Is Your Heart Health Affecting Your Life?

Few organs in the human body are as vital as your heart. Weighing an average of 11 ounces, the heart transports oxygen, provides your body with nutrients, and removes toxins.

But what about your heart’s function in the bedroom?

You’re familiar with the deep sound, la dub, la dub, as anticipation builds up. And the hard pounding in your chest as it gets hot and heavy under the sheets.

But did you know cardiovascular health can affect your ability to perform?

One study says men with multiple risk factors for heart disease may be more likely to develop erectile dysfunction.

The researchers focused on seven risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, poor diet, and smoking. You can read more about the study here.

So the good news is you can take steps to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction (like you can reduce the risk of heart disease).

Here are a few ways to enjoy a healthy heart and sex life:

Exercise and eat a heart-healthy diet

It’s no exaggeration to say healthy eating and exercise is important for your heart. Just look at these numbers:

  • In 2013, a study reported a 21% reduction in coronary heart disease (CHD) events in men due to higher levels of physical activity.
  • American Heart Association (AHA) reported that active people with high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart disease are less likely to die prematurely than inactive people with the same conditions.
  • Statistics show that 21% of chronic heart disease is attributable to a BMI above 21.

Ready to get moving? Check with your doctor first. But the AHA recommends moderate to vigorous physical activity 3 to 4 times per week.

When it comes to the kitchen, control your portion size, eat more vegetables and fruits, choose whole grains, and limit unhealthy fat.

Reduce your alcohol intake and smoking

We get it. You’ve been drinking or smoking since you came of age (or at least your parents thought it was your first beer). But, there comes a time in every man’s life where “in moderation” is no longer an option.

Or as C.S. Lewis put it, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

Want to spice things up in the bed? Set a new goal to reduce (or cut out) alcohol and smoking. Take small steps at first, like only drinking one glass of wine in the evenings. Then gradually trim from there.

Watch your numbers

Too many people wait until they visit their healthcare provider to check their cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar levels. But early detection is what you can save your (sex) life.

Here are a few apps to help you keep track of your numbers daily.

  • Instant Heart Rate+ for iPhone or Android measures your pulse using your smartphone camera.
  • Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone measures your blood pressure and heart rate while helping you analyze progress over time.
  • Blood Glucose Tracker for Android helps you log and analyze your blood glucose levels and track blood sugars.

Find a healthcare specialist

There’s tons of advice, articles, and guidance out there to help you improve your heart health and sex life on your own. But working with a healthcare provider who specializes in hormone therapy is the safest and most effective way to get back on track.

By combining your health history, lifestyle, lab work, and personal goals, you get a customized treatment plan that returns your body to its natural functions. Here’s more detailed information about customized therapy plans.

But don’t hesitate to call us today to schedule an in-person consultation. We’ll review your options and talk to you more about how hormone replacement therapy can help your desire and ability for sex improve.

Falling Behind At Work? Here are 4 Ways to Boost Your Productivity Right Now

Everybody falls behind at work. We all can’t be perfect, right?

But with age comes even greater challenges. Symptoms like forgetfulness, fatigue, or cognitive decline can decrease your levels of productivity.

But don’t order your retirement cake just yet. You aren’t alone.

The Pew Research Center studied employment data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, 18.8% of Americans who are 65 years or older reported working full-time or part-time. While in 2012, only 12.8% of older Americans said they worked.

Researchers expect that number to break the 30% mark by 2022.

It’s a fact. We’re living longer and healthier lives. That gives us a choice to work past the age of retirement because we can, not because we have to.

But how do you keep up with younger coworkers who zoom around the office like the Energizer bunny?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a battery you can buy to help you reach your sales quota or knock out 40 hours of work in one day.

But there are a few things you can do right now to catch up.

Ready? Pry open those peepers. And let’s boost your productivity and finish work before the clock strikes 6.

Listen to upbeat music

Music can add zen (or rage) to your morning commute. It can empower you to finish that last quarter mile. And it drowns out your coworker who always has an endless stream of gossip.

And now researchers say happy, upbeat music helps you to be more productive and cooperative at work.

Check out this article on The Muse. Choose a Spotify playlist that fits your current mood. For example, are you prepping for a meeting or hitting the mid-afternoon slump?

Hit play and get to work!

