Archives for May 2016

Disappearing ’Dos: Marla Ahlgrimm on Female Hair Loss

Marla AhlgrimmAre your locks lingering on the pillow each morning? If so, you’re like the millions of women each year with some degree of hair loss. In the following brief conversation, women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm offers answers on the causes of thinning tresses.

Q: Is hair loss normal?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It is to some degree. Hair follicles develop in cycles. During their growing phase, hair is healthy and stays put. The resting phase is a different story altogether. Throughout this stage of growth, hair follicles don’t hold on to hair as well, resulting in hair falling out, often in patches. It’s only when large groups of follicles rest that we notice thinning.

Q: How can a woman tell if she is losing too much hair?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The average human scalp has 100,000 hair follicles.  A loss of around 100 hairs per day is perfectly normal and usually filled in by new growth. Anything more than that may be a sign of thinning hair. Keep in mind, however, that hair loss isn’t abnormal as women age and only about half of women enter their senior years with the same amount of hair they had in their 20s.

Q: What is alopecia?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Alopecia is the scientific name for hair loss. There are two main types of alopecia that affect women: Alopecia Areata, a treatable autoimmune disorder that is common in people with allergies, and Androgenetic Alopecia, hair loss associated with hormone variances, usually in menopause.  The latter is most commonly referred to as Female Pattern Baldness.

Q: Are there natural ways to prevent hair loss?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a great deal of research into the subject of female hair loss. However, diet may play a role in its prevention. A life-long diet high in protein, fiber, and Omega-3s may help reduce hair loss later in life.

Marla Ahlgrimm Weighs in on Matters of Body Image

Marla AhlgrimmAdolescent and teenage girls are the most at risk for suffering mental and physical health problems directly resulting from body image issues, says leading healthcare expert Marla Ahlgrimm. Here, the founder of Women’s Health America offers suggestions on how to approach weight issues with children.

Acknowledge that people come in all shapes and sizes.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, the image of the “average body” portrayed on the media is way off the mark. Children need to understand that a “healthy weight” is a range, not a set size of designer jeans. Discussions about weight should not be limited to girls. Boys, too, should be taught to respect people for who they are, not how much they weigh.

Teach moderation and lead by example.

Focus on showing children that healthy lifestyle choices always trump fad diets and extreme weight loss. Marla Ahlgrimm suggests allowing kids to help prepare fresh, whole foods and teaching them how to read hunger cues. Children should be brought up understanding that treats aren’t off the table, but should be consumed in moderation.

Stay physically active.

Children mimic the lifestyles their parents model for them, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air with the entire family. Walks around the neighborhood are a great way to not only bond with children but to instill in them a love of exercise.

Do not criticize a child’s weight.

Marla Ahlgrimm reports that body image issues start as early as ten years old, with nearly 8 out of 10 girls reporting having dieted by their first double digit birthday. Negative remarks about a child’s physical appearance is demeaning and can leave an emotional scar that never goes away. Instead, talk about all the amazing things the human body can do and how important each system is to overall health and wellness.

Marla Ahlgrimm Outlines Risks of Alcohol in Women

Marla AhlgrimmWhile an occasional drink probably isn’t going to cause any long-term damage, excessive alcohol intake is especially dangerous for women. This, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, a leading expert on women’s health. In the following conversation, Ahlgrimm summarizes the risks of chronic alcohol use for women.

Q: How common is alcoholism in women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The CDC estimates that approximately 2.5% of women are alcohol dependent. However, around 12% report binge drinking at least three times per month and almost half of all women surveyed noted having consumed alcohol in the last month.

Q: Does alcohol have any effect on fertility?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, and to a potentially devastating degree. Regularly consuming alcohol, whether wine, beer, or liquor, may increase a woman’s chances of infertility. Furthermore, research has shown that reproductive age binge drinkers are more likely to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners, which may lead to venereal diseases that may also contribute to infertility.

Q: What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a developmental disorder specific to infants born of alcohol abusing mothers. Newborns affected may be born with poor motor skills, facial abnormalities, and small head circumference. FAS is incurable and often presents later in life with behavioral problems, poor social skills, and learning difficulties.

Q: Aside from reproductive issues, what other side-effects may result from alcohol usage?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Since women metabolize alcohol faster than men, they may be more at-risk for cirrhosis, heart damage, and mouth, esophageal, throat, breast, and liver cancer. Research suggests that brain damage can occur within a relatively short period for women. College-aged women are more at-risk of rape and sexual assault when they participate in binge drinking events such as parties and holiday festivities.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to note?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men. Women generally have less body water than men of similar body weight, so that women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol. Women DO appear to eliminate alcohol from the blood faster than men.

Marla Ahlgrimm Reflects on National Women’s Health Week

Marla AhlgrimmThere was no better time to pay attention to the unique needs of women than National Women’s Health Week, celebrated May 8th through 12th, 2016 (NWHW). Women’s Health America founder Marla Ahlgrimm celebrated by watching her food choices and spending time outdoors. In this short discussion, Ahlgrimm talks about NWHW and offers a few suggestions on how women across the country can participate in 2017.

Q: What is National Women’s Health Week?

Marla Ahlgrimm: National Women’s Health Week is a week-long event that spotlights women’s healthcare needs at all ages. The US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health sponsors the event through its website WomensHealth.Gov.

Q: When is the best time for women to start paying attention to their health?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Today! Regardless of age, women should pay attention to their health. Mothers can instill positive habits in their daughters from birth onwards by breastfeeding, if possible, choosing whole foods, and letting daughters see their moms exercise and take care of self. A mom is her daughter’s first role model, after all!

Q: Does the National Women’s Health Week Pledge really make a difference?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely, and I highly recommend taking the pledge and recommitting every day of the year. Women can promise to practice healthy lifestyle choices – like limiting alcohol use, eating more fruits and vegetables, and asking their doctors which vaccinations are right for their ages.

Q: Who are the NWHW ambassadors?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Celebrities and women’s health experts from across the country have volunteered their time and efforts to promote National Women’s Health Week. 2016’s supporters included Anne Wheaton, Director of the Pasadena Humane Society; actresses Julie Jones, Lauren Potter, and Daisy Fuentes; Jennifer Arnold, a Neonatologist and co-star of TLC’s hit reality show Little Couple; and Marion Nestle, a New York University professor of Nutrition and Author of What to Eat.

© 2017 Marla Ahlgrimm. All Rights Reserved.