Favorite Day Spas for Relaxation & Rejuvenation in the Houston Area

Favorite Day Spas for Relaxation & Rejuvenation in the Houston Area
by Carolynn Waites
Apr 9, 2014

Creating an Oasis of Calm in Our Busy World Makes These Day Spas Stand Out

Visiting a day spa for some pampering is an excellent way to reduce stress and rejuvenate your sense of well-being. Stepping out of the world and into the calm and relaxing atmosphere of a day spa does wonders for your psyche. A soothing environment mixed with great customer service will help turn an hour or two of your day into a luxurious break for yourself. Here are four full-service spas dedicated to relaxation in the Houston area that create a wonderful experience that have customers raving.

Dolce Vita Day Spa
Dolce Vita Day Spa uses a holistic approach with its spa treatments, using natural products and essential oils. The luxury begins the moment you walk into the spa with soothing music, falling water, aromatherapy, and beautiful decor. This spa in the River Oaks area is open Tuesday through Sunday and they recommend booking your appointment at least one week in advance. Dolce Vita Day Spa is located at 2503-B S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX 77019.

Trellis Spa
Trellis Spa is located in The Houstonian Hotel in the Galleria/Uptown area of Houston. The Mediterranean-style spa surrounds a beautiful garden courtyard in a tranquil setting. They are open seven days a week and recommend making appointments at least two weeks in advance. Trellis Spa is located at 111 North Post Oak Lane, Houston, TX 77024.

Bergamos Spa Retreat
Bergamos Spa Resort is located in Friendswood, just south of Houston. It is a destination spa for many in the Houston area. Soothing music and a tranquil setting help you unwind before your treatment begins. They are open seven days a week and recommend booking your visit at least three or four days in advance. Bergamos Spa Retreat is located at 313 E. Edgewood Drive, Friendswood, TX 77546.

The Spa at Cinco Ranch
The Spa at Cinco Ranch is located just west of Houston in Katy. This destination spa is located on one and a half acres and offers beautiful tranquil courtyard views. Their goal is to reduce stress, relax the body, and rejuvenate the soul. The spa is by appointment only and is open Monday through Saturday. The Spa at Cinco Ranch is located at 23050 Westheimer Parkway, Katy, TX 77494.

Ten Increased Health Risks for Women in Our 40s

Ten Increased Health Risks for Women in Our 40s
by Carolynn Waites
May 6, 2014

Women Over 40 Should Be Aware of These Health Issues

The decade of our 40s can be a crucial turning point in our health. We may begin developing higher risks for serious health issues. It is more important than ever to control our weight, eat healthy diets, and exercise. These are the building blocks to maintaining our health and lessening our health risks as we age.

Weight Gain
It becomes even more important to watch our weight once we hit our 40s. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are all higher risks with weight gain. In our 40s, our metabolism changes and it can become more difficult to lose weight.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can strike at any age, but once we hit our 40s bone density begins to decrease due to lower hormone levels. Weight-bearing exercises and healthy diet changes are the best ways to slow down the loss of bone density.

Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. The risk factors for heart disease increase in our 40s, as high blood pressure and high cholesterol become harder to fight. To lower these risks we should quit smoking, eat less salt, get moderate exercise, and cut out fatty foods.

Stress & Anxiety
The 40s can be a difficult and stressful time for women. At this point in life, it can be common to be a caregiver for both children and aging parents. Juggling work and family obligations can be overwhelming and raise our stress and anxiety levels. A relaxing bath, a trip to a day spa, or even just a 15-minute time-out can reduce stress.

Breast Cancer
After the age of 40, the risk of getting breast cancer increases. According to the National Cancer Institute, the lifetime risk of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer is one in seven. The main risk factors are gender, increasing age, and family history. A yearly mammogram beginning at age 40 will help with early detection.

Vision Problems
Our vision and eye health begin to change once we hit our 40s. The risk of glaucoma increases beginning in our 40s. Glaucoma is a serious eye condition caused by high-pressure fluid build-up within the eyeball that can lead to loss of vision. It is important to get regular eye exams beginning in our 40s, even if our vision remains clear.

Strokes
According to Netdoctor, up to 70 percent of strokes are directly linked to high blood pressure. Women also have some unique risk factors. These include taking birth control pills, pregnancy, and using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Pregnancy
Many women believe that once we turn 40, we no longer need birth control because we cannot get pregnant. Unintended pregnancies are common to women over the age of 40. Pregnancy over the age of 40 carries more risks to both the mother and child, but can still be healthy.

