Iron Deficiency Anemia

Anemia is a common concern for women of child bearing age. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia found in the NHANES II was 5-10%, in the United States. That is equivalent to 1 in 5 women of childbearing age. It is estimated that nearly half of all pregnant women are at risk for developing iron-deficiency anemia. This can be attributed to the fact that pregnant women need twice as much iron as usual to increase the blood volume to the fetus to grow. Anemia is defined as a hemoglobin (hematocrit) concentration lower than the 2.5th percentile for healthy, well-nourished individuals of the same age, sex, and stage of pregnancy.  Iron deficiency anemia is associated with laboratory evidence of iron depletion as a result of serum tests. The signs and symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia can vary in their severity from mild to severe. 

Signs & Symptoms of Anemia
  • Fatigue (tiredness) is the most common symptom, and occurs in all types of anemia. This occurs because the body does not have enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen all throughout the body.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Coldness in hands or feet
  • Pale skin
Signs & Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
  • Brittle nails
  • Swelling or soreness of the tongue
  • Cracks in the sides of the mouth
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Frequent infections
  • May have unusual cravings for nonfood items (like ice, dirt, starch, or paint). This craving is called pica.
  • Development of restless legs syndrome
Make an appointment with your health care provider if you notice negative changes in your health. Your provider will be able to diagnose you based off of your medical history, physical exam and various results on tests and procedures. Once the severity of your condition is known, a treatment plan will be created for you.

Diet Changes
Eating more of the following foods is a great way to lower your risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Include iron supplements into your diet, but be careful to follow your provider’s instructions for doses,    large amounts of iron can be harmful.
  • Eat more iron rich foods like red meat, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and shellfish. Iron-fortified breads and cereals.
  •  Peas; lentils; white, red and baked beans; soybeans; and chickpeas.
  • Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Prune juice
  • Dried fruits like prunes, raisins, and apricots.
  • Vitamin C helps to absorb iron. Plan your meals rich in iron and vitamin C for optimal iron absorption.


Texting Ergonomics: Reduce Wrist, Hand, and Thumb Pain

Is your main mode of communication with others done through texting? Then you may be risk for “texting thumb” or thumb arthritis. Thumb Arthritis is caused by constriction of the flexor tendon in the thumb. It often reveals itself as painful popping or snapping when the thumb bends or straightens; it may even become locked in the curled position. The most common cause of texting thumb is due to repetitive griping motions such as texting or holding a smart phone. Thumb arthritis is specific to the carpometacarpal joint where the thumb and wrist connect. Gripping, or forceful pinching motions are often the source of these symptoms and can become more severe with excessive use.

            The elbow can also suffer from increased tension in the tunnel through which the ulnar nerve passes. When in the elbow, this is referred to as Cubital tunnel syndrome. Spending too much time holding your phone to your ear, resting your elbow on a desk, or keeping your arm bent at an acute angle to use your mouse all contribute to cubital tunnel syndrome. Symptoms include numbness or tingling in the ring and small finger and soreness on the inside of the elbow or forearm.

Texting Ergonomics:
  • Keep messages brief. The more keystrokes you do the more strain you’re causing on your hands and thumbs.
  • Use word prediction or auto complete.
  • Choose a device that has a full keyboard (you want reduce the number of times you tap a key to select a letter).
  • Use shortcuts opposed to scrolling.
  • Use a neutral grip when holding a device. This is best represented by a straight wrist that is not bent in either direction.
  • Maintain an upright position while texting. Do not bend your head down or round your shoulders.
  • Rest your thumb by alternating it with your index finger.

Specifics for touch screens:
  • Use device in a vertical position while typing. This will reduce the amount of reaching space your thumb does to press a key.
  • Use the pads of your fingers instead of the tips of your nails. Using your nails can create an awkward bent position for your thumb.

Severe cases treatments:
  • Cortisone injections- eliminate pain and restore mobility.
  • Thumb carpometacarpal arthroplasty- A surgical procedure to release the pulley at the base of the thumb will free the tendon to move more easily.
  • Splints

Cubital tunnel syndrome prevention:
  • Use a pad to rest your elbow on.
  • Avoid pressure on the back of the elbow.
  • Sleep in a splint the keeps your elbow from bending too much.
  • Avoid position that keep your elbow flexed for extended periods of time.
  • In severe cases a surgery can be performed to relieve the pressure off the nerve, improving symptoms, and preventing risk of permanent nerve damage to the hand.


Yoga and It's Benefits

              If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t caught on to the yoga wave, no worries. We hope to give you a small introduction to yoga basics. To begin with, yoga focuses on the physical and spiritual improvement of the mind and body. There are “eight limbs” of yoga that help you reach enlightenment

  • The way you behave (Yama): This is about encompassing and advocating the behaviors of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-possessiveness.
  • Your attitude towards yourself (Niyama): Being clean, content, austerity, studying sacred texts and studying yourself, and surrendering to God.
  • Physical pose (Asana): Through freeing our mind and body of stress and tension you are performing asanas. They are done in preparation for meditation to relax and rejuvenate the body.
  • Breath control (Pranayama): Controlling and regulating your breath helps to make the connection between your state of mind, nervous system, and level of life energy. 
  • Withdrawal of the senses (Pratyahara): This is the process of being aware of yourself, undistracted from the world.
  • Concentration (Dharana):  This prepares you for meditation, as you focus on your breathing and nothing else.
  • Meditation (Dhyana): This is where people spend most of their time, in meditation. This is a constant, uninterrupted observation without a special focus. The goal is to increase awareness and unify oneself with the universe.
  • Enlightenment (Samadhi): This is the most difficult state to achieve. It requires much experience with the eight limbs of yoga. It is said that one experiences unity with the universe, infinite peace, harmony, and awareness.

