Calcium Deposits in Breasts

Mineral calcium tends to get deposited in the breast tissues and is known as breast calcifications. It is quite a common occurrence in women particularly after menopause. It has two different forms – macrocalcification and microcalcification. In macrocalcification, the calcium deposits appear as single dots which are quite large in size. In microcalcification, it looks like minute white specks of various sizes and shapes. It is only in rare cases these deposits get clustered up and turn cancerous at a later stage.

Causes
Basically, calcium deposits occur when crystals of calcium phosphate and collagen, a type of insoluble proteins present in tissues clump up together. It can be found not just in breasts but also in other parts of the body like hips, shoulders, and hands.
Calcium deposits in breast are a part of the degeneration process that may be triggered by aging, injury or inflammation in the breasts.
If there are foreign bodies like breast implants or stitches present in the breasts, deposition of calcium occur on them.
Fibroadenomas are harmless noncancerous growths in the mammary glands. It is believed that they are formed due to decrease in the levels of hormones in the menopausal phase. Calcium deposits may occur on these benign growths.
Breast cysts are round or oval-shaped fluid filled sacs which are benign in nature. These cysts develop when a woman is in her 30s or 40s and disappear after menopause. If the cysts continue to exist even after that, calcium deposits may form on them.
Mammary duct ectasia is a problem associated with milk duct where the nipple gets blocked with milk and leads to breast calcifications. In some cases, it has been found that the duct had got blocked with milk several years ago.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Usually, the deposits occupy a very small area. So, the tiny spots cannot be felt by you or even your doctor during physical examination of the breast. They are detected on breast x-rays or mammograms as small white spots. The shape, size and pattern of these spots are carefully studied by the radiologist for diagnosing the problem. It is further confirmed with the help of biopsy which involves removal of a part of the affected tissue to analyze whether the condition is malignant or not. One form of biopsy is needle core biopsy where a needle is used to collect the samples. The other one is known as surgical biopsy where a wire is inserted into the area to remove breast tissue. Both the tests are done under local anesthesia.

  • Calcifications on fibroadenomas do not require any treatment and the spots disappear on their own.
  • If the breast cyst becomes painful due to calcification, draining out the fluid from it often provides relief to the patient.
  • For mammary duct ectasia, surgical intervention is often required.
  • Hardly, about 15-20 percent of the cases become malignant. Therefore, those of you who have this problem, should not get panicked unnecessarily. Rather, follow the instructions provided by your doctor. In malignant cases, close monitoring of the condition is advisable. In the first one year of detection, follow-up diagnostic mammogram is required after every six months. If no changes are found, then it would be monitored once a year.

There is a misconception among some people that this condition is caused due to the intake of high amount of calcium. However, it is far from the truth and there is no connection between them. It is often being said that post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy may lead to this problem. However, so far, there is no such evidence to support this concept.

Health Symptoms Women

Most people brush off minor health concerns, reasoning them to be a part of hectic lifestyles. However, these small signs and symptoms may be a warning signal for a major underlying issue. Know all about the health symptoms women shouldn’t ignore.

A woman’s body is definitely more complicated than a man’s. A small sneeze will get a man running to the doctor, perhaps for a complete checkup. But a woman will sleep or rest through her worst illness at times. Yes, we know women are more tolerant, and also have a higher threshold for pain, and in most areas, both physical and mental.

So, small issues like headaches, slight pain or discomfort in any part of the body, is usually brushed off by most women. They reason it with their hectic and busy lives. But did you know that a pain or discomfort or any other sign is perhaps a signal from your body that something is not right? Sleeping off a small cold is understandable, but there are other symptoms that women should never ignore. Women are simply designed that way – they do not have the time to get to the root of these things. There are plenty of ‘other’ issues their lives are stacked with. But is it OK to take your body and health for granted? Definitely not. Beneath that minor ache or pain may be lying a serious, or in rare cases, a potentially life-threatening condition. It is, therefore advisable to notice any symptoms which do not seem regular. It is your body, and you will know when it tells you something is just not right.

Symptoms Never to Be Ignored

♀ Unusual bleeding between periods/Unusual vaginal discharge

Bleeding between periods can indicate many underlying health issues, though not all of these are serious concerns. There may be less-serious causes like, Polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal imbalances, and endometriosis. If bleeding takes place after menopause, during sex, and is accompanied with pelvic pain and bloating, it may be indicative of gynecological cancers. It is always advised to immediately take medical help and undergo tests in case of any of the above symptoms. Excessive vaginal discharge, foul-smelling or changes in color of the discharge, are also symptoms of health issues, like BV (Bacterial vaginosis), and in rare cases, even cervical cancer.

