HPV Infection and Women’s Health

The Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection.  And of all the sexually transmitted infections, it appears to be the most common.  It is contracted vaginally, anally, or orally.  It has been reported that of the more than 100 HPV types, only about 30 – 40 HPV types are sexually transmitted to the body (genital area or throat/mouth).  Therefore, not all HPV are transmitted sexually.  These are by skin-to-skin non-sexual contact with an infected person.  Usually, but not always, HPV disappears from the body over time because it is believed that the body’s immune system fights the virus off [2], depending on the risk level category that the HPV type falls under – high-risk or low-risk.  The low-risk type of HPV is the one that usually go away on its own.  However, the high-risk type doesn’t and can cause cervical cancer in women, as well as throat cancer.  It is commonly reported by Gynecologists that HPV can go undetected or “symptom-free” in the body for years after a sexual encounter.  This means that a woman who had her one and only sexual encounter 20 years ago can develop HPV 20 years later and experience no symptoms.  Women should be aware that they can contract HPV from an infected partner even though there has been no penetration of the vagina.  To contract HPV, the infected partner’s penis has to be in contact with the genital area (vagina or anus) or mouth.  Please be aware that men may not know that they have HPV because there are currently no tests to detect the virus in men.  Therefore, he may not know that he is transmitting this sexually transmitted infection to his partner.  Know your sex partner and their sexual history.  This information is important because your health may be at risk.

Symptoms of HPV

As mentioned previously, women can go for years being “symptom-free” from this virus.  However, some types of HPV produce symptoms.  Some symptoms are genital warts and abnormal cells in the body, especially in the cervical and throat areas.  These abnormal cells may turn into cancer sometime in the future.  The viruses that cause these symptoms are classified as a “high-risk” type.  Please note that the type of HPV that may cause cancer is not the same type that causes genital warts.  It has been noted that genital warts rarely turn into cancer.

Of the women who experience these symptoms, 90% of them clear the virus, whether it is of the “high-risk” type or the “low-risk” type, within one or two years [1].  However, some women do not clear the virus.  And in others, it may take a longer period of time to clear up.  In a recent study, researchers have found that African-American women take longer to clear the virus than white women.  According to the study’s author, Kim Creek, “black women are 40 percent more likely to develop cervical cancer and two times more likely to die from the disease than European or American white women.”  Additionally, a large number of African-American women, approximately 70%, had abnormal pap smears.  It is not clear as to why this is the case.  However, researchers seem to believe that the cause may be biological in nature [3].

Prevention of HPV

There is no 100% method, except for abstinence and a partner that is HPV free, which can prevent women from contracting HPV.  This is why you should take every possible precaution that you can think of if you are going to engage in any type of sexual encounter.  As mentioned previously, know your sex partner’s history and be careful if your partner is not your husband.  This information is very important, especially if you are going to allow a man to insert his penis in your mouth (oral sex).  For genital-to-genital contact, it is always best for your partner to wear a condom.  Additionally, for oral sex, it is also important to use some type of barrier between your mouth and his penis.

Another precaution that women can take is to get the HPV vaccine (Cervarix and/or Gardasil).  This is only effective if you have not had a sexual encounter or you do not have HPV.

Finally, every woman should get regular annual exams by their gynecologist or a health care professional at a clinic or hospital.  These exams may consist of breast exams and pap smears.  Pap smears and HPV tests can determine abnormal cells on your cervix and detect HPV.  Detecting HPV early can help prevent cervical cancer which is caused by HPV.  Once detected, you can receive treatment.

Treatment for HPV

There is no treatment for HPV, which sometimes go away on its own.  However, the symptoms can be treated.  Genital warts can be treated with medication.  Sometimes, they go away on their own.  Abnormal cells can be treated in order to prevent them from turning cancerous.  In this situation, your gynecologist may perform a Colposcopy or “Copo” in order to look microscopically at the cervix and remove a small portion of the cervix tissue for a biopsy in order to determine if the cells are precancerous.  Some of the treatment options for abnormal cells are Conization or “cone biopsy” (removal of the abnormal area or cells), Cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the abnormal cells), Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure or LEEP (electric current is used to remove abnormal cells), and Watch and wait (watch the cells to see if the abnormal cells clear up on their own) [4].

