Tag Archive | Women's Health

The Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea in Pregnancy

Red Raspberry leaf tea is one of the safest and commonly used tonic herbs for women wanting to get pregnant or for women who are already pregnant. Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) tones the uterus, improves contractions and decreases constipation. Most tonics need to be used regularly, for a tonic is to the cells much like exercise is to the muscles; not much help when done irregularly . But you will still benefit even from occasional use of tonics during pregnancy, since they contain nourishing factors. The herb comes in forms of leaves to make teas or tonics as well as pill like capsules you can swallow.
Most of the benefits given to regular use of Raspberry lea tea throughout pregnancy can be traced to the strengthening power of fragrine, an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus itself; and to the nourishing power of the vitamins and minerals found in this plant. There is rich concentration of Vitamin C, the presence of Vitamin E and the easily assimilated calcium and iron. Raspberry leaves also contain vitamins A and B complex and many minerals, including phosphorus and potassium.
When to use: There are two basic points of view on the subject. There is agreement among many clinicians that in the 3rd trimester frequent (2- 3 cups per day of tea or 1 – 2 cups per day of infusion) is beneficial to the uterine and pelvic muscles.
The more radical point of view is that drinking one cup of tea per day in the 1st trimester and 2 cups in the 2nd trimester and switching to the infusion in the 3rd trimester ensures a strong uterus, is good for you nutritionally and prevents miscarriage. Some say it is advised to not use it in the first trimester, particularly if you have a history of miscarriage. If a mother is prone to miscarriages she may feel safer avoiding raspberry until the third trimester. This is an herb with centuries of safe use behind it, there is usually little cause for concern, but check with your healthcare provider before using.
According to Susun Weed, author of “Wise Woman, Herbal for the Childbearing Year,” the benefits listed below for drinking a Raspberry leaf brew before and throughout pregnancy are as follows:
• Increasing fertility in both men and women. Red Raspberry leaf is an excellent fertility herb when combined with Red Clover.
• Preventing miscarriage and hemorrhage. Raspberry leaf tones the uterus and helps prevent miscarriage and postpartum hemorrhage from a relaxed or atonic uterus.
o Use raspberry leaf infusion to help facilitate placenta delivery. Chips of frozen raspberry leaf infusion sucked throughout labor help keep the uterus working strongly and smoothly.

• Easing of morning sickness. Many women attest to raspberry leaves’ gentle relief of nausea and stomach distress throughout pregnancy. Drink a cup or two of raspberry leaf tea or infusion each day. Sipping the infusion before getting up or sucking on ice cubes made from the infusion increases the strength of this remedy.

• Reducing pain during labor and after birth. By toning the muscles used during labor and birth, Raspberry leaf eliminates many of the reasons for a painful birth and prolonged recovery. It does not counter the pain of dilation of the cervix.

Red Raspberry Leaves do not start or encourage labor. It can help the contractions to be productive once true labor has begun because it strengthens the uterine and pelvic muscles but it is not an oxytonic herb (one that would induce labor). That being said, it’s important to talk with your midwife, obstetrician or herbalist before beginning drinking red raspberry leaf tea or taking a supplement. Some will recommend you wait until you are 36 weeks along before incorporating the tea into your health regime while others may encourage you to begin right away. Each situation and pregnancy is different so it’s best to get other’s opinions before beginning red raspberry leaf tea.

Tea recipe: To make a tea, pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons of herb and steep for ten minutes. Strain. During the first two trimesters, drink 1 cup per day. During the final trimester, drink 2-3 cups per day.

Excerpts from Weed, Susun. “Wise Woman Herbal Childbearing Year.”
http://www.motherandchildhealth.com/Prenatal/raspberry.html

Water, Water Everywhere-How Much should you Drink?

Your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.
Most individuals seem to know that drinking water is good for them, but maybe don’t know exactly why and have a hard time reaching their intake goals each day. We know all the excuses:

- I don’t like the taste
- I simply forget
- I can’t drink that much
- Who has time for that many bathroom breaks!

Well, we are going to inform you on why you should always have a water bottle nearby, how much you really need to drink and some tips to help you reach that goal.

Why You Should Be Downing That Water

Water is the most important nutrient for your body. From flushing out toxins, transporting nutrients throughout your body, and other vital actions, water necessary for every single system in your body needs water to function.

On average, water makes up 60% of our body weight. Even slight dehydration can prevent your body from carrying out normal bodily functions, draining your energy or even causing a headache.