Work smarter (not harder) with your phone

It’s no secret. With smart phones, we can quickly respond to emails, access our files anywhere, and connect to new opportunities.

But now we’ve got the stats to support it. One survey shows that people who use their smartphone to get work done are 34% more productive.

For example, download Todoist. You can assign tasks, create lists with deadlines and reminders, and collaborate on projects. Plus, you get a nice feeling of accomplishment when you tick off a task.

Procrastinating? Check out The Forest App. It helps you focus on your work–no matter where you are or what fight broke out on Twitter. When it’s time to work, you plant a tree. As long as you don’t navigate away from the app within the set timeframe, the tree grows.

You can find more apps to increase your productivity here.

Mingle with co-workers in the break room

Seems counterproductive, right?

But in a study last year, Bank of America allowed employees to enjoy break time together. After, they measured a 15-20% rise in productivity and a 19% drop in stress levels.

So this one’s pretty easy–step away from the desk. Find a co-worker or two. Socialize, spark some conversation, and make a connection. Bounce some ideas off your colleague or find someone to collaborate on that project with you.

You’ll feel a renewed sense of productivity when you head back to your desk–a suggested 15 to 20 minutes later. You don’t want to upset the boss, of course.

Take a quick afternoon siesta

We admit. You may not have the option of taking a quick nap at work. We’ve saved this last tip for the lucky ones who do.

If you can reserve part of your lunch break for a nap, you can think like you did five years ago.

Yes, you read that right. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say a short sleep in the afternoon improves thinking and memory skills. And it makes the brain perform as if it were five years younger.

The study suggested an hour was best. If you rest for a shorter or longer period, it could actually make your performance worse.

In short…

Don’t sit at your desk in silence for 8 hours!

Turn up some tunes, chat with a coworker, and give your body some rest when it needs it.

Oh, and make that smartphone work for its hefty price tag. Find some apps that can help you focus and stay on task. Plus, you’ll impress those younger colleagues with how tech savvy you’ve are!

Still feeling drained? Check out our article for more energy-boosting tips.

How to Keep Your Memory Sharp: 3 Tips to Try Today

What’s your biggest concern when it comes to aging?

Affordable health care?
Physical health?
Retirement plans?
How about memory loss?

For 35% of older Americans, memory loss is a top concern of aging. And 38% of professionals agree.

Do you ever….

  • Talk to a friend about a book you’re reading but forget the name of the main character?
  • Start driving to the store, but halfway there you can’t remember where you’re going?
  • Miss appointments, frequently lose your glasses, or forget the steps to your favorite pot roast recipe?
  • These lapses in memory are frustrating, but most of the time, they aren’t a concern for more serious problems, like mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

    And even if you’re healthy, it’s okay to experience forgetfulness as you age.

    However, there are steps you can take to prevent cognitive decline and increase your chances of maintaining a healthy memory.

    First, consider a health screening. An article in the BMJ recommends a memory screen if:

  • You’re 65 or older
  • Have been diagnosed with an illness (for example, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke disease) which increases the possibility of dementia
  • Or have a family history of dementia
  • Then, read below for easy (we promise) steps you can take to be sharp as a tack.

    Here’s a tip: Jot down notes on everything you learn—and want to try—in this post. Putting pen to paper boosts your memory and the ability to retain concepts.

    Get healthy

    If you’re one of our regular readers, you’ve noticed we talk about healthy choices often.

    But that’s because it works. In 2015, the Boston University School of Medicine found more evidence that exercise is beneficial for brain and cognition.

    People who eat right, exercise regularly, and break bad habits live their life with more vitality and strength. And we’re not talking about bodybuilders or marathon runners. These are average Joes and Janes who make small choices that reap big results.

    For example, they don’t smoke and limit their alcohol intake. And they engage in moderate to intense exercise for 20 to 30 minutes each day.

    Here’s a blog post we wrote with a few suggestions of exercises you can do at home.

    They also eat vegetables and lean meats instead of burgers with fries.

    Can you treat yourself occasionally? Sure!

    But, those occasions are exactly that—a treat. If you want to feel more confident both mentally and physically, then start today with making healthy decisions. Foods that increase memory include avocados, blueberries, broccoli, salmon, walnuts, and—wait for it—dark chocolate.

