaplan to find out what she’s uncovered in her research. 

Questions about the use of routine mammograms to detect early signs of breast cancer in women have existed for a number of years. However, recent data indicates that using mammograms for detection may have a number of drawbacks. In addition, other forms of testing have been developed that may provide better information about the likelihood of developing breast cancer in later years.

Attractive young caring doctorThe Promise of Mammograms
When mammograms were introduced to the public as a routine screening method, many believed it was the answer for the problem of women dying of breast cancer. However, in 2014, a large study indicated that mammograms were not necessary helpful in saving the lives of women. The rush to treat small cancers with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation was unnecessary in some cases. Some cancers can grow very slowly or not at all and certain small cancers even disappear with time.

Another Study Questions Mammograms
The latest study was reported in early July of 2015 in the Journal of American Medicine. The study compiled data from 547 counties in the United States involving women over the age of 40 who underwent breast cancer screening with mammograms. Sixteen million women were screened and 53,207 cancers were found. Although more frequent mammograms were able to detect smaller cancers, they did not lower the rate of death from breast cancer, which remained steady.

The study suggests that over diagnosis is a significant problem with mammograms, and waiting to initiate treatment may be the better choice for many women.

Problems With the Study
Some parts of the medical community point out that the new study compared large groups of people and did not focus on individual women’s medical condition from the time of the mammogram forward. Others question whether the large number of subjects leaves the study open to missing a number of deaths from cancer. They note that other studies have indicated that mammograms have lowered the rate of death from breast cancer by as much as 20 percent.

Confusion About Mammograms
These studies questioning the value of mammograms cause a significant amount of confusion among women. Medical professionals are not suggesting that mammograms should be curtailed. However, in many cases, watchful waiting may be the better option for small questionable tumors.

Women who have a family history of breast cancer should continue to follow their physician’s instructions on when to schedule mammograms to diagnose breast cancer in its earliest stages. In addition, a medical test lab can provide information about genetic predisposition for developing breast cancer, and these results can be helpful tool in helping women determine their risk for this disease.

With time we will be able to see if mammograms continue to be useful in early detection of breast cancer. Public education continues to be important in helping women know if they may be at risk and medical labs like Nelson Laboratories have ongoing research in medical device testing and more natural products testing. If we can narrow detections of large and small tumors more lives will be saved and costly screening can be done away with.

About the Author

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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Varicose Veins: 5 Ways They Affect You

by Head Health Nutter on July 27, 2015

I have varicose veins and although I feel self-conscious about them, I haven’t paid them much attention since I didn’t think they caused any issues. Well, in today’s guest post by Rachelle Wilbur, we find out that they CAN cause health problems over time. Keep reading to get the scoop!

In the United States alone, about 40 percent of men and 50 percent of women between the ages of 30 to 70 suffer from varicose veins. It is easy to ignore varicose veins since they are believed to cause no major health problems. Besides that, with pants and pants suits in vogue, they are relatively easy to hide. However, there are several ways varicose veins can affect you.

WalkingHere are five of those ways:

Varicose veins can be painful and uncomfortable.

People who suffer from them know that after being on their feet too long, the veins swell and become tender. Others complain of throbbing discomfort at night. Though these sensations may come only sporadically, they are never pleasant to contend with, and they can affect your disposition and the quality of your sleep.

Varicose veins can result in skin ulcers.

Varicose veins occur when blood pools in the veins located in the lower legs due to poor circulation. When this condition becomes chronic, the veins will bulge increasingly, and skin ulcers can develop. These sores are not only painful, they can also be infected. Usually, a discolored spot will precede the development of an ulcer.

When varicose veins become severe, there is a slightly higher risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DVT occurs when a clot forms in one of the veins located deep within the body. Usually, DVT occurs in veins found in the legs. If this clot breaks loose, it can find its way to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism.

Varicose veins can lead to low self-esteem.