5 reasons why you should have a glass of cool, refreshing H20:

1. Drop a few pounds: Remember just a moment ago when we said water is necessary for every function in your body. This includes breaking down fat for weight loss. Also, water is calorie free and is often an appetite suppressant. In fact, most people often confuse hunger for thirst.

2. Drink for your health: Drinking the right amount of water improves the health of your heart, and can even lower your risk of a heart attack. Also, increasing your water intake can improve digestive health by aiding in the breakdown of food. And, most of you probably already know that drinking water is one of the best things you can do for healthy skin – giving it a glow from the inside out.

3. Energy: The first all natural energy drink is water! Test it out next time you’re feeling a little sluggish by having a couple glasses of water.

4. Headache prevention: Know those dull headaches that come in the afternoon, especially after sitting at your desk all day? You’d be surprised how many of those headaches are caused by a slight dehydration.

5. Cleansing: Flush out all those unhealthy toxins!

Now that you’re sold on why to drink more water, let’s talk about how much – and how!
For years we’ve been told to follow the “8 by 8″ rule – drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but for some people that just is not enough water. Here’s a new formula to use when calculating how much water you need. Simply divide your weight (in pounds) by two to give you the number of ounces of water you should strive to drink each day. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs., strive to drink 80 ounces of water daily.

Dietary recommendations: The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

If you drink a lot of caffeine, exercise or your job requires a lot of physical activity, you may need to consume even more water to replenish your body.

Whoa, that’s a lot of water!

Need some help reaching your new water intake goal? Try these tips:

1. Get a reusable bottle and figure out how many times you must empty it through out the day to reach your goal.

2. Have a glass of water before (and with) every meal.

3. Keep a pitcher of water in your office, at your desk or in the fridge – this will also help track how much you’ve already had for the day.

4. Add lemon or lime slices, or mint leaves to give your water a light, refreshing taste. (Hint: the mint may need to soak in the water up to 12 hours to give it any flavor.)

5. Set a daily alarm on your cell phone to remind you of your water intake goal.

6. Go slow. If you rarely drink water and just the thought of your recommended intake makes your bladder a little uneasy, take a few days or even a week to work your way up to that magical number.

Even apart from the above approaches, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.

Factors that influence water needs
You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves, thus increasing your fluid intake needs.

Illnesses or health conditions. Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases you should drink more water and may even need oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade or Powerade. On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.

Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids a day

Other Sources of Water
Although it’s a great idea to keep water within reach at all times, you don’t need to rely only on what you drink to satisfy your daily fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake, while the remaining 80 percent comes from water and beverages of all kinds.
For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent to 100 percent water by weight. Beverages such as milk and juice also are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is one of your best bets because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Staying safely hydratedIt’s generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you become thirsty, it’s most likely you are already dehydrated. Further, be aware that as you get older your body is less able to sense dehydration and send your brain signals of thirst. Excessive thirst and increased urination can be signs of a more serious medical condition. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience either.

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. Nearly every healthy adult can consider the following:
 Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
 Hydrate before, during and after exercise.
 Substitute sparkling water for alcoholic drinks at social gatherings.
If you drink water from a bottle, thoroughly clean or replace that bottle often.

Though uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who consume an average American diet.

If you’re concerned about your fluid intake, check with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s best for you.

Posted by Living Well Today on June 17, 2009
Excerpts from Mayoclinic.com/health/water

Preconceptional Counseling and Care

Becoming a parent is a major commitment in life. It can be met with challenges, rewards and informed choices. Before you conceive, be sure to incorporate a healthy life-style to ensure optimal health for mom and baby. Receiving pre-conceptional counseling and care can lay the ground work for a healthy lifestyle and healthy pregnancy. Good health before pregnancy can help you cope with the stress of pregnancy, labor and birth. Obtaining good health care before you conceive will help you throughout your pregnancy. It also provides you with the opportunity to find out your risks, treat any medical problems that may affect the outcome of your pregnancy and adopt or continue a healthy lifestyle.

If you are planning to conceive, schedule a pre-conceptional visit with your healthcare provider. Included in your visit is a comprehensive history of your health including: Family history and risk factors, your medical history, surgical history, medications that you are presently taking including vitamins, supplements, OTC (over-the-counter) meds; your diet and lifetstyle and any past pregnancies.

Your preconception visit is a time for you to ask questions. Do not hesitate to seek advice, discuss your concerns and your options. Your healthcare provider is there to provide information and guidance to help you make informed choices in your healthcare to help you obtain and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

Women who are planning to conceive should stop their form of birth control several months in advance. Even though methods vary in use, it may affect when your menses resumes and becomes regular. During this time you may also want to start taking a prenatal vitamin daily to ensure you are getting added vitamins and increased folic acid.

