Category Archives: Mind•Body•Soul

Women and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease has a striking impact on the lives of individuals, but it can be especially strong for women–whether they are living with the disease or they are caregivers, relatives, friends, or loved ones of those directly affected.

So, why do we feel that women are impacted more significantly than their male counterparts? The answer is that we do not completely understand the why but we do know that Alzheimer’s dementia disproportionately affects women in a variety of ways. According to Alzheimer’s Association research, women are 2.5 times more likely to provide 24-hour care for an affected relative than males. Many of them have been forced to quit work or reduce their work schedules to do so. This can have a long-term effect on them financially, emotionally, and physically.

In addition, women make up nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s today.  The Alzheimer’s Association states in their 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, that an estimated 3.3 million women aged 65 and older in the United States have this disease.

Researchers are passionately working to determine if or why women develop the disease at a higher rate than men. Even though women live longer than men and age is a significant risk factor, researchers suggest that longevity alone may not account for the unequal disease burden that women face. Studies have revealed that there may be distinct biological and genetic factors shaping how the disease develops and progresses in women.

The Alzheimer’s Association concludes that more research is needed to understand the different roles that genetics, hormones and lifestyle factors play in Alzheimer’s in men and women. Several factors now in the spotlight that are potentially modifiable are years of education, occupation, exercise, diet, stress, anxiety and sleep. A better understanding of these differences will be extremely important as we move forward with more effective strategies for treating, preventing, and diagnosing Alzheimer’s.

With all the unknowns, we can say that Alzheimer’s disease remains one of the most critical public health issues in America. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leader in advocating for public policy issues and critical research funding. Call 1.800.272.3900 or www.alz.org to see how you can join the fight.

Resources:
Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures reports and excerpts from “Sex biology contributions to vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease”: A think tank convened by the Women’s Alzheimer’s Research Initiative.  The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Submitted by Annette Clark, MsG, Alzheimer’s Association, Family Services Director

 

Top 10 Romantic Getaways in the US

We all need a vacation sometimes, and that’s inevitable. What better time to start planning a romantic getaway than in the month of love? Whether that means a getaway accessible by car, or by hopping on a plane for a few hours, I have a few beautiful trips that don’t even require a passport.

#10 Indianapolis, IN
If the city is your cup of tea for a vacation, this city does it all. Many of the hotels here celebrate their love of art, sports, or both. A short walk leads to museums, restaurants, shopping, monuments, and sports arenas. At night, a lighted Canal Walk gives a tour of the city and sinks you into sweet dreams.

#9 Ketchum, ID
With a “small town” and European blend, this vacation was meant for keeping a packed schedule while relaxing. Breathtaking mountains offer stunning views that are also known for skiing. Music and art play a large role in the community, and day trips to the nearby Sun Valley offer many outdoor adventures.

#8 Portland, OR
This location truly has something for everyone. Contemporary art tends to be a common theme throughout the city with modern inventions making their way into society. City life sits right on the water, and you are always a short ride to mountains and hiking. Music and museums reign, night life is bustling, and a good restaurant is always in reach.

#7 Gatlinburg, TN
Maintaining timeless beauty for years, the mountains in Gatlinburg are a second home that call to you once you’ve begun to return home. With plenty of dining and shows to see within 30 minutes of anywhere, there is a guarantee to never be bored. Horse and buggy and skyline rides offer an insider’s view that can never be forgotten.

#6 Napa Valley, CA
Modern cottages are nestled in acres of wine country in this part of California. With elaborate pools, 4 and 5 star restaurants, and plenty of shopping, Napa Valley will make for an unforgettable experience and some great pictures. If hotels aren’t your thing, there are many camping sites that allow hunting, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

holding-hands-1599054_1920#5 Pittsboro, NC
Writers, authors, and musicians have all been bred from this area due to the luscious landscapes and the love for the arts. Bed and breakfasts and small inns are popular in this neck of the woods, and the Fearrington House is your perfect destination for a place to stay and a full blown spa.

