Womens Health 99/00 annual Ed

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1999-01-01
  • Publisher: MCGRAW HILL PUBL CO

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This reader of public press articles contains timely selections from respected journals, newspapers and magazines, and considers the way women are treated in today's health care system, the need for healthful fitness programs, the importance of periodic physical examinations, the latest data on birth control, the impact of stress, depression, eating disorders, and children on a woman's psychological health, the affect of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases, drug abuse, domestic violence and rape, and health challenges that older women face.

Table of Contents

UNIT 1. Women and Health

1. Women's Health Studies, Harvard Women's Health Watch, September 1996.

Women's health issues and women themselves have been excluded from medical research for many years. This article profiles three major studies that have attempted to correct this inequity.

2. Work with Me, Doctor: How to Get Better Care, Women's Health Advocate Newsletter, April 1997.

Managed care has had a dramatic impact on the quality of medical care today. Now more than ever, it is vital that every patient become a savvy health care consumer. This article offers practical tips on how to obtain the best care possible.

3. Forgotten Women: How Minorities Are Underserved by Our Health Care System, Lisa Collier Cool, American Health for Women, May 1997.

Minority women in some parts of the United States face health conditions comparable to those in developing countries. Screenings are less likely to be ordered for minority women. Physicians may also have stereotypes regarding minority women's health behavior or may make assumptions based on skin color or nationality. Minority women are also left out of clinical trials.

4. Dangerous Legacies, Dana Hawkins, U.S. News & World Report, November 10, 1997.

Do the new genetic tests for breast and ovarian cancer provide important knowledge about future risk or do they open up a Pandora's box of discrimination? Should tests that have been developed for research be used for screening?

5. Managed Care: How to Protect Yourself, Women's Health Advocate Newsletter, May 1997.

As more people move into managed care plans, knowledge of a person's rights is critical. Ten steps for handling problems are outlined.

6. More Research, More Profits, More Conflict, Laura Mansnerus, New York Times, June 22, 1997.

As awareness of the health concerns of women grows, researchers and marketers are paying more attention to women. Is this the legacy of the women's health movement? Some argue that increased focus on diseases detracts from studying causes, such as poverty.

7. There Is No Women's Health Crisis, Sally L. Satel, The Public Interest, Winter 1998.

Despite a few well-publicized exclusions, Sally Satal argues that women are not underrepresented in research. She further argues that in those situations where women have been excluded, it has been for pragmatic and not discriminatory reasons. This controversial article asks the reader to consider the accepted view of women's health.

UNIT 2. Nutrition and Fitness

8. Say Good-bye to Dieting, Laura Fraser, Health, April 1997.

Research now shows that women do not need to be thin to be healthy or to look good. In fact, dieting, as opposed to healthy eating and exercise, can have negative physical and psychological health consequences.

9. Rebel against a Sedentary Life, Katherine Griffin, Health, April 1997.

Activity is the key to physical and psychological health. For those who cannot find the time for organized exercise, the key is building activity into daily life. Activity plays a role in prevention of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and depression.

10. Who Isn't on a Diet? In Search of Sensible Eating, Michelle Stacey, Town & Country, June 1996.

Concern about weight has become "normal" for American women. Michelle Stacey examines historical changes that have led to a national obsession with fat and dieting at a time when Americans on average are more obese than they were 10 years ago.

11. How Far Should You Go to Stay Fit?, Lynn Rosellini, U.S. News & World Report, November 10, 1997.

Experts differ on how much and how often women should exercise. Conflicting opinions can leave many people confused and not doing any exercise. There is agreement, however, on a couple of basic rules that add up to: the more exercise, the better.

12. Fat Chances, Carol Ezzell, Scientific American Presents Women's Health: A Lifelong Guide, 1998.

Many diets can help people lose weight but sustaining that loss is difficult. Now some researchers are saying that repeated weight loss and gain is more dangerous than being heavy and getting regular exercise.

13. Dying to Be Thin, Kristin Leutwyler, Scientific American Presents Women's Health: A Lifelong Guide, 1998.

Eating disorders may affect 5 percent of the population. New treatments can help but there is still much research to be done. Unfortunately, insurance may not cover comprehensive treatments.

14. Diet Drugs: As Fen-Phen Alternatives Emerge, Safety Questions Go Unanswered, Women's Health Advocate Newsletter, November 1997.

When fen-phen was removed from the market, alternative drugs emerged. Some may have serious side effects and/or be of no use.

UNIT 3. Gynecological and Reproductive Health

15. Women and Sex: On This Topic, Science Blushes, Gina Kolata, New York Times, June 21, 1998.

More women than men report having sexual difficulties, yet less is known about the psychology or physiology of women's sexuality. Research on women's primary complaint, lack of desire, is both difficult to construct and hard to justify.