    Socialize (offline)

    Socializing can also boost your memory. In fact, a study in California reported older women who maintained large social networks reduced their risk of dementia and delayed or prevented cognitive impairment.

    A large social network could be three to five close friends or 15 to 20 acquaintances.

    When you engage socially, you have to process what other people say and then think about how to respond. This activity stimulates your brain.

    Not sure how to escape the hermit life and get social? Make a list of activities you enjoy. Like reading, walking, or cooking. Find groups or classes on Facebook or Meetup that do what you love. Or start your own!

    Reduce Stress

    Whether you’re 25 or 55, stress puts a strain on your brain—or in more technical terms, it increases the stress hormone cortisol and affects brain function.

    Studies show when you’re stressed, electrical signals in the brain associated with factual memories weaken. And areas of the brain related to emotions strengthen.

    That’s why you not only forget your keys but cry about it too.

    So, how do you reduce stress? Easy.

  • Exercise
  • Eat foods that are antioxidant rich—like fruits, veggies, green tea, and dark chocolate
  • Meditate each morning. Here’s a guide for beginners.
  • Notice a common theme here?

    It’s time to ask yourself what’s more important. Spending hours in front of the TV snacking? Or having a strong memory and sharp mind?

    We understand breaking habits and creating new ones is hard—especially as you age. But if you can overcome it, you’ll feel more confident in your interactions with other people.

    Need help getting started? Give us a call. We’ll assess your health and help you create a plan to get your mind back on track.

    3 Natural Remedies Men Can Use to Boost Sexual Health

    Maybe you’re tired of over-the-counter medicine and want to get back to a natural way of curing your ailments.

    Or you’re ready to complement your bio-identical hormone replacement therapy with herbal medicine.

    Either way, you clicked this article because you need a solution to the common side effects of aging as a male —erectile dysfunction, low libido, and low energy.

    Herbal health products often called “botanicals,” have been used to prevent and manage diseases and ailments for centuries. Currently, an estimated 80 percent of the world’s population have used or are using a type of herbal supplement.

    Check out this article by Mayo Clinic. It covers the basics of what you need to know before buying herbal supplements.

    And then in this article, you’ll read about three herbs that help men boost their libido and vitality. But what works for one person may not work for you so give us a call to discuss your health history before buying.

    Maca

    Want to boost your energy and increase your libido? You’re not alone—and, quite frankly, never have been.

    In fact, it’s believed that about 2000 years ago, people indigenous to the Andes Mountains in Peru began consuming a plant, called Maca, after seeing how it increased the energy and fertility of their livestock.

    Since the 1990s, the use of Maca has grown in popularity in the states and is now one of Peru’s top exports.

    Maca is a cruciferous vegetable, like cauliflower and kale. It’s a tough plant and grows in inhospitable plateaus.

    While research on the Maca plant is still in the beginning stages, one review in 2010 found evidence to support that the plant improves sexual desire after six weeks of consumption.

    Plus, it has healthful fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, and minerals, like calcium and magnesium.

    The root, which grows underground, is the main edible part. You can consume it in powder form, capsules, or liquid extract. Many people describe the taste as earthy or nutty.

    The dosage you take depends on why you’re taking Maca and in what form. Your doctor can help you decide what’s right for you.

    To learn more about Maca and its benefits, read this article.

    Korean Red Ginseng

    Ginseng, nicknamed the “king of herbs” is one of the most popular herbal remedies in the world today.

    Like Maca, people have used the herb for many years, with the earliest record of its medicinal use dating back to around 500 A.D.

    There are different varieties of ginseng, but we’ll focus on the Korean red ginseng, which grows in Asia. It’s a high-quality variety that is steamed and dried.

    In addition to cancer prevention and anti-inflammatory effects, studies show that the herb can be an effective alternative for treating male erectile dysfunction.

    You can take it by mouth (capsule form) but don’t use it for an extended period. Your doctor can help you decide on the correct dosage and length of use.

    As with most herbal remedies, ginseng may not be right for you. Currently, it’s not FDA-approved for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. And it can interfere with some medications (such as insulin) and increase the effects of caffeine.

    You can find more detailed information about the herb here.

    Zinc

    While zinc isn’t an herbal remedy, it’s made this list because it’s a natural mineral that impacts your testosterone levels and prostrates.

