Preventing the Spread of Infectious

Decrease your risk of infecting yourself or others:

  • Wash your hands often. This is especially important before and after preparing food, before eating and after using the toilet.
  • Get vaccinated. Immunization can drastically reduce your chances of contracting many diseases. Keep your recommended vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Use antibiotics sensibly. Take antibiotics only when prescribed. Unless otherwise directed, or unless you are allergic to them, take all prescribed doses of your antibiotic, even if you begin to feel better before you have completed the medication.
  • Stay at home if you have signs and symptoms of an infection. Don’t go to work or class if you’re vomiting, have diarrhea or are running a fever.
  • Be smart about food preparation. Keep counters and other kitchen surfaces clean when preparing meals. In addition, promptly refrigerate leftovers. Don’t let cooked foods remain at room temperature for an extended period of time.
  • Disinfect the ‘hot zones’ in your residence. These include the kitchen and bathroom — two rooms that can have a high concentration of bacteria and other infectious agents.
  • Practice safer sex. Use condoms. Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and have your partner get tested— or, abstain altogether.
  • Don’t share personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb or razor blade. Avoid sharing drinking glasses or dining utensils.
  • Travel wisely. Don’t fly when you’re ill. With so many people confined to such a small area, you may infect other passengers in the plane. And your trip won’t be comfortable, either. Depending on where your travels take you, talk to your doctor about any special immunizations you may need.

With a little common sense and the proper precautions, you can avoid infectious diseases and avoid spreading them.

DEFINING INFERTILITY

DEFINING INFERTILITY

Are you and your partner are saddled with the challenge of infertility? You are not alone. In fact, infertility is more common than a lot of people think; it can occur in people of both sexes and is caused by a myriad of reasons. The good news is that there have been a lot of advances in medicine to help people achieve conception if they want. We will continue our series on infertility and In vitro Fertilization with this post.

WHAT IS INFERTILITY?

Infertility is the inability to conceive after months of unprotected Intercourse. This means that a couple is not able to become pregnant after a year of trying. However, for women aged 35 years and older, the inability to conceive after six months is considered infertility.

HOW COMMON IS IT?

Infertility affects about 10-15% of couples – that is 1 in 7 couples. This makes it one of the most common diseases for people between the ages of 20 and 45. Most couples without the challenge of infertility will conceive within a year of trying.

WHAT CAUSES INFERTILITY?

Infertility can be caused by different factors, it could be an issue with either you or your partner or a combination of other factors such as:

  1. Age: A woman’s age can have a big effect on her ability to have a baby, especially as she grows into her 30s and 40s. For a healthy woman in her 20s or early 30s, the chances of conceiving each month is about 25-30% but by the age of 40 and above, the chances are slimmer – about 10% or less.
  2. Ovulation problems: If a woman does not ovulate (release eggs) about once a month, she may have a difficult time getting pregnant. Problems like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disease and other hormonal disorders can affect ovulation and lead to infertility. Women who do not have a regular menstrual cycle often do not ovulate, same with overweight and underweight women – they are more likely to have problems with ovulation than women who are not.
  3. Damaged or blocked fallopian tube: The fallopian tubes are the tubes attached to the uterus where the sperm and egg meet. When they are blocked, it results in infertility or an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus). The chances of ending up with blocked tubes are higher in women who have had endometriosis, surgery in the pelvis or sexually transmitted infections.
  4. Cervical/Uterine Abnormalities: Abnormalities within the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus, may impair fertility. They are however rarely the sole cause of infertility. It is important for the physician to know the detailed medical history of the patient. Problems within the uterus may interfere with the implantation of the embryo or may increase the incidence of miscarriage. Possible uterine abnormalities that may be identified include scar tissue, polyps, fibroids or an abnormally shaped uterine cavity.
  5. Peritoneal Abnormalities: These refer to abnormalities involving the peritoneum (lining of the surfaces of the internal organs) such as scar tissue (adhesions) or endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where a tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow outside the uterus. This tissue may grow on any structure within the pelvis including the ovaries, and is found in about 35% of women dealing with infertility with no other diagnosable infertility problem.
  6. Male Factor: A third of all cases of infertility are because of problems in the male partner. In another third of these cases, infertility is due to a combination of male and female problems. In men, infertility can be caused by the inability to ejaculate sperm. The quality of sperm released is also important and is measured by the amount, movement and the shape of sperm. Sometimes, other medical problems can affect a man’s inability to produce normal amount and quality of sperm. Men with diabetes for instance may have trouble ejaculating; those with cystic fibrosis may have a blockage that prevents the sperm from being ejaculated.
  7. Unexplained Infertility: In some -10% or more cases – there may not be an obvious reason why a couple cannot conceive, this is referred to as unexplained infertility.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A SPECIALIST?

