May is Melanoma Awareness Month

 

I’ve posted about our family’s experiences with melanoma before.  We were lucky and caught it in time but a good family friend didn’t.

May is designated as National Melanoma Month.   Included in that designation is National Melanoma Monday, which is the first Monday in May.  The American Academy of Dermatology has set aside this day to raise awareness about skin cancer.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and it is the deadliest of skin cancers.

There will be many events focused on skin health, sun safety, tanning prevention, and skin cancer screenings and resources.

All are asked to join the American Academy of Dermatology in wearing orange and encouraging others to wear orange for skin cancer awareness.

Know the warning signs and check with your doctor if any of them appear.

Early signs of melanoma are changes to the shape or color of existing moles or, in the case of nodular melanoma, the appearance of a new lump anywhere on the skin. At later stages, the mole may itch, ulcerate or bleed. Early signs of melanoma are summarized by the mnemonic “ABCDE”:

  • Asymmetry
  • Borders (irregular with edges and corners)
  • Color (variegated)
  • Diameter (greater than 6 mm (0.24 in), about the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolving over time

These classifications do not, however, apply to the most dangerous form of melanoma, nodular melanoma, which has its own classifications:

  • Elevated above the skin surface
  • Firm to the touch
  • Growing

Metastatic melanoma may cause nonspecific paraneoplastic symptoms, including loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Metastasis of early melanoma is possible, but relatively rare: less than a fifth of melanomas diagnosed early become metastatic. Brain metastases are particularly common in patients with metastatic melanoma. It can also spread to the liver, bones, abdomen or distant lymph nodes.

 

8 Energy Boosters to Beat Menopause Fatigue

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Menopause got you dragging? Here are a few simple ways to fight menopause energy drain and regain your oomph.

If you’re like many women, you’ll probably experience bothersome symptoms during menopause — one of which may be fatigue. Fatigue is a common menopause complaint, especially in the early stages of menopause, as your body adjusts to its new chemistry.

But low energy can be also caused by number of other medical conditions, including anemia, coronary artery disease, diabetes, heart failure, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and kidney or liver disease. If you are fatigued, “you should talk to your doctor just to be sure it’s a menopause symptom,” says Wendy Klein, MD, associate professor emeritus of internal medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology and chair of the Women’s Health Conference at the Virgina Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

“Most women don’t need treatment for their menopause symptoms,” Klein says. “The majority of women will have symptoms that are transient. They last two or three years and abate by themselves.” But there are lifestyle changes you can make to help relieve symptoms you may experience.

If you’re dealing with fatigue as you go through menopause, try these eight simple tricks to boost low energy:

1. Exercise daily. You should aim for at least 30 — and preferably 60 — minutes of exercise most days of the week. Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling weak or tired, but exercise actually boosts your energy, says Staness Jonekos, who co-authored The Menopause Makeover with Dr. Klein. “Exercise is your fountain of youth,” Jonekos says. “It produces those feel-good hormones and gives you the energy you’re looking for when you’re not feeling good.” Some people find it helps to exercise earlier in the day rather than close to bedtime.

2. Cap caffeine and alcohol consumption. Caffeine and alcohol can both affect energy levels and interfere with getting a good night’s sleep if you indulge in the evening. They may give you an immediate rush, but when they wear off, they can leave you feeling more drained than before. Nicotine can also have this effect, so if you smoke, quit. You’ll find you have more energy without artificial stimulants.

3. Limit food portions. Being overweight during menopause can cause you to feel sluggish. The best diet is one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and that includes lean sources of protein (poultry, lean meats, and fish) and low- or no-fat dairy products. Limit the amount of fats and sweets you eat. Eating smaller meals more frequently can provide energy throughout the day, Jonekos says. But if you eat more often, be sure you’re not overeating — watch your total calories.

4. Embrace relaxation. How do you unwind? Whether you like to read, take long walks, or meditate, take the time to indulge in your favorite activities. “You’re entitled to pamper yourself and take time for yourself,” Jonekos says. “As a result, you will be more energetic.” Stress and anxiety could be causing your fatigue, and relaxation techniques can be very helpful in learning to overcome them. A study published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society shows that stress-reduction therapy may also help with menopause symptoms, decreasing the degree to which women were bothered by hot flashes by 22 percent.

