Osteoporosis and Women: How to Prevent Weak Bones

Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. Osteoporosis develops gradually, usually without symptoms. A broken bone that occurs with minor trauma, such as a slight blow to the wrist, for example, is typically the first symptom. Approximately one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime.

Bone Density Testing

If you are age 65 or older, you should get a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis. If you are younger than 65 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, ask your doctor or nurse if you need a bone density test before age 65. Bone density testing is recommended for older women whose risk of breaking a bone is the same or greater than that of a 65‑year‑old white woman with no risk factors other than age. 

A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures the strength of your bones to help assess your future risk of fractures. This test is not usually performed until after menopause unless you have an unusual clinical situation or are at high risk for osteoporosis. It is quick, painless and noninvasive.

Preventing Weak Bones

The best way to prevent weak bones is to work on building strong ones. No matter how old you are, it is never too late to start. Building strong bones during childhood and the teen years is one of the best ways to keep from getting osteoporosis later. As you get older, your bones don’t make new bone fast enough to keep up with the bone loss. And after menopause, bone loss happens more quickly.

But there are steps you can take to slow the natural bone loss with aging and to prevent your bones from becoming weak and brittle. There are five simple steps to reduce your risk for osteoporosis:

  • Increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
  • Exercise regularly; bones and muscles respond to physical activity by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing exercises like walking and weight lifting are the most beneficial.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Being underweight or losing weight increases your risk of bone loss and fracture, and ultimately, of developing osteoporosis.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking (nicotine) can reduce bone mass and increase the risk of fracture, thus increasing your risk for osteoporosis. Ask your health care professional to recommend methods to help you quit.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if you drink. Excessive consumption of alcohol increases your risk of osteoporosis and fractures from falls.

For some women, medication may also be helpful for preventing additional bone loss. Ask your health care professional what the best osteoporosis prevention strategy is for you.

Finally…

The importance of beginning bone loss prevention at a very young age is now well understood. Bone health programs are being developed and implemented that targets girls as young as nine to 12 years of age and their parents, focusing on promoting good nutritional choices and participating in regular physical activity. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by Healthywomen.org)

Breast Cancer: Risks and What to Watch For

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Most cases occur in women over the age of 50 but breast cancer can occur in younger women, especially if they have a family history of it. It’s important to be mindful of your body and stay aware of signs of early detection. If you notice any lump or change to your normal breast then you should see a doctor promptly.

Risk Factors

Women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. But most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) can’t be avoided. Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.

BRCA: The Breast Cancer Gene

All inherited traits are passed down through genes. Each person has two copies of every gene: one gene from each parent. Since each parent passes down exactly half of their genes to each child, any of the parent’s genetic traits has a 50% chance of being passed on to their offspring.

The name “BRCA” is an abbreviation for “BReast CAncer gene.” BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two different genes that have been found to impact a person’s chances of developing breast cancer.

Every human has both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Despite what their names might suggest, BRCA genes do not cause breast cancer. In fact, these genes normally play a big role in preventing breast cancer. They help repair DNA breaks that can lead to cancer and the uncontrolled growth of tumors. Because of this, the BRCA genes are known as tumor suppressor genes. However, in some people these tumor suppression genes do not work properly. When a gene becomes altered or broken, it doesn’t function correctly. This is called a gene mutation.

Early Detection: Signs and Symptoms

Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and the presence of these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.

By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast.  Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.

  • A Change In How The Breast Or Nipple Feels
  • A Change In The Breast Or Nipple Appearance
  • Any Nipple Discharge—Particularly Clear Discharge Or Bloody Discharge

Women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them.

Treatment

Do your research. Speak with support groups and breast cancer survivors. The more information you gather about your treatment options, the better decisions you’ll make. Your treatment options depend on the stage of your disease and these factors:

  • The size of the tumor in relation to the size of your breast
  • The results of specific pathology tests (hormone receptors, HER2 receptors, grade of the cells, proliferation rate of the cells)
  • Whether you have gone through menopause
  • Your general health
  • Your age
  • Your family history or other risk factors associated with a predisposition for developing breast or ovarian cancer

Remember that while your doctors can make recommendations and provide options, the final decisions regarding your treatment are yours. With good research, you can have confidence in the path you take. By embracing your part, you’ll give yourself the best odds for a long and healthy life.

Finally…

If breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, there is a good chance of a cure. In general, the more advanced the cancer is (the more it has grown and spread), the less chance that treatment will be curative. However, treatment can often slow the progress of the cancer. Her Care encourages women to take charge of their health! Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

(Some information provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation).

To All The Ladies: Your Unique Healthcare

adc-womens-health-her-care

Some information provided by the National Institute of Health.

Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic offers health services that exclusively focuses on women and their life transitions. ADC offers gender-specific medicine simply because women and men experience health and disease differently. HerCare offers a variety of different Woman’s health solutions including:

  • Sexual health including sexual dysfunction
  • Preoperative risk assessment
  • Cardiovascular risk profile and prevention
  • Midlife hormone management therapy
  • Osteoporosis and treatments including Bisphosphonate alternatives
  • Vulvar diseases
  • Well-woman exams

Gender Specific Science

It’s no secret that there are vast differences in reproductive health between men and women, however, there are also several other ways that men’s health differs from women’s. For example, men and women both experience different symptoms for the same medical problem. Men are also at higher risk of developing certain conditions, such as toxic occupational exposure, and women are at higher risk of developing others, such as osteoporosis, or thinning bones. Because there are differences in men’s and women’s health, different approaches are sometimes taken to prevent and treat various health conditions.

Women’s Health

Did you know that studies have shown that women live longer than men? Women live an average of 5 years longer, but they tend to be “sicker” than men. Despite a longer lifespan, there are conditions that might affect women primarily or more severely than men. For example, almost 12% of women in the United States are at risk for developing breast cancer during their lifetime. Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of existing breast cancer cases. Certain health issues and their different effects on women are listed below:

  • Alcohol abuse: While men are more likely to become dependent on, or addicted to, alcohol than women are throughout their lifetime, the health effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism (when someone shows signs of addiction to alcohol) are more serious in women.
  • Heart disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Although heart disease is also the leading cause of death for men in the United States, women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men are.
  • Mental health: Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men are.
  • Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability in the United States. The condition affects almost 27 million people, and affects more women than men.
  • Reproductive health: Women are able to carry and deliver babies.
  • Urinary tract health: Women are more likely than men are to experience urinary tract problems. For example, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men due to the way the female urinary tract is structured.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: The effect of STDs/STIs on women can be more serious than on men. Untreated STDs/STIs cause infertility in at least 24,000 women each year in the United States.
  • Stress: According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, stress is on the rise for women. Women are more likely to report having stress, and almost 50% of all women in the survey, compared to 39% of the men, reported that their stress had increased over the past 5 years.
  • Stroke: More women than men suffer a stroke each year.

Women and men experience health and disease differently, which is why “Her Care” matters. Take control of your health today! Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.

News Feature: “Glycemic Index” w/ Dr. Joanna Wilson, HerCare

Dr. Joanna Wilson, D.O. is a doctor for HerCare at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic. HerCare is primary care for women with an emphasis on the biological differences of men and women in health and medical care. It’s clinical emphasis is mainly on contraception, menopause, osteoporosis, sexual health, pelvic floor issues and nonsurgical gynecologic issues. Learn more at www.HerCareatADC.com

On Glycemic Index

Video Lecture: “Gut Instinct” Feat. Dr. Joanna Wilson, HerCare

Our stomachs and the importance of the bacteria that lives there

Joanna Wilson, D. O. Internal Medicine specializing in Women's Health

Joanna Wilson, D. O.
Internal Medicine specializing in Women’s Health

As humans, we are 99% bacterial. Learn more about the following:

– Colonization of bacteria at birth

– The connection between digestion and bacterial health

– The latest breakthroughs in bacteria science

– And much more…

This Friday: “Gut Instinct” Event (Feat. Dr. Joanna Wilson)

Gut Instinct Lecture (HerCare)

Gut Instinct Lecture (HerCare)

RSVP Upcoming Lecture

Subject: Sexy Science Behind “50 Shades of Grey”

Don’t forget to RSVP for Dr. Joanna Wilson’s next lecture. Seating is limited so call (806) 356-5520 asap to ensure a spot!

Shhh... The Sexy Science of the Secret Revolution

Lecture: Shhhh… The Sexy Science of the Secret Revolution

Shhh... The Sexy Science of the Secret Revolution

How Is A Woman’s Sleep Unique?

From the experts at ADC’s HerCare

ImageHow well a woman sleeps has an effect on her quality of life. Being a woman, you probably know that there has been very little research on the sleep problems that only occur in women. If you suffered sleep problems, you may gave found healthcare professionals did not always take your sleep complaints seriously. Recent studies, however, have focused on women’s sleep patterns, needs and special problems. Did you know, for instance, that women are twice as likely as men to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?

Research has also shown that women’s sleep changes over time. In general, women sleep most soundly and are least likely to have sleep troubles when they are young adults. Sleep problems in young adulthood are usually related to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and motherhood. Also, young women who live a fast-paced lifestyle often cut back on sleep and ignore signs of fatigue, which can lead to daytime sleepiness, poor concentration and other daytime problems.

As women age, physical and hormonal changes affect the quality of sleep. Older women get less deep sleep and are more likely to wake up at night. Physical factors–such as arthritis, disorders of breathing, or hot flashes–may also disturb their sleep.

Sleep may also be disturbed when women feel stress, depression, fear or other strong emotions.

Getting enough sleep is very important to everyone’s life. Women who take care of home, work and family should know that getting sleep can improve concentration, job perfomance, social interaction, relationships and overall well-being.