5 Reasons a Mammogram is Important for Women’s Health

Doctor reviewing mammogram on x-ray.

Written by McKenzie Jones 

What are Mammograms?

During your annual physical with the doctor, you may learn that it could be advantageous to have a mammogram. A mammogram is a simple medical procedure that uses low-energy x-rays to screen a human breast to detect potentially cancerous masses. In the US, an annual mammogram is the gold star procedure for early detection and is recommended as an annual procedure to anyone past the age of 40. Why is having a regular mammogram essential to women’s health? Read on to learn 5 reasons you should quit waiting around and schedule your annual exam today.

1. Early Detection Is Key

Cancer is a scary subject. However, if you are armed with facts and your own medical and testing data, you will be better prepared to face the road ahead. When you find cancer in its earlier stages, you have more treatment options available to you and a higher rate of long-term survival. Mammograms can “find” breast cancer roughly 5 years before you can feel it, which gives you more time to figure out your plan. The introduction of 3D mammography has also broadened the scope and abilities of cancer detection. Not only do 3D scans produce fewer false positives, but they have also improved detection rates by roughly 50%.

2. Mammograms are Smarter Than Fingertips

Women are encouraged to perform self-breast exams (SBEs) monthly for several reasons. Breasts are made up of uniquely irregular tissues and fats, and it’s good to get familiar with your breasts, chest, and armpit areas. This way, with time, you will be better equipped to feel if something is “off” or changing within your own body. Consider adding an SBE during your monthly menstruation to keep it recurring and regular. That being said, self-detection results in roughly 18-25% of breast cancer diagnoses, while mammograms can detect breast cancer in 87% of their screenees. Using multiple early-detection methods is a smart way to stay informed about your health.

3. Mammograms Have a Proven Track Record

Since 1990, an overall increase in regular mammograms in the US has helped reduce women’s breast cancer deaths by 30%. What a statistic! There is a direct connection between higher mammogram numbers and lower breast cancer-related fatalities. The process has also been streamlined due to successful detection rates. It is quite straightforward to get a mammogram referral from your primary care physician or an obgyn near me. The sooner you schedule and complete your mammogram, the better you’ll feel.

4. It’s Not Always Genetic

Yes, it is a fact that if you gave a genetic link to breast cancer, you have a higher likelihood of breast cancer. It’s super important that mammograms are a regular part of your life if you have a direct family member that developed breast cancer, so don’t play around or delay. However, it is also true that 75-85% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history or known risk factors. Therefore, everyone must get regularly screened. Simply add it to the list of questions you have for your doctor during your annual physical, and they will be able to guide you in the right direction.

5. Time is of the Essence

Unfortunately, your risk factors increase and your long-term survival rates tend to decrease as you age. This is particularly noticeable after age 40 and continues as you get older. The age for an annual mammogram used to be set at 50, but studies have shown time and time again that finding out earlier than 50 affects your survival rates and complication risks. Since the recommendation has been lowered to 40 years, the number of breast cancer-related deaths has decreased.

Final Considerations…

One last thing to note: If you’re scared about scheduling a mammogram for any reason, consider an honest approach with your primary care physician. Explain your feelings, and allow them to reassure you. That is a completely normal reaction to have for something as daunting as cancer. Know that getting the facts will be better for your overall peace of mind. Schedule an OB appointment at your earliest convenience, and just check it off your list once and for all.

 

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a full continuing education program leading to Certification as a Health Care Life Coach, you may preview our program by accessing this link.

 

What is a Rhizotomy?

Nervous System

Written by McKenzie Jones 

Rhizotomy is a slightly obstructive surgical procedure to eliminate agitation from a painful nerve. It destroys the various nerve fibers that convey pain waves to the brain. The nerve fibers can be killed by burning them with an electrical current or destroying them with a surgical device. Rhizotomy immediately alleviates pain and can last for many years until the nerve heals and resumes normal functioning. Rhizotomy is also known as neurotomy or ablation, killing or eliminating cells.

Illnesses Managed by a Rhizotomy

Rhizotomy is utilized in treating various forms of pain and unusual nerve activities like:

Spasticity- the unusual tightening of your muscles, is managed by rhizotomy. A selective dorsal rhizotomy is suitable for spasticity resulting from cerebral palsy. It leads to the enhancement of communication between the muscles and the spine.