Benefits of yoga:

  • Lessons chronic pain (lower back, arthritis, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces insomnia
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • Maintenance of balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Protection from injury
  • Stress management
  • Improved mental well-being

Yoga moves for the beginner:

  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Seated Straddle
  • Downward Dog
  • Downward Dog Split
  • High Lunges
  • Planks
  • Side Planks
  • Camel Pose

Drinking coffee may shrink your boobs, but it could save your liver

According to a 2008 study that was published in the British Journal of Cancer, women who drink three cups a day may start to see a reduction in their breast size. Who just put down their coffee cups with me?

The study was conducted at the Lund University in Sweden and involved surveying 300 women’s coffee drinking habits and measuring their breast size. The women, who on average drank three or more cups of joe a day, had breasts that were 17 percent smaller than those who drank fewer than three cups a day. If you’re hooked on the dark magic like I am, and have average to smaller breasts already (like I do), you’re probably pretty pissed at your cup of joe right now.

More: 12 Things all women with small boobs understand

Bur don’t jump out the window just yet. We’ve moved onto the good stuff. The study says the breast reduction most affects women with larger breasts, not smaller. It happens because caffeine interacts with the female hormone estrogen, and drinking too much of it appears to inhibit its production. But it also appears to curb risk of breast cancer. The study specifically sought out women volunteers who have an elevated risk of cancer due to genetics or environment, and noticed a decided decrease in their personal risk factor due to their caffeine habit. So that’s pretty great, right?

Still staring at your chest humps? OK, how about this for some more good news. A new study that came out this week has found drinking coffee regularly appears to reduce alcohol’s effect on the liver. Researchers over at the University of Southampton analyzed nine different studies on the link between cirrhosis of the liver and caffeine consumption. What they discovered after looking at 432,133 different cases was pretty surprising — increasing caffeine intake lowered risk of cirrhosis by about half. Half!

More: 6 Healthy benefits to drinking coffee that may justify your habit

If you drink two cups of coffee a day, you’ll not only be fighting back cirrhosis of the liver (including the kind that’s caused by overconsumption of alcohol), you’ll also be cutting your chance of dying from the disease by half. What’s more is if you double the amount of coffee you drink daily, you’ll be lowering your risk factor by a staggering 65 percent. However, if you want to hold onto your breast size, you might want to keep it to three cups or under. Just saying.

This is huge news considering how deadly cirrhosis of the liver can be. It claims one million lives worldwide every year, and over 36,000 a year in the United States alone. Obviously alcoholism’s a big problem in this country, and can’t be solved by drinking excessive amount of a natural stimulant, but it’s good to know that it’s doing something besides giving us heartburn (and, ahem, stealing our breasts).

More: Four cups of coffee a day is the limit says new EU study

So ladies, while it may be sad to learn that your old friend Mr. Coffee may be systematically shrinking your boobs, isn’t it somewhat comforting to know it’s also bolstering up your liver? No? OK, I’ll check back in with you after you’ve had a weekend full of cocktails and hangovers.

Four cases of Zika virus confirmed in the UK

Cases of the potentially dangerous mosquito-borne disease have been confirmed by British health officials

Zika is a mosquito-borne infection which is mostly asymptomatic or has mild, short-lived symptoms. However, according to the World Health Organization, it could increase the risk of neurological disorders and deformities in unborn babies. Although it doesn’t occur naturally here, Public Health England has advised that seven cases have been confirmed in the U.K. in the past three years, with four of those having been identified in the last six weeks.

The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito. Once bitten it can take between three to 12 days for symptoms to develop. Unborn babies can be exposed to the virus by the mother via the placenta. It has also been sexually transmitted in a small number of cases.

More: The Zika virus may spread through sex as well as mosquitoes

There is currently no vaccine against the infection and Public Health England recommends those travelling to high risk regions avoid being bitten by a mosquito or avoid those regions altogether if pregnant.

According to the WHO, after large outbreaks of Zika in French Polynesia in 2013 and in Brazil last year, national authorities observed a severe increase in infant disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and very serious condition where the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system; and microcephaly, a disorder where the size of the head is significantly smaller than average which may cause significant neurological impairment.

While this is scary news indeed the causal links between Zika and foetal disorders are not yet clear. The WHO states that “more investigation is needed to better understand the relationship between microcephaly in babies and the Zika virus. Other potential causes are also being investigated.”

More: Microcephaly: What mums need to know about the condition caused by Zika

Four cases of Zika have been confirmed in the U.K. this year and Public Health England says that more are likely to follow. But, while the sudden spike is off-putting, it isn’t all bad news. Dr. Dilys Morgan, head of the department of gastrointestinal, emerging and zoonotic infections at Public Health England, told a parliamentary select committee that none of the cases were contracted in the U.K. and that it is likely that the rise in reports was influenced by the increased media attention Zika has gained in the wake of Brazil’s outbreak.

“We have raised awareness so people are more aware of the infection and we are likely to see more cases,” she said.

Morgan emphasised that people in Britain are not at risk of developing Zika; it is merely something to be aware of when making travel plans, particularly for pregnant women. “Your risk of acquiring Zika depends on where you are travelling — you are likely to get a very mild illness if you notice anything at all but if you are pregnant then you may be at risk of an abnormal foetus which is obviously devastating.”

As usual when it comes to major public health concerns it pays to be aware but remain calm.

More: Everything we now know about the Zika virus and preventing it

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