The month is about love and there is no better way to say I love you than to share heart healthy insight with friends, family and loved ones. For so many years when the topic was heart health most of the info was based on what the medical profession knew about men and their heart health. Fortunately health professionals have revised their outlook and there is now research and data available on women. We’ve learned that it is important for women to know the risk factors.
Now I wish I could say it was all about the medical info, but as you know you can often get the attention of women when you pair the subject with fashion. We’ve all heard about Go Red for Women, ® the designated day each February when folks are encouraged to wear red to spotlight the importance of women having healthy hearts. This month I’m encouraging you to go red, add some sizzle and put that hot color on your menu year ’round.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. One in four women in this country dies of heart disease. Risk factors contributing to heart disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Though these factors affect both sexes, several factors can affect the heart health of women more than that of men. Factors which can play a role in the development of heart disease in women are:
• The combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides.
• Mental stress and depression. Depression makes it tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stick to the treatment. So talk to your doctor if you’re having symptoms of depression.
• Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.
• Low levels of estrogen after menopause may increase a woman’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels.
Women most often are the caregivers, but in reality we often overlook giving ourselves the care we need. Each of the above risk factors can be decreased by making changes in lifestyle. By adding and increasing the priority of regular exercise to the daily or weekly routine, women can help reduce fat around the abdomen, blood pressure, depression and stress. The addition of one healthy lifestyle activity can pay off by reducing at least four risk factors. Now that’s a high-heeled step in the right direction.
Smoking cessation is a must-and the benefits start immediately. After 20 minutes blood pressure decreases, after eight hours, oxygen levels in the blood rise and after 24 hours the chance of a heart attack decreases. Within 48 hours, the ability to taste and smell increases, which adds up to more enjoyment in the flavor and texture of good-for-you foods.
Stock up on colorful red fruits and vegetables. By increasing the amount of produce in the daily diet, you can maximize the nutrients, increase anti-oxidants, and fiber-all recognized picks for a healthy lifestyle. Choices include red beets, pomegranates, red cabbage, red grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, red apples, red grapes, tomatoes, red currants, dried cranberries and cherries. Add red to the menu and look for the eye-catching color in the freezer, produce section and on supermarket shelves.
Now changing your lifestyle is not limited to women, this is a change that is good for the entire family.
The 20 Most Popular Bike Brands Sold in the US
Well, this is certainly a controversial, complicated and constantly evolving topic. There are so many bicycle manufacturers, bicycle types and popular brand names sold in the US, that it can be difficult to find a comprehensive summary and to sort it all out.
The top 20 most popular bike brand listing that I’ve compiled here is not based on the number of bikes sold alone or on the quality or perceived quality of the bicycles. Most of the bike manufacturers listed here also sell different bike types (road, mountain, hybrid, etc.) and the list below is not broken down by bike type or category.
This listing is intended to be a guide as to what bike brands are currently the most popular in the USA, at the time of this writing (since bike brands come and go and the sales of various bike types rise and fall).