    In 1996, a study showed that there was a correlation between zinc deficiency and low levels of testosterone. Researchers placed young men on a low-zinc diet, and after 20 weeks, their testosterone levels dropped almost 75 percent.

    Today, many men use this supplement to replace or enhance medications like Viagra.

    You can find it in oysters, crab, fortified cereals, kidney beans, chicken, beef, or pork. But you can also take zinc as a supplement. This article goes into more detail about the benefits and recommendations for zinc supplements.

    Taking Action

    As always, we highlight a few options (along with bite-sized information) on our blog so you can make easy decisions when it comes to your sexual health and overall well-being.

    Are there more supplements out there? Of course! Are there are more quick tips for boosting testosterone? Yes! For example, avoiding soy.

    But, the most important advice you can glean from the plethora of information out there is to take action. If you want to increase your testosterone levels naturally, give us a call.

    3 Unexpected Symptoms of Menopause

    The effects of menopause never seem to end.

    And while you knew about the hot flashes, the nights of restlessness, and even the mood swings, maybe you weren’t expecting the other 30 plus symptoms of aging as a woman.

    Maybe your mom or grandmother forgot to mention migraines and hair loss. Or, you’re the only one in the family who got lucky enough to experience itchy, crawling skin.

    Of course, even then, you’re not alone. Women have been conquering menopause for much longer than men have been conquering the world.

    But, if you feel a little left in the dark about what’s to come, here’s some quick information about three symptoms of menopause our patients often don’t expect.

    Dizziness

    Your legs feel like overcooked pasta noodles–weak and unsteady. Your head is foggy, you can’t walk in a straight line, and your vision is blurry. Sound familiar?

    Dizziness, while unexpected, is not an uncommon symptom of perimenopause and menopause. The episodes may only last a few seconds, but the sudden feelings of whirling and twirling can ruin your whole day. In fact, many women suffer from this symptom so frequently that they avoid leaving the house altogether.

    The cause for dizziness or lightheadedness during menopause is often hormone fluctuations. For example, estrogen affects the nerves, and when your body isn’t producing enough estrogen, you can feel “frayed” at the edges. Plus, if the amount of estrogen supplied to the brain has decreased; you can feel dizzy or lightheaded.

    But, hot flashes, migraines, fatigue, anxiety disorders, dehydrations, low blood sugar, and heart problems are also common causes. If you’re experiencing dizziness, tingling sensations, or clumsiness, first visit your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.

    Lifestyle changes can help, but to treat the root cause, you may want to consider a hormone replacement therapy plan. In the meantime, a few changes you can make include staying hydrated and eating 5 to 6 meals per day to control your blood sugar levels.

    Avoid standing up too quickly, and if you feel dizzy, sit down and breathe deeply and slowly. If you’re tired, try walking around the block instead of sitting in front of the TV or drinking another cup of coffee.

    Cold Flashes

    Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. But, many women don’t know that you may also experience cold flashes.

    A cold flash is a sudden feeling of intense cold, usually along with shivers. Despite several blankets and a hot toddy, you may feel like you’ll never be warm again. But, it’s all in your head–or brain at least.

    Your brain monitors and regulates the body’s temperature. And when something, like menopause or a decrease in estrogen, throws it off balance, chemicals will travel through the bloodstream causing the brain to raise the normal temperature set point. To help your body’s temperature rise, you may feel cold or shiver.

    A cold flash can last a few minutes or a few hours. And, sometimes, it may be followed by a hot flash—lovely, right?

    Regular exercise, hormone replacement therapy, and phytoestrogenic foods (soybean and flaxseed) can help you manage these symptoms.

    Dry Mouth

    Are you constantly reaching for your water bottle? Feel like your throat is drier than your daughter’s turkey at last Thanksgiving (it was a valiant effort though)?

    Dry mouth and a lack of saliva are two other unexpected, and unwanted, symptoms of menopause. And, no surprise, it’s linked to a drop in estrogen and progesterone. The fluctuating levels of these hormones affect your salivary glands, leaving your mouth feeling dry and sticky.

    Saliva is a natural cleansing agent. It controls bacteria and protects your teeth against plaque buildup. So, when you don’t have enough saliva, bacteria thrive. Along with dry mouth, you may also experience bad breath and your risk for tooth decay and other mouth infections increases.