5. Get your Zzz’s. Another menopause symptom is hot flashes or night sweats, which can keep you up at night. Restful sleep is important during menopause so you’re not overly tired during the day. This may require keeping your bedroom cooler than you usually do. Use a ceiling fan and wear lighter bed clothes. Make sure the room is dark and set your body clock by going to bed and waking up around the same time every day — even on weekends.

6. Stay hydrated. “You need to nourish your body with healthy food and water,” Jonekos says. Thirst is your body’s way of telling you that you need more fluid. When you’re dehydrated, your body has to work harder to perform, which can lead to fatigue. Dehydration also can cause nausea and difficulty concentrating. Keep a water bottle handy so you can drink when you’re thirsty. Choose water or caffeine-free tea or coffee — not calorie-laden drinks, as weight gain can make you sluggish.

7. Don’t overbook. You may be fatigued because you’re trying to do too much. Learn to say no. Know your limits and what you can and can’t accomplish in a day. Also, if you set reasonable limits, you’ll be less stressed, Jonekos says.

8. Try herbal remedies. Two herbal remedies that may help reduce menopause symptoms that can cause fatigue and anxiety are black cohosh and valerian. Talk to your doctor before taking herbs as teas or supplements as they can interfere with some medications.

“No one recipe fits everyone,” Jonekos says. “But if you’re suffering from fatigue during menopause, you need to take control, and you can do that by adopting a healthy lifestyle.” Eat right, exercise, get adequate sleep, and learn to relax — you will find you have more energy to enjoy your life.

From http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-managing-menopause/8-energy-boosters-for-menopause-fatigue/

Prevent heart attack and stroke

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Generic regular strength enteric coated 325mg aspirin tablets. The orange tablets are imprinted in black with “L429”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This brief article will provide information and links to where additional information can be found to help you recognize and hopefully prevent a heart attack or stroke.

According to cardiologists, most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 a.m. and noon. If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night. Aspirin has a 24-hour “half-life” therefore, the aspirin would be strongest in your system when most heart attacks happen, in the wee hours of the morning.

A 2012 RetiredBrains survey of cardiologists provides the following information on the symptoms, warning signs and treatment for heart attack and stroke.

How to recognize heart attack symptoms

Chest discomfort that feels like pressure, or seems like a squeezing pain in the center of your chest. This pain generally lasts for more than a few minutes, but sometimes goes away and returns.

Pain and/or discomfort that extends beyond your chest to other parts of your upper body, such as one or both arms, back, neck, stomach, teeth, and even your jaw; shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort. Other symptoms include: cold sweats, nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness, indigestion, and fatigue.

What should I do when heart attack symptoms occur

If you or someone you are with experiences chest discomfort or other heart attack symptoms the first thing you should do is call 9-1-1.

Don’t wait to make the call. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital. Don’t drive the person having a heart attack to the hospital. Immediate treatment lessens heart damage and can save your life. Emergency medical services personnel can begin treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and are trained to revive a person if his/her heart stops. Some people delay treatment because they are not sure they are really having a heart attack. Remember call 911 immediately as treatment given within an hour of the first heart attack symptoms saves lives and damage to the heart and substantially increases the chances of survival.

What should I do before paramedics arrive

If 911 has been called:

1. Try to keep the person calm, and have them sit or lie down.

2. If the person isn’t allergic to aspirin, have them chew and swallow an aspirin (It works faster when chewed than swallowed whole.)

3. If the person stops breathing, you or someone else who is qualified should perform CPR immediately. If you don’t know CPR, the 9-1-1 operator can assist you until the EMS personnel arrive.

For more information, check out the heart disease section on Mayo Clinic’s site and the warning signs of heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest, compiled by the American Heart Association.

The information contained in this article should not be substituted for the advice of your physician. If you experience any symptoms or are concerned about your health in any way, you should immediately seek the advice of your physician.

From MarketWatch