Tension headaches affect the overall well-being of a person. The provision of interventions that relieve them advances the quality of life. One common way to relieve tension headaches is by using painkillers. (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). Medication is the first choice since it relieves pain. Physical exercises, such as yoga, provide leverage for the relaxation of the body, which can help to relieve tension headaches (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). Massages are also used to loosen tension in the head and neck muscles. This intervention is necessary because it stretches tight and shortened muscles, which aids in releasing tension in the head.
Other intervention measures that can be used to advance the relief of tension headaches include getting adequate sleep, using cold ice packs, etc. Changing sleep habits can help limit the experience of sleep apnea or insomnia. Cold packs can also be placed on the head to reduce tension headaches (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). The cooling effect reduces pain and minimizes headaches. If an individual has a tension headache, they are encouraged to stay at home and avoid taxing activities. They would also provide leverage for long-term quality health since they limit the experience of pain.
The application of non-evidence-based intervention measures may also relieve tension headaches. One relevant suggestion is to avoid stressful situations. The probability of having tension headaches are higher when we are stressed, or in noisy environments. That risk decreases when surroundings are conductive. In turn, calm environments are guaranteed to relieve tension headaches.
Hassan, M., & Asaad, T. (2020). Tension-type headache, its relation to stress, and how to relieve it by cryotherapy among academic students. Middle East Current Psychiatry, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43045-020-00030-3
By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
Photo by Olia Danilevich on Pexels.com
The use of diabetes medication for weight loss is a growing trend among people facing obesity risks. A drug called semaglutide is used to help individuals manage their body mass. Based on existing studies, this medication is effective for weight loss. Its criticality is also based on limiting the development of type 2 diabetes (Singh et al., 2021). Patients receiving a dose of semaglutide medication have a higher chance of maintaining a desirable body mass index. Thus, the use of diabetes medications provides leverage for weight loss. This efficacy also makes it possible to mitigate the development and effects tied to type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the medication is a critical intervention for weight-related risk factors.
Even though diabetes medications such as semaglutide and liraglutide have positive effects on weight loss, they have negative implications. For example, their use curbs cravings for certain foods critical for relevant nutrients. The medications also lead to side effects like diarrhea and bloating (Singh et al., 2021). These issues may limit the achievement of the desired life quality. As such, there is a need to consider the reduction of side effects tied to diabetes medications. This stance would increase their efficacy in the advancement of weight loss. Thus, the interventions instigate the limitation of obesity-related issues that may reduce one’s quality of life.
Based on the review of existing studies, diabetes medication for weight loss is effective in mitigating weight-related issues. They also protect against the development of type 2 diabetes among at-risk populations (Singh et al., 2021). Thus, drugs, such as semaglutide, are instrumental to be applied in the weight loss process. They are effective in handling the risk of obesity and diabetes. Despite their side effects, the positive aspects are immense. Therefore, diabetes medication should be used to promote weight loss among at-risk patients.
Singh, G., Krauthamer, M., & Bjalme-Evans, M. (2021). Wegovy (semaglutide): A new weight loss drug for chronic weight management. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 70(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001952
By Jaelyn Copeland|UAB CommunityHealth and Human Services Intern
Apple Cider vinegar (ACV) is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It is a very versatile product that is commonly used in cooking, or to make dressings, sauces, and marinades.
ACV can also be used as a home remedy for many health ailments, and is available in forms such as tablets, capsules, powder, liquid drops, gummies and topical prescriptions.
The production of apple cider vinegar involves two steps. Crushed apples are first exposed to yeast, which causes the carbohydrates to ferment and transform into alcohol. The alcohol is then further fermented by the addition of bacteria, creating acetic acid, which is the primary active ingredient in vinegar. Vinegar gets its potently sour flavor and smell from acetic acid. Although potential claims are not backed by scientific evidence, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are thought to be caused by acetic acid. This acid makes up 5-6% of cider vinegars.
Benefits of ACV may include:
May lower blood sugar levels
May reduce cholesterol
May offer antimicrobial benefits
May help increase weight loss
BuBu Banini, M.D. suggests that individuals should consume no more than one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar per day. “When used in small amounts, the risk of apple cider vinegar is generally low,” she says. As long as you are tolerating it, diluting it and don’t have esophageal issues, there is no reason not to try it!
by Senequa Malone, Jaelyn Copeland, and Shon Mack, with contributions from Shayna Bryan | Interns and UAB Community Health and Human Services students
(This article is based on a discussion from WWL’s Monday Night Wellness Watch. [Link to the livestream recording coming soon!])