    As always, check with your doctor first. Then, try cutting back on caffeine, taking care of your mouth, and consider investing in a humidifier. Of course, this is only the tip of the menopause iceberg. You may experience a range of symptoms or no symptoms of all.

    If you’re in perimenopause or menopause and something doesn’t seem right, book a private consultation and we will help guide you through this stage in your life with a little grace and peace.

    Trouble Sleeping During Menopause? Here’s What You Need to Know

    Insomnia and sleep disturbances are two of the most common complaints from women in menopause.

    So, let’s cut right to the chase.

    There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to beating insomnia when you’re in menopause. However, you can learn some methods to improve your chances of getting quality sleep each night.

    The way to achieve this is to try it all. Find out what works for your friend, that woman in the forum you frequent, or your co-worker who’s full of pep every morning. Apply their tactics to your nightly routine and see what sticks.

    Keep in mind that what works for you might not work for the next woman. And you can’t establish a bedtime routine only one night out of the week. Training your body and mind will take time and habit building.

    It’s also important to rule out other conditions, such as sleep apnea, depression or anxiety. Consult with your doctor before using home remedies.

    We’ve rounded up some facts, statistics and the best tips we’ve come across to help you sleep. Some of this information may be a good refresher or new to you.

    QUICK FACTS ABOUT SLEEP

  • You’re not alone. In fact, 50 to 70 million US Adults have a sleep disorder
  • Research shows that 40% of 40-59 year-olds report short sleep duration
  • Women suffer from insomnia 2 to 3 times more often than men
  • Women need 20 more minutes of sleep than men but 15% of women report sleep trouble.
  • According to the National Sleep Foundation, 61% of post-menopausal women report insomnia symptoms
  • SO, WHAT CAUSES LACK OF SLEEP DURING MENOPAUSE?

    During perimenopause and menopause, a woman’s ovaries produce lower amounts of estrogen and progesterone, which are hormones that help promote sleep.

    Not to mention those hot flashes–or a surge of adrenaline caused by the decrease of hormones. It can be triggered by external sources, such as tight clothing, alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. And this sudden rise in energy can lead to wakefulness.

    After menopause, 10% of women experience a decrease in the thyroid hormone. This leads to weight gain and increases your risk for snoring and sleep apnea.

    Aside from hormonal changes, this stage of life may keep you awake at night. Your children are moving out, you’re retiring, and your husband just bought a motorcycle. All of this can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, or mood swings.

    WHY EVEN BOTHER SLEEPING?

    Too much or too little sleep can affect your quality of life. In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than 5 hours of sleep or more than 6 ½ hours of sleep per night.

    Here are a few more benefits of sleep:

  • Improves memory
  • Boosts creativity and mood
  • Sharpens attention
  • Better health and weight
  • Better sex life
  • TIPS FOR GETTING MORE SLEEP

  • Set your temperature to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. and alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime
  • Buy black out curtains or an eye mask to keep your bedroom dark
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing (or nothing at all) to decrease the chances of hot flashes
  • Ban electronics, like phones, computers, and the TV, from the bedroom
  • A daily physical routine at least 3 hours before bedtime can help boost sleep
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy can relieve menopause symptoms that cause insomnia
  • Yoga or light stretching before bed will help you decompress and relax
  • Diffuse lavender to relax your nerves and lower blood pressure
  • Hide your clock so you don’t check the time and increase your stress
  • Sources:
    www.sleepassociation.org/sleep/sleep-statistics/
    www.sleep.org/articles/sleep-for-men-and-women/
    www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/menopause-and-sleep
    www.doctoroz.com/article/why-women-cant-sleep
    www.fastweb.com/student-life/articles/ten-scientific-reasons-you-need-a-good-nights-sleep

    3 Resolutions Your Aging Body Wants You to Keep

    When’s the last time you set a goal and met it?

    That you made a promise and kept it?

    Or, that you set a resolution and saw it all the way to day 365?

    Let’s admit it. Resolutions are hard to keep. In fact, 42.4 percent of Americans never succeed at their resolutions each year.

    So why try? Well, what do you have to lose if you don’t try? Not much, probably.

    Many people say that the key to keeping a resolution is changing your mindset— be specific, set deadlines, start small, measure progress and share it with the world.

    Whatever recipe works for you, use it!

