Marla Ahlgrimm: Varicose Veins

Marla AhlgrimmAccording to Marla Ahlgrimm, approximately 23 percent — roughly one in four adults — are affected by varicose veins. The majority of these are women.

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins that usually occur on the feet and legs. They may be twisting or bulging and are sometimes lumpy. Varicose veins are often blue or dark purple in appearance, and are caused by interior valves that are weakened or damaged, Marla Ahlgrimm explains. These damaged valves fail to prevent blood from flowing backwards. This results in blood pooling in the vein, which causes it to become enlarged and swollen.

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Marla Ahlgrimm | Vision Issues Related to Hormone Fluctuations

Marla AhlgrimmIt’s easy to think that the eyes are separate from the rest of the body. After all, they move independently and require the care of a specially-trained doctor. However, as Marla Ahlgrimm explains, hormones can affect the eyes. Sudden vision changes may be a sign of a hormone imbalance.

Q: When do people typically experience vision-related changes associated with hormone fluctuation?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It is not uncommon for people entering puberty to become nearsighted. This is because the body is utilizing hormones to grow, and grow rapidly. This uptick in size is most evident in height and muscle mass, but the eyes are growing, too. After the teen years, when hormones begin to balance, vision typically stabilizes. Most pediatricians recommend a full evaluation by a qualified optometrist yearly during and after adolescence.

Q: Does birth control affect vision?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Any substance you put into the body that affects hormones can change your vision. This applies to birth control, but also anti-anxiety medicines, antidepressants, and antihistamines. Further, women who are pregnant may experience hormone changes that can trigger dry or watery eyes. This could make it difficult to wear contact lenses until after giving birth.

Q: Are hormones responsible for age-related vision loss?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Partly, yes. Many people mistakenly believe that the eyes “wear down” with age. This is not necessarily the case. Hormones, or a lack thereof, such as during menopause or when a man has low testosterone levels, can also trigger a decline in vision.

Q: Are vision changes normal?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes. When your hormones change, other parts of the body will follow suit. However, I would certainly suggest speaking with your doctor if you notice sudden changes, especially if they hinder your ability to see even with corrective lenses.

Marla Ahlgrimm: All About the Endocrine System

Marla AhlgrimmYou might be familiar with your respiratory system and your cardiovascular system, but Marla Ahlgrimm says that many people aren’t quite as acquainted with the endocrine system. The author and women’s health expert says this is a shame since the endocrine system is more or less the body’s control panel.

Q: What is the endocrine system?

Marla Ahlgrimm: This is an extensive network of glands that both manufacture and deliver hormones throughout the body. The endocrine system releases hormones that play a role in heart, tissue, and bone development. Its health also determines whether or not you develop certain diseases, including growth disorders, diabetes, and hormone disorders.

Q: How many glands make up the system?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are more than a dozen glands within the endocrine system. The thyroid, for example, is a gland in the neck with the very important job of keeping your metabolism in check. The lesser-known pineal gland is located deep inside the brain and affects sleep. Specifically for women, the ovaries are another important part of the endocrine system and are essential to human reproduction.

Q: What are some common endocrine disorders?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Diabetes is the most well known. This is when your body is unable to use or produce insulin, a hormone related to blood sugar (glucose) usage. Less common is acromegaly, or gigantism, which causes people to grow exceptionally fast. The thyroid gland can be affected with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism which is where the body produces too much or too little thyroid hormone respectively.

Q: Are endocrine disorders treatable?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Some are. Modern medicine has made it possible to identify and treat common system disorders. Some women with ovarian disorders may find hormone therapy effective while others may need to have tumors or other lesions removed to return the body back to normal. Diabetes and thyroid issues can often be managed with medications.

Marla Ahlgrimm on the Link Between Hormones and Depression

Marla AhlgrimmDepression is one of the most common complaints among women, says Marla Ahlgrimm. In fact, across the globe, and despite economic status, race, and social standing, women overwhelmingly experience downturned emotions more often than their male counterparts.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, including depression, than men. One potential reason for this is that women are often more open to being treated for depressive symptoms. However, women’s bodies experience many more hormonal changes than men, which no doubt contributes to the instances of depression among the fairer sex.

There is much that science still has to learn about the brain and how hormones affect it. One thing that is known, however, is that hormones are dictated by certain brain functions and that many of the same hormones can have a negative influence on the parts of the brain that regulate mood and emotion. An area this is seen is in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. This group is at a higher risk of depression than those who do not report premenstrual symptoms.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, there are ways to offset the symptoms of depression. The first, she explains, is to pay attention to your overall health. This will include eating well, spending time with friends and family, and sleeping at least seven hours every night. These actions work together to give the mind and body everything they require to be strong and healthy.

Women who experience long-lasting depression that gets worse during their period may benefit from talking to their doctor about hormonal birth control. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that birth control can be used to help stabilize hormones. The drawback of this, however, is that it is virtually impossible to become pregnant while taking birth control. Marla Ahlgrimm cautions that women who are already depressed may be at a greater risk of postpartum depression and should consult with their healthcare team prior to conception.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Cancer Caused by Beauty Implants

Marla AhlgrimmFor as long as records have existed, women have been taking steps to enhance their appearance. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, one way that modern women do this is by undergoing elective procedures to re-form problem areas in an effort to look more attractive. Breast implants are quite common, and many women today are also choosing to have implants inserted into their derrière.

Unfortunately, all surgical procedures come with risks, and some of the materials used for these types of implants have been linked to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a type of blood cancer. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that more than 600 women worldwide have been diagnosed with the disease after receiving textured breast or gluteal implants. 16, including nine in the United States, have died.

The vast majority of implant -related cancers were triggered by breast implants. In 2019, it was confirmed that butt implants caused the condition in at least one woman one year after the surgery. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that gluteal implants are filled with silicone and are used to augment the shape of a woman’s buttocks. In 2017, more than 36,000 gluteal augmentation procedures were scheduled and performed by surgeons globally.

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It’s Time to Update Your First Aid Kit, Says Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla AhlgrimmSpring is in the air, and the daffodils are blooming throughout much of the country. Marla Ahlgrimm says that now is the perfect time to focus on safety. If you don’t already have a first aid kit, you should spend some time putting one together.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, small injuries, such as scrapes and bug bites, can often be treated at home. However, you have to have the right tools to do it. This is where a first aid kit comes in handy. The first thing to put into your first aid kit is an up-to-date first aid manual, which your doctor may be able to provide. You will also want to keep information handy relating to any medical conditions suffered by members of your family.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that a first aid kit should include an assortment of sterile gauze pads and adhesive tape. Gauze is absorbent and can help larger injuries, such as would be sustained by a small bicycle crash, stay clean and heal faster. You should also have antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, and hydrogen peroxide available.

If you’re going to be going on vacation, or if you have a family boat or swimming pool, you should keep a fully-stocked first aid kit in your luggage, boat, or near the pool. Instant cold packs to treat swelling and heat exhaustion along with calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream will also come in handy throughout the spring and summer months. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that tweezers and alcohol wipes are essential when you have children, especially if they like to climb trees or run barefoot in the yard.

Your first aid kit should also include a few non-prescription medications such as ibuprofen and Tylenol. Keep a thermometer and small package of Kleenex available to help treat summer colds.

Once you have your first aid kit together, Marla Ahlgrimm says that you should make a point to keep it out of reach of children. Check your kit twice per year and replace anything that has been used or is expired.

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