Do I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS is a range of symptoms caused by an increase in hormone (estrogen and progesterone) imbalance in women. When one hormone is out of balance then another is triggered to be out of balance. The ovaries are stimulated to grow small cysts and release male hormones called androgens known as testosterone. Also, there is an increase in insulin levels in the blood, but the body has difficulty using it, and that is call resistance.  This causes the body’s blood sugars to go up and may result in diabetes.

Symptoms include irregular or no periods, heavy periods, increase in body and facial hair, acne, thinning hair on the scalp, pelvic pain, difficulty getting pregnant, patches of thick, dark skin, and metabolic syndrome, elevated insulin and insulin resistance.

Causes have been attributed to genetic and environmental but are mostly unknown. Risks include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and family history.

Treatment- There is no cure, but methods to provide relief to sufferers include,

  1. Involves lifestyle changes- weight loss and exercise. Eating healthier foods. To lower insulin resistance
  2. Birth Control- regulates periods, reduce hair growth, and acne
  3. Metformin helps ovulation to become more normal
  4. Restoration of Fertility- need to see a fertility specialist

Complications include increased risk for: endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, Depression/Anxiety, dyslipidemia(a disorder of lipid metabolism), cholesterol and triglyceride levels, heart disease of the arteries of the heart, stroke, weight gain, miscarriage, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and patches of dark skin under arms, groin,and back of neck.

Advertisements

3 Important Travel Health Notices

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides travel health notices for travelers regarding possible health issues at their destination site.  Health issues at any destination can be created by severe weather (floods, hurricanes, etc.), lack of available power resources, lack of potable (drinkable) water, insects, disease outbreaks or wars.  The CDC provides a travelers health page.  The Department of State has a web page on traveler alerts and warnings.  For weather conditions, visit the NOAA International Weather selection page.

The Watch Notice (Level 1) it is recommended the traveler practice the usual safe precautions.

The Alert Notice (Level 2) it is recommended the traveler practice enhanced precautions.

The Warning Notice (Level 3) it is recommended the traveler avoid non-essential travel.

Safety Precautions

Animal safety includes bites, scratches, saliva, fecal/urine exposure from cats, dogs, monkeys, apes, bats, rats.  Rabies is very common around the world.

Bug bites from fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, flies, ticks.  Make sure you know how to remove them, and what symptoms of their toxins, and how to prevent exposure.

Drugs and alcohol use can result in STD’s if prevention is not attempted.

In cold weather, hypothermia, and frostbite are a concern.

Sun/heat exposure from UV rays, can result in sunburns, and heat stroke

High altitudes can result in altitude sickness.  (HACE and Hape).

Natural disasters can cause injury from blunt trauma, drowning, and crush related deaths.

Food and water safety is critical.  Fresh cold pasteurized milk, alcohol, hot drinks and food should be safe. The heat of cooking kills germs.  Buffets can lose heat, and get contaminated.  The safest foods are bottled or canned water, and drinks. Dry or packaged foods are usually safe as long as it is not handled by others.  Raw food, such as street food, bush meat can carry Ebola and SARS.  Risky items include tap water for drinking, showering, and brushing teeth, fountain drinks, and ice. Fresh juice is safe if washed in safe water and squeezed yourself. Fish is risky as it is unknown when it was caught, and how long it was maintained in cold temperatures.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “3 Important Travel Health Notices”

How to Remove a Tick!

Ticks are parasites that live outside of the body and feed on blood. They are typically found in grassy wooded areas.  Ticks prefer to live in warm and humid environments.  They transmit infections into other living creatures as well as humans of at least 12 types.  The risk of developing an illness related to tick bites depends on

  1. The type of tick. Investigate what ticks are in your area.
  2. The time of the year
  3. How long it was attached. Ticks should be removed quickly to prevent illness’s associated with tick bites.
  4. Geographic location

Removing a tick

Use very fine tweezers, and grab the tick close to the skin and the ticks head. Do not grab the tick by its body. Pull gently upward until the tick releases itself. Avoid twisting and squeezing, as you want to prevent the head from coming off the body of the tick.  This can cause germs to enter your body and result in illness.  Once removed, wash the bite site with soap and water, and apply an antibacterial ointment or cream to prevent skin infection.