It has been conclusively determined that women need annual checkups by their gynecologists or other health care professionals in order to detect and prevent HPV from becoming problematic within their bodies.  Your health should be your number one priority.  Therefore, stay informed, and search for information, such as this, on women’s health.

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Please leave a comment on this article.  Women’s Wellness and Health welcomes your comments.  We hope that this article was beneficial to you.

References:

[1] American Cancer Society (n.d.). What are the symptoms of HPV?  Retrieved April 4, 2012 from American Cancer Society Website: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/InfectiousAgents/HPV/HumanPapillomaVirusandHPVVaccinesFAQ/hpv-faq-symptoms-of-hpv

[2] CDC (n.d.).  Human Papillomavirus (HPV).  Retrieved April 3, 2012 from CDC Website:  http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/

[3] Mann, Denise (n.d.). HPV Infection Lasts Longer in Young Black Women: Study. Retrieved April 4, 2012 from WomensHealth.gov Website: http://www.womenshealth.gov/news/headlines/663264.cfm

[4] WebMD (n.d.). Is There a Cure for HPV? Retrieved April 5, 2012 from WebMD Website: http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/hpv-treatment-is-there-hpv-cure

Major Risks to Women’s Health

There are seven major risks to women’s health, according to data gathered from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), that can be prevented.  These risks are as follows:  1) Heart Disease, 2) Cancer, 3) Stroke, 4) Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, 5) Alzheimer’s Disease, 6) Accidents, and 7) Type 2 Diabetes.

Prevention of the 7 Risks

All of the above-mentioned major risks to women’s health can be reduced, first, by limiting alcohol intake and giving up smoking.  In addition to these two, there are other targeted methods aimed at reducing the specific risk or disease.  The following identifies each risk and its associated preventative methods:

  • Heart Disease
      Heart disease can be prevented by maintaining the proper weight eating  properly, exercising daily, managing your stress level, and managing any chronic illnesses or conditions.
  • Cancer
    • There are various types of cancers that are prevalent in women (i.e. breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and skin cancer), and this risk can be reduced or prevented by early detection, breast-feeding, engaging in physical activity, protecting your skin from the sun, eating enough vegetables and fruits, and maintain the proper weight.
  • Stroke
    • Some strokes cannot be prevented due to other factors, such as heredity, ethnic group, and age.  However, other factors can be controlled or prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and managing any prolonged illnesses or conditions.
  • Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease
    • Lower respiratory diseases are chronic conditions of the lungs – emphysema and bronchitis.  These diseases can be prevented by minimizing your exposure to pollutants, whether chemically or environmentally generated, and washing your hands in order to prevent infections to the lungs.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Doctors have not found a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  However, you can try to maintain mental and social aptness, engage in daily physical action or activity, and maintain any prolonged illnesses or conditions.
  • Accidents
    • The foremost fatal accident that happens to women is motor vehicle crashes.  These crashes can be prevented by wearing your seatbelts, not drinking or using any other inhibiting substance when you drive, following the speed limit, and not driving when you are tired and sleepy.
  • Type 2 Diabetes
    • This is the most common type of diabetes or “sugar diabetes”.  Diabetes can be prevented by maintaining the proper blood sugar or glucose level.  You can do this by keeping your weight under control, eating healthy foods, and engaging in physical activity on a daily basis.  If your diabetes is out of control, it can cause blindness, heart problems, damage to your nerves, etc. [1]

Conclusion

Women’s health risks can often be prevented.  With the right information, women can educate themselves on how to prevent these seven (7) major risks.  By adhering to preventative methods, such as limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking, eating healthy, managing chronic illnesses, engaging in physical activity, and getting proper health check-ups, women can live a healthy and manageable life.

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Please leave a comment on this article.  Women’s Wellness and Health welcomes your comments.  We hope that this article was beneficial to you.

References:

[1] Mayo Clinic Staff (n.d.).  Women’s health: Preventing the top 7 threats.  Retrieved April 16, 2012 from Mayo Clinic Website:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/womens-health/WO00014

National Women’s Health Week Information

Women’s Health Week is a national week-long event that is celebrated annually in the month of May, beginning on Mother’s Day.  This year, the 13th national observance will begin on May 13 and end on May 19, 2012. The theme for this year is “It’s Your Time.”  During this week, there is a deliberate effort by communities, families, health care organizations, and others to support women’s health so that women will become encouraged and empowered to make their health and well-being the #1 priority.  These efforts are geared toward women’s mental and physical health, so that they can learn how to live long, happier, and healthier lives.

