As more and more of us baby boomers age, we are faced with the challenge of helping our elderly parents and other loved ones. Our hope is to keep them healthy, mobile, and able to enjoy their lives in years to come. I know this can be a difficult task as many individuals living to the ripe age of 70 even have trouble dealing with their self-care activities because of their existing health conditions.
It’s important to encourage your elderly loved ones to stay as physically active as possible. This may provide them some relief from their symptoms of arthritis and improve bone health. And, it may even increase their energy as well as their mental outlook.
It’s not your fault. You’ve been programmed to think that you’re not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, or perfect enough. It’s on the cover of photoshopped magazines at the grocery store, reinforced on TV, and referred to in current — and unfortunately catchy — songs that objectify women. So much of what surrounds us today is appearance-driven, and there’s a natural tendency to adapt to our surroundings. This unfortunate marriage between societal pressures and our brains has birthed a critical voice in our heads telling us that we are quite simply not good enough. Picture a sumo wrestler sitting on your brain. He is huge, powerful and controlling (and HEAVY!), but does he wrestle you down or are you tripping over your own shoelaces? It’s never too late to reevaluate the budget of your energy wallet, and make sure that sumo isn’t taking more than he’s owed!
For many years preliminary research showed that hormone therapy could lower the risk of heart disease in women and it’s use was the standard treatment for the prevention of heart disease, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and other menopause symptoms. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a large randomized clinical trial included studying postmenopausal women using hormone therapy. Women with a uterus were given estrogen plus progestin (E+P) to protect the endometrium (lining of the womb) and women without a uterus were given estrogen (E) alone. The average age of initiating hormone therapy in the study was age 63 years. These were older women who had more absolute risks for chronic diseases.
The E+P trial was stopped three years early because overall there were more risks than benefits and the estrogen alone trial was stopped one year early due to risk of stroke but there was more balance of benefits and risks. Findings in these older women were used to make decisions about the use of hormone therapy (HT) in women in general and as a result many women stopped taking their hormones because of fear of getting breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes and many health providers discontinued prescribing these medications to women.
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