Varicose veins can be quite unsightly, and as they worsen, they can become enlarged and gnarled. While wearing pants can keep varicose veins out of sight, women still do wear skirts, and even men have to wear shorts and swimsuits at times. At the very least, varicose veins can limit options when you want to wear clothes that fit the time, place, and occasion. As a whole, it does nothing for a person’s self-esteem to know that he or she has ugly, knotted veins.

Varicose veins lead to thin, sensitive skin.

Over time, the skin over the affected veins becomes thin and vulnerable to injuries, and these injuries can lead to bleeding. Having fragile skin can seriously limit a person’s freedom to engage in activities such as sports.

Varicose veins are often perceived as a minor nuisance when in truth, they can lead to major problems. When you see that varicose veins are beginning to develop, the best thing to do would be to consult experts in vein care. A good, reliable clinic will have the capacity to assess the condition of your veins using the latest and most accurate technology.

Do not go to a cosmetologist; instead, seek the help of a doctor who is working with trained and caring personnel. This way you will receive the best possible care and personal touch so that your varicose veins can be treated in just a few visits.

About the Author

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber

Knowing this, are you now considering varicose vein treatment?

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5 Ways to Lower Your Stress While Driving

by Head Health Nutter on July 25, 2015

Stress is a very real and prevalent daily experience. Although we need a certain amount of stress for healthy living (it keeps us motivated and energetic), chronic stress and high levels of it can be detrimental to health. So here`s Adrienne from Food Fitness with ways you can de-stress during what can often be a highly stressful activity: driving.  

Aggressive drivers, never-ending road work, mile long traffic jams, missed turns — is it any wonder driving is a stressful experience?

stressed-driverWhile there may not be a way to completely remove stress from driving, it is possible to decrease and manage your personal stress levels. If getting behind the wheel winds you up, use these five tips to help bring your heartrate down:

1. Practice Yoga

Yes, you can do yoga in the car.

Meditative breathing exercises are a great way to manage the stress of traffic jams, tail-gaters, terrifyingly short merging lanes and other driving pains. Controlled breathing can rid your body of tension and stress. Concentrating on your breathing can also serve double duty by helping you ignore the anger and frustration you feel toward rude motorists.

Some yoga stretches are also possible in the car. However, you want to save these stretches for red lights and traffic jams. Instead of giving yourself a headache trying to make the light change faster, think of red lights as designated yoga pit stops. Assign each light on your commute to a different body part: neck, back, hips, etc.

2. Use That Sound System

What’s your preference? FM radio? Satellite radio? Podcasts? Audiobooks? Listening to your recordings of choice works will make driving more bearable, if not downright fun.

Find a great rush hour talk show and make a date with it every morning. Save your favorite podcasts as a special driving treat. Listen to incredible artists bring books and plays to life. Pump up your favorite jams, sing along, and don’t be afraid to give a little shimmy every now and then. Who knows, you might bring a smile to another motorist’s face.

3. Remember That You Are Not a Cop

Some jerk cut you off? Tailgating you? Passing you illegally?

Remember, it’s not your job to “teach them a lesson.” Responding to aggressive driving with aggressive driving only escalates an already dangerous situation. How dangerous? Road rage or aggressive driving is to blame for 1,500 deaths every year. When you let your anger or frustration dictate your driving, you forget your real priority, which should be to get yourself and your passengers to your destination safely.

If you think another driver is truly a danger to other motorists, call emergency services and give the vehicle’s plate number, the road they’re on and the direction they’re heading. Dangerous drivers need to be stopped, but that’s a job for the police — not you.

4. Keep Your Car Stocked

You know those Snickers commercials, “you’re not you when you’re hungry?” It’s true. Hunger can cause a bad mood all on its own. Add hunger to an already stressful situation, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

To keep from getting hangry (hungry-angry) and to ensure your blood sugar and judgment stay intact, keep a few easy to eat snacks on hand. Dried fruit, granola, nuts and drinkable yogurt are all easy to eat on the go. Even better, they’ll help you resist the artery-clogging, wallet-draining allure of the fast food drive thru.

