Women's Health And The Mammogram Controversy

Despite the urgings of national health organizations for women to have annual or biannual mammograms after the age of 40, uncertainty and controversy about the procedure persists. Based on cumulative evidence, screening mammography has become standard health care in many countries. However, the value of the procedure has been challenged by two Danish researchers who reviewed the major clinical trials of
screening mammography declared that five of the seven trials were flawed and that none demonstrated that it saved lives.
The report, originally published in the Lancet in January 2000, was written by Peter Gotzsche and Ole Olsen from the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen. It found that most of the seven studies reviewed were invalid, in part because they failed to assign women to screened and non-screened groups. The two studies that did randomize women correctly, the researchers said, showed no value to mammography. Cancer experts from around the world overwhelmingly denounced this report. Even the researchers’ own institution distanced itself from the report, stating that the findings had not been submitted to the Nordic Cochrane Center’s usual rigorous review.
After the storm of criticism, the Danish authors have reevaluated their original data and declared that it “confirmed and strengthened” their original conclusions, stating that “screening mammography is unjustified because there is no reliable evidence that it reduces mortality.”
Many women are now wondering if they should continue to have annual mammograms. After all, for many years women were told to do self examinations of their breasts, but recently that advice was discontinued after a large study found it completely ineffective at reducing the death rate from breast cancer.
However, other experts have challenged the iconoclastic report and contend that mammography is lifesaving. The American Cancer Society found no reason to alter its recommendation for annual mammographic screening for women over 40 years of age. The National Cancer Institute found that the screening test contributed to a pronounced drop in the death rate from breast cancer. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, concludes that 28 to 65 percent of the sharp decrease in breast cancer deaths from 1990 to 2000 was due to mammograms. The remainder was due to powerful new drugs to treat breast cancer.
In the era since mammography has become widely used, the size of tumors at the time of detection has declined along with the death rate from breast cancer. During the early 1980’s, when only 13 percent of women in the United States received mammograms, the average tumor size at detection was about three centimeters. By the late 1990’s, 60 percent of women were having regular mammograms, and the average tumor size had shrunk to two centimeters, according to data from the Cancer Society and the National Center for Health Statistics.
This seemingly small difference in tumor size is extremely significant in terms of prognosis. On average, the larger a tumor is, the longer (or faster) it has been growing, with a subsequent correlation between tumor size and metastasis. More aggressive, debilitating treatment must be undertaken against large tumors, and even with this, survival chances of women with large tumors are worse than those of women with smaller tumors.
Of course, there are always exceptions, and some small tumors are aggressive and spread early, while some larger tumors are slow-growing and remain localized. Currently, it is impossible to distinguish between them by mammography. Even after biopsy and microscopic exam, it is difficult to predict how a tumor will grow.
There have been claims made that the recent reduction in breast cancer mortality, nearly 2 percent a year since 1990, is due to improved drugs and treatment. However, there is evidence that early detection has made a major contribution. A 29-year follow-up of breast cancer deaths in two Swedish counties published in 2001 revealed a 63 percent decline in the death rate from breast cancer in women who were offered mammography, and no decline in the death rate in unscreened women, even though the same improved treatments were available to all.
Currently, all major U.S. medical organizations recommend screening mammography for women 40 and older, claiming that the procedure reduces breast cancer mortality by 20 to 35 percent in women ages 50 to 59 and slightly less in women 40 to 49 at 14 years follow-up.
Mammography is an imperfect screening tool. It sometimes produces false-negative results: in women under 50, mammography is likely to miss 20 to 25 percent of existing cancers, and in women over 50, it misses 8 to 10 percent. Because of this, when a woman or her physician feels a suspicious breast lump that does not appear on a mammogram, it should be examined by some other means, such as biopsy.

