February is traditionally celebrated as the love or heart month; thus, the American Heart Association aptly considered this opportunity to raise awareness of the cardiovascular disease among women. Every year, the National Wear Red Day is celebrated all over the country as part of the strategy to make cardiovascular health as a priority. The numbers describing the seriousness of this condition is already enough to make you reconsider taking the steps towards optimum heart function.
Women are becoming more prone to depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, somatic complaints, and other mental health disorders than men, and that signalizes a severe public mental health problem. Both healthcare and insurance system has overlooked the situation, and women are left trapped and are not aware that they are already exhibiting self-destructive behaviors.
As women grow old, the threat of developing health problems increases, especially during menopause. Heart problems are common during this stage due to a decreased level of estrogen that can significantly affect the function of the heart, which can lead to heart failure, the most common cause of death among women. Depleted estrogens level may also lead to low bone mineral density, osteopenia, and osteoporosis that may eventually increase the risk of fracture and injuries. The skin as well may undergo some changes such as dryness and floppy and wrinkled skin turgor due to decreased estrogens. These are just some of the physical changes that women have to face as they grow old. However, with a balanced diet and proper nutrition, women can be physically prepared as they age. Taking vitamins through supplements or organic foods may also help women get rid of the health problems that they may encounter.
The old age debate on who is the strongest sex continues today. For men, their physique and stamina are their unwavering argument; while women resort to their ability to conceive and bring forth a human being into this world and other attributes serves as their firm stance. This can be valid, however, in the general population, women, and children are still considered as vulnerable groups, and they are the ones that are more prone to develop illnesses and with higher rates of mortality.
A word of caution before proceeding. This article is not to start another endless debate, rather point out the specific needs of women especially when it comes to nutritional aspects.
According to Jennifer Kromberg, PSYD, “Most people think emotional eating is due to a lack of self-control.”
Nutrition is the keystone of good health. With the physical and mental demands of being a woman, proper health teaching and encouraging women to take the lead concerning their nutritional health is very important. Any deficiency in protein, vitamins, minerals and caloric intake can result in a reduced health condition, both in the physical and psychological dimensions.
Malnutrition among women especially those in adolescent stage and who are at their childbearing age have been a social concern worldwide for several decades now. And this has weakened the ability of a woman for childbirth, increase susceptibility to infection processes, and development of chronic medical conditions. In the social part, the capacity to provide income and capability to look after their families can be compromised once sickness comes in.
“There is a definite connection between stress and our appetite. But the connection isn’t the same for everyone,” sayd Susan Albers, PsyD.
Addressing malnutrition will be of great help for empowering women and helping them to maximize their potentials. This will create a positive effect on the society as this will enable women to accomplish several roles in the community as a result of this helping to achieve socioeconomic development as well. Promoting and improving nutrition among women could also lead to the achievement of development goals which are markers of development progress in any country.
Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
Women who are receiving the right amount of nutrition are well capable of having enough money for themselves, their children, and their families. For mothers, they are expected to have newborns with healthy birth weights and be spared from malnutrition.
Reducing child mortality
With the provision of proper and adequate nutrition to every woman, this will help the woman to become holistically prepared to bear a child, thus the incidence of low birth-weight babies, who are prone to die in infancy may be avoided. This will also result in having healthy newborns who can overcome any childhood illnesses.
Improved maternal health
Proper nutrition means having iron and other micronutrients adequately stored in the body, and this can result in less susceptible fatal infections and increase chances of surviving from bleeding during and after childbirth. Also, the succeeding post-partum stage is also a critical phase where the women breastfeed the infant, and she will need an adequate supply of healthy food substances.
A healthy population defines a healthy and prosperous country. The emphasis of giving importance to the group of women rather than men is because women are the primary caregiver and nurturer in any cultural setting. The ability of the woman to take care of the child and other members of the family are beyond what men can do if they can be the primary caregiver. No offense made on men, but wherever you go, women are still expected to provide holistic caring attitude by tending the children and managing a household. Thus, it is only proper that this particular attention presented to them.
TRIVIA: “Some people assume that if they are prescribed antidepressants they will need to take them for the rest of their lives.” – Jessica Koblenz, PsyD
Homeostasis is needed to ensure that the body and mind function correctly. This means that there should be a balanced and harmonious environment guaranteeing that all bodily systems are working in proper coordination. One body system that shows some relationship with the mental health condition is the endocrine system. The endocrine system is comprised of several glands and organs that are responsible for the production, regulation, and control of certain hormones and brain chemicals. If there are some alterations in this functioning, it can result in medical conditions and at times mimic some mental illnesses.