5. Have a Plan

A lot of driving stress can be attributed to unfamiliar routes and traffic patterns or insufficient travel times.

Increase your confidence by reviewing new routes before hitting the road. If you have passengers, ask someone to help you navigate. And remember, a missed turn is not the end of the world. You can always take the next turn and backtrack, or pull over and figure out a new route.

Decrease your stress by giving yourself extra time to get where you’re going. Give yourself an extra five to ten minutes for familiar, low traffic routes. That should be plenty of time to allow for unexpected delays like road work or an accident. Allow more time for new routes or congested traffic areas. Giving yourself extra time means you won’t feel as pressured to speed, nor will you feel as panicked if you take a wrong turn or miss an exit. For long trips, I’ll usually leave myself an hour or more of “wiggle room!”

Remember, you can’t control other drivers. However, you can manage your response and make your car a more pleasant place to be.

About the Author

Adrienne is a blogger and freelance designer passionate about healthy living, good food, and fitness. You can see more of her work by following @foodierx on Twitter or visiting her blog, Foodie Fitness.

I`ve found that Adrienne`s tip about giving more time ALWAYS helps lower driving stress. Is there a tip you`d like to include in this list?

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Testosterone & Women

by Head Health Nutter on July 23, 2015

Is the testosterone hormone important for women? In what ways? When does our body stop producing it and, if it`s so important, how do we increase lowered levels? All these questions are answered in today`s guest post by Kate Flannery!  

If you thought testosterone is a male-exclusive trademark, think again. Testosterone is a hormone produced within the adrenal glands and ovaries of the fairer sex as well. While it stands that interest in sex is way more complex with women than merely counting the daily testosterone levels, and androgen hormones are more directly linked to sex drive in men than in women, this hormone is of great significance in the years of menopause.

at-wits-endThough FDA-approved testosterone therapy supplements contain overly high levels for women, a great concern has recently been raised as to why the female part of our population isn’t legally allowed to benefit from these treatments. After all, the latest scientific discoveries have made it obvious that not only can menopausal women benefit from testosterone therapy, but there is also a certain degree of necessity for an update on this issue.

The Benefits

Peaking during our teenage years and gradually dropping from that point on for both sexes, testosterone plays a key part not only in maintaining a regular sex drive, but also in keeping things like abdominal obesity and muscle mass deficiency at bay. Furthermore, low levels of testosterone are directly related to numerous ailments like Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, heart attacks and depression.

The Misconceptions

All of the medical world’s attention seems to be dedicated to the infamous thyroid gland in aging women, putting the issue of low testosterone levels at the bottom of the priority chart. Indeed, the issue is all but completely ignored. Testosterone levels produced by menopausal ovaries are pretty low. Almost every case of a menopausal woman experiencing a lower sex drive is directly related to the deficiency of the hormone in question – not due to stress or domestic issues.

The more extreme version of the low testosterone story starts with having your ovaries removed for whatever reason. Removal takes away even the barely there amounts that you could rely on if you had your ovaries. Of course, keeping a problematic ovary for the simple reason of a higher sex drive or an energy boost is a little ludicrous, and removal is an oft taken step, one that has its consequences.

On the other hand, men find the whole issue very hard to comprehend, and in a male-dominated industry, it is no wonder testosterone studies are left out.

Supplements

The benefits of testosterone boosters for women hitting their prime are more far-reaching than just libido control. They can work wonders for physical problems you might’ve thought were related to a vast number of other ailments. Testosterone keeps estrogen balanced out, limiting psychological trauma inflicted upon women going through menopause. And even before menopause, a boost in testosterone provides the body with a long-lasting energy rush, healthier skin, and regular menstrual cycles, to begin with.