#4 Barnard, VT
Many writers and journalists have passed through this area of Vermont, and have described the crisp air and clean spirit that it holds. This vacation would be perfect in the fall; leaves changing with the background of cottages, barns, and old farms. Silver Lake State Park provides beauty through the seasons, and peace and quiet are sure to help you wind down in this small town.

#3 Newport, RI
Many mansions serve as hotels in this little town, and they sit quietly on the coast. Despite how warm or cold the weather, the sound of water lapping the rocks and views of sailboats always cleanse the soul. Downtown, you can explore small, privately owned shops and great food. If you’re looking for a tan, small stretches of beach can be found all around town.

#2 Savannah, GA
Historic buildings and cobblestones bring many people to this location for their vacations. Southern hospitality keeps shops and sidewalks full, and meal times aren’t ever set in stone because deciding on a restaurant is far too difficult. Scary ghost stories don’t keep people from going out at night and even going on ghost tours. Music, water sports, and theaters are also large parts of the community.

#1: Little Torch Key, FL
It’s as close to the Caribbean as you can get without leaving the country. Little Torch Key is a small town in Florida that is right off the coast, accessible by boat or small plane. Tiki themed barbecues and thatched roofs throughout the small island provide the lasting impression of a friendly Caribbean town, and the white sand and crystal waters don’t hurt either.

 

Written by Zoe Pierson

Apps to Help You Reach Your Goals!

Whether or not you’ve gone through countless resolutions since the year began, every day is a new chance to change yourself for the better. Here’s a list of apps that can easily keep you on track for the rest of year:

For staying organized:
Try Cozi Family Organizer (IOS):
Keep the whole family on track with family calendars, shopping lists, to-dos, and journals! Anyone with an IOS device can sign into the joint account through their individual emails and send or receive notifications.

For working on getting or perfecting a job:
Try LinkedIn:
If you don’t have this one yet, what are you waiting for? LinkedIn is a portable resume that’s perfect for when you’re looking for a job, networking, or want advice in your field. You can receive notifications anywhere, that are purely career related.

To stop smoking or limit junk foods:
Try Quitter:
This app really helps to keep you motivated once you quit a habit. Whether that’s smoking or limiting eating out, you can see how long you’ve been without the habit, and just how much money you’ve saved thus far. What could be better than a healthier lifestyle and a fatter wallet?

To organize your finances:
Try mint.com Personal Finance:
With the convenience of a website and an app, you can access this one from everywhere! Once you link your account–and you can link multiple–you can manage everything from small bills to loans, credit, and retirement.

To get (and stay in!) shape:
Try Sworkit- Circuit Training Workouts:
This easily personalized app can generate home or gym workouts which can include strength training or yoga. You can set the duration of your workout and be stress free!

To eat healthier:
Try MyFitnessPal:
This app uses a fitness tracker and calorie counter to help you to lose weight. With a database of over 5 million foods, it will help you to keep a calorie in- calorie out balance. Although, this one is geared more towards the food aspect of health versus an advanced fitness tracker.

To learn a new language:
Try Duolingo:
Using short bursts of lessons throughout your use of the app, this app uses its small periods of time with memory skills to help you to develop knowledge of a new language.

To be more informed:
Try TEDTALKS:
If you want to be more educated on anything from history to politics, TedTalks are led by experts in the field who discuss their experiences, and shower their wisdom through interactive lectures. The best part is that you get to pick what you want to learn when you want to learn!

To manage stress or anxiety:
Try Pacifica:
When given attention, this app tracks and analyzes your everyday moods to help you manage stress and anxiety. It can even connect you to other applications that help you to sleep or connect with a therapist.

To do more charity/ volunteer work:
Try Volunteer Finder (IOS) / Volunteer Near You (Android):
If you’re feeling like getting involved in the community, this app helps to locate volunteer opportunities around your area and connect you to them.

So go out and make it a better year AND a better you!