Generally, a couple should see a specialist if they have not been able to conceive within 12 months of trying. If a woman is 35 or older, she should see a fertility specialist if she hasn’t gotten pregnant after 6months of trying. If a woman is younger than 35 but has a family history of early menopause, other health problems that can cause early menopause or has had certain cancer treatment, then she should consider seeking help sooner.

A couple might also seek fertility consultation soon if there are risks of infertility such as an irregular menstrual cycle or potential Fallopian tube damage. Men who have had any prior health problems that can increase the risks of infertility, such as childhood problems with the testicles or even prior cancer treatments should consider fertility consultations sooner than later.

INVITRO FERTILIZATION (IVF)

40 years ago, Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF baby was born; with her birth came a revolution – one that has helped couples and individuals all around the world since then overcome infertility challenges and achieve their dreams of parenthood.

In this post, we will shed light on IVF and some of the lingering questions you might have.

Let us start with how conception takes place naturally.

For a woman to get pregnant, a man’s sperm, must travel from the vagina through the cervix (narrow, lower part of the womb), into the uterus (womb) and up into one of the fallopian tubes. If the sperm arrives in the tubes soon after the release of the egg from the ovary (ovulation), the sperm and egg can meet in the tube, most commonly, on the side that ovulation took place, and then fertilization may occur.

WHAT THEN IS IVF?

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a method of assisted reproduction that involves combining an egg with sperm in a laboratory dish. If the egg is fertilized and begins cell division, the resulting embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant in the uterine lining and further develop. Today, IVF is used to treat many causes of infertility, such as endometriosis and male factor, or when a couple’s infertility is unexplained.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The basic steps in an IVF treatment cycle are ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilization, embryo culture, and embryo transfer. These are discussed in the following sections.

 

 

  • OVARIAN STIMULATION

During ovarian stimulation, also known as ovulation induction, medications or ‘fertility drugs’, are used to stimulate multiple eggs to grow in the ovaries rather than the single egg that normally develops each month. Multiple eggs are stimulated because some eggs will not fertilize or develop normally after fertilization. Generally, 8 to 14 years of stimulation are required.

  • EGG RETRIEVAL

Egg retrieval is a minor surgical procedure that can be performed in the physician’s office or an outpatient centre. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina to identify the follicles, and a needle is guided through the vagina and into the follicles. The eggs are removed from the follicles through the needle connected to a suction device. Removal of multiple eggs can usually be completed in less than 30minutes.

  • FERTILIZATION AND EMBRYO CULTURE

After the eggs are retrieved, they are examined in the laboratory for maturity and quality. Mature eggs are placed in an IVF culture medium and transferred to an incubator to await fertilization by the sperm.

Fertilization may be accomplished by insemination, where motile sperm is placed together with the oocytes and incubated overnight or by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) where a single sperm is directly injected into each mature egg.

  • EMBRYO TRANSFER

The next step in the IVF process is the embryo transfer. The physician identifies the cervix using a vaginal speculum. One or more embryos suspended in a drop of culture medium are drawn into a transfer medium (a long, thin sterile tube) with a syringe on one end. The physician gently guides the tip of the transfer catheter through the cervix and places the fluid containing the embryos into the uterine cavity. The procedure is usually painless, although some women experience pain and mild cramping.

 

WHEN SHOULD YOU END TREATMENT?

Many factors should be considered when determining the appropriate endpoint in therapy. Members of the IVF team can help couples decide when to stop treatment and discuss other options if appropriate.

Text partly culled from 360 fertility

DOES MY AGE AFFECT MY FERTILITY?

We have defined infertility, its causes and male contribution to it (insert link). However, there are various other factors that contribute to infertility, age is one of them.

