Slowing Down Osteoporosis

Slowing down osteoporosis should be a priority for every woman. That sounds like a bold statement, but it is backed by scientific research. We all lose bone mass as we get older. We begin to lose more than we create in our thirties, and by the time we are fifty, we are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. 

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million American have osteoporosis and low bone mass, and one in two women 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. 

With numbers like that, having a prevention plan in place for slowing down osteoporosis is crucial. Unfortunately, osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed until a break occurs. Don’t be caught off-guard by it!  

Slowing Down Osteoporosis Starts With Prevention

Preventing the onset of osteoporosis is the best way to combat it. Once you begin to lose bone mass, slowing down osteoporosis is essential to maintaining the bone mass you do have. Making a few changes to your lifestyle now can make all the difference down the line. Here are a few tips for slowing down osteoporosis. 

Start Early

Preventing osteoporosis can actually start as early as your pre-teens. Studies have shown that pre-teens and teens who have a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity significantly reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. If you missed the boat on this one, don’t worry, there is still plenty that you can do as an adult to slow down osteoporosis. 

Get 1,000 mg of Calcium Daily

Adults between 19 to 50 years old need at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily while those over 50 need at least 1,200 mg. Calcium is essential to repairing bone mass, and women with osteoporosis are typically low in it. 

You can get the required daily amount of calcium by consuming 3 servings (4 if you’re over 50) of milk or dairy products like cheese or yogurt. Other foods like roasted almonds, beans, soybeans, sardines, and salmon are also good sources of calcium. 

If you’re not receiving enough calcium from your diet, consult with your doctor about adding a supplement. 

Get Your Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium into your bones. There’s no point getting in the required amount of calcium if your body can’t use it. 

You can get vitamin D via direct exposure to sunlight; however, this should be done in moderation as sunscreen blocks about 90% of your vitamin D production. You can also consume vitamin D from foods like eggs, fish, and shitake mushrooms. 

If you’re not getting enough vitamin D in your diet, consult with your doctor before adding in a supplement. Megadoses of vitamin D can cause vitamin D toxicity. 

Avoid Unhealthy Habits

Among other things, excessive drinking and smoking increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and should, therefore, be avoided. 

Caffeine should be consumed in moderation, as it causes you to lose about 150 mg of calcium per cup through your urine. 

Exercise

A body in motion stays in motion. Regular physical activity decreases your risk of developing osteoporosis. A routine that includes some amount of impact (actual pressure) on bones, and varies cardio workouts and weight training is especially beneficial for bone health. 

Avoid Prolonged Use of Acid Reducers

Stomach acid, like vitamin D, is required by your stomach to absorb minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Prolonged use of medications that block the stomach from producing acid significantly increases your risk of developing osteoporosis.  

Check Your Medications

Aside from acid reducers, there are a number of medications that increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, including corticosteroids and anticonvulsants. Consult with your doctor about any potential side effects your current medications cause, and whether or not they increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. 

Get Screened

If you are post-menopausal, it’s absolutely imperative that you get screened for low bone density. When you see your healthcare provider, request a bone mineral density (BMD) test. It is one of the most accurate ways to measure bone mineral density by using a low energy X-ray to measure bone density in the hip or spine. 

Slowing down osteoporosis starts with you. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can help protect the longevity of your bones and maintain your range of motion. If you have any questions or would like more information, please call our Wilmette or Glenview offices.

UTI Symptoms and Treatments

UTIs are a common concern for women today. Since early treatment is essential in stopping the spread of infection, recognizing UTI symptoms and seeking treatment immediately is important. It can make the difference between an infection that goes away quickly, or a problem that persists, causing you great discomfort and possibly spreading to your kidneys. 

Common Causes of a UTI

A UTI (urinary tract infection) is an infection that occurs in the urinary tract, usually resulting from bacteria entering the bladder through the urethra. Many women will experience a UTI throughout the course of a lifetime, and UTIs are seen more frequently in women than men. 

The most common UTIs in women are cystitis and urethritis, which are infections of the bladder and urethra, respectively.  

Cystitis (infection of the bladder) 

This type is usually caused when E. coli, typically found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, makes its way into the bladder. It can be caused by other bacteria as well. 

While sexual intercourse can cause an infection of the bladder, you do not have to be sexually active to develop cystitis. The proximity of the bladder, urethra, and anus make all women particularly susceptible to developing this type of infection. 