In addition to all these perks, testosterone increases muscle mass, but don’t worry, this doesn’t mean it will get you bulky – quite the contrary, it could help you reach a lean, tight, athletic body much faster than you would the natural way. Keep in mind that women bulk up differently than men, and after all, getting buff is far from the worst thing that could happen to your feminine body.

If not, you may opt for a more natural way to stimulate your body into producing testosterone by, to put it simply, staying away from fish, and digging into broccoli. There is a long list of testosterone boosting food, as well as estrogen boosting food.

Boiling It Down

So there you have it – now that you’re well informed about the value of testosterone in a woman’s body, and free of the popular misconceptions, feel free to get in touch with your doctor and discuss whether a slight boost in testosterone is something you could benefit from. Whether you opt for supplements or take it easy and natural, always keep your hormones in check for a body that ticks like clockwork.

About the Author

This article was written by Kate Flannery, a sailor from Perth who takes a keen interest in clean eating and regular workouts. She suffers from all the drawbacks of a lack of pigmentation, including an inclination to sunburns, inflammations, bruising and swelling, especially in the gym. Kate prevents unnecessary injuries and bruising with the help of dosed testosterone supplements. She balances them out with weekend brunches from the Farmers’ Market.

Will you be asking your doc about testosterone therapy after reading today`s guest article?

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5 Effective Yoga Poses to Beat the Stress

by Head Health Nutter on July 21, 2015

Who wants to conquer stress in a healthy way? Keep reading today’s guest article by Kristy Megan for 5 poses to destress on a daily basis. 

When it comes to relieving stress, there is nothing more effective and naturally soothing than practicing yoga. There are hundreds of yoga poses that can help you keep calm, stay healthy and say bye-bye to stress for good. However, not all yoga poses are equally effective for stress relieve.

Given below yoga poses are highly-recommended by professional yogis for relieving stress for beginners and regular practitioners.

yoga-poses

1. Child’s Pose:

Child’s pose is one of the most commonly suggested pose by pro yogis for reducing stress. First of all, you will need to create a support on which you can easily lie on floor using firm pillows or folded blanket. Now, get down on to your knees placing each of them at either side of the support,while making sure that your toes touch with each other.

Next thing you will need to do is to allow your forearms rest on the floor straight, and turn your forehead to one side of the support or place it straight or whatever position makes it more comfortable for you. Hold this pose for at least 2 to 3 minutes or as long as you can hold it easily.

2. Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose:

Another most highly recommended pose by advanced yoga practitioners is Legs-Up-The-Wall pose. This pose is quite simple and can be easily done anywhere as you do not need to create a support or any other thing besides a bolster or a few inches thicker object to place beneath the hips. For this pose, you just need to lie straight on the floor. However, from head to hip bone, your body should touch the floor.

From the hip bone, raise your legs and place them straight on the wall, make sure that the feet are straight and the soles of your feet pushed against the wall. Moreover, extend your arms out, each at 45 degrees from the shoulder. Hold this pose for at least two minutes and you will find a significant difference in your stress level.

3. Low Lunge:

One of the most effective poses for releasing stress is Low Lunge. For this pose, you will need to bend your left knee and place feet flat on the floor, at front, and keep the left hand on the knee. Whereas place the right knee on the floor, at the back side, and stretch the feet towards to the body with left hand in a way that it pulls the heel towards the gluteus. Inhale, and stretch your spine for flat back. You will need to hold this pose for at least 40 seconds to feel the effect.

4. Pigeon Pose:

Pigeon pose is yet another great yoga pose for relieving stress. For this pose, you need to scoot your left leg straight on the floor with feet touching the floor. Bend your right feet forward and put a bolster under the hip. Extend your both hands forward and bend from elbow at 90 degrees in a way that right hand touches the right knee and left hand touches the right feet. One more thing that you need to make sure that both your palm touch the floor with fingers stretched apart. Hold this pose for at least one minute or as long as it is comfortable for you to hold.