HOW DOES AGE AFFECT A WOMAN’S ABILITY TO BECOME PREGNANT AND SUSTAIN A PREGNANCY?

A woman’s age is one of the most important factors affecting her ability to conceive and give birth to a healthy child. This is due to several changes that are a natural part of ageing.

  • The number and quality of eggs (ovarian reserve) for example naturally decreases from the time a woman is born until the time she attains menopause. This decline is gradual until her early thirties but accelerates quickly after her mid-30s.
  • It is not only more difficult to get pregnant, but miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities in the child e.g. Downs syndrome are more common in older mothers.
  • Fibroids, endometriosis, and tubal diseases are more common and can affect fertility.
  • Women who become pregnant at an older age have a higher risk of complications during the pregnancy such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF REPRODUCTION?

The Reproductive years

The first menstrual period usually occurs around the age of 12. Periods may be irregular at first but should become regular over the next couple of years. Fertility peaks from the late teens through the late 20s and then begin to decline by the age of 30.

The chances of miscarriage increases while that of conception decreases.

Menopausal Transition

Usually, when a woman is in her 40s, she will begin to transition from the reproductive years to the menopausal state. The length of the menstrual cycle will start to vary and she may begin to skip periods.

A woman may experience hot flashes due to a decreased estrogen production by the ovaries and may have difficulty sleeping. Pregnancy is rare but not impossible. The average age of the final menstrual period (menopause) is age 51.

Post Menopause

After menopause, pregnancy is no longer possible. Ovaries produce very little estrogen, which results in vaginal dryness and bone loss. Hot flashes intensify and then begin to subside. Hormone therapy or other treatments may be appropriate for short-term use.

HOW DOES REPRODUCTIVE AGEING AFFECT FERTILITY?

By age 40, many women will not be able to have a successful pregnancy. By age 45, very few women will be able to have a successful pregnancy. This happens because both the quality and quantity of eggs remaining in the ovaries gradually declines throughout life, and this decline accelerates beginning around age 35.

Age is the best indicator of egg quality. The decreasing quantity of eggs in the ovaries is called ‘’’loss of ovarian reserve’’. Women begin to lose ovarian reserve before they become infertile and before they stop having regular periods.

Women with poor ovarian reserve have a lower chance of becoming pregnant than women with normal ovarian reserve in their same age group.

HOW DOES AGE AFFECT A MAN’S ABILITY TO IMPREGNATE A WOMAN?

A decrease in a man’s fertility appears to occur later in life than that of a woman. By their mid to late 40s, men experience changes in their sperm that can cause issues with fertility and chromosomal/developmental problems.

WHEN SHOULD WE START ASKING QUESTIONS?

If the woman is younger than the age of 35, the couple should ask for a fertility evaluation if they have not been able to conceive after one year of trying (unprotected intercourse). Couples where the woman is older than 35 should seek evaluation if they have not been able to conceive after six months.

IS THERE A MEDICAL APPROACH TO IMPROVE MY FERTILITY?

Yes, there are medical strategies that can increase the chances of conception. They are focused upon getting the egg and sperm together at the best time for conception to occur. These strategies can include intrauterine insemination (IUI), In vitro Fertilization (IVF), or taking fertility medications. These approaches may be helpful, but they cannot reverse the natural ageing process of the egg or sperm.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO SLOW DOWN OR REVERSE REPRODUCTIVE AGEING?

No. However, eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, avoiding smoking and adopting a lifestyle that reduces stress can improve your overall health.

Studies suggest that smoking, diet and stress may have an impact on the quality of eggs/sperm and may accelerate menopause. However, despite our best efforts to slow down or reverse the process, improved health does not offset the natural age-related decline in female fertility, which can take place much sooner than most women expect.

MALE INFERTILITY

Let’s continue from our last post, we successfully defined infertility and its causes. In this post, however, we will address male infertility.

Oftentimes, women are blamed for infertility issues especially in Africa, God forbid you insinuate that the ‘‘head of the house’’ is infertile but men can be too… We have clarified that infertility is the ability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse; let’s now see how the male factor plays its part.

HOW OFTEN ARE MALE FACTORS INVOLVED?