  • Joint pains such as the knee and the hip resulting from arthritis
  • Neck and back pain caused by herniated discs, arthritis, spinal stenosis, and various degenerative spine illnesses. The procedure performed in such conditions is termed facet rhizotomy since it invades the spine’s facet joints.
  • Various diseases attacking the peripheral nerves
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, which is facial pain caused by trigeminal nerve irritability, is also managed by rhizotomy.

Recovery After Rhizotomy

Rhizotomy is a fast procedure that only takes a short period- however, you will take some time in the recovery room at the surgical center due to the anesthesia used. You will start functioning normally after this based on your response to anesthesia, such as going to work or driving only after two days. You may also experience swelling, pain, or bruising in the area of surgery.

Forms of Rhizotomy

Various forms of rhizotomy comprise killing the fibers in a nerve that convey pain signals. Based on where the nerve is situated, rhizomes can be carried out using local or general anesthesia and typically utilize fluoroscopy, x-ray, or image-controlled technique to ascertain precision.

Radiofrequency Rhizotomy

Radiofrequency rhizotomy is also referred to as ablation, which utilizes a radiofrequency current to destroy the fibers. It is usually applied in patients who experience recurrent pain and require help dealing with scar tissue.

Glycerol/glycerine Rhizotomy

Here, the surgeon utilizes a needle to put a small number of chemicals to the base of the impacted nerve. The chemical eliminates the nerve fibers within the nerve between 45 to 60 minutes.

Endoscopic Rhizotomy

In this type of rhizotomy, the surgeon utilizes a camera gadget known as an endoscope to determine the impacted nerves and destroy their fibers. The endoscope is positioned through a tiny opening through various tubes known as tubular retractor structures. It enables the surgeon to reach the nerve without interfering with the healthy tissues and organs. This process is also termed a directly visualized rhizotomy.

The Effectiveness of Rhizotomy

The success rate of rhizotomy is not 100%, just like the various procedures. A certain number of patients may slightly or not benefit from rhizotomy ultimately. Other individuals who experience pain alleviation from the process may come back after the regrowth of the nerve. However, such cases only affect a small number of patients. During your consultation with a rhizotomy specialist, it is significant to request all the details to decide your procedure. The majority of patients that experience rhizotomy get long-lasting pain alleviation.

Risks Associated With Rhizotomy

The side effects of rhizotomy are based on the type of nerve being worked on or the procedure being performed.

  • Radiofrequency rhizotomy contains higher chances of causing numbness than the chemical procedure.
  • The side effects of glycerol rhizotomy include: vomiting, infection, bleeding, nausea and a slight possibility of experiencing numbness and other anesthesia-related issues.

If you are experiencing back pain, you need to understand facet joints, which are underdiagnosed sources of pain. Most patients usually spend a lot of time managing the pain without success. It is due to the misdiagnosis of the leading cause of such pain. Rhizotomy, therefore, addresses topics such as controlling the pain resulting from such facet joint pain, which is effective. The first step in determining whether rhizotomy is suitable for you is steroid pain injections. If they succeed in minimizing the pain by at least 80% or higher, then rhizotomy is ideal for you. It relieves your pain, enabling you to finally feel better.

 

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a full continuing education program leading to Certification as a Health Care Life Coach, you may preview our program by accessing this link.

Tips for Healthcare Workers Wishing to Hone their Fitness

woman exercising By Lucy Peters

Compared to other professions, staff in some healthcare professions (for instance, nurses) have a six times higher prevalence of back pain. Tasks such as transferring patients and operating in awkward postures can cause lumbar tissue damage and back pain, but this is only one of many health risks associated with the health profession. Employees working in healthcare can also face high rates of stress and tiredness owing to factors such as long working hours, shift work, and working in times of risk (as is the case during the global health crisis). How can physical activity help quell stress and pain and reduce injury and how can healthcare workers ensure they get the recommended number of minutes of exercise per week?