    And, if you are going to set resolutions this year, we’d like to suggest three easy goals to add to the mix. And trust us, your body will thank you now and later.

    Add moisturizing to your daily skin routine

    Do you have age spots or wrinkles on your face and hands?

    What about your veins? Are they more visible? Are scratches and cuts taking longer to heal?

    These all may be signs that your body needs more love and moisture.

    As you age, your skin loses its suppleness. But, a recent study showed that women with well-hydrated faces developed persistent wrinkles more slowly than those with dry skin.

    There are several factors that can lead to dry skin, including hormones and medication.

    Also, the water content of the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, determines the level of skin plasticity. The water moves upward from the deeper epidermal layers to hydrate cells and then evaporates into the environment.

    But over time our skin loses its ability to hold that water, which causes your skin to become drier and drier until it leaves behind lines and wrinkles.

    When you moisturize daily, you:

    1. Repair damage to the epidermal barrier caused by sun, injury or trauma

    2. Increase the water content in the skin

    3. Create a soothing, protective layer

    4. Decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

    Non-fragrant, thick moisturizers like Cetaphil, Aveeno and coconut oil work best to help your skin retain moisture and improve its appearance.

    Exercise your mind to stimulate new connections

    We’ve talked about the importance of exercise in several of our posts. But, there’s one muscle we’d like to highlight this year.

    Your brain. Just as workouts add muscle to your body, researchers now believe that having a healthy lifestyle can increase your brain’s cognitive reserve.

    Your brain’s cognitive reserve helps you withstand neurological damage due to aging and other factors, without showing visible signs of memory loss or slowing down.

    A sedentary lifestyle, from watching TV to avoiding social interaction, can be detrimental to that reserve and your overall mental health.

    Your brain wants to learn new things, like playing an instrument or taking a cooking class. This activity stimulates new connections between nerve cells and helps the brain generate new ones—providing a hedge against future cell loss.

    So this year, spend more time on crossword puzzles, a new sport, memory practice or websites like Luminosity.com.

    Nix the bad habits, once and for all

    What’s your bad habit? Smoking? Over-eating? Under-eating?

    We all have one, but when we’re young, those bad habits might not seem so, well, wrong. But now that you’re aging and your body is working hard to keep up, those habits make living the way you want to more difficult.

    For example, studies show that smoking can shorten your lifespan and increase your risk for heart and lung disease.

    Crash dieting (you know, those fad diets you try every January) can reduce your energy levels, decrease your concentration and cause depression and irritability.

    What about sleeping? Are you getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night?

    And sex? Regular sex elevates your mood, releases endorphins, improves the function of your immune system and may reduce risk for certain types of cancer.

    Whatever bad habit you need to break, take some time this year to understand the consequences of your actions, find recommended methods for moving forward, and seek help and support.

    Moisturizing, exercising your mind, and breaking unhealthy habits are just a small sampling of resolutions that seniors like you can keep this year.

    And whether you break them in a month, week, or even a day, taking steps to treat your body right is one step closer to aging with more grace and vitality.

    To learn more about healthy aging, contact us for a free consultation to discuss what services may be a good fit for you.

    How to Bounce Back from the Holidays in Just 1 Day

    December. The month of indulging before a new year of drudging.

    Do you skip a few days at the gym and overindulge in sweets? Or turn off your electronics and swear off Facebook for a while?

    Whatever tonic you pick, it only takes a few eggnogs and that extra helping of figgy pudding to get your mind and body begging for your old routine.

    However, if you have a track record of giving up on resolutions before you can say New Year’s Resolution (and who doesn’t?), then setting goals this early may seem futile.

    But don’t give up just yet.

    While Rome wasn’t built in a day, some resolutions can be. Before you power down your thinking cap for the holidays, check out these quick-to-implement ideas for bringing balance back to your life in the New Year.

    Boost Your Morning with Intention

    Before you jump back into the grind, schedule a morning meditation session to set the tone for the day and stay focused, organized, and optimistic.

    Jot down your intentions. What do you want to accomplish? How would you like your day to go? How would you like to feel? Make a list and set deadlines for the day, week, and month so you avoid procrastination.

    Drink Up! (Water, Of Course)

    While in relaxation mode, you probably deprived your body of hydration—yeah, those eggnogs we talked about.