Infertility is equally likely to be caused by male and female factors. The remaining one third of cases are caused by a mixture of male and female issues or by unknown reasons.

HOW IS MALE INFERTILTY EVALUATED?

The initial male infertility evaluation starts with a medical and reproductive history and semen analysis (sperm count). If any abnormalities are found in the initial evaluation, then the man should see a male reproductive specialist. The specialist will take a complete history and perform a physical examination and, based on those results may recommend further testing.

WHAT MALE FACTORS CAN CAUSE INFERTILITY?

Some of the common problems that cause infertility include a varicocele, obstruction and medications.

Varicocele

Varicocele is an abnormal dilation of veins within the scrotum and is detected on physical examination. It is more common on the left but it can occur on both sides. In addition to infertility, a varicocele can cause discomfort.

Generally, it is recommended that a varicocele be corrected if a man is infertile, has an abnormal semen analysis and there is little or no infertility issue in the female partner. Most men with a varicocele, however, are not infertile and have no problems related to the varicocele.

Obstruction

Another common cause of male infertility is obstruction, or a blockage in the reproductive tract. The most common reason is vasectomy, but other conditions such as trauma or infection can also lead to blockage.

Medications

Medications can also cause infertility. In some cases, simply stopping the medication can allow a man and his partner to have a pregnancy. Common medications that cause infertility include testosterone and chemotherapy (for cancer). Both types of medications cause infertility by suppressing sperm production. In most men, stopping testosterone will allow sperm production to return to the same level as before starting the medicine. Depending on the amount and type of chemotherapy, some men will recover sperm production over time.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A CHILD IF THE MALE PARTNER HAS ONE OF THESE OTHER PROBLEMS THAT CANNOT BE CORRECTED?

Yes.

As long as sperm can be obtained, then pregnancy is possible with specialized – fertility treatments. Some men can have sperm retrieved from the reproductive tract for use with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

HOW OFTEN SHOULD A COUPLE HAVE INTERCOURSE?

Surprisingly, long periods of abstinence can decrease the quality of sperm. Couples should have intercourse at least two to three times a week during the fertile period. A couple has more chances of pregnancy if they have intercourse every one or two days during the fertile window, and a pregnancy is most likely if a couple has intercourse within the six-day time frame that ends on the day than an egg is released.

DOES DIET AFFECT FERTILITY?

Obesity has been clearly linked to an impaired sperm production. Overweight men interested in optimizing fertility should attempt to attain an ideal body weight. Antioxidants such as vitamins E and C are found in most multi-vitamins, have been found to result in a slight increase in both sperm count and movement. Fruits and vegetables also provide a natural source of antioxidants and should be part of a balanced and healthy diet.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF SMOKING AND RECREATIONAL DRUG USE?

Smoking is associated with reduced sperm quality. Men who are trying to conceive should consider quitting smoking immediately. Also, recreational drugs, including anabolic steroids and marijuana, are associated with impaired sperm function; they should not be used.

WEIGHT AND FRTILITY

Welcome back, by now you should have read all we have previously discussed on fertility (insert links). You are also probably wondering what the correlation between weight and fertility is. Hang on, we will delve in to it just about now.

HOW DOES WEIGHT AFFECT FERTILITY IN WOMEN?

Many underweight, overweight and obese women have no problem getting pregnant but some might have problems conceiving, most often due to ovulation problems (failure to release eggs from the ovaries).

Body mass index for women

Being underweight often causes irregular menstrual cycles and may cause ovulation to stop altogether. Underweight women should work with their doctor to understand the cause of this situation, and develop strategies to correct it. Obesity may lead to irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation. However, obese women with normal cycles have a lower pregnancy rate than women with a normal weight, so ovulation is not the only issue. A visit to a health care professional before getting pregnant can help identify other disorders related to obesity that can impact pregnancy such as thyroid disease, insulin resistance and diabetes.

 

DOES OBESITY AFFECT THE CHANCE OF GETTING PREGNANT WITH TREATMENT AND HAVING A HEALTHY BABY?

There is good evidence that obesity lowers the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Studies have shown lower pregnancy rates in obese women; they are also at an increased risk for developing pregnancy induced (gestational) diabetes and high blood pressure (preeclampsia). Obese women have a higher chance of delivering their baby via Caesarean section. Children of obese mothers are at an increased risk of some birth defects and having a high birth weight.