Women's Health and Fitness – Weight Training To Lose Weight

Weight gain is a lot easier as you grow older particularly as the motivation to exercise also wanes, but you can turn it around it does not matter how old you are.  You should start to weave some sort of exercise into your daily life. 
One type of exercise that you should consider to do is weight training, also known as strength training or resistance training.  Weight training will not only help with losing weight but will also trim and tone your
body. Age does not matter it has been shown that women as old as 70 who have started to weight train and have improved their body strength within a very short while.
Weight training is an important element in fighting flab; maybe it is the most important.  If you do aerobic exercise you only burn fat during the exercise but with weight training you burn fat even when you have finished.  The body is still burning fat for up to as much as twelve hours after finishing the exercise whilst it is building the muscles worked, so you can still be burning fat while you are resting.  But that is not the end of the story.
A body full of muscle uses far more calories than a body full of fat, so you will find that you will need to eat more to maintain your weight and your muscle.   You do not need to worry that you will bulk up like a body builder, as you do not have the right makeup to do this, as a woman you will only elongate and define your muscles, and build lean muscles.
When you first start to weight train you might find that your weight will actually increase. This is because muscle is heavier than fat but as muscle is smaller so you should notice the body getting smaller even if the scales do not show an decrease in weight.
The additional benefits from weight training are:-
1. It helps to strengthen and increase the density of your bones because the act of the muscles pulling and flexing the bones helps to lay down more bone fibre.
2.  Stronger muscles helps your body to be more steady and so helps to prevent falls.
3.  It has also been found that it can fight the build up of abdominal fat by lifting weights at least twice a week.  
Finally when weight training make sure that you change your routine around so that the body can not get use to the routine.  It only takes the body about six weeks for it to learn how to work efficiently if keeping to the same routine and therefore you will stop seeing any weight or body changes.
So have fun and start weight training to lose weight and tone your body.

Women's Health and Fitness – Reducing Cortisol Levels Can Help You To Lose Weight

It is now known that stress can actually stop you losing weight especially around your middle.  Stress can cause your body to secrete high levels of cortisol hormone into your bloodstream, because of your body’s “flight or fight” response to stress.  Stress can be either psychological (mental and emotional) or physical.
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and is actually important for the regulation of blood pressure, the
immune system and many other functions.  Cortisol can be good in small amounts but high levels can lead to an increase of abdominal fat, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and can also increase your bad cholesterol levels and decrease your good cholesterol levels. 
High levels of cortisol can also decrease your bone density, leading to osteoporosis and loss of muscle tissue, which will also slow down your metabolic rate, and it can also increase your blood pressure along with other problems.
Each of you will react differently to stress; some of you will produce more cortisol to a particular stress while others will produce less.  It has been found that those of you that produce more cortisol will actually eat more food as well, in particular carbohydrates.
What you need to do to combat producing too much cortisol is to learn ways to relax and also to maybe change your lifestyle.
Relaxation can be achieved in a number of ways either by exercising, mediation, yoga or breathing to start with.
Maybe one of the easiest and simplest ways is breathing.  This is done by gently breathing in through the nose, gently expanding your abdomen and then gently expelling the air through your nose pulling in your abdomen at the same time.  Whilst breathing out the air you need to focus on that breath.   After several breaths in and out you should start to feel yourself relax.  You need to practice doing this exercise a few minutes a day to start with building up to five minutes in the end.  You can also practice this when you are feeling stressed or when things are getting on top of you.  Just a few minutes can slow your body down and help it to feel relax.
Life style changes can be like changing your eating habits for a healthier diet, getting enough sleep, or even organizing your time more efficiently so that you do not feel so stressed.  Also looking after your body will help your body to cope with stresses that you come across during your day.
So if you are exercising frequently and eating properly but still not losing any weight especially from around the middle then maybe you are suffering from high levels of cortisol caused by stress.  Look at ways to solve the problem and hopefully then you should see a difference in your weight and around your middle.