Exercise Reduces Pain and Stress

As stated in a study by Ann-Kathrin Otto and colleagues, published in the journal BMJ, the efficiency of ergonomic training and exercise when it comes to reducing pain, is well-documented. Previous studies have shown that moderate exercises (including cardiovascular and stretching exercises) reduce musculoskeletal problems, boost muscular strength, and enhance cardiovascular fitness among nursing staff. Research published by the Mayo Clinic shows that employees in medical centers report high levels of stress. Of the many natural modes of quelling this stress, just a few found to be particularly effective include general physical activity, mindfulness-based activities such as yoga, and time spent in nature.

Exercise and the Immunity

A 2020 study by researchers at the University of Bath found that regular, daily exercise benefits one’s immunity, even during tough times. It helps the immune system “find and deal with pathogens, slowing down changes that happen to the immune system with aging.” Equally important is diet. Certain foods strengthen the immune system. These include healthy Omega-3 fats, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and probiotic and fermented foods. When you eat is equally important; the gut has a memory and when it is expecting food, it ramps up the activity of immune cells to attack incoming ‘bad bacteria’. Sticking to regular meal times ensures these cells are able to exercise their function.

Exercise at Work

Over 50% of employees report that they have little time to exercise because of their busy work and home lives. As stated in a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, one solution is to include more activity at work. In one study, ‘treadmill workstations’ – in which employees were made to work while walking, significantly increased fitness levels and BMI measurements. Another study assigned participants a mandatory activity of middle-to-high intensity workouts for around 2.5 hours a week during work hours. These incentives clearly need to be offered and organized by work organizations, but what can you do if your place of work does not adopt programs that boost employee fitness?

Individual Efforts

The key to making the most of the little time you may have is to do as much as you can. Did you know that running for just 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%? Official recommended guidelines stipulate that all individuals should complete at least half an hour of moderate intensity exercise every day. The good news is that these 30 minutes do not need to be continuous. That is, you can complete 10 minutes on your way to work, 10 minutes at lunchtime, and 10 minutes at the end of the day. You can also embrace activity in small but significant ways – including taking the stairs instead of the lift when you can. For extra health benefits, engage in vigorous activity (think cycling, jogging, or interval training) for half an hour at least three times a week. Vigorous exercise is particularly effective because it improves the efficiency of your heart and lungs, and more oxygen is delivered to your muscles.

Even if you are very inactive, becoming slightly more active can help you reap big benefits in terms of fitness and pain reduction. At the very least, aiming for around 30 minutes of moderate activity per day can help strengthen your cardiovascular system. So, too, can finding practical ways to be more active – including walking while working when possible, stretching throughout the day, and taking advantage of work breaks to be more active instead of taking a sedentary pause.

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consultant Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

Encouraging Isolated Patients to Spend Time Outdoors

Woman Walking Along Path In Autumn WoodlandWritten By Lucy Peters

The average American is believed to spend nearly 90% of their life indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This equates to being outdoors for a total of one half of one day per week.  Patients who are in isolation due to being immunocompromised or testing positive for a contagious disease may spend even less time outdoors. This can result in increased anxiety, a compromised circadian rhythm, and even an increasingly suppressed immune system. Thankfully, there are a number of ways in which a healthcare professional can help an isolated patient spend time outdoors.

Highlight the benefits of spending time outside

A patient is more likely to make an effort to spend time outside if they are aware of the benefits they may enjoy. There are a number of science-backed benefits that can be highlighted. Spending time outside can reduce cortisol levels which will boost your overall mood according to a Japanese nature therapy study. Spending time outdoors can also help accelerate healing according to the University of Pittsburgh while a Harvard Medical School publication concurs that outdoor time will boost Vitamin D levels significantly. Spending time outdoors can also aid in reducing the mental fatigue that often presents itself during periods of illness.

Suggest simple yet beneficial outdoor activities

Although structured outdoor therapy sessions may yield impressive results, it is not always a viable option. Healthcare professionals are in a good position to suggest simple yet beneficial ways that will increase the time an isolated patient spends outdoors. Going for a walk, even if just around the garden, will yield benefits both associated with being outside as well as physical activity. Patients can also be encouraged to conduct a range of everyday activities, such as reading and catching up on social media, outside. While a deck or porch is ideal places for these, finding a sunny spot near an open window will also suffice.