The Top 20 Most Popular Bike Brands and the bike types that they sell
- Trek – Road, Triathlon , Mountain Hardtail , Mountain Full-Suspension , Urban , Bike Path, Cruiser , Women’s , Kids
- Schwinn – Road, Commuter, Comfort, Cruisers, Electric, Mountain Bikes, BMX, Kids
- Giant – Road, Mountain, Giant for Women, Lifestyle, Hybrid (HCT), BMX, Kids
- Cannondale – Road, Mountain, Women’s Recreation (many sub categories)
- Mongoose – BMX Bikes (Team Bikes, Freestyle Bikes, Dirt Street Bikes) Mountain / Pavement (Dual Suspension, Jumping, Hardtail XC, Comfort, Commuter, Road Alternative,
- Raleigh – Road, Performance Hybrid, Hybrid, Comfort, Mountain, Cruiser, Women, Youth
- Specialized Road, Multi Street, Globe (commute, comfort), Dirt/Street/Vert (BMX), Kids ATB
- Diamondback – MTN Full Suspension , Mountain Hardtail , Devine Designs , Comfort ,Cruiser , Performance Hybrid , Hybrid , Youth , BMX
- Fuji – Road, Mountain, Specialty, Women’s, Lifestyle, Kids
- Haro -All Mountain-Freeride, Dirt Jump/ Urban, XC Trail / XC Sport, 650B, 29er, Metro, Comfort, Cruiser
- Shimano – Road, Mountain, Comfort, BMX
- Huffy – since 1892 – Mountain, BMX, Kids, Road
- Gary Fisher – 29ers, Full Suspension, Genesisters, Hardtails, Kids, Pavement, Road
- Ellsworth – High end Mountain Bikes
- Klein – High end Mountain and Road Bikes
- Jamis – High end Full Suspension, Hardtail, Road, Street, Sport Comfort, Youth
- Bianchi – Hors Categorie (HOC), Born for Performance (B4P), Coast to Coast (C2C), Dama Bianca, D2, Special, Classica, Road Steel, MTB Performance, MTB Leisure, Sport, Cross-Terrain
- GT – Mountain, BMX, Road, Womens
- Rocky Mountain – Mountain, Road, Urban & Path, Ladies Only
- Scott – Mountain, Road, Women’s Junior’s
Some of the popular bike brands listed here can only be purchased at specialty bike shops or independent dealers. Although this marketing technique makes these brands harder to find, in some cases this it improves the perceived quality of the bikes over brands that are distributed to the mass market or that can be easily found at sporting goods stores or even online.
I have included the bike types or bike categories that each manufacturer sells under the brand names listed. The bike type descriptions were, in most cases, taken directly from each bike manufacturers website in order to not only let you know what kind of bikes they make but also how the company perceives the bike types that they make and how they market them to you.
Symptoms and Causes of Colon-Rectal or Bowel Cancer
Compared to other cancers the number of people in my life who have died from this disease is about two to one, but this is not an indication of commonality. The symptoms include things like blood in stools, loss of weight, excessive tiredness, and worsening constipation. Causes include high intakes of alcohol; red meats; processed meats; obesity; smoking; and lack of exercise. It is only partially linked to genetic factors.
Preventative measures include things like screening whereby a colonoscopy can determine the presence of polyps that can change into cancerous tumours. They can be removed during the procedure and, thereby, lower the risk.
It is rated as the third most common cancer and more frequently occurring in males than females. This maybe due to diet and lifestyles as women tend to eat more vegetables and be better organised in later life, although that is more an assumption than anything else.
Men are also heavier drinkers on the average than women. They have a greater tendency to eat red meat and processed foods. It is reported that 75% to 95% occurs in people with no genetic rick factors, which makes it more likely to be associated with environment and lifestyle.
With higher risk factors are sufferers of inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Crohn’s Disease. Treatment with aspirin and regular colonoscopies are recommended for them. there preventive measures include drinking at least 5 glasses of water a day, getting plenty of regular exercise, leaning more towards a vegetarian diet, and staying away from alcohol and other carcinogenic substances.
The suffering for people whom I know that have died from this insidious disease has been severe. One of them started out with prostate cancer that then spread. Men are less likely to get early diagnosis of symptoms and whether that’s because of fear or tomfoolery who can tell. The five most common forms of cancer in men starts with prostate, then lung, colorectal, bladder, and melanoma.
The bottom line is to have symptoms checked out no matter how small they may appear. Lumps anywhere in the body are definitely worth a diagnosis and any changes in bowel motions or habits is definitely a doctor’s call. Early diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death.
Changing Lifestyles and Declining Fertility
Today we live life on the fast track, controlled and manipulated like robots, by the hands of the clock. Life is one mad rush to compete, excel, amass wealth and often spend it in ‘riotous’ living.
The human body is comfort-loving. Food, sleep, recreation, sex are requirements that keep a person healthy. An imbalance in any of these essentials is bound to create physiological and psychological upheavals. Nowhere is it so explicitly evident as in the field of Reproduction and Fertility. In the last forty years, Fertility has shown a decline especially in affluent countries or where the level of education is high. Rapidity of social change is another factor.