Urethritis (infection of the urethra)

In addition to contamination from bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, this can also be caused by sexually transmitted infections like herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

Common Symptoms of UTIs

Painful Urination

Persistent pain or burning when you pee is one of the first signs that you may have a UTI. Drinking a lot of water at the first sign of painful urination may be helpful to flush out the bacteria. If painful urination only happens once and then disappears, and you don’t have any other symptoms, then your body may have already flushed the harmful bacteria.

Strong Urge to Go

If you feel a strong urge to go pee all the time, but relieving your bladder does not bring you relief, you may be experiencing a UTI. You feel like you have a full bladder all the time, but when you try to relieve yourself, only a painful trickle comes out. 

Change in Urine

Any cloudy, red, brown, or discolored urine is a sign of infection. If it clears up in a day or so, it may be attributed to the food you ate, like beets, for instance. If not, it’s cause for concern.

In addition, strong-smelling urine (and not because you just ate asparagus) is also a tell-tale sign that something is awry. 

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain that feels like pressure or cramping around your bladder is often mistaken for period pain. If you have pain, cramping, and muscle aches, don’t rule out a UTI as these are often the most pronounced symptoms women report from a UTI. 

Extreme Fatigue

As with any infection, the body ramps up its production of white blood cells in the face of an infection, leaving you feeling more tired than usual. If you notice that you are more tired than usual, in combination with any other UTI symptoms, it is a red flag. 

Uncommon Symptoms of UTIs

These are signs that your UTI is getting worse and may begin to affect your kidneys. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Fever

Along with the other symptoms, if you are experiencing a fever above 101°F or night sweats and chills, these are signs that the bacteria have moved into your kidneys. 

Recurrent Infections

If you experience two or more UTIs in a six month period, or three or more in a year, you are at an increased risk of developing more serious complications.

Common Treatments

A regular course of antibiotics is the standard treatment for a UTI. Symptoms will most often subside within a few days of starting treatment. Finish the full course of antibiotic treatment even if you start to feel better to avoid a recurrence. 

When Should You Call Your Doctor About UTI Symptoms and Treatments?

You should call your doctor about UTI symptoms and treatments as soon as you suspect you have one. They will confirm the diagnosis with a urine test. Most infections will go away within a few days of taking prescribed antibiotics. The sooner you see your doctor, the less likely your chances of developing further complications. 

Signs a UTI Isn’t Fully Treated

If you have finished your full course of antibiotics and you are still experiencing UTI symptoms, your UTI may not be fully treated. Return to your doctor to discuss your options. 

If you have questions or would like more information, please call our Wilmette or Glenview offices.

Healthy Diet During Pregnancy

A healthy pregnancy diet plays an important role in your wellness and that of your baby. Eating well during your pregnancy will not only enhance your energy levels and feelings of well-being, but it’s also critical to the successful growth and development of a baby. Now that you are eating for two, you may be wondering, what exactly makes a healthy pregnancy diet? 

When we refer to a healthy pregnancy diet, we are not talking about a calorie-restrictive diet, or one that is meant to help you lose weight. Dieting to lose weight during pregnancy is extremely unhealthy and can cause harm to both you and the baby. 

What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet?

When we refer to a healthy pregnancy diet, we are not talking about a calorie-restrictive diet, or one that is meant to help you lose weight. Dieting to lose weight during pregnancy is extremely unhealthy and can cause harm to both you and the baby. 

A healthy diet during pregnancy consists of enough of the right nutrients to support the healthy growth of your body and the baby’s. You want to aim to eat from a variety of food groups with plenty of protein daily and increase your daily caloric intake by about 300 calories (an additional snack per day should do it). 

What Foods Should You Eat During Pregnancy?

There are four major food groups you want to cover when considering a healthy pregnancy diet. Each one plays a significant role in meeting your body’s daily nutritional goals while pregnant.

Fruit & Vegetables

You should aim for 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 4 or more servings of vegetables.

It is recommended that pregnant women get at least 70 mg of vitamin C daily, and 0.4 mg of folic acid is recommended daily in order to prevent neural defects. These nutrients are found in many fruits and vegetables. 

Fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, and honeydew, and vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are excellent sources of vitamin C. And dark leafy greens are a good source of folic acid.

Dairy Products

You should have at least 4 servings of dairy products daily, or the right substitutes in order to consume vital nutrients and vitamins.

At least 1,000 mg of calcium is recommended daily during pregnancy. Calcium is widely known as essential to the development of strong, healthy teeth and bones, but it is also essential for normal blood clotting and muscle and nerve function. 

What’s more, your developing baby needs calcium, and if you don’t consume enough of it in your diet, your body will take the calcium from your bones, putting yourself at increased risk for osteoporosis down the road. 