Since the focus during health week is on women’s health and well-being, every woman is encouraged to make every effort to:

  • Become physically active, which can reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Stop smoking and avoid other unhealthy behaviors.
  • Visit your doctor for a physical exam or check-up and other necessary screenings.*
  • Focus on your mental health by avoiding stress and getting the proper rest. [2]

*Get a physical exam or check-up on May 14, 2012, which is National Women’s Check-Up Day.

Get Involved

There are many ways in which health care providers, organizations, communities, and individuals can support National Women’s Health Week:

  • Plan an event focusing on women’s health.  An event can be a seminar, a health fair, a health or wellness walk, or a town hall meeting.
  • Educate yourself about various health topics that relate to women’s health.
  • Provide educational resources, such as videos, slide sets, campaigns, continuing education, etc.  These are readily available from your health care provider. [1]

Please take National Women’s Health Week seriously.  Stay informed, and search for information on women’s health.  Remember, your health and well-being should be your top priority.  Stay informed and stay in touch.

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Please leave a comment on this article.  Women’s Wellness and Health welcomes your comments.  We hope that this article was beneficial to you.

References:

[1] CDC (n.d.).  National Women’s Health Week.  Retrieved April 29, 2012 from CDC Website:  http://www.cdc.gov/women/nwhw/index.htm

[2] WomensHealth.gov (n.d.). It’s Your Time. Retrieved April 29, 2012 from WomensHealth.gov Website: http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/

Women’s Health Risks Can Be Reduced Living Healthy Lifestyles

Eat your vegetables!  You need to eat right!  Drink more water!  Get your rest!  Get plenty of sleep!  Wash your hands!  Don’t smoke!  Don’t drink!  Don’t drink and drive!  The list goes on and on.  Every one of us has heard at least one of these phrases at some point in our lives.  Our parents or loved ones told us these things in order to reduced risks to our health.  Some of us adhered to them and some of us did not.  By not adhering to sound advice, some have developed at least one of the major health risks, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, accidents, or Type 2 diabetes, which could have been prevented.  Developing a healthy lifestyle, that’s practiced daily, is the most effective way women can reduce risks to their health.

So, just what should you do?

Get Physically Fit

It is important to be active.  Exercise!  Develop a workout plan that’s suitable for you and work that plan daily for about 30 minutes.  The plan should include aerobics or walking to increase cardiovascular activity, weights to increase muscle tone and bone strength.  Not only will you build strength and endurance, but you will also be able to maintain a normal weight – weight management, thus reducing heart disease and lower respiratory problems.

Eat Right

Controlling your weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) [2], since women seem to “store fat more readily than men” [1], reduces chronic diseases (heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, etc.).  Therefore, eating a healthy diet is essential to your health and well-being.  A healthy diet consists of sea food (i.e. fish), vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and poultry or other lean meats.  Avoid unhealthy fats (trans and saturated) and high cholesterol level intake.

Reduce Stress

Stress reduction promotes good mental health.  Learn to manage your stress so that it will not impact your life in a negative way.  You can manage or reduce stress with meditation, hypnosis, yoga, or breathing techniques.  Just relax!

Get Proper Rest

Get enough sleep each night.  Proper rest requires between seven to nine hours each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation [1].  When your body gets the proper rest, you can think clearly and control your food intake.

Avoid Unhealthy Habits

Stop smoking!  Smoking causes chronic lower respiration disease and heart disease.  Drink alcohol in moderation.  Don’t use and abuse drugs!

Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health

Make a yearly appointment with your health care provider for a physical exam and get all of the proper screenings.  This should include pap smears and mammograms.  See your physician as often as needed.  And if you are going through an emotional crisis, seek help; don’t be ashamed of seeking mental health help.

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Please leave a comment on this article.  Women’s Wellness and Health welcomes your comments.  We hope that this article was beneficial to you.