Either the woman, the man or the couple jointly, may be the cause of declining fertility.
o Changing roles of women have been cited as the foremost reason. About 64% of all working women are married. In some families they are the sole bread winners. It is this empowerment that has given women a lot of attitude both in their behaviour and fashion statements. Many working women claim that they have no domestic skills at all.
o Changing Lifestyles: Smoking, drugs and alcohol consumption can have an adverse effect on fertility. Someone described a child born to an alcoholic mother as a “pathetic little creature, starved, shriveled and imperfect.”
o Risky behaviour: De-linking sex from marriage has led to cohabitation before marriage and extra marital liaisons. Promiscuousness is a significant trend of this millennium. Women are therefore exposed to sexually transmitted disease, HIV, AIDs and other bacterial infections, which can cause blockage of the tubes. Frequent termination of unwanted pregnancies can also leave residual infection in the fallopian tubes or cause incompetence of the cervix. The latter can cause recurrent abortions when the woman eventually decides on keeping her pregnancy.
o Late Marriages and Late pregnancies: The ill effects of postponing pregnancy till very late cannot be ignored. The most fertile period in a woman’s life is between 22-30 years. Fertility decreases after forty. Though many women like Cherry Blair and Susan Sarandon have delivered in their late forties, this is certainly not an ideal age. As one grows older, the likelihood of spontaneous abortions and abnormal fetuses increase. Medical complications like pregnancy induced hypertension, Eclampsia, or Diabetes can occur. Labours too can be difficult, and the incidence of operative deliveries shoots up.
Hypertension, Diabetes, Coronary heart disease are problems of middle age. When these already exist, pregnancy puts them in a ‘high risk’ category. The growth of the fetus may be affected or there may be chromosomal abnormalities. Children born to such mothers may also be genetically programmed to suffer from similar diseases in their adult life.
o Identity Crisis: Because of the dual roles of home maker and wage earner, long working hours, lack of sleep, women suffer from anxiety and tension. Stress acts on the adrenal glands which become over active, and even produce small quantities of male hormone. Many career women are aware of it. Some choose to ignore it but others quit their high powered jobs and opt for motherhood.
Cortisol leads to higher waist:hip ratio. Sometime ago the BMJ carried an interesting article about the way body fat distribution can influence fertility more than age or obesity. Researchers in Netherlands reported that 0.1 unit in waist:hip ratio led to 30% decrease in conception rates, irrespective of age or weight.
Studies from US show that 25-30 million men have suffered from a decline of sperm count over the years. Another study by the Mumbai Institute of Research for Reproduction shows that the quality and quantity of sperm have declined over the last couple of decades. Tests were done on 1500 men between 1986-95, which showed a reduction in sperm count by 30% and reduction in motility by 10%. Similar trends were noticed in England, France, Denmark Scotland and Finland. In the West, this was attributed to an increase in testicular cancer, and in India, due to pollution with pesticides containing a high percentage of lead.
o Behaviour changes: “Metrosexuals” are learning to be more feminine, more accommodating and more emotional. They like to preen themselves like women. Male beauty products have gone up by 30%, and those asking for plastic surgery have increased by 20%. According to New York Times, male models look “chicken chested, hollow cheeked and undernourished.”
With wives who are economically independent, many feel disempowered. They are confused about their status within the family, and even categorize themselves as the “newly oppressed minority.”
o Lifestyles: Lucrative and competitive jobs are not without their share of stress. Erratic
mealtimes, fast food, processed food, lack of exercise, constant preoccupation with TV or the Internet make both male and female bodies resistant to Insulin. As a result, more insulin is produced, and there is more accumulation of fat, leading to obesity, which diminishes fertility.
Alcohol, though it increases desire, decreases performance. Drugs such as marijuana reduce testosterone levels by up to 41%. Narcotics, tranquillizers, and certain medicinal drugs are known to reduce fertility.
Similarly, infections like TB, Gonorrhea cause epididymal obstruction.
o Fashion: The normal sperm count is between 60-200million/ml. Studies show that counts have dropped by 1/3 in men between 30-40 years. This may be due to groin hugging jeans that are popular with the young. Tight jeans push back the testicles into the body, where the temperature of 98.6 degrees is 3 degrees higher than in the scrotum. Similarly men using laptops also increase the temperature in the scrotum, as laptops operate at 70 degrees C. Those who keep their cell phones in their pockets or clipped on to belts while using a ear piece to chat may also be compromising their sperms.
o Age: Men may be able to retain their virility up till the seventh decade, but the belief that they could father normal children is debated. Advanced paternal age can cause autism or schizophrenia in their offspring. Harry Fischer in his book “The Male Biological Clock” says fertility reduces with age, and the risk of genetic abnormality in their progeny is high.
o Andropause or male menopause may happen between 50-60 years. Males suffer from loss of libido in addition to other symptoms like fatigue, loss of muscle volume, enlarged prostate and emotional problems.
