by Danielle Fitzpatrick Clark
Taking care of yourself may be last on your to-do list, especially if that to-do list is a mile long. However, this can be a vicious cycle where you’re working hard, not getting enough sleep, feeling stressed, and not putting good food in your body or exercising enough. Studies show that stress, obesity, and disease are all interconnected, and can adversely affect your overall health.
But you can always turn it around. Take Jennifer…
Jennifer Daly lives in Naperville with her husband and two girls, Olivia and Kendall. Jennifer started with Curves in Naperville back in 2010. She was a member for a year before purchasing both Naperville clubs and at this point in her life, Jennifer knew she wanted to lose the extra weight and started taking better care of herself. Mobility was Jennifer’s biggest health concern. “I had difficulty with every day activities, like bending over, getting up and down the stairs and carrying my kids,” she says. “I suffered from joint pain and was worried about my heart health and the possibility of diabetes.”
She decided to just jump in, started her weight loss program, and put good things in her body and exercised. To date, Jennifer has lost 133.2 pounds, 16% body fat, 115 inches and has gone from a size 22 to a size 6/8! She now helps members of her club with their weight loss and fitness goals.
Your health isn’t just about your weight or fitness level, but there are several factors, each just as important as the next when it comes to your well-being. It’s also important to keep in mind the many solutions when seeking the best path to your optimal health.
Take, for example, your teeth. According to Dr. Elizabeth Spence of Smile Downers Grove, dental health concerns change depending on our stage of life. “One of the top concerns for younger women is dental health during pregnancy,” she shares. “Preventative care is extremely important and for some patients I advise more frequent cleanings to control inflammation.” Dr. Spence also advises pregnant women to rinse with water more frequently to neutralize your mouth and lessen any damage to teeth due to additional consumption of carbohydrates and acidic foods. Brushing at least twice a day with a Fluoride toothpaste is also helpful in protecting the teeth.
Also, as women get older, they are commonly prescribed medications to treat bone density issues. “Although these medications are extremely beneficial overall, they can adversely affect the quality and healing capabilities of the bone in the mouth,” Dr. Spence informs. She suggests that those women who have or are currently taking these medications should make sure they see their dentist regularly for check-ups and preventative care. It’s also essential for women to inform their dentist of all medications they are on and how long they’ve been taking them.
What was once old is becoming new again in terms of techniques and treatments for the body and the mind. Kimberly Davis MS, is a specialist in acupuncture and herbal medicine for Integral Alternative Medicine, LLC. “People are taking more responsibility for their own health and wise consumers are increasingly looking for less invasive ways to correct health problems,” Kimberly shares. “People are more aware of potential side effects of medications and risk of procedures.”
In terms of acupuncture and herbal medicine, many of the “new” techniques were actually used in ancient times. A trending treatment for pain is known as moxibustion, but this is an ancient Chinese technique that has been rediscovered. Other old techniques that are being rediscovered are cupping, for pain and discomfort, and gua sha for fighting off colds and flu.
Kimberly is also seeing a trend in combining various modalities for better results in health. “You’ll see people using essential oils and combining it with massage or yoga,” she explains. “The trend is to use Chinese medicine and Western therapies, all toward the goal of correcting a disease or optimizing health.”
“However, it’s important to seek out professionals who have appropriate training in the health modality you intend to use,” Kimberly warns. “A single medication, herb or treatment is not always the correct one – even for the same disease and it’s important that the practitioner have a system for making an accurate diagnosis.”
For women going through menopause and perimenopause, Dr. Selma A. Rashid, MD of Anti-Aging Medical Group, knows about trends and dos and don’ts for women seeking bioidentical hormone therapy. “Our bodies are not designed to function well beyond our late 40’s,” she explains. “Most diseases and ailments of aging start to settle in when women are deprived of Estrogen and Progesterone.”
To aid in this loss of hormone, Dr. Rashid suggests using bioidentical hormone therapy and avoiding synthetic hormone replacement. “Synthetic hormones are not the same as the ones made by your body,” she says. “They are chemically changed so they can be patented.” She suggests avoiding any estrogen supplements that need to be taken orally, since they will increase the risk of blood clots. Topical hormones are safest to use since they don’t increase your risk of blood clots and also do not have unpredictable side effects that oral estrogen supplements can have.
Adrenal fatigue is also common for women when the body is stressed for a long period of time. The best way to prevent adrenal fatigue is to incorporate stress management techniques like healthy eating and exercise and incorporate well-made supplements. Dr. Rashid warns that there are many unhealthy products over the internet and in trusted supplement stores that claim to help your adrenal glands naturally, but these can have damaging long term effects. She suggests taking the following supplements: vitamin D3, Magnesium (in a form that absorbs rather than acts as a laxative), a high quality Omega 3 in a thick capsule, CoQ10 in the Ubiquinol (not Ubiquinone) form, and D-Ribose.
Let’s not forget about the body’s largest organ (and fastest growing) – your skin! Steil Dermatology has some tips and tricks to keep your skin feeling and looking fresh for 2015. For those who are worried about sun damage, there’s good news. There is much you can do to reverse sun damage. For starters make sure you’re wearing sun-block every day, even during these long dreary winter months. “Daily sun protection is your number one anti-aging product,” Steil Dermatology says. “Include a daily anti-oxidant and a retinoid in order to feed your skin and keep it healthy.”
Since skin cancer is very common – it’s estimated that one in five U.S. citizens will develop skin cancer in their lifetime – it’s essential to get a skin examination, especially if you spend (or spent) a lot of time in the sun. During your examination you’ll have any moles and skin growths closely checked, and any suspicious lesions seen will take a simple biopsy test to check for skin cancer.
As you can see, much of the trend for health in 2015 is all about prevention. Taking care of yourself before the onset of disease and finding trusted practitioners to help you implement strategies will not only prevent you from becoming sick, but will help you live a happier, healthier life.
To your health and happiness! -Photo Submitted by Jennifer Daly