Do not try to remove tick with matches, petroleum jelly, or finger nail police. They will not remove the tick and may increase chance of fluids entering your body.

An evaluation between 2-4 hours is recommended if a sudden onset of hives, rash, itching or swelling occurs in areas outside of the original tick bite or if there has been a history of allergic reactions to tick bites in the past. An evaluation within 24 hours is recommended if  you are unable or unwilling to remove the tick, and the tick head imbedded in the skin, redness, pain, swelling, drainage or heat at the tick site (may be a sign of infection), or rash or flulike symptoms develop 2-4 weeks after a tick bite.

See future articles for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme’s Disease!

How to STOP Self-Sabotage!

Listen to yourself and notice any self-doubting. Why do you do stop yourself from reaching your dreams and goals? What are you afraid of? Do you feel you don’t deserve it? That you don’t deserve the body or happiness that you desire. You might feel comfortable right now, because that is what you know, but you are still unhappy. YOU NEED TO BELIEVE YOU DESERVE IT.

Are you scared to be thin? Do you feel out of your comfort zone?, and how things will be different?. You have to claim what you want out of your life. You have to define how you want to live your life.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to other people
  2. Life isn’t perfect. Don’t be negative or beat yourself up when you slip up. If your frustrated then reset your goal.
  3. Surround yourself with positive supportive people.
  4. Be SMART:
  5. S- specific aim or goal
  6. M-measureable short and long term goals
  7. A-attainable goals that are reachable
  8. R-realistic- there may be times of failure as well as celebration
  9. T-timely. Give yourself a time frame for when you want this goal reached
  10. Be proud of small wins.
  11. Portion control
  12. Eating the right foods
  13. Eat every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism going
  14. Keep a food diary
  15. Stock foods that are healthy only
  16. Read food labels
  17. Discipline is developed by being disciplined. It takes time and practice. It is always hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
  18. Think of losing weight in the long term
  19. Key: PATIENCE, CONSISTENCY, & PERSISTENCE

 

Heat Exhaustion!

combat summer heat

When it is hot outside your body cools itself by sweating. Your body cools as the sweat evaporates from your skin.  But if you are overexposed to heat or are doing strenuous physical activity your body loses its ability to cool itself properly.  This is called heat exhaustion. This can be caused by loss of water and electrolytes through sweating as a result of hot, sunny, humid weather, and physical exertion in that weather.  Elderly and children are at greater risk due their body’s inability to regulate body temperature, and lack of cool air. Drugs, such as, ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines, can cause rapid rise in body temp.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include, nausea, dizziness, irritability, headache, thirst, weakness, high body temperature, excessive sweating, decreased urine output, confusion, vomiting, muscle cramps, which is related to low blood sodium and potassium.

Heat exhaustion can occur in the elderly because they are less likely to drink enough fluids or sense significant changes in temperature. Heat exhaustion in kids can occur as babies and young kids are very sensitive to extreme heat.  Keep cool and hydrated. Don’t leave them in the car, even with the window open.

Treatment- When the temp is over 91 you need to take precautions

  1. Go to a cool area
  2. Remove layers of clothes
  3. Fanning and wet towels
  4. Dizzy may be related to low BP, so lay down and put your feet up
  5. Drink water or sport drink, and sip slowly
  6. If you have continuous vomiting get medical attention immediately

Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.

Heat Stroke (Sun Stroke) occurs when there is a high body temp of 103 or higher. It is considered hyperthermia without fever.  Symptoms include hot, red, dry or moist skin, rapid and strong pulse, and loss of consciousness.  Call 911, move person to cool area, cool person down with cool cloths or bath, DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.

Those at risk for heat stroke are those wearing dark, heavy, padded clothes, and over dressing, has a high percentage of body fat, dehydration, Fever, beta blockers (cardiac medication), antipsychotic medication, alcohol and caffeine.

The most important thing to remember is to not wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids.

Sunburn!