♀Heavy bleeding

Heavy bleeding is a common condition for most women, the cause of which can vary. Sometimes, heavy bleeding is due to minor issues like a thick uterine lining. However, other serious issues like fibroid tumors, ectopic pregnancy, and ovarian cysts, can also cause heavy bleeding. Not all these conditions are serious, but some tumors may be the cause of infertility. Do get a checkup done in any case.

♀Lump or pain in the chest

This one is perhaps the most important and serious symptom women should never ignore. A sharp or even mild pain in the chest should not be ignored. However, this may not always indicate a heart attack. But, it can definitely be a sign of other heart diseases and issues. Even with the slightest pain, and irrespective of the frequency, seek medical help.

♀Skin changes

Most women make it a point to keep a tab on the health of their skin. Keeping aside the beautification aspect, it is also important to observe any major changes in the skin, like excess pigmentation, scaly and dry skin, changes on moles, and even bleeding of the skin. In very rare cases, these indicate cancer. So a proper medical test is advised, before concluding anything.

♀Blood in stool or urine

Cancer of the rectum is the third-most common cancer in women. That being said, any unusual bleeding, like rectal bleeding or blood in the stools should be immediately reported to the doctor. All cases, however, may not be indicative of cancer. Hemorrhoids may also be a major cause of rectal bleeding. Nevertheless, blood in the urine calls for an immediate medical checkup.

♀Extreme fatigue

Feeling stressed or tired at the end of the day is a normal sign for most women. Handling a job and family may also add to the stress. But feeling tired more often than not (persistent for two weeks or more), is surely a sign of concern. It may indicate a major diet deficiency, like that of iron. Excess fatigue may also be indicative of a number of health issues, like diabetes, thyroid conditions, and even depression.

♀Breathlessness/Difficulty in breathing

Feeling breathless after a workout or climbing stairs once in a while is normal. When you feel breathless with minor activities, it is more often a common symptom of an underlying heart disease. Most women ignore this symptom, as they think it is too common and minor. But if you also have other symptoms like breathlessness, coupled with fatigue, dizziness, and nausea, get medical help. Sometimes, congestive heart failure, lung cancer, or emphysema, could be the underlying reason for shortness of breath.

♀Bloating and stomach discomfort

Pain and bloating in the abdomen is usually caused by indigestion. If this condition is persistent, and there is pain in one specific region of your abdomen, get a checkup done immediately. In conditions where there is frequent bloating and cramping, appendicitis, gallbladder issues, or ulcers could be the cause. It is better to get a checkup done and be wise, rather than ignore and stay worried.

♀Heart palpitations

It is alright if your heart flutters with a romantic song, movie, or with your loved one. But in all the other cases, fluttering of the heart is definitely not a healthy sign. A major reason for heart palpitations is lack of oxygen. Excess caffeine may also be the cause. In case of the former, heart fluttering may also indicate issues with the valves of the heart or hyperthyroidism. So, wait for no more fluttering, get a heart test and checkup done immediately.

♀Trouble sleeping

Here again, women blame their busy schedule to stress and lack of sleep, which is true to a certain extent. The quality of sleep too is important. If you find it difficult to sleep even after a busy day, on most days, there may be a health issue preventing you from getting good, quality sleep. It is observed that women who enter menopause are often affected by sleeplessness at night. If you also have breathing difficulties with trouble falling asleep, chances are, there is a heart condition, or even asthma that needs to be treated.

♀Pain during sex

Most women are ashamed to bring up issues related to sex. They feel this problem is with them, and feel embarrassed to discuss the same even with their partner. A woman’s gynac and sexual health is very important. Ignoring issues like painful and discomforting sex may invite many health risks. Pain during intercourse can have many reasons, like hormonal changes, infections, and other gynecological problems. So, do not ignore or self-treat this issue, and take medical help.

♀Frequent headaches

Most women would not consider something as casual as a headache to be a problem or potential health risk. We agree that most headaches are caused by stress, exertion, and hectic lifestyles. But if the headache happens almost everyday (except in case of migraines), and is severe, you might want to ditch the paracetamol and get a checkup done. Though in rare cases, there is a possibility of the headache being a sign of some underlying health issue, like a tumor, infection, or even a stroke.

♀Unexplained sudden weight loss

It may sound like good news to women, but unexplained weight loss, though a pleasant surprise, is not healthy. If you have lost a considerable amount of weight without intending to do so, make sure you schedule an appointment with a health expert. It may indicate an underlying endocrine disorder, if the weight loss is accompanied by difficulty in concentration, sweating, and increased appetite. Diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, and also depression, may be causing you to lose weight.

