Folate Deficiency: What You Should Know

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As cold temperatures coat the United States respectively, many are quick to jump to comfort foods and forget to incorporate important vitamins into their diet. January is acknowledged as the month for folic acid awareness.

What is Folate? How does Folate Deficiency develop? 

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Although diets low in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fortified cereals are the main reason for folate deficiencies, people diagnosed with gastrointestinal diseases that affect absorption may also experience folate deficiencies. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, and certain cancers can predispose someone to a folate deficiency.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause folate deficiency by stimulating folate excretion through urine. Some medications such as phenytoin, tripmethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate, and methotrexate have been noted to cause folate deficiency.

What can happen if I am folate deficient? 

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How can I know if I am folate deficient? 

While most people consume the suggested amount of folate through the food in their diet, it is always good to be familiar with the subtle signs of folate deficiency.

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How can I prevent becoming folate deficient? 

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Folate deficiency, for most people, can be prevented through eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Foods that are high in folic acid are: 

  • leafy, green vegetables (ex: spinach)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • peas
  • citrus
  • lentils
  • fruits, such as bananas and melons
  • tomato juice
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • beans
  • legumes
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • wheat bran
  • fortified cereals

The recommended folate dose is 400 micrograms per day. Women who may become pregnant should take a folate supplement. Folate is critical for normal fetal growth.

People who take medications known to cause folate deficiency should take a supplement as well, but it’s always important to check with your doctor first.

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Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Article resources:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/folate-deficiency#complications
  • Bueno, O., Molloy, A. M., Fernandez-Ballart, J. D., Garcia-Minguillan, C. J., Ceruelo, S., Rios, L., . . . Murphy, M. M. (2015, November 11). Common polymorphisms that affect folate transport or metabolism modify the effect of the MTFHR 677C > T polymorphism on folate status. Journal of Nutrition, 146(1), 1-8ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26561410

 

 

 

Common signs you might be suffering from a thyroid disorder

Article Source: https://www.metro.us/body-and-mind/health/thyroid-disorder-symptoms

 

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. Here’s how to know if you have a thyroid problem and how to get treatment

 

Here’s how to know if something might be out of whack with your thyroid. Photo: ISTOCK

You’ve probably heard of the thyroid, but it’s less likely that you know what it is or how it actually functions in the body. The two-inch, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck just below the adam’s apple, secretes hormones that help regulate important systems in the body, including temperature, metabolism, heart rate, weight and menstruation.

When too much or too little of these hormones are produced, several bodily functions can get out of whack. For National Thyroid Awareness Month, we asked endocrinologist Dr. Byan McIver to talk us through common thyroid disorders and signs that you might be suffering from them.

Who is likely to develop a thyroid disorder? 

 According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million Americans have thyroid disease, although women are five to eight times more likely to suffer from it than men. Typically, it affects women in their mid-thirties to mid-sixties who have a family history of thyroid problems — although the disorder isn’t strictly genetic. 

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid

McIver likens the thyroid to a “conductor” for the body’s symptoms.

“When there’s too much thyroid hormone, it’s like that conductor has gone a little crazy and gone too fast, and the whole music goes into dissonance,” he explains, describing the condition of hypothyroidism. This can cause rapid heartbeat, restlessness and anxiety, trouble sleeping, difficulty with memory and focus, hot flashes, an overactive bowel — symptoms akin to how you feel if you’ve had too much coffee, according to McIver. Over time, it can lead to hair loss, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and in severe cases, injuries to internal organs.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid

The most common thyroid condition, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. This can cause patients to feel tired and low energy or depressed, have a slower heart rate, be more susceptible to the cold, experience constipation and rapid weight gain. It can also interfere with the menstrual cycle, which can lead to issues with infertility. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you might consider getting your thyroid tested to see if that’s the culprit, says McIver.

Nodular thyroid disease 

Talk about a lump in your throat. Nodules are a swelling on or inside the thyroid, and they’re actually very common — you’ll find them in half of women over the age of 50, McIver explains. Depending on the size of the nodule, you can feel it or even see it protruding from your neck. As it grows, it can lead you to develop a raspy voice or have difficulty swallowing. Luckily, the majority are benign, but on occasion they are cancerous.

How do you diagnose and treat thyroid conditions? 

If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms of overactive or underactive thyroid, or if you suspect you might have a nodule, let your doctor know, McIver recommends. They can refer you to an endocrinologist who can diagnose the condition by testing the levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) through a simple blood test.

In the case of hypothyroidism, the endocrinologist can treat it with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. If it’s hyperthyroidism, there are medications to help slow down the thyroid, or removal of the thyroid through radioactive iodine or surgery.

In the case of a potential nodule, a doctor can confirm it with an ultrasound and then biopsy it, or use genetic testing to determine the cancer. Thyroid cancer has a good prognosis, McIver explains.

 

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

About 79 million Americans currently have HPV. Many people with HPV are unaware that they are infected. And each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

Most deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care. Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal (changed) cells early, before they turn into cancer.

Take the time to learn more about HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. 

Here are several helpful links to learn more about HPV and cervical cancer prevention.

Cervical Cancer: What to Know.

HPV Vaccination & Cancer Prevention

 

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