Building Your Winter Blues Toolbox
Valeria Manning, ND
Seasonal Affective Disorder, better known as S.A.D., affects approximately 3-6% of the general population. The incidence is higher in northern latitudes and among women of reproductive age. Typical presentations of S.A.D. overlap significantly with major depressive disorder, however S.A.D. occurs in a more cyclical nature during the autumn and winter months.
Fatigue is the most common complaint doctors see in their office. The causes of low energy are numerous, and often there isn’t a single culprit. However, in women of reproductive age, low iron can be a common cause of or contributing factor to low energy. Many of my patients have been told to supplement iron in the past, but they haven’t been told why or for how long. Let’s explore the subject.
When considering any nutrient in the body, we have to think about 3 factors: how much of it are we taking in (diet or supplement), how much of it is getting absorbed in our digestive system, and how much are we losing.
One of the major challenges in my practice is relaying information about single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a way that’s accessible and empowering for my patients. The acronyms alone make it daunting to approach: MTHFR, COMT, MAO, VDR, UGH (okay, that last one was mine). Genomic medicine can be a powerful tool for improving and optimizing health, so with that in mind, let’s try to decode the alphabet soup.
In Chinese medicine, spring is an excellent time to cleanse and renew. Much like the buds sprouting on plants outside, the body is energized and ready to emerge from its winter dormancy. The buzzword “detox” can evoke thoughts of deprivation with a dash of lemon-cayenne water, but there are many avenues for resetting your health. Below are some gentle ideas. (more…)
Sometimes I catch patients off guard by mentioning perimenopause as a potential underlying cause of their symptoms. In some cases, this is because the woman didn’t realize the menopause transition could cause more than hot flashes and night sweats. At other times, it’s because the person doesn’t realize that perimenopause can occur at their age. (more…)
Melanoma is the most common cancer in women ages 25 to 29 years and the second most common cancer in women ages 30-35 years. Due to ozone depletion, incidence has doubled every 10 years. Therefore, it is important that women be educated on the risk factors and signs of melanoma in order to identify a potential malignancy and monitor skin changes. Similar to self breast exams, women should become familiar with their skin and monitor for changes monthly. (more…)
Varicose veins are a common concern for women as they age. They range from being an unsightly nuisance to being painful and debilitating. Surgical treatment is becoming increasingly sophisticated, but there are many lifestyle and nutritional steps that can be taken to help prevent them in the first place. (more…)
Did you know that anytime you have your lipid (i.e. cholesterol) levels tested, your results are compared to what would be considered the average range for male values? As is the case with many different lab types, women’s averages are generally lumped together with male averages. This happens because women are often underrepresented in research studies, and without enough women to represent a general population, “the normal range” is biased in the direction of “normal” for men. (more…)
Metabolic syndrome occurs when certain health metrics (waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol) trend away from the healthy normal. The condition is common; it affects a quarter of adults in the United States and climbs to nearly half of all adults over 50. While the parameters might seem trivially different from normal (fasting blood sugar more than 100, blood pressure 130/85 or greater), these slight elevations put together have significant impact on long term health and wellness. (more…)
Our homes are meant to be a sacred space for us to rest, restore, and enjoy time together with family and friends. The last thing we want is for our home environment to endanger our health in terms of air quality, water supply, home care products, and the foods we eat and cook. There are many simple ways to avoid harmful exposures. Here are some of my favorite tips on how you can freshen things up and feel good about time at home and the lifestyle you live. (more…)