References:

[1] LiveStrong.Com (2011).  Healthy Lifestyle for Women.  Retrieved April 30, 2012 from LiveStrong.com Website:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/384802-healthy-lifestyle-for-women/

[2] Mann, Denise (2011).  Healthy Lifestyle Cuts Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death.  Retrieved April 30, 2012 from WebMD Website:  http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20110705/healthy-lifestyle-cuts-risk-of-sudden-cardiac-death

Bel Marra Health comments on a recent study that shows a positive tie between red meat and mental health

Bel Marra Health, well known for offering high-quality, specially formulated vitamins and

nutritional supplements, is commenting on a recent study by Deakin University in Australia that

shows a positive tie between red meat and mental health.

 

Toronto, ON (PRWEB) April 29, 2012 — Bel Marra Health, well known for offering high-quality, specially

formulated vitamins and nutritional supplements, is commenting on a recent study by Deakin University in Australia that shows a positive tie between red meat and mental health.

 

The study, which was published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, involved 1,000 female participants. The women were required to attend a clinical interview and to fill out a questionnaire about their diet, mental performance and mental health.

 

When the researchers compiled the data from the participants they expected to find further evidence that the consumption of red meat negatively affects physical and mental health and were shocked to find out the opposite.

 

The study showed that the women who consumed less than 64-100 grams of red meat, (3 to 4 times a week), were much more prone to mental health issues such as depression.

 

Lead researcher Felice Jacka, Ph.D. says, “when we looked at women consuming less than the recommended amount of red meat in our study, we found that they were twice as likely to have a diagnosed depressive or anxiety disorder as those consuming the recommended amount.”

 

Expert in Pulmonary Medicine and Spokesperson for Bel Marra Health Dr. Victor Marchione commented on the findings saying, “the majority of the cattle in Australia are reared in a healthy environment, where they are free to roam and graze and they are largely grass fed. This type of diet and lifestyle, results in nutrient dense meat which is vital to physical and mental health.”

 

(SOURCE: “Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics”, Red Meat Consumption and Mood and Anxiety Disorders, March 2012)

 

Bel Marra Health offers high-quality vitamins and nutritional supplements in formulations designed to address specific health concerns. All ingredients are backed with scientific evidence. Every product is tested for safety, quality, and purity at every stage of the manufacturing process. Furthermore, Bel Marra Health products are produced only in Health Canada approved facilities, going that extra mile to ensure our health conscious customers are getting top quality products. For more information on Bel Marra Health visit http://www.belmarrahealth.com or call 1-866-531-0466.

 

Bel Marra Health, Inc.

100-7000 Pine Valley

Woodbridge, ON L4L 4Y8

pr(at)belmarrahealth(dot)com

866-531-0466

http://www.belmarrahealth.com

 

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Please leave a comment on this article.  Women’s Wellness and Health welcomes your comments.  We hope that this article was beneficial to you.

Med Spas: What Services Do They Provide?

Med spas are coming up all over the country, some in OBGYN offices, others set in fancy resort-like settings. They differ from regular spas in the services that they offer. This article will discuss the services many med spas provide.

Medicals spas along with their fancy ambience have highly specialized medical services utilizing high tech medicines and advanced procedures in order to achieve the best possible and visible results.

Some of the services that can be found in a medical spa are:

Massage: A spa just isn’t a spa without massage services. Many different types of massage are often offered at these places. The often range from hot stone to deep-tissue, from Shiatsu to pregnancy massage.

Facials: Anti-aging and other custom facials are frequently available. There are even facials specifically for aromatherapy purposes.

Botox: This is an anti-aging injection that can only be administered by medically trained personnel.

They help you fight the signs of time and retain the youthful look.

Restylane: This is one of a few injected wrinkle fillers available at med spas.

Resurfacing: Microdermabrasion, chemical peels and photo-facials are routinely done by certified technicians.

Laser Hair Removal: Laser light is used to zap unwanted hair and again, only done by medical staff.

Body Contouring: These treatments involve smoothing cellulite and related issues.

A major reason that these places are gaining in popularity is due to the shortened healing time involved in these less-invasive cosmetic procedures. Actual plastic surgery is being bypassed for Botox injections or wrinkle fillers.

Bariatric surgery is taking a back seat to body contouring treatments. Some of these procedures can even be done on your lunch hour.

Having these services done at med spas are far more cost-effective than their more invasive, surgical counterparts. This makes med spas the only option for women who want to look younger or slimmer, but don’t want to spend thousands on hospital bills.

