In the past, we’ve talked about studies that address bone health for women.
Bone Health for Women This Winter
In the past, we’ve talked about studies that address bone health for women. For a complete report of bone health and how to keep enough calcium, go to the 2004 Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis: What It Means To You at www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/bonehealth.
Remember that four out of every 10 white women, age 50 and older in the United States, will experience a hip, spine, or wrist fracture sometime during the remainder of their lives. Only 13 percent of white men experience a similar fate. While we know that weight-bearing exercise and nutrition throughout life decreases bone disease and fractures, measuring bone-mineral density with tests such as DEXA scans are important. DEXA is a form of low-dose X-ray.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation, www.nof.org/osteoporosis/bmdtest.htm, suggests that several factors determine the need for bone density tests, including women age 65 and older and people with family histories of osteoporosis, women using certain medications, and women with small bones or who are thin. To see if you are getting enough calcium in your diet, read the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium. 4/2005.
Vacations May be the Cure for Stress and Depression in Women
A new study from researchers at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin shows that taking frequent vacations is good for women’s health. In the study, women were less likely to become stressed out or depressed and reported a higher rate of marital satisfaction. Conducted from 1996 through 2001 with a random sample of 1,500 women from central Wisconsin, researchers investigated factors related to stress, quality of marital life, and disruptive life at home stemming from work, and compared those who vacationed frequently vs. those who did not. Not surprisingly, depression and tension were highest among women who took vacations only once in two years or once in six years. SOURCE: Chikani V, McCarty C, et al. Vacations improve mental health among rural women: The Wisconsin Rural Women’s Health Study. Wisc Med J. 2005; 104:6.; Hankin BL, Abramson LY. Development of gender differences in depression: description and possible explanations. Ann Med. 1999;31(6):372-379.
Fruit Sugars Might Speed Obesity and Diabetes
Sugars not only cause tooth decay, but weight gain and disease, according to new research published in December 2005. Those pounds you gain during winter might come from certain foods that contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Fructose - the sugar found in fruit - honey, and the corn syrup sweeteners used in many processed foods can make you feel hungrier than you really are. Studies of rats by researchers at the University of Florida identified fructose as part of a biochemical chain reaction that causes weight gain. Rats were fed a high fructose diet for 10 weeks, and all rats developed increases in uric acid and insulin resistance. Fructose causes an increase of uric acid levels in the blood, and a temporary rise in uric acid blocks the action of insulin, the hormone that regulates how body cells use and store fat. SOURCE: Nakagawa T, Tuttle K, Short R and Johnson R. Hypothesis: fructose-induced hyperuricemia as a causal mechanism for the epidemic of the metabolic syndrome Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology (2005) 1, 80-86.
One-Minute Health Information
The Kaiser Family Foundation and XM Satellite Radio have partnered for Health Care Minute segments available on XM Satellite Radio. The one-minute segment on health issues is available on Kaiser’s Web site, www.cme.kff.org/Key=9910.CPM.D.C.G2s3T1. The site also provides links to many health resources from the Foundation and other sources.
England’s Oral Health Plan
The United Kingdom has a new plan, Choosing Better Oral Health: An Oral Health Plan for England. This provides everything needed to assess oral health needs, services, and evidence-based guidance on preventive care. The report notes that the link between patient education and changes in clinical view, behavior, or oral health significance is not known. The report is available at www.dh.gov.uk/AboutUs/HeadsOfProfessionl?ChiefDentalOfficer/fs/en.
New Woman Patient Book
A new book, “The Savvy Woman Patient: How and Why Sex Impacts Your Health,” edited by Phyllis Greenberger and Jennifer Wider, M.D., is available for women patients. The book notes that women and men are different. Unfortunately, many doctors and dentists don’t recognize how these differences can affect health. The result has been that women sometimes receive inappropriate medical and dental care. “The Savvy Woman Patient” addresses the sex differences in health and a range of diseases, as well as prevention strategies, diagnosis, and treatments for those diseases.
National Women’s Business Resources
Be sure to understand the costs of leasing your office vs. buying. According to the Online Women’s Business Center, www.onlinewbc.gov, the national average for rent is between 4 and 5 percent of total operating costs. Leases should include a tenant improvement allowance to pay for the building of the space to fit your dental needs. If you lease, be clear about what the allowance covers and how construction will proceed.
Margaret Scarlett, DMD
Dr. Scarlett is the science and women’s health editor for Woman Dentist Journal. An accomplished clinician, scientist, and lecturer, she is retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She owns and operates SCI, an international health consulting company. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.