Entries in Women's Health (6)


Stroke Risk During Pregnancy on the Rise

Comstock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Although overall rates of stroke have been declining over the past decade, it seems that this is not the case for all people. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2006 and 2007, there was a 54 percent increase in pregnancy-related strokes compared to rates in 1994 and 1995.

Still, the actual risk of stroke for pregnant women remains to be very low. Even with the increase, it is still 0.22 per 1000 deliveries.  

Despite such a small risk, researchers still wanted to find the cause of the increase. They reported in the findings, published in the journal Stroke, that the rise in pregnancy-related strokes may be linked with the general health of women.  The authors say that “more and more women entering pregnancy already have some type of risk factor for stroke, such as obesity, chronic hypertension, diabetes or congenital heart disease.  Since pregnancy by itself is a risk factor, if you have one of these other stroke risk factors, it doubles the risk.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Your Breast Health: 12 Tips for Reducing Your Cancer Risk

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mammograms save lives. Catching breast cancer early increases the likelihood that treatment will be successful, so says a new massive 30-year trial in Sweden.

But women and girls who want to reduce their chances of that dreaded diagnosis can make some lifestyle changes and rethink their everyday choices.

"Most breast cancers don't run in families,'' said Dr. Marisa C. Weiss, president and founder of "In fact, the development of all breast cancers is strongly influenced by the environment, our lifestyles and our reproductive choices."

Exposure to chemicals found in the food we eat, the beverages we drink, the air we breathe, in the medicines we take and in our personal products can affect the development and the daily operations of our breast cells, and may increase our risk of breast cancer, Weiss said.

"With or without a family history, there's a lot we can do to reduce our risk by making the healthiest choices possible," Weiss said.

Here are some tips adapted from's "Think Pink, Live Green: Protect Your Breast Health -- A Step-By-Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer":

1) Skip the extra hormones. "Consider non-hormonal solutions, such as an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception, lubrication for vaginal dryness, and meditation and acupuncture for hot flashes," suggests Think Pink.

2) Find your healthy weight and stay there. Of all the tips in "Think Pink," this one is mandatory for anyone who wants to reduce her risk of breast cancer.

3) Exercise regularly. Shoot for at least three to four hours per week, but more is better.

4) Keep the cocktails to a minimum. Breast cancer incidents increase with alcohol consumption, according to a 2007 study.

5) Don't smoke. Avoid exposure to smoke and places and things that smell of smoke.

6) Soak up a little sunshine -- get your Vitamin D. Ask your doctor for the right daily dose. Big city dwellers are especially likely to be Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D3 supplements, oily fish and dairy products fortified with vitamin D are the best sources. Try to choose organic, fat-free dairy products.

7) Rethink your diet. Cook real food from scratch. Nix the deep frying. Eat small meals and make fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds and spices the main ingredients for most meals. These foods are packed with nutrients and have relatively few calories.

8) Heat healthy; Use safe food storage. Avoiding heating up food in plastic containers. And non-stick pans can emit harmful chemicals when used at very high heat. Consider stainless steel, ceramic, cast-iron and enamel-covered metal containers, pots and dishes for cooking, storing and serving food.

9) Drink from the tap. Choose filtered tap water over bottled water that may or may not be filtered.

10) Sleep. We all need to get our Z's to repair and heal our bodies from everyday wear-and-tear.

11) Cleanse your vanity. Choose personal care products without fragrances, hormones or preservatives.

12) Green your home. Try organic and other household cleaning products and supplies identified as "green."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nearly Every Minute a Woman is Raped in the Congo

Tom Stoddart/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- By the time you finish reading this article, five women in the Congo will have been raped.

In what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls "the worst example of man's inhumanity towards women," a study reveals a violent war against women happening within the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The "Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence Against Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo" study, slated to be published in the Journal of Public Health in June, estimates that 1,150 women are raped every day -- a rate which equates to 48 rapes every hour.

"The scale of violence is much bigger than we thought," Lisa Shannon, founder of the human rights advocacy group A Thousand Sisters told ABC News. "It is no longer strictly a weapon of war because of the breakdown of government -- the cultural impunity has metastasized and the epidemic is no longer contained. We now know high levels of sexual violence exist even in non-conflict areas."

The DRC has been politically unstable since its founding. For the past 15 years, eastern Congo has seen a series of rebel groups terrorizing citizens, often as a show of power to exploit the country's mineral riches.

United Nations officials have described the Congo as the epicenter of rape being utilized as a weapon of war.

The Congo, which is the size of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River, is cut off by thick forest and is characterized by the widest interstate war in modern African history, making surveying sexual violence dangerous and difficult. In addition, many rape victims are frightened to report the crime.

Although the United States government pledged $17 million in 2009 to help fight the epidemic of rape, progress has not been seen on the ground. The study found the rape rate to be 26 times higher than regularly quoted by the United Nations.

