What Happens Upon Completion of a Clinical Research Trial?

clinical research lab and scientists

Most potential participants have many questions about what is involved during a clinical trial, and understandably so. But what happens afterwards?

Upon completion of the study, the global study team (which includes our staff as well as those working for the study sponsor) will carefully analyze the information that was collected throughout the duration of the trial. This allows us to determine what the findings actually mean, and if further testing is required. If further testing is deemed necessary, the investigational drug moves onto the next phase of 4 possible phases.

Finding from the study are regularly published for peer-review. This allows other experts to review the results prior to release, in order to ensure accuracy of conclusions. If the data is especially important, they may even be presented in news media, or in patient advocacy groups. If this new treatment is proven safe and effective, it is likely to move into mainstream practice.

You should always feel comfortable and confident during any clinical trial. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to call us directly at 817-281-4156.

3 Lesser Known Symptoms of Low Testosterone

depressed man The image of low testosterone evokes expected symptoms like sexual dysfunction, decreased strength and depression. However, low testosterone may also present with symptoms not normally associated with a hormonal imbalance.

Low T is exactly as the name describes – a lower than normal amount of testosterone is present in the body. It can happen for a variety of reasons including but not limited to obesity, diabetes and chronic medical conditions. Well-known symptoms of Low T are sexual dysfunction, libido decrease, hair loss and loss of muscle mass.

However, as researchers continue to explore the relationship between testosterone and male physiology, they are finding that the hormone plays a critical role in factors outside of sexual function. The following are lesser-known symptoms of low testosterone:

1. Disordered Sleeping – Low T is known to cause any number of sleep disturbances ranging from sleep apnea or insomnia. Research has shown that the majority of testosterone is produced during REM sleep. If the sleep cycle is interrupted, the testosterone production is also interrupted. The net result is the production of less testosterone. It’s not unusual for Low T sufferers to also suffer from sleep apnea.

2. Hot Flashes – . . . Aren’t just for women? Those nights of waking up with soaked sheets or fighting with a spouse because 75 degrees now feels inhumane are likely liked to Low T. A drop in testosterone can be linked to normal aging or receiving treatment for prostate cancer called Androgen Deprivation Therapy. Most men experience an extremely slow decline in testosterone after the age of 40 but men with more rapid decreases may experience symptoms akin to menopause.

3. Difficulty Concentrating Having trouble finishing that report? Is your memory slipping? Low T is linked to cognitive impairment. The exact relationship between Low T and cognitive ability hasn’t yet been determined but evidence is showing a positive correlation between the two. Hormones play an incredibly important role in cognition, memory and spatial relationships. As is the case with much of the human body, it’s a complicated process and if one of the pieces is deficient, function is impaired.
Physicians can determine if you’re (or someone you know) is suffering from Low T with a simple blood test. The most common form of treatment is testosterone replacement in the form of skin patches, gel or injections.


9 Tips For Talking About Low Testosterone With Your Doctor

testosterone doctor

It’s not the easiest subject to broach with your doctor. Sexual dysfunction issues are embarrassing but opting not to discuss it with your doctor just prolongs a possible diagnosis and treatment. Today’s social health culture is heavily reliant on social media and media awareness campaigns. While that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to discuss private issues, there is less of a stigma with such sensitive concerns.

A little planning and preparation can make the entire process a little easier. Keep the following tips in mind when you talk to your doctor about low testosterone:

  1. Write down your symptoms and concerns beforehand. Because your time is limited, it’s easier if you have the information readily available in front of you. When time is of the essence, memory often fails.
  2. Make sure your physician is comfortable treating Low T and if not, ask for a referral for a physician who specializes in sexual health.
  3. Take notes. It’s incredibly common to walk out of a patient room only to find that you’ve forgotten everything that was discussed by the time you reach your car.
  4. Take a list of current prescriptions with you for your doctor to review as possible contributors to your symptoms. Preparing a list beforehand eliminates having to remember dosages and drug strength.
  5. Ask your physician to explain the available treatments and associated risks for Low T.
  6. If you’re seeing your primary care physician, make a specific appointment to discuss your hormonal concerns. Typically, yearly physical appointments only allot so much time for a general overview. You’ll have more time to discuss symptoms and treatment options with a dedicated appointment.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Invariably, you’ll think of questions after your appointment. Ask your doctor during your appointment the best way to address those questions that crop up later.
  8. Remember that you don’t have to agree to treatment immediately. Take time to think about it, do your own research and/or consult with your partner.
  9. If your physician doesn’t already have your health history, bring it with you. There are a number of health issues (namely cardiovascular issues and Type II diabetes) that carry a higher risk of Low T.