 

Written by Zoë Pierson

Healthy Skin in Winter

With a new year before us, it’s time to get away from the bad habits we developed during the end of the year chaos. We don’t know about you, but we’ve noticed that our skin is certainly paying the price. Let’s start 2017 with a fresh, clean slate by committing to taking better care of it with these easy steps:

Put some thought into the products you are using as part of your daily routine. We are in love with charcoal soaps. They help draw out skin impurities and make room for your moisturizer to do its job effectively. It’s also great if your poor dietary choices over the last month (ahem…guilty) are showing as blemishes on your skin. Our current favorite is by Apotheke. The handcrafted bar soap is stirred, poured, cut, and wrapped by hand. To top it all off, it is made with natural ingredients like coconut, olive, and palm oil. Find it on www.apothekeco.com.

obagiOf course, it should be obvious that you need to moisturize. Hydrate facial moisturizers by Obagi Medical are great for rejuvenating the skin after cleansing. It also doesn’t hurt to visit a professional and develop a regime that works best for you. For that, we place all of our trust in the ladies at Skin Care Consulting (www.skincareconsultinginc.com).

Protect the fruits of your moisturizing by taking one extra step before bed. Sleep with a humidifier. Not only will it help with your sinuses and even snoring, it also comforts your skin after a day in the cold, dry air of winter. When you wake up, you will retain some of that moisture in your face, lips, and even your hands.

Make sure you aren’t sabotaging all of your effort by putting the wrong things into your body. If you want that glowing, smooth complexion to return now that all of the holiday cakes and cookies are gone, think of each meal like cleansing and moisturizing. Our favorite solutions in the winter months are adding more salmon to our diets and committing to juicing every day. Try tossing two carrots, a beet, some ginger root, an apple, and just a splash of lemon into your juicer for a drink that will boost your energy and help your skin.

Use an infuser water bottle to really get the serving of fruit that you need every day. An extra bonus? It makes drinking water a lot more satisfying. If you’re trying to cut out soda (which, let’s be honest, everyone should do), this is a great way to ease yourself into the habit of drinking water instead. You should try to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, so add some blueberries and strawberries to those servings and pretend it’s summer!

Bella’s Floyd Yoga Jam Adventure

We spent the majority of our Labor Day weekend at Floyd Yoga Jam. In the mornings, a calm fog settled over the mountain as we awoke to the sound of a flute playing in the distance. Slowly, we made our way out of our tents, in search of coffee and the perfect spot to spread out our yoga mats.

FullSizeRender-2A sign on the trail reminded us to “believe in magic.” But, what is magic exactly? In a world where all that stands between you and what you want is a search bar on a tiny screen, it is hard to remember what we identified as magical in younger, simpler times. We were, of course, torn from those tiny screens as we made the trek up the mountain. One by one, our phones began to read, “No Signal.” Our attention turned to the surroundings, the people, and then almost remarkably inward.

Somewhere between our Thursday night arrival and our departure late Sunday, we felt the release of tension in our backs, our shoulders, and our spirits. As beginners, we worried that we would not be welcomed with open arms by those more experienced with yoga its various forms. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The instructors and fellow Jam attendees not only welcomed us, they inspired us to keep learning once our time on the mountain was over.

IMG_8675We can’t wait to go back to Yoga Jam next year! In the meantime, we’ve checked out videos and books from the library and scheduled classes to keep learning. What was once intimidating is now a deeply intriguing subject that we can’t wait to explore further. Thank you to everyone at Floyd Yoga Jam who made these beginners feel at home!

The Sun is More Fun When Playing Safe

Temperatures are high this summer, and Southwest Virginia is filled with outdoor activities to enjoy with family and friends. The Roanoke Alleghany district of Virginia’s Department of Health encourages you to follow key tips to remain healthy while enjoying the sunny, warm weather this summer.

Summer offers many opportunities to explore the great outdoors and enjoy fun-filled activities with your family and friends, but taking precautions against the dangers of sun and heat-related illnesses is critical to keeping you adventure-ready for the long haul.

