woman with vitiligo

Vitiligo May Soon See New Treatment Options

Even in these days of positive body imaging, conditions such as vitiglio remain a challenge. While many women have come out in the shared desire to be appreciated despite weight issues, there is not such a platform for those with skin pigmentation conditions, which tend to be less common and less publicized. Sufferers of vitiglio often struggle with low self esteem, and are often the objects of unwanted attention in public places. Building awareness and acceptance about such condition is important, as is trying to find new treatment approaches. Here are some new thoughts and insights into the genetic disorder.

Genetic Predisposition
With new research comes new hope. Pearl E Grimes, MD and director of Vitiglio Pigmentation Institute of Southern California says that with the advancement of genetic research in the past ten years, “We now know that probably 90% of the genes the have been identified in vitiglio are immune-susceptibility genes, 10% are pigment related genes.” Because the condition is so often genetic, it can lead to “sick melanocytes.” This means, “Melanocytes from people with vitiglio do not grow as well in culture. There are probably some inherent defects in these melanocytes that may tie back to the genetics of the disease.”

Oxidative Stress
Another finding of the latest research points to oxidative stress as the event that starts off the immune dysfunction that culminates in vitiglio. Grimes says, “In vitiglio, we know that hydrogen peroxide is up, while catlase – a major oxidative stress fighting molecule is down.” The lack of the body’s ability to protect against oxidation may be what leads to the release of the antigens that play a role in destroying the melanocytes that lead to vitiglio.”

Raising Awareness
Dr Grimes relates a story of a beautiful 40 -year- old patient whose face caused a toddler to cry. “In response to that incident,” the patient said, “I don’t go out. I don’t date anymore, I have isolated myself, and I feel ugly.”

Grimes explains that vitiglio patients require a very long initial consolation. She says, “We take a very detailed history-looking at family history, a time of disease onset, disease progression, associated symptoms, associated autoimmune illnesses, and medications to tease out any other causative factors that may be contributing to pigment loss.”

Besides uncovering the physical causes, Dr. Grimes also stresses addressing the psychological impact of the condition. She steers aways from direct, overly probing questions, saying, “I go about it in a subdued, roundabout way -trying to let them talk about it first. I want them to be comfortable.” Instead of asking about the impact of the disease on the patient’s quality, she prefers to inquire about changes in daily routines. “Some will say, ‘I wear makeup all the time, even on my hands.'”

After performing a complete physical exam with photos and a laboratory assessment, Grimes reports that she is, “able to put together a treatment regimen based on the patient’s symptoms.” She is also able to assemble a health care team is needed, including a rheumatologist, immunologist, and mental health professional.

What can you do to raise awareness about vitiglio? Are these findings promising? Let us know what you think.

Hidden Signs Of Osteoporosis

These days there is a lot of emphasis on Extreme Exercise. With celebrity gym instructor singing the praises of the time saving high-intensity workouts and kick-starting metabolisms, it sometimes seems like the extreme is the routine. Sure, you can work at moderate levels of intensity, as long as you scale a hill at a full speed first thing in the morning. Exercise can be good, but pushing yourself too far may come with a few health setbacks, osteoporosis is one of them. Lots of women who have osteoporosis don’t know about it until they break a bone. Here are a few red flags that might help you figure it out a little sooner.

Too Much Exercise
Exercise is a good thing, right? Sure, but it turns out it can also be too much of one. Women who exercise too much are at risk of female athlete triad syndrome. The symptoms include an abnormal or absent menstrual cycle, decrease bone density and low energy. According to Fredrick Singer, Md, “Women are often a high school of college athletes who run 40 to 50 miles a week. If you run that much and don’t consume enough calories, you’re at risk for bone loss.”

However, what’s too much for one person, may not be excessive for another, so be sure to consult a doctor if you start missing periods. You may be able to get help from a fitness professional or nutritionist who can customize a diet and exercise program best suited to your needs.

You’re Very Thin
Very skinny women who stop menstruating can experience changes in hormones in the bones and brain, a condition which occurs frequently with eating disorders. Dr. Singer says, “When you lose an excessive amount of weight, a signal is sent to the hypothalamic area of the brain which shuts down the pituitary hormones, which in turn shuts down the ovaries.” How do you know when skinny is too skinny? If your body mass index,(BMI) is lower than 18.5, you’re too skinny.