Your lifestyle includes diet, exercise, weight, substance use, living/working environment and infection history. Current immunizations are important to prevent any infections during your pregnancy that can harm you and your baby, even if you were vaccinated as a child (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus), you may not be immune now. If you are vaccinated prior to conceiving, you will be protected. The vaccine for mumps, measles and especially rubella should be given at least 3 months
prior to conceiving. During this period of time, you should use a reliable method birth control.

Optimal health at any time during your lifetime involves a healthy diet and the proper amount of exercise. Ideally, you should be in good physical shape and follow a regular exercise regimen before your conceive. If you are not used to being active, you should start an exercise program gradually.

Tobacco, alcohol and recreational (illegal) drug use is addictive and can harm you and your baby that can last a lifetime or even result in death. They can have detrimental affects on the organ formation, causing damage. The misuse of prescription medication can also harm the fetus. For the sake of your own health and that of your baby, now is a good time to cut back on smoking and alcohol and quit all recreational drugs. It takes time and patience to quit a habit, especially if you have had that particular habit for a long time. Ask your healthcare provider to suggest ways to get through the withdrawal state or quitting and to refer you to support groups. Your decision to quit may be one of the hardest things you have ever done, but it will be one of the most worthwhile.

Does your work environment impose any hazards? If you are trying to conceive, it is a good idea to look closely at your work place and surroundings. Are you exposed to toxic substances, chemicals, or radiation? Discuss your level of exposure to specific substances with your employee health division, personnel office or union representative.

Exposure to lead or certain solvents, pesticides or other chemicals can reduce your partner’s fertility by killing or damaging sperm. Unlike women, who are born with a complete supply of eggs for their entire lifespan, men make new sperm on a daily basis for most of their lives. Unless the damage to a man’s reproductive system is very serious, he will probably be able to make healthy sperm against a short time span after his exposure to the harmful material stops.

Questions to Consider…
• Do I or a member of my family have a disorder that could be inherited?
• Do I need to gain or lose weight to prepare for pregnancy?
• Should I make any changes in my lifestyle?
• Could any medications I am taking cause problems during my pregnancy?
• Can I continue my present exercise program?
• Does my work expose me to things that could be harmful during pregnancy?
• Do I need to be vaccinated for any infectious diseases before I try to conceive?

Depression in Pregnancy

Depression occurs almost as commonly in pregnant women as it does in non-pregnant women. While the increase in hormones is often blamed for many of the mood swings and other emotional and psychological occurrences in pregnancy, they are only one part of the puzzle when it comes to pregnancy and depression. For some women the stress of pregnancy brings on depressive symptoms, even when the pregnancy is planned. These feeling might intensify if the pregnancy is complicated or unplanned, or if life itself is stressful.

What factors increase my risk of being depressed in pregnancy?
• Having a history of depression or PMDD
• Age at time of pregnancy — the younger you are, the higher the risk
• Living alone
• Limited social support
• Marital conflict
• Ambivalence about the pregnancy

What is the impact of depression on pregnancy?
Depression can interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself during her pregnancy. You may be less able to follow health recommendations, and sleep and eat properly; jeopardizing proper nutrition, sleep habits, exercise and following prenatal care instructions from your healthcare provider. Depression can put you at risk for increased use of substances that have a negative impact on pregnancy (tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs).

Depression may interfere with your ability to bond with your growing baby. A baby in the womb is able to recognize the mother’s voice and sense emotion by pitch, rhythm and stress. Pregnant women with depression may find it difficult to develop this bond and feel emotionally isolated and detached from their unborn child.

Many of the signs of depression can mimic pregnancy symptoms. It can be hard to determine what is normal fatigue in pregnancy and what is depression. This can lead to an underreporting of the problem to their healthcare provider. There is also a tendency of people to ignore depression in pregnancy simply because this is supposed to be “a happy time in their life,” and this includes the pregnant woman herself.

Signs of Depression
• Problems concentrating
• Problems with sleeping
• Fatigue
• Changes in eating habits
• Feeling anxious
• Irritability
• Feeling blue

How does pregnancy impact depression?
• The stresses of pregnancy can cause depression or a recurrence or worsening of depression symptoms.
• Depression during pregnancy can place you at risk for having an episode of depression after birth (postpartum depression).