    Keep bottled water by your side today. And check out the app called Waterlogged for tracking your consumption levels.

    The extra hydration will cleanse toxins from your body, boost your energy, and ease any lasting headaches.

    Cut Yourself Some Slack

    If you feel bloated and behind deadline, it’s easy to regret letting loose during the holidays.

    But your body, mind, and spirit needed that rest and camaraderie. And now you can attack the year with renewed zest.

    When the guilt starts to sink in, write thank you notes for reminding yourself why you chose to slack in the first place—also gratitude boosts positivity.

    Then schedule a few fun activities for January. Go on a date night to a Memphis Grizzlies game or check out one of Memphis’ newest restaurants like Char on Highland Avenue.

    Just because you had extra relaxation in December, doesn’t mean you don’t need it again in January.

    De-bloat by Eating…Right

    Speaking of bloat, skip the greasy lunch and dessert today. Opt instead for foods that fight off a puffed out belly from over-eating. Here are a few options:

  • Celery
  • Watermelon
  • Leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Bananas
  • Grainy breads
  • Avocado
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Probiotic Yogurt
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Eggs
  • Wind Down with a Detox Bath

    You’ve treated yourself to mindfulness, recharged your energy levels, and reset your diet.

    Before heading to bed for a good night’s sleep, treat yourself to a detox bath.

    What You Need:
    ½ cup of baking soda
    4 T of ground ginger (more or less depending on your tolerance)
    1 cup of Epsom Salt
    5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

    Fill the bathtub with hot water—as hot as you can tolerate. Mix in the ingredients and give it a few stirs. Soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.

    All right, one day down and only 364 to go. By starting January 1st off on the right foot with easy goals, you can be more intentional and purposeful about your resolutions for the rest of the year.

    So, if you’d like to learn more about bringing even more balance and vitality back to your life, contact us for a free consultation on hormone replacement therapy.

    A Quick Guide to How Your Hormone Levels Are Tested

    Ah, menopause.

    Whether we like it or not, all women go through it.

    As you age, your levels of hormones fluctuate, which causes uncomfortable and sometimes frustrating symptoms, like hot flashes and weight gain.

    Sure, you can eat right, exercise more, and reduce stress to help minimize symptoms (which we highly recommend). But without proper hormone balance, it’s difficult to eliminate them.

    That’s where bio-identical hormones come in. They replace the hormones you’ve lost, restore balance and bring zest back to your life.

    But how do you know if hormone therapy is right for you? Or if it is, what dosage you need to feel healthy again?

    In this article, we’ll explain how we test your hormone levels and create a custom therapy plan.

    First, We Get to Know You

    During our consultation, we talk about the symptoms you’re experiencing, your current lifestyle, and what lab work we need to create a therapy plan.

    We check the baseline level of some important hormones, including levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Estradiol (E2-a particular type of estrogen), Testosterone (T), and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).

    The FSH level and estradiol level tell us how much, if any, your ovaries are functioning. Or, in other words, they help us understand if you’re in early, mid, or late menopause.

    While TSH doesn’t affect your hormone therapy plan, it can cause some symptoms that are similar to menopause. This helps us eliminate the possibility of thyroid complications.

    And did you know women also produce testosterone? While men produce about 10 times more, a woman’s adequate testosterone levels are essential for daily life stamina, the ability to create muscle mass through exercise and sex drive.

    Of course, since we customize your therapy, we may request additional tests to address your specific needs.

    Then, We Schedule Lab Work

    For most people, insurance will cover lab work. But, if you don’t have health insurance or coverage for laboratory services, we can help you find a lab that’s budget-friendly.

    Once we’ve determined the tests you need, we fax the order to your lab. At most labs, you can just drop in at your convenience to have your blood drawn, and at a few you can schedule an appointment online. The lab sends the results directly to us—this means you can visit any lab in your network, anywhere in the country.

    This initial set of lab work helps us understand where you are now, so as we move forward we can track your progress.

    For example, there is a range of normal hormone levels. What a normal level is depends upon the person’s age, body mass, genetic factors, current medications, dietary and exercise patterns, and many other factors.

    But, while your best gal pal may feel great on the lower end of normal, you may need to reach the higher end to feel the benefits of hormone therapy.

    Lab work helps us fine tune that therapy, so we can help you function at your best.