According to aid workers there are institutional problems with combating the epidemic of rape in the Congo. The biggest problem: rapists are not brought to justice.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ten Self-Checks Women Should Do Before Breakfast

Jim Arbogast/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There are nine things women should check each morning before starting their day, according to Women's Health

The magazine has compiled a list to inform women of the most important areas of the body to observe daily:

1.  Nails.  Dr. Ariel Ostad, a dermatologist in New York City, tells Women's Health that if one sees dark lines on the nail beds, this could be a sign of cell damage and possibly melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer.  Ostad advises women to with this symptom to have a dermatologist take a look.  She adds that about 95 percent of cases are curable with early detection and treatment.

On the other hand, if one sees bright white stripes or spots positioned horizontally on the nail beds and is feeling fatigued, it could be a sign that the kidneys are having difficulty filtering protein from urine, which can ultimately lead to kidney failure, Ostad says.

2.  Armpits.  WebMD's chief medical editor, Dr. Michael Smith, says that rough patches of dark skin there could be a symptom of diabetes due to excess insulin in the bloodstream causing skin cells to multiply unusually fast.  Smith says this sign typically occurs in the armpits, neck or groin area.

3.  Eyelids, Knees and Elbows.  Small, soft lumps that look white or waxy could be cholesterol deposits that may be an indicator of heart disease.  Dr. Smith says, however, that "reducing your numbers by just 10 percent slashes that risk by as much as a third." 

4.  Scalp.  Thin spots due to excessive hair loss could be due to a thyroid disorder, Women's Health says.  The disorder, which affects about 10 percent of women, interferes with the balance of male and female sex hormones leading to hair loss, according to Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, a physician in Atlanta.  The problem can be regulated with medication. 

Dr. Ostad adds that extreme flaking, or dandruff, can also be due to stress.  While drugstore dandruff shampoo can remedy this issue, more sleep, deep breaths and a more flexible schedule can also help.

5. Belly.  Thick, dark hair growth below the belly button could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), according to Dr. Pamela Berens, an ob-gyn at the University of Texas Medical School.  The condition, caused by androgen overproduction, can lead to heavy periods, weight gain, acne and the growth of thick, dark hair on the belly, face, chest and back. 

6. Tongue.  If the tongue appears white, yellow or orange-coated, Dr. Fryhofer says this could be a sign of acid reflux, which is caused by the spontaneous opening of a valve at the bottom of the esophagus supposed to ensure that whatever goes down -- stays down.  When the valve opens, the contents of the stomach head for the throat leaving digestive acid on the tongue and causes bad breath.  The condition can be treated with OTC antacids or prescription medication.

7.  Eyes.  Undereye circles that will not go away could be due to allergies, Women's Health says.  Allergens cause the release of histamine, a chemical that makes blood vessels swell and become visible where the skin is thinnest.

Yellowish bumps on one's eyeball could be slightly raised nodules -- a symptom of pinguecula.

"It's nothing more than an overgrowth of callogen triggered by damage from sun, wind or dust," New York City optometretrist Traci Goldstein tells Women's Health

Use of lubricating drops and sunglasses while outdoors can prevent the bump from growing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Study: Breast Cancer Takes Toll on Male Partners

Image Courtesy - ABC NewsThe stress of having a loved one battle cancer can take a toll on the family. Now there is an indication the risk of psychiatric disorders may be higher in spouses of cancer patients. With more than an estimated 200,000 new U.S. breast cancer cases in 2010 alone, the direct and possible indirect effects of the disease are staggering. A new study, conducted in Denmark, screened over a million men over a period of 13 years and focused on the association between breast cancer in women and rates of severe depression in their male partners. The authors found the risk of being hospitalized for a mood disorder including major depression, bipolar disease and other mood-altering conditions was 39 percent higher in men whose partner was diagnosed with breast cancer, and even higher if the partner died of the disease, compared to men with unaffected partners. Men whose partners died from breast cancer were 3.6 times more likely be hospitalized with a mood disorder.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Women's Health, A Major Concern At Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

The Clinton Global Initiative, a non-partisan organization established by former president Bill Clinton and the William J. Clinton foundation, held its annual meeting in New York on Tuesday.  This year's gathering, conducted under extremely tight security, drew 1,300 participants from 90 countries, Clinton noted in his opening remarks. Those gathered included 67 heads of state, 600 captains of corporations and 500 leaders of non-governmental organizations.  In its six years of existence, CGI, has come to be viewed as the World Series of networking.  Speakers including Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton and Richard C. Holbrooke, the State Department's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, agreed that attention and action must be put to global women's issues such as sexual violence and health concerns.  Those in attendance were expected to make a commitment to action in making men and boys part of the solution for these issues, as well.  The need for male participation in global women's issues became apparent when Indian women told Mallika Dutt, executive director of the human rights organization Breakthrough that "unless men get involved, we're not going to get anywhere."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.  Image Courtesy:  ABC News.

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