The most common endocrine condition that is associated with psychological problems is related to disorders of the thyroid gland. Located in the anterior portion of the neck, this gland is responsible for metabolism, digestive and heart functions, control of muscles, development of the brain and bone maintenance
Hyper or Hypo
The hormones that the thyroid gland secretes and regulate are responsible for the correct balance in maintaining heart rate, metabolic rate, digestion, and nervous system functioning. If there will be an increase or decrease the supply of these hormones, then medical and psychological problems can happen.
An increase in thyroid hormones characterizes hyperthyroidism. A person with hyperthyroidism will have the following clinical manifestations:
- Heightened sensation and awareness
- Manic and depressive states
- Intolerance to heat
- Increased vital signs like heart rate, respiration, and body temperature
Hypothyroidism is the inadequate or decreased production of thyroid hormones. Often, this condition is diagnosed late because the symptoms develop slowly and the person may not detect that they are already having some clinical problems. In this condition, everything is in the slow-motion process. The individual may present the following behaviors:
- Slow comprehension
- Decreased mental functioning
- Memory retention problems
- Melancholia and having paranoid thoughts
What To Do
The only way to detect if you have thyroid problems is thru blood works to compare the levels of the thyroid hormones. With regards to the mental health issues, the general practitioner will refer the person to a psychiatrist to further evaluate the behavior and mood and impact of the physiological changes to the daily activities.
In the medical aspect, the person will be given synthetic hormones to augment thyroid hormones in the case of hypothyroidism. If the case is hyperthyroidism, surgical removal of the thyroid gland is the best option then will be followed by medications to represent the adequate supply of thyroid hormones in the absence of the thyroid gland. Medications are to be taken in a lifetime.
If the person presents behavioral problems, a psychiatrist can help to give medications to alleviate panic and anxiety symptoms. Also, since the medical problem can bring some physical changes such as weight loss or obesity, eye problems (protrusion of eyeballs in hyperthyroidism), and hair loss, self-esteem issues can be a significant concern. The person is expected to express their feelings to the mental health professional that is assisting them so that proper counseling is in place.
The overall outlook for thyroid ailments is good. Psychological problems may take some time to manage, however, the prognosis is promising. Contact your doctor immediately if you feel that you have these types of medical illness so that early intervention and prompt recovery is assured.
Most couples decide to be together in order to build a family. Early on in their relationship, they have imagined how many kids they would want to have. But this dream doesn’t always come to be realized, leaving couples frustrated. They start to lose hope, and some relationships can even turn sour when no pregnancy occurs even after years of trying. Infertility becomes a suspect and sometimes the culprit of a breakup.
Infertility is the inability of the reproductive system to conceive or carry a pregnancy after a year of trying. The problem can either be from the woman or man or both of them. Ten to fifteen percent of couples in the United States are affected by this condition.
According to Jan Elman Stout, PsyD, “What a parent wants is to nurture and form attachments and share values and activities with a child.”
In some cases, infertility can be treatable so couples are advised to seek medical assistance if no pregnancy occurs after a year of their unprotected sex. Both partners have to submit to an examination to know the state of their health overall and to see if they both have problems that hinder the woman to get pregnant.
Testing As Early As Possible
One way to find out the reason for infertility is to x-ray the woman’s fallopian tubes and uterus (womb). The fallopian tube is the path where the eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus.
Semen analysis or the sperm count test is also another test being done. It is to evaluate the health and capability of the male sperm. Semen is the liquid containing sugar, protein substances, and sperm that comes out during ejaculation.
Once the doctor finds out the underlying cause of infertility, drug therapy or surgery is recommended to correct the problem.
Kate Stone, PsyD asks “Have you felt frustrated or irritated when someone says, “Just relax, and you’ll get pregnant!” –Don’t we all wish it were this easy? Anyone who has experienced infertility knows can be stressful, but is the opposite true—can stress cause infertility?”
Infertility In Men
Azoospermia is the most common infertility condition in a man where he produces no sperm.
When a man produces not enough amount of sperm, the condition is called oligospermia.
There are also cases where sperm cells are too weak that they die before they reach the egg. Some sperm cells may also be deformed.
Infertility In Women
Infertility in a woman is caused by many factors which can damage or block the fallopian tube such as
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Previous infection
- Defect at birth
- Previous ectopic pregnancy
Other causes of infertility in a woman can also be
- lack or irregular ovulation
- polycystic ovarian syndrome
- inferior quality of egg cell
- poor immune system
- chronic illness that is left untreated such as diabetes, kidney disease as well as a thyroid disorder
- substance abuse
- exposure to toxins in the environment
- advanced age; women over the age of 35 have lower chances of conceiving
- sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea that is not treated
- obesity or cases of being underweight
Once these conditions above are corrected, there is a big possibility of conception in the future. But if treatment of such disease still fails, the doctor can explain to you other options that couples can explore. There are drugs that can stimulate the production of much healthier eggs and the use of in vitro fertilization. These options may be costly but have higher chances of success.