If you think you might be suffering from low testosterone, don’t wait to address it. Testosterone affects mood, weight, energy levels and libido. All of these contribute to a higher quality of life and overall health.


5 Cookbooks Every Diabetic Should Check Out

Food, insulin, and blood glucose levels are intricately intertwined in the body. But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that healthy foods will benefit any individual living with diabetes.

Which foods are healthiest for diabetics? How can you make diabetic-friendly meals and stay within your budget? Look to these five diabetic cookbooks to find a wealth of information on diabetes and the recipes you need to keep your blood sugar under control.

The Glycemic-Load Diet: A Powerful New Program for Losing Weight and Reversing Insulin Resistance

Author: Dr. Rob Thompson The Glycemic-Load Diet

If you’re a diabetic, you’ve probably heard about the glycemic index. Essentially, every food with carbohydrates is assigned a number based on how much it raises blood glucose levels. In general, foods with lower numbers are healthier than food with higher numbers. However, as Dr. Rob Thompson points out in this book, there are some flaws in this methodology.

Dr. Thompson uses his book to explain a new concept: glycemic load. He outlines the importance of serving sizes and details how diabetics can use the principles of glycemic load to lose weight. His recipes promote eating whole foods that are quality sources of nutrition: meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and the like.

Betty Crocker’s Diabetes Cookbook: Everyday Meals, Easy as 1-2-3

Authors: Dr. Richard M. Bergenstal, Diane Reader, and Maureen DoranBetty Crocker's Diabetes Cookbook

Coming from the queen bee of cookbooks, this one contains 140 recipes and includes the nutritional breakdown of every dish. The editors have even created a seven-day meal plan using recipes from the cookbook. The recipes are divided into eight sections, featuring everything from breakfast to dessert.

This cookbook also serves as an educational tool. The beginning pages outline the main aspects of diabetes and provide a Q & A page with answers from a dietician. There is also a helpful carbohydrate chart and a glossary of commonly used diabetic terms.

The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook: More than 175 Ultra-Tasty Recipes for Total Health and Weight Loss

Author: Dr. Mark HymanThe Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook

Dr. Mark Hyman is physician and well-respected author who has had seven books hit the #1-spot on the New York Times best sellers list. He’s a strong advocate of functional medicine—a patient-centered, whole-body treatment approach that focuses on the underlying causes of diseases.

In this cookbook, Dr. Hyman focuses on using proper nutrition to reverse diabetes and obesity. Before he lists any recipes, he encourages readers to take a series of quizzes to gauge the severity of their condition. He also provides guidelines for stocking the kitchen and shopping at the grocery store.

Finally, on to the recipes! Dr. Hyman doesn’t use any convenience foods, but instead focuses on a variety of real foods. These recipes are far from traditional “meat and potatoes” meals and many of the recipes take dedicated preparation, but the results are well worth it.

Biggest Book of Diabetic Recipes: More than 350 Great-Tasting Recipes for Living Well with Diabetes

Author: Better Homes & Gardens Editors Biggest Book of Diabetic Recipes

This diabetic cookbook is easy, straightforward, and a great option for beginners. The recipes utilize ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store. Plus, they feature just the right spices to bring out the natural flavoring of foods without unnecessary added salt, sugar, or fat.

Unlike hardcover or paperback cookbooks, this collection of recipes is put together in a plastic spiral binding that allows the pages to lay flat on the countertop while you cook. Plus, it includes several days of meal plans and seven categories of recipes.

Diabetic Slow Cooker

Author: Diabetic Living Editors Diabetic Slow Cooker

Everyone loves slow cooker meals! They’re a cinch to prepare and the low-and-slow cooking time gives the food a great flavor. This cookbook from Diabetic Living gives diabetics quick tips on how to makeover traditional slow cooker meals and turn them into diabetic-friendly dishes.

There are 150 recipes in this book. You’ll find healthy recipes for chicken wings, meatballs, sandwiches, desserts, and much more. Plus, each recipe page also includes suggested side dishes and nutritional content.

