Browsing category: Health

Menopause’s long learning curve

Every day an estimated 6,000 women in the U.S. reach

menopause, a natural part of aging. But for countless women, it feels like anything but. The symptoms, which range from merely bothersome to debilitating, are triggered by the body’s loss of estrogen, which occurs at a median

age

of 50 to 52 among women in industrialized countries. Vasomotor symptoms alone (hot flashes, night sweats), which disrupt sleep and count as the most commonly reported complaint,

last

an average of 10 years and affect nearly

90 percent of menopausal women. A recent study published in the journal Menopausefound that 250,000 women who suffered from hot flashes lost a cumulative $300 million per year in wages due to lost productivity and doctor visits, compared with asymptomatic women. Postmenopause, women face a whole new set of health challenges, including a heightened risk of cardiovascular and bone disease. Not only can this “normal”

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‘Safe’ teen drinking? Here’s why parents shouldn’t facilitate it.

Originally published in the Washington Post's online version on Apr. 1, 2019. “Well, we did it when we were their age.” This common refrain, popular among parents with a permissive attitude toward underage drinking, is often coupled with well-intentioned efforts to keep adolescents safe while consuming alcohol: Think encouraging alcohol-imbibing teens to take advantage of ride programs like Uber, to spend the night at a friend’s house, or to drink in one’s own home as opposed to unknown settings. Referred to by social scientists as “harm reduction,” this strategy is more than just ineffective, say experts. It’s helping to fuel an epidemic of teenage binge drinking. Although many parents of today’s teenagers drank when they were young, data shows important differences between teen drinking then and now. In 1991, about half of high school students reported consuming alcohol, according to the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). In 2015, less than 18

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Office Catnaps

Originally published August 6, 2009 in the Baltimore Sun.

Late one afternoon during a particularly stressful week at work, LaWanda Stone Abernathy did what most

officeworkers only dream of - she stepped away from her desk and into a dimly lit room, kicked back on a futon and fell asleep for a few minutes. "Before I went in there, I was feeling totally overwhelmed," recalled Stone Abernathy,

corporate

communications manager at Med-IQ, a health care company based in Catonsville. "When I woke up, I was able to complete what I had to do that day. Otherwise, I would have been just spinning my wheels." Med-IQ calls it the wellness room. Other companies that provide similar amenities tend to label them quiet rooms, or refreshment rooms. Most companies steer clear of the term "nap room" since they're not quite comfortable with the implication. But regardless of what they're called,

employers

design them for one

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Workplace wellness programs work best when bosses buy into them

Originally published on Washingtonpost.com on November 27, 2018 Reebok employee Dan Sarro used to worry that co-workers would look askance at him if he arrived at work at 9:30 a.m. Then, as part of a company wellness overhaul, senior management at Reebok established “core” business hours. Meetings aren’t held before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., and employees set their work schedules around those hours according to personal preference. Sarro, the company’s senior corporate communications manager, who plays pickup hockey a few mornings a week before beginning his workday at 9:30 a.m., welcomed the change. “When I first started at Reebok, I had to be careful about when I worked out,” he said. “Now, it’s just part of who we are.” Studies have shown that successfully adopting a culture that promotes health and wellness can help companies reduce health-care costs, cut absentee rates and perhaps attract top talent. One decade-long analysis by the research organization Rand Corp. of a

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Midwives Could Be Key To Reversing Maternal Mortality Trends

The Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center in Danbury is a 50-minute drive from Evelyn DeGraf’s home in Westchester. Pregnant with her second child, the 37-year-old didn’t hesitate to make the drive—she wanted her birth to be attended by a midwife, not a doctor. DeGraf believed midwifery care to be more personal and less rushed than that delivered by obstetrics/gynecologists (OB/GYNs). She also knew an OB/GYN would deem her relatively advanced maternal age and previous cesarean section history too high-risk to attempt a VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean section. But she had to drive roughly 35 miles to find a midwife because there aren’t many of them. Despite the fact that an estimated 85 percent of women are appropriate for midwife care, midwives attend about 11 percent of births in Connecticut, said Holly Kennedy, professor of midwifery at Yale School of Nursing. By contrast, about half of all babies in England are delivered by midwives, according to National Health

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Treating Women “Down There”