IS OBESITY A FACTOR FOR MEN TOO?

Obesity in men may be associated with changes in testosterone levels and other hormones important for reproduction. Low sperm counts and low sperm motility (movement) have been found more often in overweight and obese men than in normal-weight men.

SHOULD I TRY TO LOSE WEIGHT IF I AM OBESE BEFORE TRYING TO GET PREGNANT?

You should first consult with a healthcare provider. He or she will consider all factors, including your age and any other infertility factors before making a recommendation about whether you should try to lose weight or not.

 

I HAVE POLYCYCSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS) AND I AM OVERWEIGHT, WILL I NEED TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT?

PCOS is a very common condition in young women. Not all women with PCOS are overweight or obese, but many women with PCOS have signs of insulin resistance and/or obesity. A low-calorie diet and exercise may lead to weight loss, regular menstrual cycles, and ovulation. However, women with PCOS may require additional treatment to get pregnant, including medications to decrease insulin resistance. These women should seek the assistance of an infertility specialist.

Exercise during Pregnancy Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

We talked a little about exercise in pregnancy in the previous post, you can check it out before getting into this. This post continues to answer the other questions you might have.

WHAT CHANGES OCCUR IN THE BODY DURING PREGNANCY THAT CAN AFFECT MY EXERCISE ROUTINE?

Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. It is important to choose exercises that take these changes into account:

  • Joints— the hormones made during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your joints to become relaxed. This makes the joints more mobile and at risk of injury. Avoid jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions that can increase your risk of being hurt.
  • Balance— during pregnancy, the extra weight in the front of your body shifts your centre of gravity. This places stress on joints and muscles, especially those in your pelvis and low back. Because you are less stable and more likely to lose your balance, you are at greater risk of falling.
  • Breathing—when you exercise, oxygen and blood flow are directed to your muscles and away from other areas of your body. While you are pregnant, your need for oxygen increases. As your belly grows, you may become short of breath more easily because of increased pressure of the uterus on the diaphragm (a muscle that aids in breathing). These changes may affect your ability to do strenuous exercise, especially if you are overweight or obese.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE WHEN EXERCISING DURING PREGNANCY?

There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, a racing or pounding heart, and urinating only small amounts or having urine that is dark yellow.
  • Wear a sports bra that gives lots of support to help protect your breasts. Later in pregnancy, a belly support belt may reduce discomfort while walking or running.
  • Avoid becoming overheated, especially in the first trimester. Drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting clothing, and exercise in a temperature-controlled room. Do not exercise outside when it is very hot or humid.
  • Avoid standing still or lying flat on your back as much as possible. When you lie on your back, your uterus presses on a large vein that returns blood to the heart. Standing motionless can cause blood to pool in your legs and feet. Both of these positions can decrease the amount of blood returning to your heart and may cause your blood pressure to decrease for a short time.

WHAT ARE SOME SAFE EXERCISES I CAN DO DURING PREGNANCY?

Whether you are new to exercise or it already is part of your weekly routine, choose activities that experts agree are safest for pregnant women:

  • Walking—brisk walking gives a total body workout and is easy on the joints and muscles.
  • Swimming and water workouts— Water workouts use many of the body’s muscles. The water supports your weight so you avoid injury and muscle strain. If you find brisk walking difficult because of low back pain, water exercise is a good way to stay active.
  • Stationary bicycling—because your growing belly can affect your balance and make you more prone to falls, riding a standard bicycle during pregnancy can be risky. Cycling on a stationary bike is a better choice.
  • Modified yoga and modified Pilates—Yoga reduces stress, improves flexibility, and encourages stretching and focused breathing. There are even prenatal yoga and Pilates classes designed for pregnant women. These classes often teach modified poses that accommodate a pregnant woman’s shifting balance. You also should avoid poses that require you to be still or lie on your back for long periods.

If you are an experienced runner, jogger, or racquet-sports player, you may be able to keep doing these activities during pregnancy. Discuss these activities with your health care professional before getting into them.

Glossary

Anaemia: Abnormally low levels of blood or red blood cells in the bloodstream. Most cases are caused by iron deficiency or lack of iron.