Women's Health and Fitness – 10 Tips On How To Look Younger

Appearance is very important, it is the first thing you notice when you meet someone.  As you grow older the body starts to let you down, but there are a few things that you can do.  Some ideas are very simple, while others need a bit of work but they can all help to turn back the clock and make you look younger.
1. Standing up straight is one of the best ways to look younger and more confident.  Standing straight, with shoulders back and down with your tummy pulled in.  At first you will need to practice and check yourself that you are standing up straight but soon it will become second nature.  Doing exercises to strengthen your tummy muscles will also help.
2.  Having enough sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours a night will make you feel healthier and younger.  Your body needs sleep so that it can repair your body cells and refresh you mind.
3.  Smiling makes you look radiant and younger.  Smiling also distracts from areas that show your age.  A smile just changes your whole face, try standing in front of a mirror and see what smile can do for your face.
4.  Just because you are older does not necessarily mean that you have to have a short haircut.  It all depends on the shape of your face, a short hairstyle can be cut to flatter and frame your face.  This can be great to draw attention away from signs of ageing.  Though longer hairstyles can be just as flattering as long as you have a good haircut that is shaped and maybe layered.  A good hairdresser should be able to advise on the best way to cut your hair, as it does not just depend on the shape of your face but also on the texture and volume of your hair.
5.  Colouring your hair is also a great way to hide the tale tell grey hairs.  It is best to choose a colour that is close to your original colour so that it naturally compliments your facial tones.  Otherwise you can have high lights or low lights put into your hair, and these do not require re-doing as frequently as an all over colour.
6.  Choose the right clothes to compliment your body and hide the areas that you do not like.  For example if you have flabby arms you can wear three quarter length sleeves to hide them. Soft colours will help you look younger because your skin tones become greyer as you get older.   
7.  Keep your teeth clean, with brushing and flossing, and with regular visits to the dentist to have your teeth checked.  Getting teeth cleaned to prevent plague build up can also save you losing teeth unnecessarily.  If your teeth are discoloured, the dentist might suggest whitening them, so that you will be happy to smile and show off your teeth.
8.  Losing weight can also help you look younger.  Make sure that as you lose weight that you tone your body with aerobic and resistance exercises.
9.  Make-up can also help as long as you do not cake it on.  Use a light foundation that does not sink into the wrinkles and emphasis them is better than a heavier one that does.  Be careful about which eyeshadows to use, cream ones will sink into your wrinkles. 
10.  Look after your skin.  Do not clean your face with soap and water but with a proper cleanser so that it dissolves all the make-up on the face and cleanses it properly.  Always make sure that you remove your make-up every night as one night leaving it on can age your skin eight days.  After cleaning your skin make sure that you moisture it so that it keeps your skin hydrated and younger looking.
With the aids that have been shown above on how to look younger, start today by choosing a couple of ideas, implement them and watch the changes in your appearance.

Women's Health Advice: Discover Anti Aging Vitamins

Women age as their body cells die and when new healthy cell generation is hindered simultaneously. Premature aging can result from inadequate nutrition caused by years of poor dietary habits. Why? Because our bodies need certain amounts of vitamins to produce healthy cells and repair damaged cells. For many women, healthy cells can promote anti aging more than anything else
Free Radicals: Enemies to Your Anti Aging Efforts
When your diet lacks the vitamins needed for healthy cell rejuvenation, it will produce high amounts of free radicals, or highly reactive oxygen molecules. Free radicals will attack your healthy cells, thus, accelerating the aging process. Foods high in fat content, pesticides and ultraviolet radiation exposure can also contribute to free radical production and hinder your anti aging efforts.
Vitamins for Anti Aging
Vitamins have been a source of good women’s health for years, but new discoveries through the cutting edge science in genomics reveal that certain amounts of vitamins are needed to promote healthy cell rejuvenation and anti aging. Let’s look at some of the anti-aging vitamins below.
Antioxidants
Some of the vitamins found in many berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries and grapes are natural antioxidants that help rid your body of harmful toxins that can hinder your anti-aging efforts.  Green tea is also a good source of natural antioxidants. Toxins are introduced to the body every day in the foods you eat and pollutants in the air.  Though you cannot feel anything, toxins are well at work to destroy good, healthy cells and speed up your aging process!
Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3, or niacin, helps the body to convert calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates into energy. It aids in digestive functions as well as promotes healthy nerves and skin. This vitamin can be found in peanuts, yeast, eggs, meat, poultry and fish. It’s also one of the key ingredients for anti-aging supplements.
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, aids in brain function and the conversion of protein into energy. It can be found in pork, fish, poultry, eggs, soybeans, whole grains, bananas, nuts and seeds, and oats.
Vitamin Blends
There are also anti-aging products with vitamin blends that combine a number of cell-promoting vitamins into one ingredient. These vitamins are carefully measured to give you just the right amount for proper cell rejuvenation. Thanks to cutting edge science in genomics, companies are now able to include just the right balance of vitamins for each cycle of life.
Reduce Dairy Product Intake
Dairy products such as milk and cheese contain Casein, which is a common food allergen that depletes immune cells. Replace some of your dairy products with other calcium-rich foods such as soy, juice, rice, salmon, sardines, broccoli, and collard greens.
Other vitamins that promote anti aging and healthy cells include Vitamin E, Selenium, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.
As you can see, vitamins are essential for skin beauty, strong bones and joints, and healthy cell generation. With all the new anti aging products, it’s easier than ever to get all the vitamins you need.