    Finally, We Create Your Therapy Plan

    As soon as the lab work is delivered and evaluated, we start your therapy.

    For new patients, we may start with a moderate dose. This dosage comes in the form of a pellet, so your hormone levels are consistent throughout the day. Unlike a pill, patch, or cream where your levels may fluctuate.

    In 4 to 6 weeks, we’ll test your levels again to see if you need a higher dosage or lower dosage. But once your levels look right, we won’t need lab work until your next dose.

    For women, this is every 3 to 4 months. And for men, it’s usually 5 to 6 months.

    But, why do we need lab work before each new dose? The reason is simple. Accuracy. We want to know where you are before giving you more bio-identical hormones.

    For patients who have taken therapy for a long time, this might not be necessary. But in the beginning, we want to understand exactly how your body interacts with therapy.

    Hormone therapy is the best way to get the vitality, energy, and life you used to have. And while we provide comprehensive, specialized services, our process is simple and easy to understand.

    If you want to learn more about this process, schedule your own free, 15-minute consultation here.

    3 Key Benefits of Direct Pay Concierge Care

    You make an appointment with your doctor, ready for some relief.

    You arrive on time, but sit in the waiting room for 30-minutes—the doctor is behind schedule. When you climb onto the table in your private room, you wait for another 20-minutes—she’ll be right with you.

    Finally, the doctor walks in. You pull out your list of ailments, but she spends another 5-minutes typing on her tablet. After she runs through a list of generalized questions, she snaps the tablet closed. Your 15-minute session is complete.

    The nurse ushers you out and says she’ll call if the insurance approves the treatment—it could take 2-3 weeks. While you’re eventually approved, you repeat this process every few months, just to get a small dose of a generic-brand solution for your not-so-generic ailments.

    Sound familiar?

    Quick, insurance-driven driven health care is has become the norm.

    But physicians are now changing the patient experience with a direct pay care model. Direct pay primary care isn’t a new service. Before the rise of employer-based insurance in the 1940’s, people paid cash to their family doctor for health care.

    The concept of my doctor knows me, has time for me and has a relationship with me is on the rise. And one-size-fits-all health care is on a descent.

    Yearly insurance upheavals, huge deductibles and copays, prior approval for medications and surgery and “big business” care in doctors’ offices are driving patients to seek something different.

    Direct pay care offers flat, reasonable rates to all patients. It puts important, health care decisions back into the hands of the doctor and the patient.

    According to The Physicians’ Foundation 2014 survey, 7% of physicians now practice some form of direct pay medicine, while 13% are planning to transition to this type of practice.

    You can learn more about direct pay specialty care here and here. But, we’ve created a quick overview of the key benefits of choosing a direct pay specialty physician below.

    You get more, one-on-one time with your doctor

    Eighty-one percent of physicians say they are over-extended or at full capacity. And 20% of their day is spent on non-clinical work, like completing insurance claim forms and negotiating payment rates.

    With a direct pay model, physicians can spend less time at the desk and more time getting to know you.

    Direct pay specialists also see fewer patients, so they can spend more time with each one, while still providing all the resources needed to run a high-quality clinic. Patients spend less time in the reception area. And the physicians are more available for appointments convenient to you.

    You get care that’s customized to you

    With direct pay, your physician can select the treatment that’s best for you, not the one that’s covered by your insurance.

    For example, at Exceed Hormone Specialists, our approach to hormone therapy, uses the highest quality, bioidentical hormone pellets. Your dose is unique to you, based on your treatment goals, medical history, weight, height, lab results and level of activity.

    You get a lifelong solution

    Because your hormone therapy plan is customized, you get access to a life-long solution without experiencing the negative side effects that come with synthetic hormones. Bioidentical hormones are safe and effective for years.

    On the other hand, insurance companies who work with pharmacy benefit managers, choose medications for you based on cost, not quality.

    To get the best treatment, or bioidentical hormones, you go through an obstacle course of higher prices, prior approvals and restricted quantity.

    With direct pay specialty care, you develop a close, personal relationship with your physician. We maintain that relationship far into the future and give you personal care every day. In addition, you have easy access to your physician for on-going advice.

    Want to learn more about our pricing structure or see if you’re a good fit for our personalized care? Give us a call to schedule your visit.