Summer Series

Sunburn is radiation burn due to overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation mostly from the sun or sun tanning. Too much exposure can be dangerous, but a lesser amount of exposure would lead to a tan. Sunburns are considered a superficial burn. Extreme burns can result in hospitalizations. Sunburns can occur in less than 15 min. Some medications can create greater sensitivity to UV radiation, such as, antibiotics, birth control pills, and tranquilizers.
Suntan is a result of slight to moderate exposure that causes a release of melanin, a protective pigment that is the skin’s natural defense against overexposure. Suntans are viewed as exotic and desirable. Repeated extreme exposure over time can lead to damage to your DNA and skin tumors, dry wrinkled skin, dark spots, and freckles.
Those with the greatest risk for skin burns are those with fair skin, living or on vacation somewhere sunny or at a high altitude, work outdoors, and participate in outdoor recreation.
UV Index is the risk of getting sunburn at a specific location and time of day, such as:
1. Time of Day 10 AM-4 PM- sun’s rays are at their strongest
2. You can even get burn on cloudy days
3. Reflective surfaces, such as, snow, ice, water, and concrete
4. The position of the sun, which is greatest late spring and early
summer
5. The higher the altitude the greater the risk of a sunburn.
6. Proximity to the equator- closer you are to the tropical regions of
the planet 50% greater chance of getting sunburn.
7. Incidence and severity of sunburns have increased worldwide because of damage to the ozone layer of the planet due to ozone depletion.
Appearance of sunburns include red skin that feels hot is caused by the increase of blood to the area to heal the burn. Also there is pain, fatigue, dizziness, swelling, itching, and peeling skin, rash, nausea, fever, and chills. Fluid filled blisters that can burst and become infected. After exposure, skin may turn red from 30 min to 2-6 hours. Worst of the pain is 6-48 hours after exposure. The burn continues to progress for 1 to 3 days. Skin peeling can last about 3-8 days.
Complications include skin cancers (Melanoma, basal-cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma), and sunburn to the corneas of your eyes.

Prevention is the Key: use hats/caps, clothes that cover arms and legs, and use wraparound sunglasses.
Moderate sun tanning without burning can prevent sunburn. A diet rich in vitamin C, and E can help reduce the amount o sunburn. Beta-carotene (Vitamin A) helps protect against sunburn. Protect your skin with sunscreen or sunblock. The higher the SPF the less the DNA damage is to the skin. Sunscreen helps prevent some forms of skin cancers. Apply 30 min before exposure and 30 min after exposure, and any time you get wet.
Treatment options include
1. Pain medication- ibuprofen, naproxen
2. Corticosteroids- for itching
3. Cool the skin- cool compresses, cool shower
4. Moisturizer- aloe vera, hydrocortisone cream
5. Don’t break blisters- it is a protective layer, and breaking it
will slow healing. If it breaks clean with soap and water and apply
antibacterial cream and cover with a wet dressing.
6. Drink plenty of water
7. Avoid further sunlight
8. Products that contain benzocaine can irritate the burn and cause
allergic reaction.

Dehydration!

Staying well hydrated during the summer.

Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluids than you are taking into your body. This results in your body not being able to perform its usual functions that require proper fluid intake. If you don’t replace these fluids, you become dehydrated. We lose water and salt daily through vapor from breathing, sweat, urine, and stool.

Causes include poor fluid intake due to illness or mouth sores, or nausea, intense physical activity,hot weather, severe diarrhea or vomiting, fever, sweating, poor fluid intake with increased activity and hot weather, and increased urination due to a medical condition such as diabetes or medications.

Mild to Moderate symptoms include dry, sticky mouth, thirst, decrease in urination,fatigue, no wet diapers for at least 3 hours, few or no tears when crying, dry skin, headache, constipation, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

Severe symptoms are considered a medical emergency. If you experience great thirst, are irritable or confused, feel weak, have a very dry mouth, little or no urination or sweating, eyes look sunken in, a low blood pressure, rapid heart, rapid breathing, tenting of skin, fever, fainting, and a swollen tongue, you need immediate medical attention.

Complications of dehydration include heat exhaustion or heat stroke, swelling of the brain, seizures, low blood volume shock (Hypovolemic Shock), kidney failure, coma and death.

Treatment for kids includes small frequent sips of rehydrating solutions, such as Pedialyte, popsicles, and water. In adults, Gatorade, PowerAde, water, and ice chips are effective. Additionally, wearing loose clothes, air conditioning, fans, cool wet towels, spray bottle with water, avoid alcohol, caffeine. You can also break up exposure to heat by spending 10-20 min in heat then going inside to get cool.
Milk, caffeinated drinks, fruit juices and gelatins don’t relieve dehydration and can worsen diarrhea.