♀Changes in the breast/Lump or pain in the breast

Women know how crucial it is to be screened for breast cancer regularly. If you find a lump, thickening of the skin around the breast, or if the breasts are sore and painful, get a checkup done immediately. It is, however, important to know that not all cases of pain and lumps in the breasts indicate breast cancer. However, it is advisable to get tests done regularly.

The above was the list of the symptoms that you need to be careful about. There are many things that we overlook, and this includes our health too. But, make sure that in the whole mad world of a career and balancing relationships, your health does not get affected. Take care!

Sauerkraut Health Benefits

As sauerkraut is derived from fermentation of cabbage, it is a good source of friendly bacteria, which makes it good for digestion. With vitamin C, folate, iron, and manganese present in sauerkraut, one can definitely say that sauerkraut has the goodness of nutrition.

Sauerkraut is a vegetable dish that is obtained by fermenting cabbage. The fermentation process is carried out by various strains of lactic acid bacteria, that impart it a sour flavor. The two main ingredients of this dish are grated cabbage and salt. A generous amount of salt is mixed with shredded cabbage, which is then stored in an air-tight jar. The salty environment leads to the growth of friendly bacteria that ferment the grated cabbage. As salt is a preservative, sauerkraut remains fresh and does not spoil with age or from harmful pathogens.

Sauerkraut retains all the benefits of cruciferous vegetables. However, what sets sauerkraut apart from other vegetables is that it contains naturally occurring probiotics.

Benefits of Sauerkraut

Aids Digestion
As sauerkraut is obtained through the fermentation process, it contains a great deal of friendly bacteria that help in digestion. In fact, these beneficial bacteria that reside in the colon are absolutely necessary for digestion. They help the body to absorb nutrients from digested food. These naturally occurring compounds can also help to relieve an upset stomach that often occurs due to indigestion. Moreover, adequate presence of ‘good’ bacteria in the intestine prevents proliferation of harmful bacteria that cause infection. So, adding sauerkraut to your diet will not only help to improve your digestion, but also improve your immunity against infection.

The amount of ‘beneficial’ bacteria present in sauerkraut is also higher than those found in yogurt. Also, you may not have to take probiotic supplements or drinks if sauerkraut is an integral part of your diet. Many people have a hard time digesting raw cabbage but sauerkraut is easier to digest.

High in Nutrition
Being a cruciferous vegetable, sauerkraut provides the same goodness of nutrition. This fermented cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, known to strengthen the immune system. It is also high in antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals, which are toxic molecules that can trigger extensive cellular damage. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, dietary fiber, and manganese. Fresh cabbage contains vitamin B5 in miniscule amounts, but sauerkraut is found to be an excellent source of this nutrient.

Maintains Healthy Acidity Levels in the Intestine
Overgrowth of harmful microbes has often been attributed to low acidity in the stomach and intestine. Well, this is unlikely to occur if sauerkraut is included in the diet. This is because fermented cabbage is a good source of lactic acid, that supports healthy intestinal acidity, thereby making it difficult for pathogens to survive. Hence, people suffering from candidiasis (yeast infection) are often recommended to eat sauerkraut regularly.

Controls Blood Sugar
Eating sauerkraut is also found to be helpful in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Thus, this fermented product may contribute in preventing drastic fluctuations in blood sugar, as well as control and reduce the risk of chronic ailments like diabetes and hypoglycemia.

Promotes Good Quality Sleep
Sauerkraut contains acetylcholine that helps to develop healthy sleep patterns. Apart from regulating the wake-sleep cycle, acetylcholine can also aid in improving memory and reducing blood pressure.

Good for the Heart
As cabbage is an important constituent of sauerkraut, it naturally contains flavonoids that exhibit cholesterol-lowering properties. Thus, sauerkraut in the diet will promote healthy cholesterol levels, helping to keep the heart function normal.

May Combat Cancer
A study reported in the 2002 edition of Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that when fermented, cabbage releases isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane. Finnish researchers observed that isothiocyanates were able to shun the growth of cancerous tumors in laboratory animals. Test tube studies also displayed cancer-fighting capabilities of these compounds. Sauerkraut also contains indoles that have shown to impair cancer growth in animals. Although it is not yet clear whether these compounds will produce the same effect on humans, animal studies show promising results and further research may confirm its anti-cancer properties. However, the National Cancer Institute does advocate intake of foods containing isothiocyanates to prevent cancer.