Originally published in the September 2018 issue of Her Mind magazine. After being widowed suddenly at the age of 35, Ellicott City resident Janet Weise approached each day in survival mode. Balancing the equally demanding jobs of a single mother to her son with her career as a college administrator, the former Division 1 college athlete admits that her personal health needs came last. “You can say I was a hot mess,” jokes Weise, who over the years had become inactive and, by her own admission, “pretty severely obese.” Then came the wakeup call. At the time they met, Janet Weise, left, promised Dr. Amanda Fader, right, that she would lose 90 pounds. The two have since become friends and walking partners.  Two years ago, at the age of 53 and post-menopause, Weise noticed bleeding. She mentioned it to her gynecologist who performed an internal ultrasound as well as an endometrial biopsy, by removing a piece of tissue from her uterus. Weise was diagnosed with

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Bridging Racial Gaps In Pregnancy-Related Health Outcomes

This article was originally published in the Hartford Courant on August 8, 2018. Kimberly Streater was pregnant with her third of six children when she called her friend for a ride to the hospital after sustaining a hit to her stomach by her then-husband. When she reached the hospital, Streater, not yet 28 weeks pregnant, alerted personnel that her baby was coming — now. “They said, ‘No, no, he’s not coming,’ after I told them he was,” she recalled. Minutes later, Howie was born at 3 pounds and 1.5 ounces in the admitting area of the hospital, just as Streater had predicted. Statistically, the preterm birth of Streater’s baby does not come as a surprise. In Connecticut and nationwide, black women and their infants suffer disproportionately worse pregnancy-related health outcomes than white women. The March of Dimes’ 2017 Premature Birth Report Card for Connecticut revealed that between 2013 and 2015, 8.4 percent of all infants born to white women were premature,

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Intimate Partner Violence Remains Pervasive; Efforts Seek To Break The Cycle

Originally published on WNPR.org on March 14, 2018 West Hartford resident Adrienne Doughty recalls the summer night in the family camper when her then-husband hurled an object at her that whipped past her head before shattering a window. The sound of broken glass brought a neighbor running. That started the 62-year-old on a long path of healing from what she describes as primarily emotional abuse from her former husband whom, ironically, Doughty thought would protect her after she’d been the victim of date rape and sexual assault by a supervisor. “In those days, you couldn’t say anything,” she said. Doughty found her voice at a workshop on intimate partner violence (IPV) offered by Susan Omilian, an attorney-turned-advocate of IPV victims after her 19-year-old niece was killed by her boyfriend. “Susan’s workshop was pivotal. I wish I had found it a lot earlier,” Doughty said. “You cannot recover alone.” Perhaps that message is catching on. In the last fiscal year,

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Heavy Drinking Among Women At All-Time High, Despite Health Consequences



Originally published in November 2017 on hartfordcourant.com. An ever-increasing number of women in the state are drinking to excess, state and federal data show. Statewide, female admissions to acute hospital emergency departments for alcohol-related reasons rose by 4.8 percent between fiscal years 2012 and 2016, according to the Connecticut Hospital Association. The female-only Eden Hill Recovery Retreat in Canaan fills an average of 10 to 12 beds per month; earlier in the center’s eight-year history, rarely were there more than eight beds occupied at a time. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine note an increase in the number of women enrolling in studies that examine the effectiveness of a medication to curb one’s desire to drink alcohol. The uptick in problem drinking among women in Connecticut mirrors a national trend. In a September 2017 study reported in JAMA Psychiatry, two national epidemiologic surveys compared drinking patterns of U.S.

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Longtime Instructor at Towson Y Wows Students at Age 73

Originally published in the Towson Times on June 21, 2017. “Curl. Roll. Give me first position, legs at 90 degrees. Now 60. Thirty." For an hour, the diminutive Pilates instructor at the front of the packed class calls out commands in a loud and controlled voice. While instructing and bellowing messages of encouragement to the class, she demonstrates each exercise in perfect form, even as participants occasionally wince, flounder or flop on their mats in exhaustion. At 73, Towson resident Barbara Schuler is older than most of the exercise enthusiasts she's been instructing at the the Y in Towson for the past 35 years. But it's clear that she's not slowing down. Just ask Erin Rothwell, a 40-year-old Towson mother of two who works out daily, was a college athlete and considers herself in fairly decent shape. The first time Rothwell walked into a Friday morning barre class (a low-impact form of exercise that combines principles of Pilates, yoga and ballet) at the YMCA and

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