Health & Wellness

Boomer Edition | 11th Annual - 2015

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Pamela Havlen, Md Skyline Internal Medicine 303-861-7001, denver is there any way to prevent a condition that runs in my family—before it affects me? I t d e p e n d s o n t h e c o n d i t i o n . S o m e illnesses that run in families (breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, among others) have modified screening g u i d e l i n e s t h a t a i m t o d e t e c t t h e s e conditions at the very earliest stages for those at high risk. In some specific families there might even be procedures or medications that can decrease your risk of developing these conditions. In most hereditary conditions, how- ever, the most important thing is to identify any risk factors and then modify them for the positive. For example, if heart disease runs in your family, avoid or stop smoking and maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure and cholesterol level. Or if diabetes is a concern, keep your body mass index in a normal range. Healthy lifestyle changes and regular visits and discussions with your primary care physician will go a long way in maintaining your health. Lara Lane, Md Women's Care of Colorado 303-325-2185, Lone Tree i'm only 45, but i think i'm having hot flashes. is it too early for menopause? Menopause is defined as the cessation of periods. The average age of menopause is 51 years. Yet, the years surrounding menopause can be challenging, as a lot of women experience uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms up to the point their periods finally cease. This time period, which can start as early as five years prior to menopause for some, is called the "perimenopausal transition." Symptoms women complain about, even in their 40's, are hot flashes, mood swings and night sweats (intense hot flashes that occur only at night). Hot flashes stem from a lack of estrogen, which causes the brain to think the body is too hot. The brain then signals chemicals to release and more blood to circulate, and sweating occurs. It is a very uncomfortable feeling for most women and one of the main complaints that brings them to their gynecologist for advice. Lori Lindsay, Md Mountain Vista OB/GYN and Midwifery 303-788-8808, Lakewood i have gone through menopause but am experiencing spotting or staining. What should i do? Vaginal bleeding, spot- ting or staining AFTER the twelve months of no bleeding that signal menopause have com- menced could be a sign of a precancerous or cancerous condition of the uterus. You should see your doctor. While a Pap smear is a critical tool to diagnose cervical cancer, it is not used to diagnose endometrial cancer. Any postmenopausal bleeding should be investigated by either an endometrial biopsy or an ultrasound, the choice of which can be discussed with your provider. The good news is that endo- metrial cancer is a highly curable cancer because of the early warning sign of abnormal bleeding. Five questions on the Minds of Baby Boomers answered by Local Physicians Ask A Doctor Internal Medicine OB/GYN 76 • Medical Profile

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