Diabetes Clinical Research

High Cholesterol? Blame Your Family History!

vintage family portrait

You’re a non-smoker and a regular at your local gym. You indulge in fast food once or twice a month, but otherwise, your meals are filled with vegetables. Your waistline is trim and you feel healthy.

And though your lifestyle and outward appearance are the picture of perfect health, your blood vessels may be telling a different story. High cholesterol levels may be slowly clogging your arteries and, unfortunately, you have little control over the situation.

Did your parents have high cholesterol?

Of course, poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity are all risk factors for high cholesterol. But, for many years, medical researchers have also known that genetics play an important role in high cholesterol. Individuals with the highest risk have a father or a brother who developed heart disease or had a stroke before he was 55 years old or have a mother or sister to which these things happened before she was 65 years old.

In particular, there are two known genetic conditions that cause high cholesterol: familial hypercholesterolaemia and familial combined hyperlipidemia. Let’s take a closer look at each condition.

Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH)

This inherited condition raises LDL (bad) cholesterol because of a mutation on a gene on chromosome 19–the LDLR gene. This gene controls the cell receptors that normally accept LDL cholesterol from the blood and make use of it in the cells. However, with the FH mutation, the receptors don’t develop properly and the cells cannot receive LDL. Instead of being taken into the cells, the LDL cholesterol remains in the bloodstream and clogs up the arteries.

The Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation estimates that between 600,000 and two million people are living with FH in the United States. For these people, LDL levels may soar way above 160 mg/dL, more than double the normal levels. Unfortunately, many of them may be unaware of their condition until they suffer a heart attack or stroke.

It’s important to note that the artery-clogging effects of FH begin in the womb. Even young children can have LDL and total cholesterol levels that are extremely high. Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends testing children’s cholesterol between the ages of 2 and 10 years old if they have a strong family history of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

Familial Combined Hyperlipidemia (FCHL)

This condition raises cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Researchers aren’t sure which genes are involved, but they do know the end results: low HDL (good) cholesterol levels and high levels of small, dense LDL (bad) cholesterol. Experts suspect that 1-percent of people in the United States have FCHL.

Unlike FH, individuals with FCHL develop high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the teenage years. These individuals are likely to be obese and suffer from diabetes. Without proper treatment, the condition will continue to saturate the walls of the blood vessels with cholesterol and eventually, cause a heart attack or stroke.

Treatment options

Treatment for either of these conditions involves the usual course of lifestyle modifications: lower fat intake, increase exercise, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid smoking. However, in the majority of patients with FH or FCHL, lifestyle changes are not nearly enough to bring their cholesterol levels under control. Nearly all patients will need a heavy dose of cholesterol-lowering medications.

If you have been diagnosed with either one of these genetic conditions, it’s actually a good thing. People who have undiagnosed FH or FCHL are at a much greater risk of suffering a major cardiovascular event. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, you can knowingly take every step needed to lower your cholesterol levels.

Enjoyed this article? Try reading these as well . . . .
3 Unexpected Foods to Help You Lower Cholesterol
5 Ways to Increase Your HDL Cholesterol
Why Diabetics are at Risk for High Cholesterol

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3 Unexpected Foods to Help You Lower Cholesterol


If you’re being medically treated for high cholesterol, your doctor has most likely stressed the importance of a healthy diet. You may have heard recommendations for eating salmon, oatmeal, and olive oil more times than you care to mention. Plus, you’re probably bored with eating the same foods over and over.

It’s time to put an end to that broken record and shake up the list of popular cholesterol-lowering foods. Here are three new foods to add to your cholesterol-fighting diet.

1. Almond Milk

Cow’s milk is a staple in the American diet and it brings an alarming amount of fat along with it. That 2-percent milk you use on your cereal contains nearly 1/6 of the daily recommended allotment of saturated fat. In addition, if you’re using half-and-half in your coffee, you’re serving up 5-percent of your daily allotment of saturated fat with each tablespoon.

Instead of using cow’s milk products, switch to almond milk. Although it’s not as rich and creamy as the fat-filled options, you’ll get a subtle nutty flavor and a little dose of sweetness. This makes it the perfect cholesterol-friendly substitute to use in your cereal and coffee.

Almond milk contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. More than that, nuts are life-savers for your heart. In particular, some researchers say the vitamin E found in almonds and almond milk may help prevent atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries).

