You’ve got three weeks until your beach vacation but you’d feel more comfortable dressed for an Alaskan cruise than the Caribbean coast. What’s a woman to do? According to Marla Ahlgrimm, one thing you shouldn’t do is jump into an intense exercise program. Read on for the reason.
Q: I need to get in shape fast. Why shouldn’t I hit the gym?
Marla Ahlgrimm: You should exercise and participate in plenty of physical activity. But, the body can only adapt appropriately if given time to adjust to new movements. Jumping headfirst into a grueling workout can actually do more harm than good. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes here.
Zika is a virus, typically spread via mosquito bites. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, it is a mild illness but can have profound effects on some of our most vulnerable: unborn babies. Read on for Ahlgrimm’s response to the current Zika scare.
Q: How is Zika contracted?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Zika, like its better-known cousin West Nile Virus, is a mosquito-borne illness. It is spread through the bite of an infected insect. The mosquitos that carry Zika are opportunistic creatures that can breed in even the smallest locations, preferring human-populated areas to swamp and marshland. Zika may also be spread via sexual intercourse.
Some birth defects are not visible, explains Marla Ahlgrimm. Some of these, however, such as problems of the ear that affect hearing, can have a profound effect on a child’s ability to communicate. Ahlgrimm says that infant hearing screenings are a valuable tool for all parents and answers questions about the process and benefits of early intervention.
Q: When should my baby have her hearing checked?
Marla Ahlgrimm: All hospitals now offer audio screenings shortly after birth, before mother and child are released from care. Children born outside of a medical facility should be tested as soon as possible by their pediatrician or a hearing specialist. The CDC recommends hearing tests before one month of age with a follow up scheduled no later than three months of age if issues are suspected.
Hearing loss attributed to age can’t be avoided, says Marla Ahlgrimm. However, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is 100% preventable. In this brief question and answer article, Ahlgrimm explains the difference and offers advice on ways to avoid NIHL.
Q: What is NIHL?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Noise-induced hearing loss is just that, hearing loss associated with exposure to noise above 85 decibels. To put that into perspective, a vacuum cleaner runs at approximately 75 decibels so anything louder than that can damage the inner ear.
Q: When are people exposed to prolonged noises?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Recreational activities are the biggest culprits. Live concerts, motorcycles, and firecrackers are all well above the 85 decibel threshold. Previously, NIHL was diagnosed most frequently among those whose jobs mandated noise exposure, such as those working in machine shops or in construction. Over the last fifty years, noise has been recognized as an occupational hazard and is highly regulated. NIHL is still prevalent among active and retired military personnel.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful autoimmune disease that leaves joints stiff and weak. And it affects women three times as much as men. Women’s healthcare expert Marla Ahlgrimm says the reasons aren’t fully understood but researchers continue to seek answers. Here, Ahlgrimm discusses this common form of arthritis.
Q: What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Marla Ahlgrimm: RA (also known as atrophic arthritis) is a chronic inflammatory syndrome that presents with pain and swelling in the joints. It most commonly affects the feet and hands but may spread if left untreated. Severe RA may also cause bone erosion and deformities.
Q: Who gets RA?
Marla Ahlgrimm: RA, like other autoimmune diseases, is diagnosed in both men and women. However, women are identified as having rheumatoid arthritis three times more often than men. Of the 50 million Americans currently suffering from arthritis, 1.5 million of these cases are RA.
Five common questions with straightforward answers on the most common causes of menstrual changes.
Q: What causes heavy bleeding during menstruation?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Uterine fibroids are one of the most common causes of a heavy flow. These non-cancerous tumors attach to the wall of the uterus and can grow as large as a melon, but are typically pea sized or smaller. They occur frequently in women in their 30s and 40s and often disappear without treatment.
When to see a doctor: If bleeding is heavy enough to change pads/tampons more than once an hour for an entire day.
Q: Are periods that last for more than a week normal?
Marla Ahlgrimm: It’s common with age to have periods that last longer than usual. As the body makes less progesterone (the pregnancy hormone), it doesn’t always get the signal to stop menstruation. An underactive thyroid may also be a trigger.
When the ovaries fail, it becomes more difficult to conceive. Here, Marla Ahlgrimm answers questions about ovulation disorders and possible ways to counter infertility.
Q: What is ovulatory dysfunction?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Ovulatory dysfunction is a condition in which the ovaries do not release an egg regularly. Ovulation is a complex process dependent upon hormones being released at the precise time and in the right quantities during the menstrual cycle. Anything that interferes with hormone regulation can result in ovulatory dysfunction. Infertility is a major concern for women with irregular periods.
Q: What usually causes it?
Marla Ahlgrimm: For the most part, ovulatory dysfunction is caused by hormone imbalance. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus play a vital role in regulating Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). If these are out of balance, it can cause a disruption of the menstrual cycle.