Are there any other things I should know about?
Treatment during pregnancy involves several avenues. Developing your support network is extremely valuable. Having yourself surrounded by supportive individuals that you know can be beneficial, particularly if they have experienced the same feelings. Talking to a professional or psychotherapist can be very helpful, particularly since there are major physical, mental and emotional changes occurring during pregnancy. Medications can also be used during pregnancy under the care of a practitioner who has experience with using antidepressants and other medications during the course of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

So what are my options if I’m depressed during my pregnancy?
• Preparing for a new baby is lots of hard work, but your health should come first. Resist the urge to get everything done — cut down on your chores and do those things that will help you to relax. And remember, taking care of yourself is an essential part of taking care of your unborn child.
• Talking about the things that concern you is very important. Talk to your friends, your partner, and your family. If you ask for support, you’ll find that you often get it. If you are not finding relief from anxiety and depression by making these changes, seek your doctor’s advice or a referral to a mental health professional.

The key to preventing problems that stem from depression in pregnancy, which may also increase the likelihood of postpartum depression, is getting the support and help you need as soon as you realize that you are experiencing a problem. With more than two out of three pregnant women having depressive symptoms it’s important to recognize that you are not alone and that help is available. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are in need of help. Be open and honest with your concerns and realize there is help.

Angel J. Miller, MSN, CNM

Four Ways to Boost Your Energy in Pregnancy

Are you exhausted during your pregnancy? Here are four ways to increase your energy levels and stay happier and healthier as your due date approaches.

Do pregnant and energetic seem contradictory? Pregnancy typically conjures up thoughts of fatigue and lethargic episodes—and while nearly every pregnant woman experiences a decrease in energy at some point during pregnancy, there are ways to boost energy levels and keep going strong until you give birth.

Booster #1: Fitness
“The single most common factor my more energetic patients have is that the exercise,” says Dr. Randy Fink, MD, FACOG, and an OB-GYN in private practice in Miami, Florida. “A little time committed to physical activity can make a huge difference. But what sort of exercise gets your energy soaring? Just about anything that gets you on your feet and moving is beneficial.
• Get Moving: With your healthcare provider’s permission, make it a habit to engage in physical activity each day. Take a brief walk outside on your lunch hour or perform some yoga stretches while dinner cooks, suggests Dr. Kathleen Hall, PhD, author of A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness.

• Make TV Time Productive: Rather than sitting to watch your favorite TV show, use those 30 minutes for exercise. Pedal a stationary bike or take a walk on the treadmill. Low-impact exercise is best, but the overwhelming message is the same: exercise will “reenergize and increase your oxygen, blood, and nourishment to your body,” says Dr. Hall.

• Make Exercise Fun: Getting fit doesn’t limit you to isolated exercises and toning individual muscles. When you were a child, you naturally got exercise by running around on the playground, playing kickball, and riding your bike. Using this childlike approach to exercise can make fitness more fun! Invest in an exercise DVD with music you love or if you have other children, dance with them as you watch one of their favorite Disney musicals! Getting the blood pumping will make you feel good and reinforce a positive outlook on fitness.

Booster #2: Sleep
In our fast-paced society, making time for sleep is essential to feeling alert and ready to take on the day during pregnancy and even after your birth. The key to maintaining energy is getting enough sleep. “Proper rest” means getting at least eight to nine hours of good sleep every night. Nowadays, this may seem like a lot, considering the majority of the country is running on empty. A hundred years ago, the average American slept nine hours at night, which has now been whittled down to six hours.

Booster #3: Healthy Eating

Anything you eat can be considered energy, and you’ll benefit most from foods that provide plenty of nutrient and energy producing substances. Broccoli is a great source of beta carotene with vitamin C to keep you energized. Likewise, blueberries contain protective antioxidants and stimulate the brain. You can boost your body’s healing capabilities by eating foods containing vitamin B6 which helps the body produce serotonin, creating a calming effect. Eat chicken, sweet potatoes, and bananas for a B6 boost!
Along with your food intake, be sure to drink plenty of water. As a society, we walk around chronically dehydrated and we don’t even realize it. Pregnant women, especially, should drink the recommended eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day (64 ounces) to keep healthy and maintain stamina. But be wary of caffeinated beverages. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider before reaching for that iced mocha.

Booster #4: Peace of Mind
Having a calm and collected mind is vital to staying healthy during pregnancy. A few ways to keep the peace include:
• Meditation: Closing your eyes, clearing the mind, and focusing on a single image or thought for a few minutes a day can reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, create more energy for the day, says Dr. Hall. If meditation isn’t your thing, try taking deep breaths for a two-minute interval. By slowly and deeply inhaling and exhaling, you calm the body and mind, and restore energy.