Med spas offer a more luxurious atmosphere than the sterile doctor’s office that once was the only place to go for these treatments. They are known to be relaxing, accommodating retreats away from the rest of the world. You can’t get a full-body aromatherapy massage or indulge in a pampering facial at a doctor’s office. But you can likely enjoy a seaweed wrap to relax before your Botox injections or laser hair removal session when you opt for a med spa.

Becoming familiar with these many service providers could not only save your money, but could offer solutions to any aesthetic problems you would like to have corrected in a less invasive, more pleasurable way. Contact your local med spa and find out what they can do for you.

In San Francisco med spa provides a variety of services to make you feel recharged giving a boost to your tired and worn out senses. To know more about these aesthetic methods visit, http://www.sanfranciscomedspa.net

Find More Women’s Health Spas Articles

STD Awareness Information

In the month of April, please join the nation in its observance of STD Awareness month. During this time, women – young and old – should gather all the necessary information in order to educate themselves in order to reduce their risk of getting an STD (sexually transmitted disease). In addition to educating oneself about STD, women should get tested. According to data, out of the 19 million new cases of STDs each year, youth under 25 years of age make up half of the new cases [1].

Whether you’re young or older, take the time to find out about your partner’s sexual history and discuss safe sex. Perhaps, before you have sex with a new partner, the both of you should get tested or screened for STDs. Additionally, talk openly with your health care provider and don’t be embarrassed. He or she can recommend the proper screening for you. For example, according to the CDC, all sexually active women under 25 should be tested annually for chlamydia [3]. Not only should women be tested for chlamydia, but they should also be tested for gonorrhea. Annually, there are more than 1 million new cases of both [2].

Symptoms of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that resides in the vaginal fluid of women. In the majority of these infections there are no symptoms. When symptoms do appear, within 1 to 3 weeks after being infected, there is an abnormal vaginal discharge. If left untreated, the bacteria can affect the cervix and can cause PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) if the infection spread to the fallopian tubes [4]. This can lead to infertility.

Gonorrhea is also a bacterial infection that resides in the vaginal fluid of women. Symptoms, which can appear 2 to 10 days after becoming infected, can range from mild to severe. Some basic symptoms are bleeding during vaginal intercourse, burning or pain when urinating, and a bloody or yellow discharge from the vagina. Some more severe symptoms are fever, pain, cramps, vomiting, spotting or bleeding between your periods. These symptoms can also lead to PID [5].

Prevention of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
There is no 100% method, except for abstinence and a partner that has been tested and infection free. During intercourse, use a latex condom.

Treatment for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
Medication is prescribed for both. For Chlamydia, antibiotics such as azithromycin or doxycycline are prescribed. For Gonorrhea, antibiotics are also prescribed. However, this type of treatment is difficult because there are some “drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea” [6].

Please take STD Awareness month seriously. Stay informed, and search for information, such as this, on women’s health. Remember, sexual health is women’s health.

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Please leave a comment on this article. Women’s Wellness and Health welcomes your comments. We hope that this article was beneficial to you.

References:
[1] American Social Health Association (n.d.). April is STD Awareness Month. Retrieved April 14, 2012 from American Social Health Association Website: http://www.ashastd.org/april-is-std-awareness-month.html

[2] Bolan, Gail (2012). Screening for Sexually Transmitted Disease: Who, When, and How. Retrieved April 14, 2012 from Medscape Today Website: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/754191

[3] CDC (n.d.). April is STD Awareness Month. Retrieved April 14, 2012 from CDC Website: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/STDAwareness/

[4] NIAID (n.d.). Chlamydia. Retrieved April 15, 2012 from NIAID Website: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/chlamydia/understanding/Pages/symptoms.aspx

[5] NIAID (n.d.). Gonorrhea Symptoms. Retrieved April 15, 2012 from NIAID Website: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/gonorrhea/understanding/Pages/symptoms.aspx

[6] NIAID (n.d.). Gonorrhea Treatment. Retrieved April 15, 2012 from NIAID Website: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/gonorrhea/understanding/Pages/treatment.aspx

Determining Your Needs: A Health Spa or a Hospital?