Little Nightcap
If you’re drinking more than one to two glasses of vino per night, your bones may be paying the price. Health professionals say: stop at two. In fact,y you may want to have one or two. According to a 2012 study from Oregon State University, those one or two drinks may actually improve bone health, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.

You Binge Watch TV
What? “Orange is the New Black” is bad for your bones? Apparently, lying prone on the couch can lead to bone breakdown with a 24 to 48 hour period. Says Dr. Singer, “Total lack of weight bearing activity is one of the fastest ways to develop osteoporosis, which happens within months.”

While Singer isn’t suggesting you miss the finale of your favorite shows, he does recommend getting up when you can and says even brief periods of walking may help to prevent bone loss.

You Take Antidepressants
If you’re depending on SSRIs to keep depression at bay, you may want to pay attention to your bone health. A review of nineteen studies in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience says these types of antidepressants can accelerate bone loss and affect bone mineral density. If you are taking SSRIs, you may want to explore other options with your doctor.

Do you think you may be at risk for osteoporosis? Let us know how you’re boning up and getting in shape to keep this “silent disease” away.

Woman with freckles on her face.

Freckle Removal Procedures: Truth or Fiction?

Freckles may be cute on young children, but as you age they can become less than adorable. Caused by a combination of genetics and environmental contributions, freckles are a sometimes unwanted. Read this post from Resveralife to find out what freckles are and if it is possible to remove them.

What are Freckles?
Freckles are spots of pigmentation of the skin and are most often seen in people with very fair skin. Generally, freckles are brown and tan in color, though they can appear yellow, red and black depending on the individual. Freckles are flat spots that frequently appear on the face and areas of the upper body, such as arms and chest. Freckles are harmless, though there are very rare instances in which a freckle can be an indication of skin cancer.

Freckles are small dots, often no bigger than the size of the head of a nail. They are caused by an increase in the amount of melanin in the skin. Melanin is a pigment in the skin, it is the pigment responsible for a body’s ability to tan. Freckles are categorized into one of two types: simple or sunburn. Simple freckles are often round, small and a tan color. Sunburn freckles tend to have a more irregular shape, are darker and are larger than simple freckles. The placement of sunburn freckles also differs from simple freckles. Sunburn freckles appear on the places that suffer from the most severe sunburns: the back and the chest.

While exposure to sun is a cause of freckles, there is also a matter of genetics. Some individuals are more likely to develop freckles than others. Studies conducted about hereditary and freckles suggest that freckles are strongly correlated to genetics and people with fair skin and blond or red hair are most likely to develop freckles.

Freckle Removal
While most people just accept their freckles, there are some who want to lighten or completely remove them for a more even complexion and skin tone. Advancements in technology have made the removal of sunburn freckles possible. The procedure for removing unwanted freckles is known as laser freckle removal.

Laser freckle removal targets the melanin in the skin, which is the pigment in freckles. The pigment then absorbs the light emitted by the laser and the pigment in freckles heats up and breaks down into smaller pieces. These small particles of pigment are removed from the skin through the body’s natural process of exfoliation.

Often, laser freckle removal takes about four to five sessions to see optimal results. Everyone’s treatment varies, but laser sessions generally last from 30 to 45 minutes. The procedure is very low-risk and patients are able to return to normal activities, including makeup application, immediately. Laser freckle removal is effective in almost 100% of patients. However, it is important to think of laser freckle removal as a process that is similar to professional teeth whitening. While the results are significant and visible, the longevity of the results depends largely upon whether or not skin is well cared for after the procedure. Because sunburn freckles are a result of sun exposure, most people will require annual maintenance treatments as complete avoidance of sun exposure is a near impossibility.