Cerclage: A procedure in which the cervical opening is closed with stitches in order to prevent or delay preterm birth.

Cervical Insufficiency: Inability of the cervix to retain a pregnancy in the second trimester.

Caesarean Delivery: Delivery of a baby through surgical incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.

Complications: Diseases or conditions that occur as a result of another disease or condition. An example is pneumonia that occurs as a result of the flu. A complication also can occur as a result of a condition, such as pregnancy. An example of a pregnancy complication is preterm labour.

Deep Vein Thrombosis: A condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein in the leg or other areas of the body.

Dehydration: A condition that results from loss of water from the body.

Gestational Diabetes: Diabetes that arises during pregnancy.

Hormones: Substances made in the body by cells or organs that control the function of other cells or organs. An example is an oestrogen, which controls the function of female reproductive organs.

Oxygen: A gas that is necessary to sustain life.

Placenta Previa: A condition in which the placenta lies very low in the uterus so that the opening of the uterus is partially or completely covered.

Preeclampsia: A disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after childbirth in which there are high blood pressure and other signs of organ injury, such as an abnormal amount of protein in the urine, a low number of platelets, abnormal kidney or liver function, pain over the upper abdomen, fluid in the lungs, or a severe headache or changes in vision.

Preterm: Born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.

Uterus: A muscular organ located in the female pelvis that contains and nourishes the developing foetus during pregnancy.

 

Culled from the ACOG website

Maternity

October is breast cancer awareness month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organisations, to highlight the burden of breast cancer. In honour of the breast cancer awareness month, we are giving this helpful guide about breast cancer.

KEY MESSAGES

Breast cancer is the top cancer in women worldwide and is increasing particularly in developing countries where majority of cases are diagnosed in late stages.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed of breast cancer in their lifetime.

Early detection in order to improve breast cancer outcome and survival remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control.

Risk Factors:

  • Has abnormal genes, such as mutated BRCA-1, BRCA-2, or PALB-2 genes
  • Began her menstrual period before age 12 or began menopause after age 55
  • Used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen and progesterone over a long period of time.
  • Has a family history of breast cancer, colorectal cancer or ovarian cancer
  • Has a personal history of ovarian cancer
  • Is currently using or has recently used birth control pills
  • Has never had children, or had her first child after age 30
  • Smokes or uses tobacco

You might be at an increased risk of breast cancer if you are a woman or man who:

  • Is overweight or obese
  • Is not physically active
  • Is over age 40
  • Has already had cancer in one breast
  • Has a family history of ovarian cancer
  • Has had radiation therapy close to his or her chest

SYMPTOMS

Don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Get screened according to guidelines. If you do notice any of the following symptoms, talk with your healthcare professional:

  • A lump, hard knot or thickening in the breast
  • A lump under your arm
  • A change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Nipple pain, tenderness or discharge, including bleeding
  • Itchiness, scales, soreness or rash on nipple
  • A nipple turning inward or inverted
  • A change in skin colour and texture (dimpling, puckering, or redness)
  • A breast that feels warm or swollen

PREVENTION

  • If you have babies, breastfeed them
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Exercise daily for 30 – 60 minutes
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Do not smoke, if you do quit.

EARLY DETECTION

  • In your 20s and 30s, have a clinical breast exam (CBE) by a healthcare professional at least every three years
  • Beginning at age 40, have an annual CBE and mammogram
  • If you are at high risk, talk with your healthcare professional about beginning annual mammograms at a younger age and/or having a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your health care professional about genetic testing
  • When you reach menopause, talk with your healthcare professional about whether you should have hormone replacement therapy
  • Know what is normal for your breasts. (Breast self-exam is one way you can do this). If you notice changes, see your healthcare professional right away.

5 Steps to Become Healthy & Vibrant

Looking to take your health to the next level? Here are my suggestions to help you optimize your vitality and look and feel your absolute best.

1) Remove processed foods from your diet

This is going to take a little self-discipline, but it will all be worth it, I promise. Filling up on fresh, organic, un-processed foods that are packed with live enzymes will give you a new lease on life. If you maintain this lifestyle free of processed foods, your energy level will skyrocket and stay consistent throughout the day without any help from coffee or energy drinks.