Infertility is said to be most common in women than men, but the reality is that only one-third of infertility can be attributed to women, another one-third of infertility cases are problems related to men, and the last one-third can be due to both couples and other causes that are still yet unknown.
To build a family is one of the reasons why a man and a woman get married, but failing to get pregnant can be frustrating to both of them that infertility slowly becomes a couple’s nightmare. Partners should consider getting an examination if the woman is unable to conceive after a year of trying to get pregnant in order to address the problem early on.
Insurers know that to have children and become parents is the essence of being a couple, that is why there are insurance companies who currently cover portions of infertility treatment. Check your policy or talk to your insurer to find out.
In this time of difficulty, remember what Lindsay Sortor, PsyD said, “Finding support from others along a similar path also is helpful.”
Diabetes is a chronic disease that is characterized by high blood sugar levels. The increase in serum blood glucose can result in numerous signs and symptoms in a person’s lifetime. Although the condition affects both men and women alike, specific symptoms are unique to women only. Naturally, because of the physical structure and hormonal reasons, this article will present these unique symptoms and how to manage them once detected.
Congress passed and made the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) a law some ten years ago. With its passing was the rising hope that individuals who suffered from mental health maladies and substance abuse could get treatments as quickly as those who have other conditions.
But almost a decade later, that hope has clipped wings.
“Financial wellness is a component of overall wellness,” according to Joe Lowrance, PsyD.
Many people who have mental health conditions have difficulty finding therapists who accept insurance. Additionally, looking for treatment facilities for PTSD and bipolar disorder that’ll take insurance for inpatient therapy can be very challenging.
Why is that?
The answer lies in how insurance companies are treating mental conditions and substance abuse as well as the treatments appertaining to these said health circumstances.
Milliman, a healthcare consulting firm, found two significant inequalities in the way the insurance market treats addiction and mental health compared to their physical counterpart.
Stacy Notaras Murphy, LPC said “Finances just might be the great equalizer in the counseling room.”
In their analysis of about 42 million medical claims records from various major insurance players, they discovered that:
- Firstly, four to six of ten Americans have to employ out-of-network mental healthcare, and the most likely cause is that a lesser number of psychologists and psychiatrists accept insurances.
- Secondly, for therapists who are in in-network psychological health care, the reimbursements they receive from insurers are significantly less than what primary or specialty care providers get for similar treatments. Example, in 2015, primary medical professionals collected approximately 20% more than mental health professionals did from insurance companies meaning that for every $1 the former got, the latter only had 83 cents.
This common insurance company practice has created an imbalanced system for both mental and physical healthcare and could become the chief reason why psychological therapists wouldn’t accept insurance in the future. And it’s happening as the country is grappling with the rising number of deaths through suicides and overdoses. In fact, the current rates for these two are at their highest in over ten years!
Put Teeth To the Law
2008 saw the passing of a landmark mental parity law. Its goal was to make psychiatric health care and abuse treatments more accessible to people by preventing insurers from erecting blockades to therapy services, something they wouldn’t usually do for physical medical care.
For instance, the law prohibits insurance companies from determining payment caps for addiction and depression treatments, restraints that wouldn’t otherwise be present if the said ministrations were for physical maladies such as an injured foot.
In theory, the law would make broader insurance coverages for mental disorders and addictions while lessening the barriers people seeking psychiatric care might encounter.
But it seems all of that would have to stay on paper.
“I am quite surprised it was this bad,” said a health services company’s former CEO who has worked on parity for a decade now. “I thought we were doing better, but these numbers just proved that insurance companies are still giving mental health little regard after all these years, even after the passing of that landmark law.”
And The Hurting Shows
Caryl suffers from borderline personality disorder while wrestling addiction issues at the same time. She sees a therapist for both conditions weekly. Before, she had a co-payment of $25 for every session she has with the said professional. But in 2015, however, the latter refused to accept her insurance which upped her therapy payments to $110 for every session.
She called ten other therapists asking them if they’re willing to take insurance from new patients and all flatly said no.
“I make $30,000 annually, so those $110 therapy sessions are like luxury items to me. There were weeks I had to choose groceries over visits to my therapist and for someone (like me) who are struggling with jobs, making friends and living, that’s just so wrong,” she lamented. “It feels like I’m not worthy enough to be helped.”
As what one mental health advocate stressed out: “Two of the main reasons why people don’t seek mental health treatments is the scarcity of the providers and the cost for each session. And this reality is hurting a great number of Americans.”
According to Brad Klontz, PsyD, CFP, “If you’d like help managing financial stress and your family’s financial behaviors, consider talking to an expert.”
Are you always stressed about the things that are happening in your life? Do you experience anxiety most of the time? If you answered yes to these two questions, then maybe it is about time to consider eliminating the negative emotions out of your life. Keep in mind that the more stressed and anxious you become, the more dangerous it is for yourself. Aside from this, it can also start to affect your relationship with the people around you.
