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Ask Dr. Etingin.

In the article on heart disease in the April 2012 issue, Dr. Holly Andersen advises women to "Think twice about hormone replacement therapy." Is she suggesting that hormone therapy is potentially dangerous, or, if you're taking it, to reconsider how long you want to remain on it?

Several studies have revealed some health risks associated with taking hormone therapy (HT), including a slightly increased risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. Research also suggests that the longer a woman takes HT, the more her risks rise. At one time, HT was widely prescribed for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, and women often took HT for 10 years or more. However, since the associated risks have been discovered, physicians are less likely to prescribe HT unless a woman has severe menopausal symptoms that don't respond to other treatment options.

Many factors must be weighed when considering the possibility of HT. As a result, it is important for each woman and her doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of HT as it applies to her specific situation. For some women whose daily functioning is compromised by menopause symptoms and who are at low risk for conditions such as cardiovascular disease and breast cancer, the benefits of HT may outweigh the risks. Women who do choose to take HT are advised to take the lowest dosage for the shortest amount of time possible.

In the article on added sugar in the April 2012 issue, it says that, for women, the daily added sugar intake should be a maximum of 100 kilocalories, or about 6 teaspoons, I drink prune and pomegranate juices with no additives. Should I count the sugars in the juices as part of my daily added sugar intake? The sugar is listed in grams on the Nutrition Facts label; how do I convert that into teaspoons?

If the juice is 100-percent fruit juice, the sugar in the juice is natural and is not considered "added sugar: so you do not need to count it in your daily added sugar intake. To find out if a juice (or any other beverage or food product) contains added sugar, check the ingredients list; if it contains added sugar, it will show up there. Remember that added sugar comes in many forms, including evaporated cane juice, barley malt syrup, dextrose, beet sugar, corn syrup, cane sugar, honey; and molasses; regardless of how "natural" they may sound, these all boil down to added sugar.

One teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams of sugar; you'll need to limit yourself to 24 grains of added sugar per day to comply with the 6-teaspoon recommendation.

What is a heel spur?

A heel spur is a bony growth that has formed on the heel bone. Heel spurs are common among people who have a condition called plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the long ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot from your heel to your toes. Heel spurs also may form as a result of being overweight, wearing poorly fitting shoes, or doing activities, such as dancing or running, that put a lot of stress on the feet.

A foot x-ray can confirm the presence of a heel spur. Pain caused by a heel spur often may be relieved by rest, ice, exercises, and/or shoe inserts.

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Publication:Women's Health Advisor
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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