The human body is made up of at least 60 percent water, and when Virginia summer temperatures rise into the 90s and above 100 degrees, the body cools itself by sweating. To continue to keep cool in extended periods of high heat, it is important to replace the water expelled through sweat. And, to know that under some conditions, sweating isn’t enough to keep cool. The following symptoms could indicate a serious condition:

  • thirst-1474240_1920Dehydration—During extreme heat your body loses fluid through sweating.  Dehydration results from the excessive loss of water and salts from the body, due to illness or from prolonged exposure to heat.  To prevent dehydration drink more water than usual, 2 to 4 cups of water while outside.
  • Heat Cramps— Muscle cramps may be the first sign of heat related illness. Heat cramps are painful, involuntary muscle spasms that usually occur during heavy physical activity in hot environments. Muscles most often affected include those of your calves, arms, abdominal wall, and back. If you are suffering from heat cramps, rest for several hours and drink clear juice or a sports drink that contains electrolytes.
  • Heat Exhaustion— Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses too much water and salt from sweating during hot temperatures. The elderly, people who work outside and people with high blood pressure bear the highest risk. Symptoms include sweating, skin that’s cold and pale, fainting, nausea/vomiting and a rapid weak pulse. If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler location and lie down. Apply cool, wet cloths and sip water.
  • Heat Stroke— Heat stroke is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures or by doing physical activity in hot weather. Sweating has usually stopped and your body temperature becomes too high. Skin is red, hot, dry or moist. Pulse is rapid and weak. It is important to know that body temperatures can reach dangerous temperatures (as high as 106 degrees) in just 15 minutes. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention.  Call 911. Do not give fluids.

Throughout your community there are resources available to help you know when to prepare for high temperatures. Local newspapers and meteorologists will announce when excessive heat is headed your way. These terms can help you understand the science of high heat warning signs.

  • Heat Index: is a measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature.
  • UV Index: indicates the risk of overexposure to solar UV radiation on a scale of 0 (low) to 11 or more (high)
  • Excessive Heat Outlooks: Excessive heat event predicted in the next 3-7 days.
  • Excessive Heat Watches: Excessive heat event predicted in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning/Advisories: Excessive heat event predicted in the next 36 hours.

To avoid the complications of sun and heat related illnesses, protect your family with these key prevention tips:

Wear Sunscreen
Always apply UVA/UVB sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or greater to exposed skin at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours.

Drink water
When the temperature rises, it is important to drink plenty of water. Drinks that contain caffeine, large amounts of sugar or alcohol should be avoided because they can cause dehydration.

Stay Indoors
On hot days, prevent illness by keeping cool indoors. If your home is not air conditioned, try to spend the hottest hours of the day in a cool public place such as a library, movie theater, or store.

summer-877464_1920Dress for the heat
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats and sunglasses or to use an umbrella.

Limit physical activity
Avoid excessive physical exertion in hot temperatures, especially in the middle of the day. If you must work outdoors, stay hydrated by drinking 2-4 glasses of water each hour and take frequent breaks in a cool place. Even a few hours in an air-conditioned environment reduces the danger of heat-related illness.

Do not keep children or pets in cars
Temperatures inside a car with windows up can reach over 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.

Check on your neighbors
Although anyone can suffer heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. People aged 65 or older are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses and complications that can result during periods of high temperatures and humidity.

If you are experiencing symptoms, please visit your local healthcare professional or dial 911.

For additional public health Information visit the Virginia health department website at www.vdh.virginia.gov or the national Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov.

————–

This article is part two of a five-part series from the Alleghany District of the Virginia Department of Health meant to inform local residents about the risks and preventive measures they can take to protect the health of their families and friends this summer. 

The Roanoke Alleghany Health District is working to prevent epidemics and the spread of disease, protect the environment, prevent injury, promote and encourage healthy behavior, respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery, and assure the quality and accessibility of health services for all members of our community.