Diabetes
As we age into our 40s, we are more likely to develop diabetes. Decreasing hormone levels make it more difficult to lose weight. Weight control through a healthy diet and moderate exercise is important for preventing diabetes.

Cervical & Ovarian Cancer
Cervical cancer and ovarian cancer risks increase with age. After having children, we may still get cervical cancer. It is important to continue to get pap smears throughout our adult lives up to the age of 60. The risk of ovarian cancer also increases as we age, and the risk is higher for women who have not had children.

It is important that we talk to our doctor about any changes or symptoms we may be experiencing. That is the best way to prevent or diagnose any health issues.

Anxiety Disorders: The Most Common Forms of Mental Illness

Anxiety Disorders: The Most Common Forms of Mental Illness
by Carolynn Waites
Apr 26, 2014

Don’t Be Embarrassed: Many Americans Suffer from Common Anxiety Disorders

During times of stress, we can all suffer from anxiety. However, if the anxiety persists or becomes severe it is an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in America. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), anxiety disorders affect around 20 percent of the population at any given time. These disorders can be difficult to recognize and many do not seek help because they do not realize they have a problem or are too ashamed to seek treatment. It is important to consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Medication or therapy can lessen symptoms. These are the four most common forms of anxiety disorders.

Panic Disorder
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), six million American adults experience panic disorder in a given year. Panic disorder is characterized by sudden feelings of terror. The symptoms of a panic attack may include heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and upset stomach. Some people will avoid going to places or situations that caused a panic attack out of fear that it will happen again. This is agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia will often avoid places with large crowds where they feel immediate escape might be difficult.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, people may feel anxious for some time after the event. Common symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, being easily startled or scared, emotional numbness, anger, and irritability. These symptoms can last for weeks, months, or in the most severe cases, years. According to the ADAA, 7.7 million American adults suffer from PTSD and 67 percent of those who experience mass violence are likely to suffer from PTSD. Trauma survivors who suffer from PTSD have problems with trust and communication, which affects their ability to have close relationships with friends and family.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
People with OCD suffer from intrusive thoughts that they cannot get out of their heads (obsessions), which may cause them to perform behaviors and routines repeatedly (compulsions) to ease their anxiety. Some sufferers of OCD have specific compulsions that they must perform throughout the day in order to ease their anxiety that something bad will happen to them or a loved one. Some obsessions may include worry about dirt and germs, excessive concern about order and arrangements, or fear that negative thoughts or impulses will cause harm to themselves or others. Some compulsions may include repeatedly cleaning one’s hands or household items, hoarding, touching and arranging, or inability to stop repeating a phrase or activity.

Phobias
A phobia is an irrational fear of a situation that really poses no threat or very little threat of danger. Many of us do not like spiders or flying, but the difference between these normal fears and those experienced by a person with a specific phobia is the intensity of the fear response and the level of dysfunction that it causes in their life. This fear can be disabling because people who suffer from phobias will go out of their way to avoid situations involving their phobia. There are five subsets of phobias: fear of animals, fear of natural environment, fear of blood/injections/injury, fear of situations, and other fears. The other fears category can include fear of death by illness or fear of bodily sensations. Symptoms often include sweating, a feeling of imminent danger or death, nausea, heart palpitations, shortness of breath or the feeling of smothering, or the desire for immediate escape.

Do Not Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Please know that if you are experiencing any symptoms of anxiety disorders that you are not alone. It can be embarrassing to ask for help, but it is important that you do seek treatment. Anxiety disorders are more common than you think and medication may be all you need to get back to your life.

Health Concerns and Risks Facing Women During Menopause

Health Concerns and Risks Facing Women During Menopause
by Carolynn Waites
Apr 15, 2014

Loss of Estrogen May Lead to Health Issues in Menopausal Women

The onset of menopause usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55 in women. During menopause, women can face several health concerns. It is important to talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing and work out a plan together to help decrease the symptoms and risks.

