Tag Archives: women’s health

A low-fat diet and weight loss may help reduce menopausal symptoms in women

Food Facts understands that women going through menopause experience a number of symptoms that interfere with their daily lives. It can go well beyond “discomfort”, having tremendous negative effects that are individual for every women experiencing this transitional time of life.

The most common menopausal symptoms for most women are weight gain, the inability to lose weight and “hot flashes” – episodes of body heating accompanied by intense sweating. In the past, women have been prescribed hormone replacement therapies. And in recent years those replacement therapies have been called into question for their possible effects on women’s health.

A new study just released is pointing to a low-fat diet as key in reducing these often-traumatic symptoms. Researchers studied 17,473 menopausal women and followed their results as the women ate a diet of low-fat, high-fiber, whole-grain foods without using any hormone replacement therapies. Those women involved in the study who lost either 10 pounds or 10 percent of their body weight were less likely to have hot flashes or night sweats than women who did not lose weight. Women who lost more than 22 pounds found that their symptoms were eliminated completely.

“Since most women tend to gain weight with age, weight loss or weight gain prevention may offer a viable strategy to help eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause,” said study author Bette Caan, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. “Because fat insulates the body, increased body fat may worsen hot flashes and night sweats, which are caused by a complex interaction between hormones, brain chemicals and sweat glands during menopause. The less fat a person has, the more easily the body can dissipate heat,” Caan said.

In the past, there has been research associating body weight with the severity of menopausal symptoms. This study, however, is the first to link a healthy diet and losing weight to the reversal of symptoms.

Data for the study was gathered during The Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modifications trial. U.S. women were tracked in the trial between 1993 and 1998 to study how a low-fat diet affects many different health issues, menopausal symptoms, included. While the diet focused on reducing fat and increasing intake of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, its focus was not on weight loss, but overall health. Women in the study following the diet lost about 4.5 pounds each year. But surprisingly, the study also revealed that women who didn’t lose weight, but followed the diet also experienced a reduction in their symptoms. This may be because of the high-fiber increase as other studies have shown a connection here. It’s worth it to note that after a year of following the diet, the women studied were 3x more likely to lose weight than other menopausal women. Since weight gain, and difficulty losing weight is such a prevalent complaint among menopausal women, the simple adoption of a low-fat diet can have a tremendous, positive effect on so many women’s lives as they age.
While, more study is needed, one thing is fairly clear. A high-fiber, low fat diet promises more benefits than heart health and may be a simple answer to the discomfort women have lived with for generations during this important stage of their lives.

Food Facts is excited to bring our community this important information that can have real impact on there lives! Read more about it: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711101030.htm and http://www.ajc.com/health/can-weight-loss-cool-1476751.html

7 heart attack symptoms that Women often overlook

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Foodfacts.com looks into what signs Women may not want to avoid when it comes to their health and their heart’s. Conventional wisdom has it that heart attacks come out of the blue. We’re also trained to expect a heart attack to happen a certain way: The victim clutches his chest, writhes in pain, and collapses. But for women, it often doesn’t happen that way. Study after study shows heart attacks and heart disease are under-diagnosed in women, with the explanation being that they didn’t have symptoms.

But research shows that’s not the case. Women who’ve had heart attacks realize, looking back, that they experienced significant symptoms — they just didn’t recognize them as such.

In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 95 percent of women (that’s almost all!) who’d had heart attacks reported experiencing symptoms that were decidedly new or different from their previous experience a month or more before their attacks.

Even when a heart attack is occurring, women are often slow to realize what’s happening and call a doctor. The reason? Women’s heart attack symptoms are different than men’s. This failure to recognize heart attack signs in women has led to a grim statistic: Women are more likely to die from sudden cardiac death than men are, and two thirds of women who have a heart attack don’t recover completely.

To prevent a heart attack from sneaking up on you, watch for these 7 little-known signs of heart attack

The Top Little-Known Signs of Heart Attack

Fatigue. More than 70 percent of women in the NIH study reported extreme fatigue in the month or months prior to their heart attacks. This was not just your run-of-the-mill tiredness — the kind you can power through — this was an overwhelming fatigue that sidelined them from their usual schedules for a few days at a time.

Sleeplessness or Insomnia. Despite their fatigue, women who’ve had heart attacks remember experiencing unexplained inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the month before their heart attacks.

Anxiety and Stress. Stress has long been known to up the risk of heart attack. But what women report is the emotional experience; before their heart attacks they felt anxious, stressed, and keyed up, noticeably more than usual. Moments before or during a heart attack, many women report a feeling they describe as “impending doom;” they’re aware that something’s drastically wrong and they can’t cope, but they’re not sure what’s going on.

Indigestion or Nausea. Stomach pain, intestinal cramps, nausea, and digestive disruptions are another sign reported by women heart attack patients. Become familiar with your own digestive habits, and pay attention when anything seems out of whack. Note especially if your system seems upset and you haven’t eaten anything out of the ordinary.

Shortness of Breath. Of the women in the NIH study, more than 40 percent remembered experiencing this symptom. One of the comments the women made is that they noticed they couldn’t catch their breath while walking up the stairs or doing other daily tasks.

Flu-Like Symptoms. Clammy, sweaty skin, along with feeling lightheaded and weak, can lead women to wonder if they have the flu when, in fact, they’re having a heart attack.

Jaw, Ear, Neck, or Shoulder Pain. While pain and numbness in the chest, shoulder, and arm is a common sign of heart attack (at least, among men), women often don’t experience the pain this way. Instead, many women say they felt pain and a sensation of tightness running along their jaw and down the neck, and sometimes up to the ear, as well. The pain may extend down to the shoulder and arm–particularly on the left side–or it may feel like a backache or pulled muscle in the neck and back.

In addition to the symptoms they do have, women differ from men in another significant way — they may not experience many of the symptoms we traditionally associate with heart attacks. This, experts say, is a major reason why women’s heart attacks go unrecognized and untreated. Almost half of all women in the NIH study felt no chest pain, even during the heart attack itself. Numbness is another symptom women may not experience, experts say.

If your body is doing unusual things and you just don’t feel “right,” don’t wait. Go see your doctor and ask for a thorough work-up. And if you have any risk factors for cardiac disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, or family history of heart disease, mention these to the doctor. Time is of the essence, so don’t count on medical staff to know your background or read your chart — tell them your risk factors right away, so your condition can be evaluated fully and completely.

Information provided by: Yahoo health