The MELT Method

Exercise is an important daily component to life. It increases energy levels, while still providing many positive health benefits. However, working out doesn’t have to be all about running, burpees, or weights. Exercise is meant to be peace for the body and should require little to no pain.  The MELT Method combines pain-free healing for the body that most fitness plans can’t offer.

Sue Hitzmann, MS, CST, NMT, is the creator of the MELT Method. Her main goal for the treatment technique was to stop and prevent chronic pain in aging, active bodies. Hitzmann’s yoga based method has proven to improve bodies with her MELT Method 3-disc DVD set. The DVD is the companion to the New York Times’ bestselling book, The MELT Method. With Hitzmann’s techniques, a soft body roller, and four different compression balls, MELT can help restore your body to its natural health.

Roller bentIn the instructional DVD’s, Hitzmann outlines the method to her breakthrough self-treatment. It’s important to have a balanced nervous system and healthy connective tissue to live without chronic pain.  She outlines the 4 R’s of MELTing– reconnect, rebalance, rehydrate, release. These components help reach the goal of a balanced nervous system and healthy connective tissue.

It’s time to try a different exercise routine to something more calming for the body than the usual elliptical! Regular exercise is essential, but it’s also essential to enjoy what you’re doing to keep in good health. This technique can be a great element for mind, body, and soul. In order to relieve stress in your life, you have to find things that put you at ease and not just temporary fixes.

Want to try out the MELT Method? You can pick up your kit to get started here.

Written by Stacy Shrader

Stop Suffering in Silence

Perhaps it isn’t the first choice of conversation when you meet up with your girlfriends, mother, or your sister, but it is important. There are options out there to treat and prevent vaginal discomfort that often accompanies aging or illness, and they are not the old wives tales whispered over coffee so as not offend anyone. A real, safe, and easy solution exists. However, to find it, you first have to talk about the problem.

We live in a world where it is ok to discuss erectile dysfunction and treatment options for men, but many women still feel some sort of stigma attached to talking about gynecologic health. If you are living with vaginal discomfort resulting from pelvic floor disorders (PFDs), breast cancer, or hormonal changes, you are not alone. There is no reason that you should remain silent and continue to suffer.

The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more valuable weeks, months, and even years you will sacrifice. There is a better way, and it begins with understanding that you have no reason to be ashamed and seeking treatment.

At Blue Ridge Urogynecology, Dr. James Daucher and his staff want to help you get back to your living your life and feel like a woman again. They use a procedure called MonaLisa Touch to deliver gentle laser energy to the vaginal tissue. It stimulates a healing response in the vaginal canal. The procedure is virtually painless, and is similar to your annual exam. It requires three treatments over the course of 18 weeks, but each one only takes about five minutes. Many patients have reported that they experience relief right way. Most experience it by the second treatment.

For Melissa Zimmerman, Practice Manager at Blue Ridge Urogynecology, the choice to undergo the procedure was easy.

“As a premenopausal woman who is bound and determined to go through the process without HRT due to a family history of breast cancer, I figured I might as well avail myself of the newest treatment in my own backyard,” she explains, “I work hard to maintain my physical fitness, eat right, and care about my appearance. In short, I won’t age without a fight.”

“I have a great marriage and enjoy an active sex life, which is another thing I did not want to be robbed of as I entered my 50’s and became menopausal,” she adds. “Vaginal atrophy and dryness happen to all of us as our estrogen declines and I want to be proactive in that respect as well.”

“The procedure lasted less than ten minutes. It was painless and produced great results. I worked out the day after and then rode and showed my horse from Thursday on, so there was literally no down time.”

For many women, the option to have this procedure is a priceless reassurance that life can return to what it was before events like breast cancer, PFDs, or menopause. If you are interested in learning more about MonaLisa Touch, please visit www.blueridgeurogynecology.com.
Also, join them for their open house on Friday, September 2 from 4-7pm, where they will be serving light appetizers and refreshments. We’ll see you there!