Choosing Sauerkraut
Making sauerkraut at home is very easy, but if you are looking for commercially prepared sauerkraut, you need to choose the right one. Sauerkraut that is available in glass jars can be either pasteurized or unpasteurized. The heating process that forms an integral part of pasteurization robs sauerkraut of its enzymes and other essential nutrients. So, one should always choose the unpasteurized version as it is full of digestive enzymes that support pancreatic function and improve digestion.

Caution
Despite being a good source of essential nutrients, sauerkraut is moderately high in salt. So, people with high blood pressure (HBP) should exercise caution when it comes to having sauerkraut. Just a cup of sauerkraut provides a whopping 939 mg of sodium, which accounts for 63% of daily salt consumption for HBP patients. Also, too much intake of sauerkraut can cause excessive growth of ‘good’ bacteria, which may lead to bloating, abdominal cramps, and gas. People with pancreatitis and gastric ulcers are also advised to restrict intake of sauerkraut.

Importance of Healthy Eating

A hectic lifestyle has made it difficult to maintain a healthy food habit, leaving the body vulnerable to health risks. Without realizing, it creates health problems which could lead to diseases. People realize the importance of healthy eating only when they suffer from diseases like malnutrition, obesity, etc.

Human body runs on food and a balanced mixture of food enables a smooth running of the body. Importance of eating healthy foods is that it helps in the body growth, improves body functions, and provides protection from sickness. Everyone, from a child to an adult, needs a healthy eating habit for a better and longer life. Though, most people are aware of the importance of healthy eating habits, only a few tend to follow them.

Why is it Important to Eat Healthy?

The normal growth of the body and its functions are impossible without nutrients. Nutrients from the food provides the cells with the fuel to run the body. A human body without proper nutrients is vulnerable to disease causing viruses and bacteria. The energy required for performing body functions, both mental and physical, comes from the fat reserves of the body.

The imbalance caused by a disrupted fat level in the body can either lead to obesity or malnutrition, both of which is dangerous for the body. A human body suffering from obesity or malnutrition has a high chance of developing many diseases such as heart dysfunction, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and many others.

A healthy diet plan can help the body to remain active for longer periods and allow a healthy living. A healthy and balanced diet helps to maintain the required body weight with increasing general well-being. A healthy diet has a balance of bread, potatoes, cereals, fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, fish or milk/meat alternatives, and minimum quantity of fat and sugar. The body cannot get all the essential nutrients from a single food. The body has to depend on a wide variety of healthy foods with adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Tips on Healthy Eating

Here are some wonderful tips that will help in maintaining a healthy food habit and ensure a healthier lifestyle.

✥ The right amount of calories to maintain a balance between the calorie intake and calorie expenditure. The average recommended daily need of a body is 2,000 calories though it may differ with age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity.

✥ There should be a wide variety of foods to make the food attractive. The diet should include leafy vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and fruits and others which is not consumed daily.

✥ The portion of food should be moderate, especially when it comes to high-calorie foods. Eating disorders are mainly caused due to high quantity of calories, particularly in restaurants, fast food outlets, etc., can cause an imbalance in the body.

✥ The diet should have plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. The variety of foods should include those foods high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, low in fat and free of cholesterol which can be availed from fresh, local products.

✥ The body needs a lot of water as it helps the body systems flush the waste out of the body, especially the kidneys and bladder, of waste products and toxins. The body should never be allowed to get dehydrated.

✥ There should be a limit in foods which are high in sugar, salt, and refined-grain products. Sugar and salt which is added to a vast array of foods, can aid in body weight gain.

✥ There should be no complete restriction of any foods such as sweets and fried foods. These foods when consumed in moderation can be a part of the overall healthy diet.

✥ A healthy diet with regular exercises can improve energy and feelings of well-being while reducing the risk of diseases. A regular physical activity with exercise and a healthy, eating plan will work without any doubt.

✥ Good food habits will take time to establish and it will be much easier by focusing on one food type or one food at a time.

Steps to a Healthy Eating

✥ While eating make sure that the food is enjoyed by chewing well and savoring every bite slowly.

✥ Always avoid stress while eating as a stressed body leads to digestion problems, colitis, and heartburn.

✥ Always concentrate on the body needs by eating the right quantity of food, enough to satisfy the body needs, rather than stuffing yourself.

✥ Most people are not aware of the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. A heavy breakfast followed by many small healthy snack breaks throughout the day is most recommended. A heavy breakfast enables the body to burn fat much better.

The importance of incorporating healthy eating habits is not just limited to the food that’s eaten, it is also about how it is eaten. A healthy eating habit is possible by choosing and eating nourishing and enjoyable foods.