5. Puppy Pose:

This one is actually a variant of Child pose but very effective for beating stress. In this pose, you will need to lie on all fours. First of all, you will need to fold your knees in a way that it makes 90 degree angle with the hips and stretch your legs back with toes touching the floor. Next thing you will need to is to place your elbows on the floor extending them out from the shoulder and place your forehead on the floor. When you will do this, your back will come in an inclined position which will stretch the spine and shoulders at the same time. Try to hold this pose for a minute at least.

About the Author

Kristy Megan is a professional coursework consultant and an active yoga practitioner. Besides providing students coursework help, she shares yoga tips to help them reduce academic stress through natural ways.

What’s your favourite yoga pose to take away stress?

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Healthy Desk for Working: Sitting, Standing or Treadmill?

by Head Health Nutter on July 17, 2015

As the 21st century progresses, there seems to be a growing number of office/desk jobs across the world. If you think that this might be one of the reasons why the general health of the human race is deteriorating, then please continue reading today’s guest post by Andrew Hoffman!  

A new study in United States says that office workers should spend at least three hours on their feet while working — though four hours would be better – to avoid the serious health consequences including disability that come with too much sitting as we age. The study said people working in offices spend approximately 70-80 per cent of their work day in their seats while sitting at their desks. The study creators called for changes in the work environment including time for a walk and workspaces intended for standing.

treadmill-desk

Are Standing Desks Helpful?

Taking into the health consideration, a new innovation, standing desks came into action and a lot of companies chose to provide their employees with standing workspaces. “Standing desks may help in burning few calories but are they also helpful in losing weight, enhance metabolism.” say health specialists. Standing for a long time can also cause backaches, curvature of the spine and swollen veins, therefore, it is not the desired solution. [click to continue…]

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Juice Cleanses: Pros & Cons

by Head Health Nutter on July 14, 2015

Here on Live Lighter, we’ve been blogging about the benefits of cleansing since 2008 when blogger Steph Miller took on the challenge and discovered amazing results (read How I Lost 25 Lbs in 3 Months). If you’re thinking about embarking on a juice cleanse, why not check out the pros and cons according to guest blogger, Jefferey Morgan?

If we were to believe what the media says, we would have to agree that juice cleanses are an excellent way to detox the body, thus helping it to lose weight and stay healthy. There’s definitely something enticing about having the ability to make broccoli, cucumbers, and kale become a delicious drink with the help of some extra blueberries and strawberries. The shake is an ideal lunch, and yes, it will keep you energized for longer than a salad or a pizza.

“Juicing” has become a popular term that goes hand in hand with “detoxing”, “raw-vegan diet” and “gluten-free diet”. It’s cool to do it, and in some ways it is also healthy. The problem is you can’t replace food with juices all day long. This is not a smart approach you want to take when attempting to get back in shape. Here are some pros and cons of juice cleansers.

juice-cleanse

PROS

Juicing is an excellent way to pack your body with concentrated amounts of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables. Available in the form of shakes and smoothies too, these drinks are low in fat and damaging ingredients, such as added salt or sugars. Some other benefits of juice cleansers are: [click to continue…]

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How to Make a Green Juice (Infographic)

by Head Health Nutter on July 11, 2015

Are you on or thinking about joining the green juice craze? If you’re at all interested in green juices, then you’ll love today’s guest blogger and infographic creator, Garrick from Juicing with G. Read the content for some basics and then be prepared for a ton of options that will have you drinking unique green juice recipes for months!

Green juice recipes are really popular because of the high nutrient and low sugar content. But how exactly do you make one without putting in too much fruit? Well I’m here to show you how.