Heart Disease & Cardiovascular Disease
The biggest health risks that menopausal women should be concerned about due to decreased estrogen levels are heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Menopause may increase the risk for atherosclerosis, heart attack, angina, and stroke. According to Remedy’s Health Communities, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over the age of 50. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and weight control are important in the prevention of heart disease. Make sure your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar are all at normal levels and work with your doctor to lower them if they are too high.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become very weak and can break easily. Estrogen plays a crucial part in the building of bone. When it decreases during menopause, it can leave you at higher risk for osteoporosis. Maintaining your bone strength is an important step in preventing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises and eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can help keep bones strong. Sometimes exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes are not enough. There are medications available that build up bone density or prevent further bone loss.

Bladder Control
Bladder control problems are common for women experiencing menopause because estrogen helps keep the lining of the bladder healthy. Stress incontinence and urge incontinence are the most common bladder leakage problems. Frequent urination and painful urination are also common problems during menopause. Bladder control problems can be treated with lifestyle changes and/or medications. Kegel exercises are helpful in strengthening the pelvic muscles to help improve bladder control. Practice kegel exercises by squeezing and holding the pelvic muscles, and then relaxing them. Your doctor will examine you to make sure there is not another cause for your incontinence problems, and then recommend treatment options.

Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are characterized by a sudden increase in heart rate, a rise in skin temperature, and the sudden onset of sweating. The sensation usually begins in the head or face, and then spreads down the neck to other parts of the body. According to Remedy’s Health Communities, as many as 85% of women experience hot flashes during menopause. Increasing physical activity and reducing stress can be helpful with decreasing hot flashes. Eating soy products and limiting caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods may help. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is another option that can help with a number of menopausal symptoms. MHT is not for everyone and can have possible side effects. It is important for you discuss the risks and benefits of MHT with your doctor to decide what is best for you.

Skin Changes
Changes in your skin caused by the decrease in estrogen are common during menopause. The skin tissues become dry and thin, and can easily bruise. Dryness and discomfort in the vaginal area is usually one of the first signs of menopause. Treatment may be done with menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and/or over-the-counter vaginal lubricants and moisturizers. Eating soy products may also be helpful.

Resources:
National Institute on Aging
Office on Women’s Health
Cleveland Clinic

World TB Day: Facts You May Not Know About Tuberculosis (TB)

World TB Day: Facts You May Not Know About Tuberculosis (TB)
by Carolynn Waites
Mar 27, 2014

You Can Help Eliminate Tuberculosis by Educating Yourself and Others About TB

March 24 is the annual observation of World TB Day. It honors the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TB usually affects the lungs and spreads through the air from one person to another. If not treated, it can be fatal. World TB Day provides the opportunity for health officials to raise awareness about tuberculosis. The goal is to eliminate TB. One way to accomplish this goal is through education about the disease.

TB is a Leading Cause of Death
In 2012, 1.3 million people died from TB. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that tuberculosis is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV, causing one-fifth of all deaths. Those with HIV are 30 times more likely to develop TB. In 2012, there were an estimated 1.1 million new TB cases among the HIV positive globally.

TB Bacteria May Remain Latent for Years
Most people infected with TB harbor the bacteria without symptoms. This is latent TB. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one in 10 people with latent TB may develop active TB during their lifetime. The risk is highest the first year after infection, but it often does not occur for many years. Those infected with latent TB do not get sick or infect others. The CDC states that TB spreads through the air by coughing, sneezing, speaking, or singing. It does not spread through sharing food or drink, kissing, shaking hands, toilet seats, or sharing toothbrushes

TB Affects Other Parts of the Body
TB typically affects lungs, but it can spread to other parts of the body. The Mayo Clinic states that infections can occur in bones, the brain, liver, kidneys, and the heart. Bone infections usually occur in the ribs and can cause pain in the spine. TB in the brain can cause meningitis, a swelling of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord that can be fatal. If the liver and kidneys are infected, their ability to filter waste from the bloodstream is impaired. TB in the heart causes a condition called cardiac tamponade, which can be fatal. It causes the tissues around the heart to swell with fluid and interferes with its ability to pump well.

TB Traces Back Thousands of Years
There is evidence of TB in some ancient Egyptian mummies and it was common in ancient Greece and Imperial Rome. According to the NIH, it became an epidemic during the 18th and 19th centuries in North America and Europe. The disease began to subside in the late 19th century as treatment arose. Sanitariums provided rest and recovery for patients with TB. This helped slow the spread of the disease. Vaccination was widely used after World War I. The modern era of treatment began in the 1940s and 1950s with the development of new drugs to combat TB.