• Take time for you: Being pregnant can be stressful at times. Taking time each day for yourself can significantly lower stress and keep your energy levels high. Feeling extra drained? Take a brief nap to restore expended energy. Listen to your favorite band or artist. Indulge in a good book. Whatever your pleasure, set aside time to enjoy it.

• Take time for your loved ones: You and your partner are in this baby journey together; make time for your partner during these busy nine months. Sharing a laugh with the one you love can boost your energy—and your outlook.

Energy during pregnancy doesn’t have to be a rarity. By listening to your body and taking care of yourself, energy can be more readily at your fingertips for use in planning, wondering, and thinking about the new joy in your life.

Osteoporosis Prevention

Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, or fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain, and deformity. Women are four times more likely than men to develop this debilitating disease.

Five Steps to Bone Health and Osteoporosis Prevention:
Get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D
Many women and young girls consume less than half the amount of calcium recommended to grow and maintain healthy bones. Adults under age 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium daily, and adults age 50 and over need 1,200-1500 mg of calcium daily. If you have difficulty getting enough calcium from the foods you eat, you may take a calcium supplement to make up the difference. Calcium citrate is absorbed when taken with Vitamin D or Magnesium.

Vitamin D - Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, you will be unable to absorb calcium from the foods you eat, and your body will have to take calcium from your bones. Vitamin D comes from two sources: through the skin following direct exposure to sunlight and from your diet. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommendations, adults under age 50 need 400-800 IU of vitamin D daily, and adults age 50 and over need 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D daily. There are two types of vitamin D supplements. They are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Previous research suggested that vitamin D3 was a better choice than vitamin D2. However, more recent studies show that vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 are equally good for bone health. Vitamin D allows calcium to leave the intestine for absorption, and works in the kidneys to reabsorb the calcium that would otherwise be excreted.

Engage in regular weight-bearing exercise
Exercise is also essential to good bone health. If you exercise regularly in childhood and adolescence, you are more likely to reach your peak bone density than those who are inactive. The best exercise for your bones is weight-bearing exercise such as walking, dancing, jogging, stair-climbing, racquet sports and hiking. If you have been sedentary most of your adult life, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.

Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
For men, alcoholism is one of the leading risk factors for osteoporosis. In men and women, excess consumption of alcohol reduces bone formation and interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Talk to your healthcare provider about bone health
Speaking with your healthcare professional about osteoporosis will help you better understand your own risk for the disease as well as available prevention or treatment options. Listed below are several questions that are intended to help you discuss osteoporosis with your healthcare professional:
• Based on my medical history, lifestyle and family background, am I at risk for osteoporosis?
• How do I know if someone in my family suffered from osteoporosis? (What physical signs or symptoms should I be looking for?)
• Am I currently taking any medication that puts me at higher risk for developing osteoporosis?
• How do I best prevent (or treat) osteoporosis?
• How do I know if my bone density is low?
• How much calcium is right for me? How do I best obtain this calcium?
• Should I engage in exercise? What kind of exercise is best? How often should I exercise?
• How do I know if I have fractured a bone in my spine?
If you have osteoporosis or if your healthcare provider believes you are at high risk for the disease, you may want to ask the following questions:
• What medications are available to help me?
• What are the benefits/side effects of these medications? Will these medications interact with other medications I am already taking for other conditions?
• How do I know that my prevention or treatment program is effective?
• Do any of the medications I am taking for other conditions cause dizziness, light-headedness, disorientation or a loss of balance that could lead to
• When appropriate, have a bone density test and take medication

Osteoporosis testing is performed by measuring bone mass using a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry machine (DXA). DXA is the best method of obtaining an individual’s bone density which is critical to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. While the use of DXA scans is recognized the World Health Organization, the US Surgeon General and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as the gold standard for the testing for osteoporosis, only about one in four Medicare women receive their DEXA scan every two years. Without early diagnosis and treatment, osteoporosis can lead to debilitating fractures, loss of mobility, permanent disability, costly nursing home stays, and even death .A recent study by Kaiser Southern California’s Healthy Bones program found that increased utilization of DXA testing and subsequent treatment resulted in a 37% decrease in hip fracture rates and a $30.8 million savings among its 3.1 million members in one year alone. Patient access to DXA testing is threatened as inadequate reimbursement forces more physicians to stop providing this critical preventative service. Medicare reimbursement has been reduced by 50% since 2006 and more budget cuts are scheduled for 2010. More information regarding this issue can be attained at http://www.nof.org.

Information from the National Osteoporosis Foundation: www. NOF.org and ACNM.org

For more info on risk factors of osteoporosis: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoporosis/DS00128/DSECTION=risk-factors