Breakthrough: Robotic surgery

Surgeons can now perform laparoscopic procedures with the assistance of remotely controlled instruments attached to a robot’s arms. Although robot-assisted surgery can provide greater magnification and improved dexterity for the surgeon, outcomes may not be better than with traditional laparoscopic procedures, and costs for robotic surgery can be higher.   (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: How can I treat dry eyes?

Dry eye becomes more common with age, and it can cause corneal irritation or inflammation, which may even lead to vision changes. Eye drops can keep eyes moist, while avoiding irritants in the air can reduce the dry feeling. In some cases, surgery is needed to block the tear ducts. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: What is causing my vaginal itching?

Lichen sclerosus (LS) is a skin condition that can affect the skin around the vulva and anus, causing it to become thin, whitened, and sometimes wrinkled. Untreated, LS may lead to scarring, cracking, and fissures in the tissue. Although there is no cure for LS, it can be controlled with medication. (Locked) More »

Fight fat to help your heart

Body fat is dangerous to the heart, in part because it increases the risk for conditions that contribute to heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. The fat located in the abdomen—called visceral fat—is particularly bad for the heart. Measuring waist circumference can help determine whether a woman has metabolic syndrome—a cluster of factors that can increase heart risks. Cutting portion sizes, eating less sugar and fat, and exercising are effective ways to help banish belly fat. More »

The challenges of living alone

Nearly 40% of older women (8.1 million) live alone. Living alone can foster a sense of independence, but it can also raise health and safety risks. It’s important for women who do live alone to stay socially active by keeping in touch with friends and family in person and online. Making home modifications can also help improve safety for women who live alone. Women should consider moving into a group living situation if they are less able to care for themselves or they’re not in good health. (Locked) More »

Making smart screening decisions: Part 3: Cardiac screening tests

Considering that about five times as many women will die from heart attacks than from breast cancer, cardiac screening should feature prominently on our list of health concerns. Screening EKGs or other routine imaging tests are not recommended for women who do not have heart disease risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or smoking. Women who are at a higher risk for heart disease should visit a doctor to determine whether they need further testing. (Locked) More »

Lifestyle changes help keep weight off after menopause

Postmenopausal women who eat fewer desserts and fried foods, drink fewer sugary beverages, eat more fish, and eat at restaurants less often are better able to lose weight and keep it off. Over the long term, eating more fruits and vegetables and less meats and cheeses is also important for weight loss. (Locked) More »

Drugs may not be best for mild high blood pressure

Blood pressure medicines can reduce heart attacks, strokes, and deaths in people with moderate to severe high blood pressure, but according to one study, they may not significantly reduce heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or deaths in those with milder elevations in blood pressure. Women with mildly elevated blood pressure may want to try nondrug interventions for lowering blood pressure—such as diet, exercise, and stress management—before turning to medications. (Locked) More »

Meditation eases loneliness

A study published online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity finds that meditation could be an effective method for combating loneliness. A meditation program can significantly decrease loneliness and reduce markers of inflammation, which might benefit the immune system. (Locked) More »