2. Pears

When it comes to cholesterol, pears pack a mighty punch. Much of their cholesterol-fighting power comes from two special types of natural fiber called pectin and lignin.

Pectin is a soluble fiber—that means that it dissolves in water to form a gel during digestion. While it’s dissolving, it’s also able to hook on to the cholesterol in the intestines and prevent it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

Lignin, even though it’s an insoluble fiber, acts very much like pectin in the digestive tract. It also binds to cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed.

In total, one medium pear provides nearly 25% of an adult’s daily recommended allotment of fiber.

3. Tea

Tea contains highly effective antioxidants called catechins and polyphenols. These compounds are heart-healthy and they have a protective effect on the arteries. Studies have shown that they also lower total cholesterol, raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Unfortunately, not all teas are created equal when it comes to their cholesterol-blocking abilities. When teas are fermented or processed, their antioxidant content decreases. Fresh-brewed green tea appears to be the best at lowering cholesterol levels and black tea is also helpful. Instant or bottled teas contain far fewer antioxidants.

Although no single food can take the place of cholesterol-lowering medications, eating a healthy diet surely doesn’t hurt. Frequently including these three foods in your diet may be just what you need to knock your cholesterol numbers down for good!

Enjoyed this article? Try reading these as well . . .
5 Ways to Increase Your HDL Cholesterol
High Cholesterol: Reducing Your Risk of Stroke
Why Diabetics are at Risk for High Cholesterol

Cholesterol clinical research

5 Yoga Poses for Migraine Headaches

People doing yoga

Anyone who has ever experienced migraine knows how sharp the pain becomes, how blinding even the smallest light seems, and how quickly it brings about a wave of confusion and helplessness.

Studies show that approximately 18% of women and 6% of men in the United States currently suffer from migraine. It’s no surprise that more than 90% of those who experience migraine are physically unable to continue with daily functions of life; simple tasks that the average person would take for granted.

Even more disturbing is that 14 million people must battle with these types of headaches nearly every single day.

“It is an extremely debilitating collection of neurological symptoms that usually includes a severe recurring intense throbbing pain on one side of the head,” says a spokesperson for the Migraine Research Foundation. “Attacks last between 4 and 72 hours and are often accompanied by one or more of the following: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.”

Imagine going about your day with the constant fear of knowing that at any moment, a migraine could strike. Your entire life could be thrown off track.  Aside from medication, is there anything that can be done to fight against migraine so you can return to enjoying your life? Consider yoga.

How can yoga help?

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise and philosophy. It is a means to achieving balance within your mind and body. The health benefits of yoga are extensive including:

– Improving posture

– Eliminating muscle imbalances

– Reducing stress levels

– Lowering blood pressure and heart rate

– Improving your physique

Yoga is also an amazing solution to relieving the pain and symptoms of migraine. The stretches in yoga help to lengthen tight muscles that could be contributing to migraine.

Listed below are the top 5 yoga poses that have been shown to reduce or eliminate migraine pain. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class before, then all the movements listed should be familiar to you. It is recommended that you perform these movements on a daily basis, preferably in the morning.

Hold each pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Start off with one set for each, gradually progressing to doing two or three sets each time.

1. Downward Dog Pose

This standing pose is one of the most common. It will allow you to perform a deep stretch on your calves, hamstrings, hips, lower back, shoulders, and arms. As it is considered an inversion pose, it is often recognized as a great way to alleviate pain from headaches or migraine.

– Begin on your hands and knees.

– Place your hands a few inches forward. Press your palms directly into the mat.

– Bring yourself to your toes then extend your heel back.

– Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.

– Press your hips back and toward the ceiling. Your body should resemble an inverted V.

– Keep pressing your shoulders away from ears.

– Press and hold this position.

2. Seated Spinal Twist

This yoga movement helps to stretch out tight muscle of the hips, core, and lower back.

– Sit with your left leg extended and your right knee bent in.

– Place your left elbow against your right knee.

– Place your right hand behind you.

– Inhale and sit up tall, then exhale and push your left elbow against your right knee.

– Gently twist and hold this position.

3. Head to Knee Pose

This classic pose will ease tension in the calves, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, and neck.

– Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you.

– Take your left foot and bring it in towards your hips – Rest it on the right inner thigh.