16. What Women Need to Know about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Laura A. Koutsky, Scientific American Presents Women's Health: A Lifelong Guide, 1998.

One half of all women will get one or more STDs during her reproductive years. STDs also increase the risk of HIV infection and infertility. Prevention, education, and research are the key to stemming transmission.

17. The Other Epidemic, Betsy Carpenter, U.S. News & World Report, November 10, 1997.

Herpes is epidemic in the United States. One in five people have it and it may be fueling the transmission of HIV. In addition, prenatal transmission of herpes can have a devastating effect on newborns.

18. Rethinking Birth Control, Julia Califano, American Health for Women, March 1997.

Birth control is not just a young woman's issue. Julia Califano offers updated information on contraception and discusses how women in their 30s and 40s can avoid unintended pregnancies.

19. For Infertility Treatments, Now You're Covered, Now You're Not, Anne Adams Lang, New York Times, June 21, 1998.

As more women turn to high-tech infertility treatments, insurance carriers are restricting coverage. Is infertility a medical condition?

20. Consensus: No Long-Term Link between the Pill and Breast Cancer, Gary Goldenberg, Priorities, Volume 8, Number 4, 1996.

Based on the results of a multinational study, the consensus is that there is no long-term link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer. No increase 10 or more years after stopping was found in all the groups of women studied. Although a small increase was found in women using the pill, the increase disappeared once they stopped.

21. The Truth about Abortion and Women's Health, Sharon Lerner, Glamour, November 1997.

The newest front in the battle over abortion is in the area of "right to know" laws requiring physicians to provide specific information about the risks that could result from the procedure, such as breast cancer. Since these so-called risks are not supported by research and are not proven, should legislators mandate disclosure by the health care provider to the patient in such a gray area? This article touches on a new area of controversy.

UNIT 4. Psychological Health

22. Forever Frazzled?, Maya Bolton, Health, July/August 1998.

Most of us are very familiar with the negative effects of stress on our lives. In our daily quest to fit everything in, we often become distracted and forget things. It is sometimes difficult to discern when it is stress we're experiencing or when it is something else. One of the other possible causes of inattention and distractibility is attention deficit disorder. Although more frequently diagnosed in children, adults can also fall prey to this disorder.

23. When Worry Rules Your Life, Ingrid Wickelgren, Health, November/December 1997.

Anxiety is part and parcel of the human condition; however, anxiety disorder is not. What separates the two is often a very fine line. This article helps the average person to differentiate between them, and it offers some practical suggestions for treatment of anxiety in its many forms.

24. The Dieter's Paradox, Mary Roach, Health, November/December 1997.

For many women food and eating are a source of pleasure, pain, and great frustration. Many of us live our lives in constant fear of "bad foods" and of our ability to control ourselves in the presence of these calorie-laden temptations. Mary Roach examines this issue in a unique fashion by concentrating on the notion of reactance. Reactance is defined as self-sabotage, which often accompanies feelings of deprivation.

25. A War Inside Your Head, Tracy Thompson, The Washington Post Magazine, February 15, 1998.

Today more than ever before, women are meeting the demands of motherhood and career in new and unique ways. This selection examines the working versus the stay-at-home mom debate as reflected in a diverse group of women.

26. You're Not Fat, You're Living in the Wrong Country, Christine Aziz, Jan McGirk, Sarah Snyder, and Sara Hare, Marie Claire, February 1998.

It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. According to this selection, it might be more accurate to say that the ideal of beauty arises from the culture in which we live. This selection discusses cultural standards of beauty around the world and the impact of these standards on the lives of women.

27. I Chose to Be Sterilized at 29, Denise Dowling, Marie Claire, February 1998.

Contraception is a very important and very personal decision in a woman's life. In this article a young women discusses her decision to opt for sterilization over less permanent and more conventional forms of birth control.

28. Treat Depression with More than Drugs, Deborah Franklin, Health, April 1997.

Common sense dictates that there may be multiple options for dealing with a health problem. In this report, Deborah Franklin discusses the utility of both psychotherapy and drug therapy in the treatment of depression.

29. Don't Face Stress Alone, Benedict Carey, Health, April 1997.

The people who appear to suffer the most damage from the negative effects of stress are those who suffer alone. In this article, we examine the utility of social support in combating the stressors of everyday life, especially by finding someone in whom to confide.

30. Give Your Body Time to Heal, Ann Japenga, Health, April 1997.

According to Ann Japenga, medicalization is the tendency to see every minor ache and pain as a harbinger of illness. In addition, it is also the belief that medical science can fix all problems and cure all ills. Here, a more rational approach is advocated, allowing the body some time to heal itself before seeking professional care.