Breads and Grains

You should consume anywhere between 6 to 11 bread and grains food products daily, depending on your weight and dietary needs. 

Don’t be afraid of carbs, but they are not all created equally! In fact, the body’s main source of energy during pregnancy comes from the essential carbohydrates found in bread and grains. They also provide other important nutrients like iron, B vitamins, and fiber. 

Fortified breads and cereals can also help you meet your daily requirement of folic acid. 

Protein

You should get in at least 3 servings of protein daily. 

Your body needs B vitamins and iron during pregnancy. Iron helps carry oxygen throughout your body and to the baby. Oxygen is critical to muscle function and prevents symptoms like weakness, irritability, fatigue, and depression. 

Poultry, eggs, and beans are excellent sources of protein. While fish and seafood can be a great choice during pregnancy, they should be limited. Some fish contain high levels of mercury, and consuming too much of it is not safe.  

What to Avoid

There is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy or when preparing to become pregnant.

You want to avoid “high-risk” foods when you are pregnant, which includes any food that has a high chance of being contaminated by bacteria, such as:

  • Undercooked meat, poultry, and seafood
  • Raw fish 
  • Raw sprouts
  • Smoked seafood
  • Fish with mercury
  • Deli meat
  • Hot dogs
  • Pate
  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Unpasteurized milk or juice 
  • Soft cheeses
  • Unwashed vegetables

It may be difficult to kick your sugar habit when those cravings kick in, but a diet high in sugar during pregnancy has several risk factors, such as:

  • Unhealthy weight gain
  • Increased risk of preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Low birth weight
  • Increased risk that your child will develop diabetes
  • Increased chance of developing “morning sickness”

Eating the right amount of nutrients during your pregnancy will prepare your body to grow a healthy baby and avoid complications like elevated blood sugars. You will feel better and experience fewer negative symptoms associated with pregnancy like nausea and vomiting. Most importantly, you will help ensure the proper growth and development of your baby.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call our Wilmette or Glenview offices.

Bleeding When You’re Pregnant

Bleeding when pregnant sounds scary, and it certainly can be. However, about 20% of women experience some bleeding during their first trimester of pregnancy. Some causes of bleeding during pregnancy are normal and not necessarily a sign that something is wrong, but you should be aware of what bleeding when pregnant means and when you should see your doctor. 

Benign Causes of Bleeding When Pregnant

Implantation Bleeding

Within the first six to twelve days post-conception, you may experience some spotting as the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. This is often mistaken as a period by women who don’t yet realize they are pregnant. This type of bleeding when pregnant is usually very light, lasting from a few hours to a few days.

Cervical Changes 

Pregnancy causes extra blood to flow to the cervix. As a result, intercourse or pelvic exams can cause light bleeding. This is normal and no cause for concern.

Cervical Polyp

A harmless growth on the cervix, cervical polyps are more likely to bleed during pregnancy as a result of increased estrogen levels and the increased number of blood vessels in the tissue around the cervix. 

Abnormal Causes of Bleeding During the First Half of Pregnancy

Miscarriage

Unfortunately, 15% to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. While we don’t always know why a pregnancy has ended in misacarriage, the majority of early losses are related to chromosomal issues limited to that specific pregnancy, and are not related to maternal factors. If you are experiencing continued bleeding, or cramping combined with bleeding, you should reach out to your care team. 

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg implants itself somewhere outside the uterus, most often in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies happen in 1 out of 50 pregnancies. Along with bleeding, you may experience strong abdominal cramping low in the stomach, sharp pain in the abdominal area, and low HCG levels.  

Molar Pregnancy

A rare cause of early bleeding, molar pregnancies involve the growth of abnormal tissue instead of the embryo. Along with bleeding, tests may reveal high HCG levels, absent fetal heart tones, and grape-like clusters seen in the uterus by ultrasound. 

Infection

Some vaginal and uterine infections can also cause bleeding. When assessing vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will often screen for common infections.

Abnormal Causes of Bleeding During the Second Half of Pregnancy

Placental Abruption

This case is extremely rare, occurring in only 1% of pregnant women, and more likely during their last twelve weeks of pregnancy. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before or during labor. Along with bleeding, you may have stomach pain.

You are at a higher risk for placental abruption if you:

  • Have already had children
  • Are over 35
  • Have a history of abruption
  • Have hypertension
  • Have sickle cell anemia
  • Have had trauma or injury to your stomach
  • Use cocaine

Placenta Previa

This very serious condition occurs when the placenta lies low in the uterus either partly or completely covering the cervix. It requires immediate medical attention. Occurring in 1 out of 200 pregnancies, the bleeding is not usually accompanied by pain. 