– Place both arms overhead and slowly bring your arms forward.

– Wrap your hands around your right foot.

– Hold this position.

4. Child’s Pose

A favorite pose that allows you to stretch while getting ready to bring your sitting session to an end. This pose stretches the lower back, upper back, shoulders, arms, and sides of the body.

– Kneel on the ground.

– Bring your hips back and let your butt sit on your feet.

– Bring your head down as you extend arms forward.

– Relax and drop the shoulders.

– Feel the stretch and hold the pose.

5. Corpse Pose

The final pose in many yoga classes. The focus is on stress relief through relaxation, concentration, and deep breathing.

– Lay flat on your back.

– Let your feet fall out to the sides.

– Extend your arms slightly away from your sides.

– Let your palms face upward.

– Keep your eyes closed.

Focus solely on your breath as you relax. Once you are finished, remember to drink plenty of water to help flush out any toxins. Now go and get ready to enjoy a migraine free day!

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Is This A Headache Or A Migraine?
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Is This A Headache Or A Migraine?


You know the friend.  The one who collapses dramatically on the sofa and declares she cannot possibly do x, y or z because she “has a migraine.”  Or the person that has an extremely detailed list of trigger foods and is currently subsisting on raw tofu and water from France.

As maladies go, headaches are usually no big deal.  However, as soon as someone says “migraine,” it becomes an entirely different ballgame.  Headaches are something of a nebulous issue anyway because it’s often difficult to offer more detail than “My head hurts.”  How do you differentiate migraines from garden-variety headaches?

Here are a few important distinctions:

  • Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head.  It may feel like the headache “moves” when you do.
  • Eye pain.  Migraines often occur behind the eyes and can signal that it’s time for some serious intervention.  Blind spots can also be an indicator of a migraine.
  • An extreme sensitivity to light and/or noise.  Regular headaches can make you irritable but exposure to every day sounds and noise can make a migraine sufferer downright stabby.
  • Migraine sufferers often have “hangovers.”  Either from extreme pain, the use of triptans to alleviate the pain, or both, the sufferer can feel like he or she has been hit by a truck afterward.
  • Vomiting, nausea, upset stomach and abdominal discomfort may be symptomatic of a migraine.
  • Extreme fatigue often accompanies a migraine.
  • A loss of appetite is common.  It’s tough to feel hungry when your head feels like it might explode.
  • Some people experience auras, which are light patterns, flashing dots, or jagged lines.  Others may experience strange odors or bodily sensations.  Pay attention to any symptoms that are atypical of a common headache.
  • Physical activity worsens the pain.

Migraines affect 28 million Americans each year and 70% of migraine sufferers are women.  The causes range from hormone changes and stress to artificial sweeteners.  Doctors often recommend keeping a headache diary to identify the factors that tip off your migraines.  Keep track of the time of frequency of medication, meals and exercise.  You may discover some pre-migraine clues to help you head off the next one.

Migraines are very treatable.  There are variety of ways to reduce the frequency as well as treating one in progress.  See your doctor to find the right treatment for you.

Enjoyed this article? Try reading these as well . . .
Is Your Diet Causing Your Migraine Headaches?
3 Pill-less Remedies for Migraine Headaches
What Are Your Migraine Triggers? And How to Avoid Them

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D is for Diabetes. And Dogs.

lady and dog

Fido.  Man’s best friend.  For centuries, dogs have been our companions, best friends and sources of unconditional love.  In 1929, the first formal school for service dogs opened.  Since then, dogs have been aiding humans with disabilities for years.

In 1999, Mark Ruefenacht experienced a hypoglycemic episode.  His dog intentionally roused him awake and he was able to quickly treat it.  This experience inspired him to investigate the idea that there may be yet another utility for service dogs.  Dogs are renowned for their senses of smell and it’s a small leap to think they can smell blood sugar changes.  He facilitated a five-year research project that eventually turned into Dogs 4 Diabetics.  Other service agencies have followed suit and now train dogs for diabetes assistance in addition to other disabilities.

The history of using service dogs with diabetic children is relatively short but it’s wildly effective and popular.

Diabetic children are shackled with the responsibility of tracking their blood sugar, self-administration of insulin and monitoring their diet.  Service dogs constantly monitor blood sugar levels and give kids a little more freedom to just be kids.  The dogs are trained to respond when the child is experiencing a high or a low.  However, dogs are not a substitute for regular blood sugar testing.  They complement a care plan rather than replace it.