According to Aarti Gupta, PsyD, “Negative stress, or ‘distress,’ is more chronic, hinders optimal functioning, and can be detrimental to your health.”
For today’s article, allow us to provide you with different ways on how you can make it happen. Make sure that you read the article from start to finish so that you can discover the practical techniques on how to get rid of stress.
Take A Break
One of the essential things that you must never forget is to rest when necessary. Stop making yourself a slave of your work and business. Find time to rest, especially at times when you need it the most. When you are already stressed with the things happening in your office, never feel guilty to take a break. Go home and rest on a weekend. At the same time, you can also consider traveling to a new country or city. You can travel alone or with the people close to you.
Have A Balanced Diet
Are you aware that the food you eat can have adverse effects on your body? Make sure that you focus on choosing healthy and nutritious food. Aside from this, you must also start to eat on time. Do not skip your meals because it will not only make you cranky. At the same time, it can also result in some illnesses or sicknesses. Keep in mind that when you are sick, the chances of experiencing stress also increase.
Amy Lukowski, PsyD said “Find your stressors and effective ways to cope with them – remember that you can learn to control stress because stress comes from how you respond to stressful events.”
Relax And Have Fun
You must stop thinking about negative thoughts as you are trying to survive life. Remember that you can take control of all the circumstances that will come your way. You can always select or choose how to react to the situation that you encounter. What is essential is that you remain relaxed at all times. Do not let anything or anyone annoy you easily. Be bigger than your issues so that you will not feel stressed out.
Choose Your Daily Company
Another thing that you must never forget is the significance of learning how to choose your friends right. As much as possible, keep yourself away from those who constantly make you feel bad. They do not deserve your attention and care. Instead, surround yourself with those who encourage bringing out the best in you. These are the persons who are supposed to stay in your life because they care for you. Remember that you are too great to be with those who can bring out the worst in you.
Stress is easy to eliminate as long as you know the right things to do. Keep yourself happy, and everything will start to improve soon. Follow everything we mentioned above for a better you!
According to Dr. Sal Raichbach PsyD, LCSW, “The key is to find someone who understands your condition, and that won’t say things like ‘just relax’ or ‘stop worrying so much,'” since that can feel invalidating. What you really want is someone who will let you vent, and offer support when you need it.”
There are many things that you need to remember when it comes to staying healthy. As much as possible, it is essential to keep yourself fit and healthy at all times. Remember that when you encounter a medical condition or an illness, it can have a ripple of adverse effects in your life. First of all, you may end up draining your finances because of the treatment or medication. Second, you will put a lot of stress and anxiety in your family members. Of course, they will worry once you get sick. Third, you may experience a lot of pain and inconvenience.
Fortunately, taking care of your health is not a big problem at all. You can be happy with your life while trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Stop making excuses for not acting right today. Take note that the more you value your health, the better it is on your part. In this article, we are going to share or provide you with easy and practical ways on how to stay healthy. Here are the top things to remember:
Get Enough Sleep
When was the last time you had seven or eight hours full sleep? If you cannot remember when then that is an indication that you have to change your sleeping patterns. Stop depriving yourself of sufficient sleep. Keep in mind that staying up late in the night will not do you any good. It will only tire you out the following day and even put you in a bad mood. On the other hand, sleeping early can keep your energized and stress-free.
Discover what therapists have to say about sleep:
- “We know that getting enough sleep, eating nutrient-rich foods, and participating in physical activities (that we actually enjoy) are all vital for our well-being.” – Casey Radle, LPC
- “Wake up and go to sleep.” – David J. Norton, LPC
- “Getting good sleep can be a challenge for many, yet sleep is truly a vital component to life.” – Megan MacCutcheon, LPC
Be Physically Active
As much as possible, find time to go to the gym or do your home exercises. Stop thinking that you are too busy with physical activities. If you do not change this mindset, there is a high chance that you will suffer from illnesses or sicknesses. Remember that exercising will not only health you prevent from encountering medical issues. At the same time, it can also improve your mental awareness. When this happens, you can get a guarantee that your life will be a lot better.
Avoid Stress At All Times
Do you know the things or people that continue to add stress in your life? Make sure to avoid them as soon as possible. Do not wait before it is too late for you to get out of a compromising situation. Remind yourself that you are absolutely in control of everything that is happening in your life. Never let anyone or anything cause you stress. Take note that too much stress or anxiety can affect your physical health and mental health. If you keep on entertaining negative emotions in your life, you may end up getting depressed. Depression can make you feel down most of the time. Aside from this, it can also make you want to harm yourself at times.
Take care of your overall health while you are still young. Always prioritize self-care as it can offer you tons of benefits in the future.