Sick WomanIn today’s society, women find themselves operating in various capacities: heads of households, business owners, wives, mothers, single mothers, etc.  Often times, operating in these capacities can be overwhelming and can lead to health problems.  These problems can manifest themselves in various ways, such as stress, exhaustion or fatigue, eating disorders, joint pains, and others.  Do you find yourself experiencing one or all of these health-related problems?  If you do, determine your need.  Do you need to go to a health spa or a hospital?

If you have determined that your health problem(s) is not a matter of life and death, women’s health spas, sometimes called medical spas, can be a great choice for you.  These spas offer various treatments in their facilities that help to improve your health and lifestyle.

Treatments

Remember, not all spas offer the same treatment.  Please do your research before-hand in order to determine which spa will be beneficial to you.  The following will list a few of the numerous treatments that health or medical spas offer:

1.  Balneotherapy and Hydrotherapy – These are water or bath treatments for various diseases.  These therapies are generally for relieving pain: back and joint pain, arthritis, etc.

2.  Message – In a credible facility this is performed by a registered massage therapist.  Done properly this treatment relieves stress and fatigue in the body.

3.  Detox – This treatment cleanse the body from different toxins.  When treated, people usually experience some weight loss, a gain in energy, and less stressful.

4.  Skin Care – This treatment includes facials, laser, BOTOX, or any other method to produce healthy skin or to avoid aging of the skin (anti-aging).

5.  Cancer – This treatment focus on nutrition.

6.  Wellness – Health screenings are performed.

Treatment Price

The cost of the treatment depends on the treatment package that you require and the region that the facility is located (Abroad or US).  Treatment abroad is usually cheaper than in the United States.  Get a quote!  If you have health insurance, check to see if your required treatment is covered under your plan.

Finally, if your condition is a matter of life and death, go to a hospital to seek treatment.  And after you have had your treatment from a health spa and your condition has not improved or has gotten worse, seek help elsewhere.  Don’t keep doing the same thing expecting a different result.  You are important, to you and others in your life, so take care of yourself by maintaining good health.

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What Is Mental Health?

What Is Mental HealthMental illness and mental health are often considered to be interchangeable.  However, factually, they are not.  Simply put, mental illness refers to the sickness or disorder of your mind or brain and mental health refers to the well-being or condition of your mind or brain.  In fact, the World Health Organization, (WHO, 2010), defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for individual well-being and the effective functioning of a community.”

Since mental health is the basis of one’s well-being, researchers have pin-pointed three indicators that, when measured, can help determine the overall health of your mind.  These indicators are social well-being, emotional well-being, and psychological well-being.

Social Well-Being

Your social well-being determines how well you positively interact with society.  There are five dimensions of social well-being:  social integration, social acceptance, social contribution, social actualization, and social coherence.

Emotional Well-Being

Your emotional or hedonic well-being determines how you feel about your life.  These feelings include your satisfaction with life, your happiness, your cheerfulness, and your peace of mind (peacefulness).

Psychological Well-Being

Your psychological well-being, i.e. self-realization or self-awareness, encompasses various dimensions.  Some of these are personal growth (development of one’s self), self-acceptance, autonomy, positive relations with others, spirituality, environmental mastery (control of the environment according to one’s own needs), and purpose in life (Westerhof, Gerben J., Keyes, Corey L. M, 2009) and (WHO, 2010).

Positive functioning of the above indicators leads to optimal mental health.  Therefore, it is important that we take our mental health seriously, because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, n.d.), optimum mental health was associated with only 17% of adults in America.

Therefore, it is advantageous for us to promote mental health.  This can be done in a variety of ways.  The World Health Organization suggests several ways, such as 1) mental health interventions at work, 2) mental health promotional activities in schools, 3) community development programs, 4) violence prevention programs, 5) housing policies, 6) programs targeted at vulnerable groups of people, 7) early childhood interventions, 8) support to children, 9) socio-economic empowerment of women, and 10) social support for elderly populations (WHO, 2010).

References:

CDC (n.d.).  Mental Health Basics.  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from CDC Web Site:  http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics.htm

Westerhof, Gerben J., Keyes, Corey L. M. (2009).  Mental illness and mental health: the two continua model across the lifespan.  Journal of Adult Development, 17(2): 110–119.

WHO (2010). Mental health: strengthening our response.  (Fact sheet no. 220).  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from WHO Web Site:  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/

Mental Health Disorders

Mental Health DisorderWomen and men suffer equally from mental health disorders.  However, there are some disorders that are more prevalent in women than there are in men.  The ones that are more common in women are anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, postpartum depression, depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, ADD) ([3], n.d.).  In fact, out of all the disorders, anxiety disorders are the most common.  These disorders affect women two to three times more than men ([1], 2009).

Anxiety Disorders

Just what are anxiety disorders?  They are excessive or extreme “exaggerations” of one’s natural response to situations of fear and stress.  With this disorder, people tend to dread or “worry too much about” events or tasks that occur normally every day.  Everyone at some point in time experience the signs (i.e. fast heartbeat, sweating, stress, nervousness (trembling), worry, etc.) of fear and stress, and normally, your body is able to adapt to these psychological and physical changes within your body.  However, when you can’t adapt, you may have an anxiety disorder (Kelly, 2009).

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are various types of anxiety disorders.  However, this article addresses the most common types and provides a basic description of each.  The major types of anxiety disorders are as follows:

  1. Panic Disorder – frequent or repeated panic attacks.  These attacks are “sudden and intense feelings of terror, fear or apprehension, without the presence of actual danger” (Ankrom, 2009).
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – unprovoked exaggerated anxiety, tension, or worry that is difficult for the individual to control (Meek, 2008; [2], n.d.).
  3. Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) – an unreasonable or illogical fear of demeaning or embarrassing oneself or of being judged or watched in daily social situations (Cuncic, 2010).
  4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – persistent impulses, images, or unwanted (inappropriate) thoughts and/ or repeated rituals or behaviors ([5], 1999).
  5.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – stress that occurs after experiencing a traumatic event that involved “physical harm or the threat of physical harm” ([2], n.d.).

Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Effective treatment of anxiety disorders begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation from your doctor, normally a psychiatrist.  After the completion of the evaluation, your doctor can determine the exact medications and psychotherapy that you require.  Medications alone are not an effective cure for anxiety disorders.  This must be accompanied with psychotherapy.

Medications that are normally prescribed for anxiety disorders are antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -SSRIs, Tricyclics, and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors -MAOIs), anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines), and beta-blockers (propranolol) which are used to control some of the physical symptoms.  Beware of all of the facts or side effects of the medications you are taking.  Get this information from your doctor.

In addition to the medications, psychotherapy must be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.  During psychotherapy, the psychiatrist or other mental health professionals helps the patient discover the root cause of the disorder and helps him or her learn to manage the symptoms.  The therapy that is most effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  In CBT, “the cognitive part helps people change the thinking patterns that support their fears, and the behavioral part helps people change the way they react to anxiety-provoking situations” ([2], n.d.).

Finally, if, after reading this article, you feel as though you may have an anxiety disorder, seek help from an experienced mental health professional so that you can be properly diagnosed.  They can determine if your feelings are normal or not normal.  And if not normal, they can prescribe the medication(s) and therapy that is right for you.  Seek help and don’t be embarrassed or afraid.  For more information Click Here!.

 

References

Ankrom, Sheryl (2009).  What is Panic Disorder?  Learn the Basics of Panic Disorder.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/understandingpanic/a/PanicBasics.htm

Cuncic, Arlin (2010).  Overview of Social Anxiety Disorder.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://socialanxietydisorder.about.com/od/overviewofsad/a/overview.htm

Kelly, Owen (2009).  Anxiety Disorder.  Retrieved October 31, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://ocd.about.com/od/glossary/g/anxiety_glos.htm

NIMH [2] (n.d.).  Anxiety Disorders.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/nimhanxiety.pdf

NIMH [3] (n.d.).  Women and Mental Health.  Retrieved October 19, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/women-and-mental-health/index.shtml

NIMH [4] (n.d.).  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD.  Retrieved November 05, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

Meek, William (2008).  Introduction to Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  What is GAD?  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://gad.about.com/od/symptoms/a/overview.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [1] (2009).  Action Steps for Improving Women’s Mental Health.  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from womenshealth.gov Web Site:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/mental-health-action-steps/ and http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//OWH09-PROFESSIONAL/OWH09-PROFESSIONAL.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [5] (1999).  Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.  Retrieved November 05, 2011, from surgeongeneral.gov Web Site:  http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter4/sec2.html