31. The Female Brain, Dianne Hales, Ladies' Home Journal, May 1998.

It comes as no surprise that women are different from men in mind as well as body. Instead of arguing about who is smarter, this article lists and discusses the differences between the male and female brains.

UNIT 5. Chronic Diseases

32. Conquering Chronic Illness: Mastering the Medical Challenge, Linda Marsa, American Health for Women, October 1997.

It has been reported that over 33 percent of women will develop and live with a chronic illness. In this article, the first of two, the author describes the most common chronic illnesses affecting women today. In addition, the cost and impact of chronic illness on the health care system are explored.

33. Conquering Chronic Illness: Nurturing Your Emotional Needs, Randi Glatzer, American Health for Women, November 1997.

In dealing with chronic illness, it is vital to keep in mind that the patient's psychological health is also affected. Patients experience changes in mood, patterns of social interactions, and even self-esteem. This article completes the discussion of chronic illness by explicitly reminding health care professionals to treat the whole patient: body, mind, and spirit.

34. The Enemy Within, Randi Hutter Epstein, Ladies' Home Journal, February 1998.

Women are three times as likely as men to suffer from autoimmune diseases, that is, diseases in which the body's immune system turns against itself. This article explores the nature and symptom profile of the major autoimmune disorders that affect women and offers some advice on how to cope with these conditions.

35. Heart Disease in Women: Special Symptoms, Special Risks, Consumer Reports on Health, May 1997.

Once regarded as a man's disease, heart disease in women has been overlooked, and the disease in women has not been either researched or treated. The hormone estrogen may provide protection from heart problems. Prevention efforts such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), aspirin, and moderate drinking are also different for women and are examined in this report.

36. Stopping the Deadliest Cancer, Patricia Lynden, American Health for Women, June 1998.

When we think of women and cancer, what immediately comes to mind? Most of us jump to the conclusion that it must be cancer of the breast, ovaries, cervix, or other reproductive organ. What comes as a surprise to many is that the leading cause of cancer deaths for women is lung cancer. This article discusses lung cancer in women, how to reduce a woman's risk, and, finally, how to alert policy makers to the danger.

37. "Breast Cancer Cost Me My Job", Jane Karuschkat and Thomas Clavin, Ladies' Home Journal, February 1998.

The law demands that reasonable accommodations be made for all individuals classified as disabled. The question becomes, What do we mean by reasonable? This article outlines the case of a woman who was fired from her job as a result of treatment for breast cancer.

38. Closing In on Cancer, Peter Jaret, Health, March 1998.

Today a diagnosis of cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. As our understanding of the nature of the disease has grown, so has the repertoire of treatment options. This article defines and explains four promising new therapies that have emerged, which offer hope to both cancer patients and their families.

39. Healing Power, Leslie Kaufman, Health, October 1997.

Conventional wisdom holds that those who are ill need to rest, at least until they are on the mend. This may work for the occasional cold or flu, but what happens for those with chronic illnesses, illness that cannot be cured? This article explores the impact of exercise on the health and well-being of those living and coping with chronic illness.

UNIT 6. Substance Abuse: New Trends for Women

40. What Does Being Female Have to Do with It?, Rokelle Lerner, Professional Counselor, August 1995.

The face of addiction is very different for women. Health care and mental health professionals must be aware of these differences when treating female clients. The major treatment issues for women are clearly outlined in this report.

41. Why Women Drink, Bob Trebilcock, Ladies' Home Journal, May 1998.

Just as the sexes differ in physiological and psychological makeup, so too do they differ in the experience of addiction. In this selection, the author describes why women drink, the effects of alcohol on the female body, and, finally, how a woman can go about getting help.

42. An Alcoholic in the Family, Dorothy Foltz-Gray, Health, July/August 1997.

Alcoholism is considered by many to be a family disease, not just in the genetic sense but also in the social sense. Here, the author profiles the course and history of addiction in her own family and ponders the implications for her life and the lives of her children.

43. Prescription for Addiction: Confessions of a Pill Popper, Malina Sarah Saval, Jump, May 1998.

Most of us rest secure in the unfounded belief that addiction is someone else's problem. When we visualize the typical "addict," most people will picture Hollywood types, street toughs, or, perhaps, the homeless. Few will think of the girl next door. This article profiles an average woman from a typical family and relates her lifelong struggle with drugs and mental illness.

44. Stop Smoking, Stephanie Wood, American Health for Women, September 1997.

Of the 16 million Americans who are currently trying to quit smoking, only about 15 percent will be successful. This article offers an update on the latest methods available for combating this dangerous and costly addiction.