What if going outdoors isn’t an option?

For some isolated patients, going outside isn’t an option due to a variety of reasons. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, simply viewing natural settings can boost physiological well-being considerably. These findings can be supported in a number of ways. By encouraging patients to open windows to allow fresh air in, placing indoor plants or cut flowers in the home, or looking out into the garden, they may become privy to benefits typically associated with outdoor time.  Apart from noticing a reduction in anxiety and stress, cognitive function may also be improved.

Spending time outdoors is of pertinent importance to isolated patients. Although different strategies may need to be employed for each, there are many ways these patients can be exposed to the outdoors and reap the subsequent benefits.

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s  Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a health care life coach program

The Role of Diet in Dealing With Anxiety 

Fried fish on green asparagus with salad

Written By Lucy Peters

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults or 18.1 percent of the population every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. While the healthcare industry has various medications and therapies you can use to calm or treat your anxiety, the answer could be hiding in plain sight; your diet. Over the years, nutritionists and doctors have realized that, just like other major body organs, the brain requires certain nutrients to maintain proper function and ward off mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. While there are no magic foods that will cure your anxiety, there are various changes you can make to your daily diet to improve your symptoms and support your road to recovery.

Get your omega-3 fatty acids 

One nutrient that has been proven to be especially effective at reducing anxiety symptoms is omega-3 fatty acids which you can get from fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds. Foods rich in omega-3 provide two essential fatty acids- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — that are needed to reduce inflammation, regulate neurotransmitters, and promote healthy brain function. For the best results, you can aim to get at two servings of fatty fish every week.

Keep your blood sugar in check 

Over time changes in your blood sugar levels can increase your risk of developing anxiety disorders and other serious health problems. Thankfully, there are various measures you can take to gain better control of blood sugar levels and keep them stable. The easiest way to do this is by eating a well-balanced diet, controlling your food portions, and avoiding skipping meals. Beyond that, you must also be careful about the types of carbs you eat since they are the biggest influencers of blood sugar levels. Try to eat foods rich in complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, whole-grain bread, and quinoa. This will give your brain a serotonin boost which has a calming effect. Minimize your intake of refined sugar and simple carbs such as white bread, rice, and pasta that may exacerbate your anxiety disorder.

Supplement your diet 

Thanks to the growth of the supplementation industry in the US, there are many supplements available today that allow you to get the nutrients you need directly and in the right amounts. One key supplement that will help you in the battle against anxiety is magnesium. Magnesium is a key mineral that is needed to maintain full body function and is also an important element of managing anxiety episodes. Vitamin D is another essential supplement in managing anxiety since it promotes a feeling of well-being. Other supplements that may help include L-theanine, vitamin B-complex, and melatonin. Before taking any supplements, make sure you consult your doctor and adhere to the recommended daily allowance to be on the safe side.

What you drink matters too 

What you drink is part of your diet, and you must be mindful of it if you want to deal with your anxiety. First of all, you need to stay hydrated with good old fashioned water to prevent dehydration which is known to cause mood problems. Next, try to cut back on your coffee intake. Studies have shown that caffeine can cause symptoms of anxiety such as nervousness and shaking or even induce panic attacks in people with anxiety disorders. On top of that, too much coffee may mess with your sleep which further deteriorates your brain health. If you are itching for a hot beverage, try some chamomile tea which can play a role in anxiety reduction.

While changes to your diet can make a difference to your mood and sense of well-being, they’re not a substitute for the medications or therapies that may be recommended by your psychiatrist. Nutrition will work best as part of a comprehensive anxiety treatment plan that includes counseling, medication, getting regular exercise, improving sleep habits, and increasing social support.

 

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

A Lifetime of Medical Checkups Those Certified In Life Coaching Must Know

The article, “Medical Checkups for Life”, by Manny Oliverez states

“It is vital to begin preparing for a long life, and you are never to young to start.”

American Institute Health Care Professionals‘s insight:
An excellent chart for those certified in life coaching to utilize and use with clients.  This chart lists concerns and needed tests for ages between twenty and seventy and male and female.

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