You are at a higher risk for placenta previa if you:

  • Have already had children
  • Had a previous cesarean birth
  • Had other surgery on the uterus
  • Are carrying twins or triplets

Preterm Labor

The mucus plug sometimes passes up to a few weeks before labor begins, it is made up of mucus and blood. If it occurs any earlier, you may be entering preterm labor. Other signs include:

  • Watery mucus or bloody discharge
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
  • Low, dull ache in back
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Contractions 

What Should You Do If You’re Bleeding When Pregnant?

While there is often no cause for alarm, bleeding when pregnant can be a sign that something is wrong, so you should always consult with your midwife or doctor. They will be able to determine whether your bleeding is normal or cause for concern. 

It’s a good idea to use pads or a panty liner to keep track of the amount of blood flow to report to your care team. You should avoid the use of tampons. 

Together, you and your healthcare provider can discuss and take the appropriate next steps for the health and safety of yourself and your baby. 

If you have questions or would like more information, please call our Wilmette or Glenview offices.

Summer Pregnancy Tips

Summer and pregnancy don’t necessarily sound like the best combination; however, the two can go together just fine if you follow a few summer pregnancy tips. With some planning and adherence to these summer pregnancy tips, you will not only survive this summer pregnant, but enjoy it! 

Stay Hydrated

We cannot overstress the importance of hydration. Stay hydrated! Water performs so many essential functions, including helping to keep your body cool and decrease water retention. Nobody wants to be bloated and overheated while pregnant. 

It is recommended that you drink at least 2.5 liters per day, especially in the summer months. If you are exercising, you will need more, and if you are sweating profusely, you may want to consider an electrolyte replacement drink as well. 

The best way to ensure that you are staying properly hydrated during pregnancy is to check your urine. If it’s pale yellow, you’re good to go, but any darker, you need more water! 

Stay Cool

This may seem like a somewhat obvious summer pregnancy tip, but if you don’t have air conditioning at home, it may require some careful planning. Try to spend as much time as you can in air-conditioned environments, especially in the early to mid-afternoon. 

Indoor pools are a great way to beat the heat and avoid the sun as well. Using a spray bottle to spritz yourself with cool water or applying a cold cloth to the back of your neck can also help. 

During pregnancy, your body temperature is a bit higher than normal, making you more susceptible to heat intolerance. In addition, the baby’s body temperature is slightly higher than yours. While your body has the ability to regulate its temperature by sweating, your baby’s does not, so you have to stay cool for both of you.

Be Careful in the Sun

As well as your body’s heat tolerance, pregnancy also comes with a high dose of sun intolerance. Your skin’s increased sensitivity to the sun puts you at risk of exacerbating melasma: hyperpigmentation of the skin that can develop during pregnancy. And sunburn can cause not only discomfort but also dehydration.

You can still enjoy the beach during your pregnancy, just use caution. Avoid the sun’s peak hours by going in the early morning or later in the afternoon. Stay in the shade as much as possible and bring an umbrella or sun hat for extra protection. Always use a non-chemical sunscreen like zinc oxide to protect your skin. And if it’s very hot, keep your beach time a little bit shorter. 

Take a Siesta

This one is definitely an all-time favorite summer pregnancy tip! 

Let your system recuperate and recharge while you snooze through the hottest part of the day. Making a person is hard work; making a person in the summer heat is even harder. Make pregnancy in summer a little easier on yourself by resting in the early afternoon after lunch.

Eat for the Heat

Pregnancy cravings are hard to resist, but eating for the heat will make you more comfortable in the long run. Reduce your sodium intake; it will cause you unnecessary discomfort in the form of bloating in your face and limbs. Include lots of fresh fruits and veggies in your diet to help you meet your daily nutritional requirements and also help keep yourself hydrated. Have lighter meals more often; that won’t increase your metabolism or your body heat. 

Put Your Feet up

Staying active and walking help reduce edema, but idle standing or sitting with legs down will make it worse. When you are at rest, elevate your feet to help keep swelling to a minimum. You can also put a cold towel over your legs for added benefit.

The summer heat can be dangerous for anybody, but pregnant women need to be careful as they are at an increased risk. That being said, you can still enjoy the benefits of summer while being pregnant. As long as you keep in mind these summer pregnancy tips, there is no reason you and baby can’t have a great summer!

If you have questions or would like more information, please call our Wilmette or Glenview offices.

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