Story at-a-glance

Between 2001 and 2011, estrogen replacement therapy in women aged 50-59 dropped 79 percent. New research suggests that estrogen avoidance may have led to the premature death of about 50,000 women in medical menopause
The study found that estrogen therapy for women in medical menopause was associated with “a decisive reduction in all-cause mortality,” primarily by reducing deadly heart attacks and deaths from breast cancer
Your risk-to-benefit ratio is likely related to a combination of factors: surgically-induced menopause vs. natural menopause vs. using HRT for preventive purposes; your age; using bioidentical vs. synthetic hormones; delivery method
If you’re in medical menopause, avoiding HRT due to fears about side effects could be a mistake. I recommend discussing your individual situation with a physician well-versed in bioidentical hormone replacement

HRT still makes sense for a lot of women.

“If you look at the science carefully enough, the two-to-five-year period that most women need HRT to get through this transition is relatively safe,” says Michelle Warren, MD, medical director of the Center for Menopause, Hormonal Disorders and Women’s Health at Columbia University. In the research, breast cancer risk didn’t rise until after five years of use. In other research, if women began taking HRT within ten years of entering menopause, their risk of heart disease was unaffected. Making a decision about therapy has gotten considerably easier.

If hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, or other symptoms are making you miserable, HRT is a good choice

Women with milder symptoms may want to try other options before HRT. relief through working out regularly; avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods; using water-based vaginal lubricants; and regularly doing Kegel exercises. Low-dose antidepressants such as Prozac or Celexa can moderately reduce hot flashes and improve mood.

HRT remains the most effective treatment for severe menopause symptoms, says Warren: “It’s a shame to think women are out there suffering because they aren’t getting the help they need.”

From the issue of O, The Oprah Magazine



Last week’s blog tackled weight loss tips that work. Now this article focuses on the why aspect, as in why you should be concerned about your weight and why you should take steps to lose those excess pounds. This also aims to shed a light on society’s growing obsession with losing weight.

Obsessed with weight

For both men and women, being overweight or obese is not just a health issue, but also an aesthetic problem! Studies reveal that for many people, health is not the main motivation for losing weight. It is actually the desire to belong, to fit in, or to look normal, if not attractive. People want to avoid becoming a victim of weight-based discrimination.

Heavy, obese people are often subjected to ridicule. There are also negative perceptions surrounding obesity. Obese people are often viewed as lazy, ugly, weak and unclean.

It is therefore not surprising that weight loss programs inundate the health and fitness industry year after year to respond this persistent concern. Just try searching for weight loss tips online and you will find an overwhelming number of resources outlining diet or exercise programs, promoting diet drugs or surgical procedures for weight loss. An ABC News report revealed in 2012 that the weight loss industry in the U.S. alone was already worth $20 billion.

The numbers

Despite society’s obsession with weight loss and being thin in general, overweight and obesity figures have not improved in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 percent of adults 20 years of age or older were either overweight or obese as of 2012. Worldwide, over 1.4 billion adults (35 percent of adults in the world) were overweight as of 2008 according to World Health Organization. Ten percent of the adult population in the world were obese.

The more alarming statistics are the deaths linked to obesity each year. WHO estimates that 3.4 million adults lose their lives each year due to excess weight or obesity problems.

The consequences of being overweight and obese

Being overweight and obese has been tied to serious health issues including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, reproductive problems, gallstones and osteoarthritis. Heart disease and stroke have been identified by WHO as the leading causes of death in 2012.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a person’s risk for coronary heart disease increase concomitantly with rising BMI. This is a condition where plaque builds up inside the arteries, blocking them and partially or completely preventing oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the heart. This can cause a heart attack. Stroke risk also increases when there’s a build-up of plaque in the arteries.

It’s important to note that atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries is a slow disease that begins from childhood and carries on until the person gets older. This is why is it important to have healthy eating habits and promote an active lifestyle early on.

Find the right weight loss solution

While there is no single weight loss solution that works for everyone, the process of losing weight starts with knowing yourself, your habits and motivations. Interpret those figures on your weighing scale. Your weight, together with your height, is used to compute your body mass index (BMI). The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website has a BMI calculator that accurately computes a person’s BMI for free. WHO says a body mass index (BMI) that is over or equal to 25 is considered overweight. Having a BMI of 30 or over indicates obesity.

Know your body, your lifestyle and diet habits. Do you indulge in food to cope with stress? Do you aim to lose weight to be more attractive? Do you have underlying medical conditions that cause weight gain? Knowing these things will reveal possible factors that lead you to gain excess weight.

Here’s our advice before you try any weight loss program: don’t let promises of instant results fool you and don’t make weight loss a goal. Instead, begin making sound choices when it comes to health. Exercise more and eat healthy. Have a doctor evaluate you for hormonal imbalance and other medical conditions that can lead to weight gain. Craft a weight loss solution that addresses the problem by eliminating the cause.