In some ways, dogs are better caregivers than we are.  They ask for very little in return and are a solid source of support not prone to mood swings or the everyday stresses of life.  Service dogs provide an excellent distraction for the children during uncomfortable medical visits and give them confidence and self-esteem.

Although most dogs are trainable, there are specific breeds that excel at assisting humans.  Typically, the breeds best suited for service work are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Border Collies and German Shepherds.

As of 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act was revised to include service dogs.  Under current law, service dogs are allowed to go anywhere people can go.  The ADA revision does not include dogs who solely provide emotional support.  Service animals must perform duties directly related to the disability in order to qualify.

Service dogs receive several years of training before being placed with a family.  The family must continue training and establish firm boundaries to keep the training intact.  Some dogs wear vests indicating that they’re working dogs and not to approach them.  Having a service dog is not a small undertaking but can provide years of companionship, assistance and comfort to a child coping with diabetes.

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Exercising with Diabetes: How to Manage Your Insulin
Diabetic Etiquette: Need Some Advice?
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The Unexpected Dangers of Menopause: Osteoporosis and Heart Disease

protenium woman in park

Women go through many seasons of change in their lives. They get married. They have children. They climb the corporate ladder. They deal with teenage angst. They watch their children leave for college or get married. Most of these changes are predictable, coming with the expected joys and challenges. However, during mid-life, many women feel like they’ve been thrown off course and it’s all because of menopause.

Many of the symptoms and side effects of menopause are unexpected. Sure, most women have heard about hot flashes, but they didn’t know they would feel this bad. Many women are surprised when they have difficulty sleeping or “getting in the mood” with their husbands. Even worse, most women don’t realize that menopause presents some serious health concerns.

Most of these menopause-related health issues are due to fluctuating hormones. Those pesky hormones are a lot more powerful than most women imagine. They influence everything from the bones to the heart. Read below to learn the top two ways hormones influence the body after menopause and see how women can stay healthy during the post-menopausal years.

#1: Osteoporosis

Picture this: a hunched over elderly woman who looks like she can’t sit up straight. Although this scenario is sometimes an unfair stereotype regarding older women, the main point is true: women’s bones weaken as they get older. This weakened, hunched over appearance is due to osteoporosis. The condition refers to the deterioration of bones and women are most susceptible during menopause and the years that follow.

Men and women of all ages can be subject to osteoporosis, but menopausal women have two reasons to worry: bones naturally start to weaken when a woman is in her 40s and the drop of estrogen during menopause causes bone breakdown to rapidly outpace bone building.

Don’t worry—not all women are doomed to become brittle-boned! There are several easy and natural ways to prevent osteoporosis. Try doing weight-bearing exercises at least three times each week, taking in at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, going outside for at least 10 minutes daily to soak up the “sunshine vitamin” (vitamin D), and stop using tobacco products.

#2: Heart Disease

When it comes to cardiovascular health, women have bragging rights. It’s true—women have a lower risk of heart problems than men do. But, that decreased risk only lasts up to a certain age. Once a woman hits menopause, her risk of cardiovascular complications goes up drastically. In fact, a post-menopausal woman is twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as a woman her same age who has not yet gone through menopause.

Just like osteoporosis, estrogen is at play here. The hormone helps to prevent plaque from building up in the blood vessels and provides a level of protection for the entire cardiovascular system. This is wonderful for women during their reproductive years—they’re protecting their heart without even knowing it! But once menopause hits, the hormones decrease and women need to pay special attention to their heart health.

During the premenopausal years, women should speak with their doctors about potential cardiovascular risk factors. This includes things like smoking, family history, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood pressure, and many other health criteria. By evaluating the risk factors early, women have a few years to implement healthy lifestyle habits before they get into the full swing of menopause.

If you think you’re at risk for osteoporosis or heart disease, please speak with your doctor as soon as possible. In addition to lifestyle changes, doctors may recommend several medications to boost bone health or protect the heart. Possible medications include hormone therapy and supplemental estrogen. These types of prescription drugs have been extremely controversial in the past. Be sure to speak with your doctor regarding the comprehensive risks and benefits of any medical treatment for heart disease or osteoporosis.

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Perimenopause: The Change Before “The Change”
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