2) Eat at least one raw meal a day

The process of cooking foods removes somewhere between 50-80% of the available vitamins, minerals and live enzymes, which is problematic because the conventional foods we eat have very little nutritional value to begin with. I suggest having one meal a day that is uncooked in order to make the most of what you’re eating. This can be a big colorful salad or you can get creative and try some of the many raw food recipes online. The preparation of raw food may seem daunting at first but it is really very simple. No need for ovens or microwaves, it’s time to teach yourself how to un-cook! There are plenty of recipes out there that you can find that do not require tools like a dehydrator, Vitamix or spiralizer (but those are fun too!). Give it shot!

3) Try green juice

Get as much goodness as possible in your cup. Next time you stop at Booster Juice or Jamba Juice, choose one of the freshly squeezed juices instead of the sugary blends they so commonly whip up. They say the juices are ‘all natural’ but really they have been heavily processed and made into sugary sorbets and fruit ‘cocktails’. Don’t be fooled by this deceptive marketing, go with the simpler choice. Look for a juice blend with kale, spinach, beet, cucumber, celery, carrot, apple, ginger or lemon! If you really want to optimize your health you can invest in your own juicer and get busy in the kitchen and come up with your own marvelous creations.

Wheatgrass and E3 Live (blue-green algae) shots are also packed full of nutrition and are a much better choice than some of the other menu options. Can’t handle the taste? Chase it with a little bit of freshly squeezed orange juice.

4) Find a form of fitness that you really enjoy and do a little each day

By now, we are all aware of the importance of exercising and living a healthy active lifestyle. But what benefit of all this information about health and wellness if we don’t truly enjoy our lives? If you find yourself straining and pushing yourself in your workouts to the point where you hate it and want it to be over, then you may want to reconsider your workout. Having negative thoughts during your intense workout will just not yield the same results as if you have fun in the process. Negative, angry thoughts bring about stress and a hyper vigilant state, which in turn makes the body more acidic. Happy, playful thoughts do just the opposite; they relax you and reduce the risk of disease.

If you haven’t found your place in the world of fitness, don’t fret. There is something out there for everyone. Try a new activity each week until you find something that really clicks for you. I find it really helps if you bond with others in the class or try new activities with a friend. Camaraderie makes the workout process more fun and the benefits on the body more profound.

5) Take time to learn what foods are the best for your body

Knowledge is power! The more that you know food the better choices you can make on the fly without relying on a meal plan. The internet is the greatest tool when it comes to researching how to eat a well balanced diet. Keep a list of healthy recipes that you would like to make in the future and try to get in the habit of cooking a new one each week. This will help to broaden your healthy meal repertoire, which is beneficial for you and your loved ones.

Preventing the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Decrease your risk of infecting yourself or others:

  • Wash your hands often. This is especially important before and after preparing food, before eating and after using the toilet.
  • Get vaccinated. Immunization can drastically reduce your chances of contracting many diseases. Keep your recommended vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Use antibiotics sensibly. Take antibiotics only when prescribed. Unless otherwise directed, or unless you are allergic to them, take all prescribed doses of your antibiotic, even if you begin to feel better before you have completed the medication.
  • Stay at home if you have signs and symptoms of an infection. Don’t go to work or class if you’re vomiting, have diarrhea or are running a fever.
  • Be smart about food preparation. Keep counters and other kitchen surfaces clean when preparing meals. In addition, promptly refrigerate leftovers. Don’t let cooked foods remain at room temperature for an extended period of time.
  • Disinfect the ‘hot zones’ in your residence. These include the kitchen and bathroom — two rooms that can have a high concentration of bacteria and other infectious agents.
  • Practice safer sex. Use condoms. Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and have your partner get tested— or, abstain altogether.
  • Don’t share personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb or razor blade. Avoid sharing drinking glasses or dining utensils.
  • Travel wisely. Don’t fly when you’re ill. With so many people confined to such a small area, you may infect other passengers in the plane. And your trip won’t be comfortable, either. Depending on where your travels take you, talk to your doctor about any special immunizations you may need.

With a little common sense and the proper precautions, you can avoid infectious diseases and avoid spreading them.

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