Group of women having fun and drinking wine

Celebrating International Women's Day

Annually on March 8th, the achievements and advancement of women is celebrated through International Women’s Day. Each year there is a specific theme for International Women’s Day that defines the event. The International Women’s Day theme for 2015 is “Make it Happen.” Though the theme changes from year to year, the aims of International Women’s Day are the same. United Nations Women Watch states of International Women’s Day:  “It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”

International Women’s Day has been an event for women’s equality since it’s inception in 1911. However, the roots of the movement go back to 1908. Across much of North America and Europe, the turn of the twentieth century saw labor movements engaging in activities such as strikes to improve working conditions. One such event was the garment workers strike in New York in 1908. In an act of solidarity, the Socialist Party of America designated the 28th of February 1909 as National Woman’s Day. The following year, in 1910, the Socialist International “established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honor the movement for women‘s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.” It was not until 1975 that International Women’s Day was celebrated by the United Nations on March 8th.

This year on International Women’s Day, we are all urged to celebrate women’s achievements while calling for gender equality. With the theme #MakeItHappen, International Women’s Day 2015 is a time for all of us to reflect upon all of the progress that has been made for women’s rights and gender equality, and to look to the future by calling for changes in the present and future that will close the gender gap.

There are multiple ways to show support for International Women’s Day. One of the easiest ways to celebrate the acts of courage by ordinary women that had extraordinary roles in the history of women is to wear purple on March 8th. The #PaintItPurple campaign dates once again to 1908. The Women’s Social and Political Union in Great Britain adopted the colors purple, green and white to symbolize the cause of the Suffragettes. Purple was used specifically for it’s symbolism of justice and dignity, two things central to the women’s equality movement.

In addition to wearing purple, consider using social media to further spread the word and celebrate women. Change profile pictures, post photos or images in purple and use the hashtag #PaintItPurple to bring awareness to International Women’s Day. Show support by blogging, tweeting or Instagramming the message of gender equality and celebration of women. Other ways to celebrate include hosting International Women’s Day events locally, uploading content such as videos that educate people on gender equality and the plight of women or making a donation to a women’s charity. However it is celebrated, International Women’s Day is a day designated to celebrating all of the past achievements and struggles faced by women while looking forward to the immense potential of a future that treats women as equals.

Business woman campaigning for equality

Women Campaigning for Equality

Picture for a moment a world without a gender gap. Though it may seem an impossibility, women have continuously proved throughout history that campaigning for equality is not only necessary, but effective. Women have made impressive strides towards equality in our world, though there is still a long way to go. Just two weeks ago Satya Nadella, CEO of the Microsoft Corporation, spoke to women at a technology conference. His message to these brilliant and hardworking women was that they ought not ask for raises, and rather let a raise come to them if they deserve it. According to the website Global InvestHER, women currently comprise 24 to 29% of the tech sector workforce. Clearly, there is much more campaigning and awareness raising that we must do.

The comment made by Nadella received immediate backlash, causing him to publicly retract his statement. The problem is that his words have not been forgotten and they echo the sentiments of many men who are leading corporations and businesses. One of the most discussed gender equality issues is that of the salaries women are offered. The National Women’s Law Center states that “American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts – which means it’s important to keep pushing for new legislation that would make the workplace fair for women.”

It’s not all about money, women’s accomplishments are often slighted by focusing on more feminine details. Every award season, host after host of red carpet fashion shows ask women what designer they are wearing and from whom did they borrow their fabulous jewelry. The male attendees are asked about the projects they have been working on, how they felt about roles they have taken on and then are subsequently praised for their contribution to the industry, rather than being told that they look pretty. This year, Reese Witherspoon along with a host of female and male supporters, launched a campaign at the Oscars titled “Ask Her More.” The campaign was intended to point out the treatment of men versus women, and to encourage reporters to ask questions that matter.

The promising news is that there are a many organizations, both in the United States and internationally, that focus on the rights of women and the closing of the gender gap. The National Organization for Women (NOW)  was founded in 1966 after measures such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 failed to protect women against discrimination and unequal wages. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, commonly referred to as UN Women, became operational in 2011 in order to help empower women on a global scale and to hold the United Nations system accountable for its commitments to gender equality.

Women campaigning for equality is a huge part of our history, and remains a part of our present. A recent campaign, HeForShe, urges men to stand in solidarity with women on the issue of gender equality. The HeForShe mission is beautifully stated saying that the campaign  “brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all.” The campaign to end the gender gap has been taken up by not only women, but all people. With constant diligence and tenacity, perhaps we can stop the gender gap from being a part of our future.