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers out there. According to the CDC, it is the second most common cancer in women (after some skin cancers) and the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer). About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with some kind of breast cancer in her lifetime. No one is exempt from a breast cancer diagnoses. It affects men and women, old and young.
Today we’re going to learn about what breast cancer is, what the risk factors are, how you can reduce your risk, and how it affects Women of Color in our community.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. There are many different types of breast cancer, these depend on where in the breast the cancer cells are located. The breast is made up of 3 parts:
Lobules (glands that produce milk)
Ducts (connect glands to nipple)
Connective tissue (fat that surround the breast and makes up a large part of the volume)
Most breast cancers begin in the lobules or ducts. When the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.
How common is Breast Cancer? What about dying from Breast Cancer?
Every person has breast tissue, so everyone one is capable of developing breast cancer. It is most common in women, but men can develop it too. The lifetime risk is of getting breast cancer for a woman is 13% and the risk of dying from breast cancer is 2.6%. The 5-year survival rate post diagnosis is 90%. The number of new cases of breast cancer is going slightly up (0.5% per year), but death is going down (1% per year). This is likely due to early detection and better screening. Men are 100 times less likely to develop breast cancer, but that number is not zero. While rare, men are diagnosed and die from breast cancer every year
What are the risk factors for Breast Cancer?
Being born a woman
15% of women with breast cancer have a family member with it
Early menstruation (starting before age 12)
Late menopause (starting after age 55)
Having dense breast tissue
What are dense breasts?
Breast density is a term that describes the relative amount of different types of breast tissue (glandular, connective, and fat tissue) as seen on a mammogram. Dense breasts have relatively high amounts of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue and relatively low amounts of fatty breast tissue.
Only a mammogram can show if a woman has dense breasts. Dense breast tissue cannot be felt in a clinical breast exam or in a breast self-exam. Nearly half of all women age 40 and older who get mammograms are found to have dense breasts.
Whether your breasts are dense is often due to genetics, but other factors can influence it. Factors associated with lower breast density include increasing age, having children. Factors associated with higher breast density include having a high body-mass index and using postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.
Is there any way to reduce our risk of Breast Cancer?
Factors we can change include:
Maintain a healthy weight
Be regularly physically active
150-300 minutes of moderate intensity per week (or about 20-30 minutes a day)
Eat a healthy diet
Vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fat
Perform monthly breast self-exams
40% of diagnosed breast cancers were detected by women who feel a lump
Start at age 20 to become familiar with your “normal”
Monitor regularly for changes
Consume alcohol moderately, or not at all
Women who have 2-3 drinks a day have 20% higher risk than non-drinkers
If you have children, breastfeed if you are able
What about Breast Cancer risk among African American women?
African American women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group. While the reasons behind this disparity are numerous and complicated, the issue is real and there are at least some solutions everyone agrees on: more screening, more self-exams, and more access to treatment for African American women.
Set a schedule and do it regularly. A good time to start is 3-5 days after your period it ends, then continue to perform a BSE every month.
Remove your clothing and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. If you’re never done something like this before, it can feel a little silly and embarrassing at first, but it’s very important to become familiar with your own body and what is normal for you, so you can detect changes.
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes (many women have one breast larger than the other), so once you know what is normal for you, when you perform these exams you’re going to be looking for anything that stands out as different or unusual
Look for any distortion of the shape, dimpling, puckering, or odd bulging.
How’s the color? Are there any areas of redness, a rash, or parts that look swollen? Is the nipple in its normal positions or has that changed, is it inverted? Is there any discharged? It could look “watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood”.
Raise your arms, and look for the same things. Does this position aggravate any soreness or pain in your breasts?
Next lie down flat on your back and place one arm behind your head. With the other hand, use the pad of your fingers to press firmly around your breast tissue. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Use a pattern to make sure you cover your entire breast. Two common patterns are to start in the center and make your way outwards in circles, another is to go top to bottom across the breast like you’re mowing the lawn.
If you do feel a lump, don’t worry, stay calm, and make an appointment with your regular physician.
Most lumps are benign (non-cancerous). There are many benign breast conditions that can cause lumps that resolve on their own.
What about Mammograms?
A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.
Women ages 40-44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so, particularly if they have family history of breast cancer
Women ages 45-54 should get mammograms every year
Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.
Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer. All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening.
Moore, J. X., Han, Y., Appleton, C., Colditz, G., & Toriola, A. T. (2020). Determinants of mammographic breast density by race among a large screening population. JNCI Cancer Spectrum. https://doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa010