Are you at risk for Osteoporosis?
Attend a London Drugs Osteoporosis Screening Clinic, and our pharmacists will identify your risk factors and provide information on how to minimize your risk. We will also test the strength of your bones, and develop a personalized action plan to fit with your wellness goals.
*there is a small fee to attend this clinic; a tax-deductible receipt will be issued.
Pharmacy Operations Manager Chris Chiew, on Shaw TV’s Go! Calgary, talks about Anaphylaxis preparedness for back-to-school.
300,000 Canadian children with allergies prepare for back to school
Back to school can be a stressful time of year for the parents of nearly 300,000 Canadian children under the age of 18, who suffer from food allergies. For those students with severe allergies, school can be a dangerous place without the right preventative measures.
Awareness about food allergies has grown substantially as of late, thanks to the help of spokespeople like NASCAR driver Alex Tagliani, who recently added a ‘peanut free zone’ sign to his race car. The logo was designed by two Alberta students as part of an Anaphylaxis Canada contest raising awareness for ‘Treating Allergies with Genuine Care’.
It is a great opportunity to write a blog – not only to inform readers but to put into words things one feels passionate about. The “division of responsibility” is such a topic for me.
I learned about the division of responsibility many years ago from its creator, Ellyn Satter. Satter, a dietitian and family therapist, crafted this simple message which I passed on to my clients over the years and now have been using very successfully with my own children.
The idea is simple. Parents provide the right food at regular times and children decide whether to eat, and how much. It is likely not the strategy your parents used with you so this message may surprise you and challenge your beliefs. Let’s look at the rationale for the division of responsibility and see how to put it into practice. READ MORE
Today’s technology makes monitoring/improving your health a whole lot easier…
Who among us doesn’t want to be in the best health possible?
New technologies are making getting fit and monitoring your health a whole lot easier. Remember that great health is not just the absence of disease. It’s the ability to enjoy all that life has to offer, with maximum energy and in control of any health condition that might be present. Today’s health technologies make that goal a whole lot easier to achieve.
Keep tabs on your blood pressure
iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors
Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor
Wireless Blood Pressure Cuff
Now, checking your blood pressure can be the cool thing to do! With no plugs or connections to manage, iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors make it easy to check your own blood pressure, any time and anywhere. The iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor attaches with a smaller cuff at the wrist, for easy on and off. The attractive device uses motion sensor technology to ensure the most accurate read possible. The iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is a comfortable, easy-to-use cuff for those who prefer a more traditional way of checking their blood pressure. Using the free iHealth® mobile app, you can measure and track your systolic/ diastolic numbers, heart rate, pulse wave and measurement time, then share your results instantly. Why it’s important Knowing your blood pressure—especially if you have hypertension—helps put you in the driver’s seat. A sudden spike in blood pressure can signal a number of health conditions and should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible. The iHealth® MyVitals mobile app (iOS/Android) brings all iHealth® products to life. Once you’ve downloaded it from the app store, you can customize it for the products you use. Now, it’s easy to set goals, track your progress and be inspired to manage your personal health in a more hands-on way, wherever you go. The app may be used on iOS version 5.0 or higher devices: iPod Touch® 5th Generation +, iPhone 4S +, iPad mini, and iPad 3rd Generation +, as well as select Android devices.
Track your oxygen level
iHealth® Wireless Pulse Oximeter
Fits your finger as well as
The iHealth® Wireless Pulse Oximeter is a reliable, convenient way to spot-check blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rate (BPM). This lightweight and portable device takes fast, noninvasive measurements at the fingertip. This allows you to track and view your SpO2 and BPM readings directly on the device’s display and in the iHealth® SpO2 app during sports training or other recreational activities. Once you’ve downloaded the free iHealth® SpO2 app, you’ll be ready to use your wireless pulse oximeter device. Why it’s important Pulse oximeters measure the amount of blood haemoglobin that is oxygen-saturated. For a healthy individual, the normal SpO2 should be between 96 and 99 per cent. The normal resting pulse rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Knowing these figures can help you keep track of your blood oxygen and fitness level.
iBGStar® Blood Glucose Meter
The Blood Glucose Meter
that’s in rhythm with
The innovative iBGStar® tests and analyzes your blood glucose, and fits conveniently into your pocket. While it can be used on its own, it also connects seamlessly with your iPhone or iPod Touch™—allowing you to view and analyze accurate, reliable information concerning your blood glucose, carb intake and insulin dose in “real time.” Using the iBGStar® Diabetes Manager app, you can share this information with your healthcare professional while on-thego, to help you make better-informed diabetes-related decisions together. Samples are analysed using Dynamic Electrochemistry® – an intelligent technology for results you can trust. To help constantly keep your blood glucose levels under control, you can retrieve analysis tables and diagrams at the touch of a fingertip. Why it’s important Monitoring your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes is an essential part of ensuring the condition is well managed. In recent years, the increasing incidence of pre-diabetes is bringing the importance of knowing your blood glucose levels to the forefront.
Interactive fitness devices
Why They’re Important
Tracking your fitness activities through wearable devices and mobile apps can increase your motivation to work out, manage your weight more productively, and have fun while doing so. Checking in with your online dashboard to see how well you have done, comparing your performance with previous performances, and knowing how many steps you took and calories you burned while hiking in the hills or washing the car, can provide the extra spark needed to get you off the sofa and getting physical. With some devices, you can even compare your workouts with those of friends or a fitness partner, and let a little competition further motivate you! Many users of connected fitness devices say they enjoy their devices so much that they go out of their way to add a few steps here and there, or go for an extra walk or run. Even vacuuming or mowing the lawn becomes a fitness activity instead of a chore. Samples are analysed using Dynamic Electrochemistry® – an intelligent technology for results you can trust. To help constantly keep your blood glucose levels under control, you can retrieve analysis tables and diagrams at the touch of a fingertip.
FitBit Flex – Tracking your sleep, as
well as your steps…
The Fitbit Flex™ Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband tracks steps, distance, and calories burned and shows you if you’re meeting your daily goals. At night, it tracks your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better, and wakes you silently in the morning. You can even wear it in the shower. The Fitbit Flex™ allows you to access your stats anytime on your computer, tablet or from leading smartphones – both iPhone and Android. Available in black and slate.
FitBit Zip – Available in charcoal or magenta.
The compact Fitbit Zip makes fitness fun. It tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned, then wirelessly syncs the data to your Fitbit account through your computer or smartphone. Whether online or through the Fitbit app (iOS, Android), you can set personal goals and stay motivated with graphs, badges, and friendly competition.
FitBit One – Available in black or burgundy.
The Fitbit One™ helps you be active, sleep well, and eat smarter. During the day, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. At night, it measures your sleep cycle, silently waking you in the morning, without disturbing your partner. As with all Fitbit models, your stats upload wirelessly via computer or select mobile device. Compact and discreet, the Fitbit One™ can be slipped into your pocket, or clipped on your bra or belt.
Body analysis scales
Why they’re important
An appropriate body fat percentage is essential to maintaining good health. For women, 14-31 per cent is considered a healthy range, and for men 6 -24 per cent. BMI (body mass index) relates body fat to height and weight. Knowing these figures gives you a powerful advantage for better managing your health to achieve long-term results.
FitBit Aria – Assessing your bodyfat
percentage and BMI…
The Fitbit Aria™ not only measures your weight, but helps you stay on track and achieve better results. It contains advanced technology to accurately assess your body fat percentage and BMI. The ultra-sleek Aria™ then syncs your stats through your WiFi network to your Fitbit online or mobile dashboard. Graphs and charts help you focus on long term trends and not short-term blips. Available in black or white.
iHealth Wireless Body analysis Scale. The scale allows use by up to 20 people.
Don’t be fooled by its cool design! The iHealth® Wireless Body Analysis Scale allows you to measure, track and share nine different characteristics of your body composition on the iHealth® mobile app. These include weight, body fat, lean mass, muscle mass, bone mass, body water, daily calorie intake, body mass index, and visceral fat rating. (You can use it online or off.)
Speak with the experts at your local London Drugs to discover which health tech gadgets fits your lifestyle best!
Today’s woman has little time for
the annoyances and discomforts associated
with the end of her childbearing years… Here is some more information to follow up from part 1.
The dreaded hot flash
Webber Naturals® Evening Primrose oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids that can help alleviate menopausal
Arguably the most disruptive symptom of menopause, hot flashes affect 80% of women. Although most hot flashes are simply annoying and uncomfortable, for some women, they can be debilitating.
The unpleasant, prickly, hot sensations are caused by a reduction in the body’s output of estrogen. When estrogen levels are lower, the blood vessels close to the skin dilate, giving rise to the sensation of heat.
Hot flashes may occur as often as 20 times a day, or as infrequently as once or twice a month. They typically last for 30 seconds to a few minutes and are unpredictable, occurring at seemingly random moments. When they occur at night, they are often accompanied by intense perspiration and are known as night sweats.
Wearing comfortable, loose clothing is a good way to manage hot flashes. Some women also carry a cooling spray with them, to use as the need arises.
Managing mood swings
Relief helps relieve
within 30 days and is
During menopause and the years leading up to it, many women suffer from mood swings. These can range from general highs and lows to feeling irrational, anxious and/or depressed. These feelings are just as normal and natural for a woman going through menopause as they are for a pre-teen embarking on puberty, and are similarly due to the imbalance/irregularity of hormonal activity within the body.
There are many ways of evening out your mood including going for a long walk, practising yoga, meditation or other calming activity, keeping up with friendships and learning a new skill to practise. Eating healthily,
ensuring you get enough quality sleep, and avoiding tranquillizers and alcohol are also helpful.
Many menopause supplements are formulated to help balance hormones, and bring relief for mood swings. However, if depression and/or anxiety are becoming the norm for you, it would be wise to discuss the issue with your doctor or other health professional. He or she can assess the situation and perhaps prescribe drugs to provide shortterm relief.
Replens* Vaginal Moisturizer & Lubricantis fast-acting, pH-balanced, and replenishes moisture for days.
Vaginal dryness, and associated discomforts, can be very troubling, often resulting in withdrawal from intimacy. This can result in misunderstandings and put stress on otherwise healthy relationships.
While vaginal dryness can occur at any age, it is a common symptom of menopause, and is associated with vaginal atrophy—the thinning of the vaginal walls due to a decline in estrogen output.
Vaginal dryness may be accompanied by itching or stinging around the vaginal opening and the lower part of the vagina, soreness, burning and/or light bleeding during and after intercourse, and increased urinary urgency and frequency. It is a symptom of menopause that few women choose to discuss with friends or health professionals, yet it is relatively easy to resolve.
A number of moisture replacement products/lubricants suitable for the vaginal dryness associated with menopause are available from our stores, including Replens* Gel.
At a loss for words…
One of the most troubling symptoms of menopause is the loss of train of thought, or inability to come up with the right word in a sentence. The name of a movie, your favourite actor, or a common term for something that you’ve known for ever suddenly vanishes into thin air, leaving you feeling frustrated, and younger people thinking you’re forgetful. These “brain freezes” are very common.
Once again, low hormone levels are to blame. Estrogen has a significant impact on the functions of the brain and influences language skills, mood, attention, and a number of other functions, including memory.
Estrogen is directly linked to verbal word fluency—the ability to remember names and words—so as estrogen levels fall, memory is likely to suffer.
Aerobic activities and a diet that includes fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids can help keep the memory working as it should, and there are a number of natural products that help balance hormone levels and
help clear foggy thinking.
Getting a good night’s sleep is also very important for the memory to work as it should. Many women find that crosswords and memory games/activities can help but the jury is still out on what effect, if any, can be
directly attributed to these passtimes.
Strictly speaking, menopause is defined as the time of life when periods have been absent for one year. However, many women perceive the term to mean the actual transition from having periods to not having them.
Whatever your personal definition, one fact remains: that menopause is simply the passage from one stage of your life to another. Having survived the hormonal ups and downs of puberty, and perhaps also pregnancy, you will be well prepared for surviving menopause.
Menopause is a significant phase in the life of any woman and, just as we all differ in our personalities and opinions, so the experience of menopause differs. Some celebrate it, some pass through it without noticing much, and others may find the emotional and physical changes to be extremely challenging.
For many women, the cessation of periods and the reduced risk of an unwanted pregnancy means they can relax and enjoy life more. Others may feel saddened by the fact they can no longer become mothers.
A newfound joy
Today, the average age of menopause in Canada is 51 years – an age now considered to be youthful. Back in the day, however, the 50s were considered to herald old age. With social changes of the past few decades, we no longer perceive a woman’s role as restricted to giving birth, child-rearing and other homemaking functions. Rather, she is a fully-functioning and free member of society with at least a third of her life still to live.
As a Baby Boomer, she will have learned how to care for her body better, and likely be a role model for the phrase “50 is the new 40.”
Today’s woman of menopausal age keeps her options open and is often searching for a new career, once her child-rearing responsibilities are over. Not one to let the grass grow under her feet, she is both adventurous and worldly. Whether she takes up art or photography, or opts for a surfboarding or ziplining course, she is determined to make the most of her transition.
Today’s woman has little time for
the annoyances and discomforts associated
with the end of her childbearing years…
Although many women would agree that the phase of life known as menopause can be challenging, today’s typical woman-of-acertain-age is far removed from her 20th century counterpart.
Today, menopausal women are primarily from the Baby Boomer generation—and making waves instead of merely treading water. From being newly minted authors, to becoming first time marathoners, women passing through menopause have become powerful, passionate, and playful. In short, they are the new movers and shakers, taking the annoyances of this life transition into stride.
Let’s take a look at some of these annoyances, and how to effectively deal with them, so that you too can enjoy every moment of freedom that menopause provides.
Oops! Managing leakage
Bladder leakage, properly called urinary incontinence or UI, is a common symptom of menopause, although it can affect anyone at any time of life.
The incidence/frequency of involuntary loss of urine becomes more common as we grow older. The loss can range from very minor—you may lose a few drops when you laugh, cough, work out, or pick up heavy objects—to a stream that results in the need to change your clothing or a pad if you use one.
Find the full range of Tena® incontinence products for women—and men—in the pharmacy at London Drugs.
One of the more common causes of UI is a change in hormones affecting the strength of the muscles that control urine flow. (This is why women who are pregnant also experience involuntary loss of urine.)
In addition to slowing bone loss and protecting against heart disease, estrogen also helps keep the bladder and urethra healthy and functioning properly. When estrogen levels fall, these effects gradually weaken and urine can be lost at inappropriate times.
There are a number of means to help control leakage, from lifestyle factors (see following page) to medications and surgery. Most doctors will begin treatment by suggesting lifestyle changes, and will recommend surgery only after other treatments have failed. For most women, using a pad for light to medium leakage, and employing a few lifestyle modifications will provide both relief from UI, and confidence that little mishaps will be taken in stride.
The role of the bladder:
The bladder is a muscular sac that holds urine that has been processed by the kidneys. The average capacity of a woman’s bladder is 14 -16 oz (close to two cups).
The bladder is lined by layers of muscle tissue that stretch to accommodate urine. When the bladder is just over half full, the stretched nerves send a message to the brain that it’s time to urinate. During urination, the muscles that line the bladder contract, and the two sphincter muscles at the bladder’s exit relax to allow urine to flow out into the urethra—the tube through which urine exits the body.
A number of incontinence types can affect the bladder’s ability to work as it should.
Stress incontinence occurs as the result of laughing, coughing, sneezing, and performing movements such as lifting or crouching that put stress on the bladder. Weakening tissues that accompany menopause are a common cause of this type of leakage.
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through exercises known as Kegels can help reduce the incidence of stress incontinence.
Overactive bladder or urge incontinence gives rise to the sudden urge to urinate. In fact, urine will often leak as soon as you feel the need to “go.”
This type of incontinence is caused by sudden involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle and is most likely to cause urine leakage during sleep, after drinking fluids, or when you touch water or hear it running.
Overflow incontinence is the frequent leakage of urine without the urge to void, or the inability to pass the normal volume of urine. The amount of urine that exceeds the bladder’s capacity leaks out, but the bladder remains full. It is usually caused by weakness of the bladder muscles and/or constipation, and is more common in men than women.
This type of incontinence is typically a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence. If you have both types of incontinence you will usually find that one is more prominent than the other.
Urinary incontinence (a few timely tips)
Don’t cut back on fluids. It may seem counterintuitive, but reducing fluids can result in concentrated urine that can irritate the bladder. Balance your fluid intake throughout the day but have nothing to drink for the 2-3 hours before going to bed, to prevent frequent bathroom trips during the night.
Cut back on caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both are diuretics, increasing the urge to urinate in a hurry. Drinking coffee after consuming alcohol can be especially challenging. Remember that caffeine is in teas and colas as well as coffee. Cranberry, apple and grape juices are easiest on the bladder.
If you are overweight, try to lose a little. Incontinence and obesity are frequently linked because excess weight increases abdominal pressure. One study showed that losing just 10 per cent of body mass if you are obese can reduce the risk of incontinence by 50 percent.*
Do pelvic floor exercises (Kegels). Squeeze or tighten your pelvic floor muscles (those that you use to stop urinating), hold for 10 seconds, then release. Regularly practising these exercises—some women do them at every traffic light—will strengthen the muscles that support the bladder. In turn, you will reduce the sense of urgency and leaking attributable to an overactive bladder.
Visit the washroom before you need to. Since the urge to urinate is often sudden and overwhelming, visit a washroom before you feel the need to.
Know where the washrooms are. This is very important if you are in a large restaurant, a shopping centre, airport or other destination where finding a washroom may require a long walk. If visiting a private home with which you are not familiar, ask your host/s to show you where the washroom is as soon as you arrive.
Retrain your bladder. For many women, the practice of retraining the bladder can be helpful. Choose specific times of day to use the washroom and stick to these as much as possible.
Stop smoking. Studies have shown that people who smoke are more prone to incontinence. Smoking is believed to reduce collagen synthesis and so weaken tissue structures—including the bladder—throughout the body. Smoking can also cause coughing, leading to leakage in people with stress incontinence.
Avoid constipation. Constipation can cause pressure on the bladder. Avoid it by eating high-fibre foods and making sure you drink enough water during the day (6 -8 glasses).
Wear the right clothes. No one with urinary incontinence appreciates having to unbutton jeans, fiddle with snaps, or wriggle out of a jumpsuit when the urge beckons. So dress appropriately in clothes that allow fast action if the need arises.
Wear protection. Today’s incontinence protection is thin, discreet and very comfortable—and the only person to know you have experienced a little mishap will be you…
Stay tuned for part 2!
Want to get notified when new articles are posted? Subscribe to this blog!