As income and social status increase, sexual activity reduces. Sometimes couples try to outdo each other in job status or earning capacity. This creates a “no win” situation in the bed room. A number of double income couples say they have no time for sex. 50% of these suffer from infertility because of infrequent sexual activity. When it does happen, it is a mechanical ritual.
Many men find it difficult to adjust to the demands of living with modern wives. With changing sexual equations, women not only flaunt their sexuality but demand fulfillment. When disappointed, they openly express dissatisfaction with their spouses. This can cause psychological infertility and impotence in men.
When husbands work in other cities or countries, or are frequently away from home, like pilots or traveling salesmen, there is less opportunity for marital sex. The ‘Absentee Husband Syndrome’ is responsible for falling sperm counts.
Voluntary Childless Couples are on the rise. This may be by mutual consent. Fear of what children can do to such career oriented people makes them deprive themselves of sexual gratification. Sex becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs. Because natural urges are suppressed, instability in marriage relations may set in. Sexual anorexia expresses itself in psychosomatic symptoms including infertility.
On the other hand, it could also lead to extra-marital escapades or create an addiction to clandestine sex.
Some couples consider the high cost of nurturing and educating children, and prefer not to have any.
It is time for couples to re-assess their life styles and working patterns. Sorting out power balances in a marriage partnership will facilitate ‘togetherness’ and ‘intimacy’. Families are important building blocks of society, and children are a ‘godly heritage.’
Starting a Women’s Group
Have you thought about starting a women’s group? Maybe you stop yourself because you don’t know where to begin or have some idea but can’t seem to find the time to organize the group. It does take some time to organize the group – though not as much as you may think – and the benefits all the women in the group receive are significant.
Women seem to naturally come together to share everyday activities. Life is easier when you can shop, exercise or share a problem with a friend. So creating a group around a specific topic feeds us emotionally.
We have different relationships in our lives, all of which are important. Yet it’s the women in our lives who add silly laughter, endless hours of conversation, caring for us when we are ill, and a loving ear when we are hurting. Are you more relaxed with your women friends?
We started our women’s group 11 years ago with the vision that women know how to naturally brainstorm and help each other problem solve. We meet once a month over dinner and the hostess picks a topic for the evening, usually around self-help. In the past, we’ve had psychic readings and massages, too. After 11 years, we have a special bond with each other. We’ve shared problems, joys, celebrations and grandchildren. More importantly, we have each grown because of our consistent connections with each other and the topics that we have chosen to discuss.
When you first start a group, it may seem a bit awkward. The excitement is there yet you haven’t bonded as a group. Over time, the group creates itself and the power of gathering together impacts each one of you individually.
Why would you want to start a group? There are many reasons why women gather. In the old days, women formed “quilting bees” where they talked and shared the sewing together. It’s all about sharing. So what would you like to share with other women?
To jumpstart your thinking, here are some ideas that women are interested in:
– Parents gather together who have similar aged children.
– Women want to become financially savvy so they start investment clubs.
– Spiritual circles – sharing a spiritual lifestyle together.
– Women at work – professional women creating mastermind groups to move them forward in their careers.
– Working moms – Moms don’t have to be alone in finding solutions to the challenges of working and creating a satisfying home life.
– Community oriented – helping impact the communities we live in.
– Building a stronger family – helping each other brainstorm on how to create a loving and caring family.
– Cultural – plan outings to different cultural events.
Society has changed significantly. For women in the past, we were part of a large, strong and extended family network. For some of us that may still be true. For many of us, our families reside in different places nowadays. So our women connections fill in the gaps. Each one of us can build stronger lives on the strength of our connections with other women. Why not gather in one room, each member bringing their unique selves to share with others, so all of us can grow and build stronger lives.
In today’s busy world, we need to find a place that is there for us, and building a community of women adds a lot of value to your life.
Copyright (c) 2008 Pat Brill