45. Kickin' Butt, Dana Silbiger, Jump, May 1998.

In considering the nature and course of addiction, tobacco is frequently left out of the picture. As much as smokers object to the label, addicted they are, and sadly addicted many of them will remain. Of the teen smokers interviewed who stated they could kick the habit whenever they wanted, 73 percent were still hooked 5 years later. Even more enlightening is the fact that 70 percent report wishing they had never started.

46. Way Out West and Under the Influence, Carey Goldberg, New York Times, March 16, 1997.

Abuse of the drug methamphetamine is a growing problem for women. Use of this drug by females now exceeds male use. The history of methamphetamine and the differing patterns of use between the sexes are presented by Carey Goldberg.

47. Legal Drugs' Lethal Side Effects, Stephen Fried, American Health, May 1998.

For the average person it may come as a real surprise to learn that more people die each year from adverse reactions to legal drugs than to illegal ones. If it comes from a doctor or the pharmacy, we assume the drug is safe. In this piece, Stephen Fried acquaints the reader with flaws in the system that is designed to protect the public from harmful drug side effects. In addition, he discusses what we as individual consumers can do to protect our families and ourselves.

48. Prescription for Disaster, Gloria Hochman, American Health for Women, July/August 1997.

Noncompliance may be defined as the inability or the unwillingness to use medication as directed. It is a common yet potentially deadly problem. Failure to use medication properly costs this country billions of dollars each year in addition to the incalculable cost of human suffering.

UNIT 7. Violence in Women's Lives

49. Female Genital Mutilation: Balancing Intolerance of the Practice with Tolerance of Culture, Layli Miller Bashir, Journal of Women's Health, February 1997.

Female genital mutilation is a custom still performed in many Asian and African countries. The practice often causes medical complications, severe pain, and even death. This overview explores the ethical and legal implications of this ritual.

50. A Woman's Killer Is Likely to Be Her Partner, a New Study in New York Finds, Pam Belluck, New York Times, March 31, 1997.

Women in New York are more likely to be killed by their partners than in any other crime where the relationship between victim and murderer is known. One third of the time the women are trying to end the relationship when they are murdered. Health care providers need to identify women who are at risk for domestic violence.

51. "I Was Raped", Lori S. Robinson, Emerge, May 1997.

Rape is a crime of power, not passion. This article profiles acquaintance rape, as well as the emotions and gradual healing process of an African American journalist regarding her own prior assault, while covering the rape of a 17-year-old student.

52. Domestic Violence Can Be Cured, Felicia Collins Correia, USA Today Magazine (Society for the Advancement of Education), November 1997.

Domestic violence is still considered a personal matter. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, programs were overhauled to establish training for police, to increase public awareness, to afford better protection for victims, and to provide treatment for batterers. The result--a decrease in incidences of violence.

53. The Consequences of Violence against Women, Lisa A. Mellman, Scientific American Presents Women's Health: A Lifelong Guide, 1998.

Violence against women creates a cycle of violence that affects successive generations. It includes physical and psychological consequences that have both individual and societal costs.

UNIT 8. Special Issues for Older Women

54. Midlife Motherhood: Is It Never Too Late?, Rita Baron-Faust, American Health for Women, April 1998.

Many women chafe at the notion that biology is destiny. Why can't the average woman have education, career, and family? In an effort to juggle these conflicting role demands, many women postpone having children until they reach their 40s. This article examines the implications of delayed childbearing on a woman's body and on her life.

55. Women & Estrogen: Old Fears, New Hopes, Laura Flynn McCarthy, Remedy, March/April 1998.

Women today are being told that they need estrogen to control the symptoms of menopause. This article helps to sort out the contradictions, and includes information on the new "designer" estrogens.

56. Estrogen to Prevent Alzheimer's?, Rob Waters, Health, January/February 1997.

Today the wonders of estrogen are being extolled in treating everything from osteoporosis to hot flashes. Now, there is compelling evidence that estrogen may also have a positive impact on the course and prognosis of Alzheimer's disease.

57. Can You Afford to Get Old?, Marlys Harris, American Health for Women, July/August 1997.

Money may not buy happiness but it does buy medicine. More money means better access to health care and more options. This article prepares the reader to deal with the high cost of aging.

58. A Harder Better Death, Peter Fish, Health, November/December 1997.

To most people, the notion of a good death seems like a contradiction in terms. The author effectively presents end-of-life options with which the reader may be unfamiliar and highlights the continuing debate over assisted suicide versus hospice care.

59. Taking Care of Mom, Lisa Collier Cool, American Health for Women, July/August 1998.

No one likes to contemplate aging, disability, and death. Our first encounter with these realities is, for many of us, with our parents. To help parents enjoy the end of their lives, it is helpful for adult children to be aware of parents' wishes, limitations, and resources.

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