First let’s answer the question why you have to make green juice? One of the biggest mistakes by a lot of people when they first go into juicing is putting too much fruit into their recipes. This is a very big mistake that could be life threatening if you are not careful. Let me explain…

Every time you juice a fruit, you consume fructose which isn’t used much by the body. In fact the only organ in the body that processes fructose is the liver and too much of it overwhelms it. Unlike glucose that is used by most of the organs, fructose is basically waste material that is bad for us. When you juice fruits, the juicer will separate the juice and pulp which takes out the only barrier that slows down fructose absorption enough so the liver doesn’t need to work too hard. The result of too much fructose is an increased risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.

The key to making a well-balanced green juice that won’t taste like crap is knowledge of some basics. Let me present to you the infographic. You’ll see that the ingredients are grouped into 4 categories – the juice base, main ingredient, sweeteners and optional ingredients. Let’s look at them one by one.

The juice base is basically what you’ll put in every recipe. I love the cucumber and lemon combo because it adds to the content without the risk of adding too much fructose because it has virtually zero sugar content. Zucchini is a good replacement if you can’t find any cucumber but it has less water content. Carrot and apple is sweeter but for the occasional sweet tooth craving, this is a great base. [click to continue…]

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How to Deal with Canker Sores

by Head Health Nutter on July 9, 2015

Today’s guest blogger, Lizzie Weakley, shares with us a few tips on how to treat canker sores and other oral health issues. 

Canker sores and other mouth sore issues are painful ulcers that usually hurt for about 7 to 10 days. These sores usually heal within a matter of weeks, but it may take up to 6 weeks for major canker sores to heal. According to Guerra Dental, it is not completely clear as to what causes canker sores, but thankfully most canker sores will heal on their own so a trip to the doctor is normally not required.

How to Deal with Canker Sores and other Mouth Sore Issues However, there are a few things that you can do to deal with mouth sore issues and speed up the healing process:

Eat Specific Foods
Eat only soft or bland foods that are easy to swallow, such as cream soup or yogurt. Puree or cut any other food items into small pieces so that they are also easy to swallow. Be sure to avoid any possible food allergies as eating foods that you are allergic to may have caused the mouth sore issue in the first place. In addition, stay away from salty or spicy foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, coffee and tomatoes.

Drink Cold Fluids
When you have a mouth sore, be sure to drink plenty of cold fluids such as iced tea and water, but avoid citrus juices. Use a straw when drinking these fluids so that it doesn’t touch your sore as contact with the sore can be painful. In addition, it can be helpful to place ice on your sore until that area of your mouth becomes numb. [click to continue…]

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The Secret to Success: Toning & Weight Lifting for Women

by Head Health Nutter on July 7, 2015

I’m getting back into regular exercise and mainly with weight-lifting. I’ve had the most positive results when I use weights – I just love my toned body! Keep reading today’s guest post by Brooke Chaplan for more on the secret to weight-loss success. 

The well-toned shapely body you’ve set your thoughts on is not far away! Getting into weight lifting is a great way to help tone and shape your overall new body and help you achieve more defined muscles.

Secret to Success Toning and Weight Lifting for Women 1

If you are a beginner weight lifter it’s important to create relationships with people who can help you achieve success and get the correct technique down early on. A trainer in the initial stages can help educate you on your technique and tailor a workout to your goals and body. Whether you’re starting on simple machines or just doing a few free weight exercises twice a week, you should know some of these tips before you bump up the pounds.

Correct Technique
Getting down basic forms correctly will maximize the benefits of using basic weight training exercises. You can learn from videos, or spend a session with a weight training coach. When you’re just starting out, it might be good to have another person watch you and make sure you’ve got the forms and won’t injure yourself. Try to do workouts in a room with a mirror so you can see where you need to improve.

Keep it Simple
Beginner exercises can be narrowed down to these six: squats, overhead presses, dead-lifts, push-ups, chin-ups, inverted rows, or variations of these basic exercises. Learn them, use them, and stay with them for a few months to make sure you’ve perfected the form. You might only be able to do one or two at first, but keep maintaining good technique and do it consistently. After a few weeks, you’ll be able to bump up the repetitions. [click to continue…]

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