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A personalized approach to women’s health and wellness is the way

Current healthcare systems and common wellness practices ought to develop in more ways possible to service and help women meet their evolving and exclusive health demands.

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One-size-fits-all solutions for health and wellness are a thing of the past now. Filipinas have come a long way to realizing and embracing the unique builds of their minds, bodies, even their aspirations and priorities in life.

Challenges related to women’s health and fitness are to each her own. Current healthcare systems and common wellness practices ought to develop in more ways possible to service and help women meet their evolving and exclusive health demands. In the commencement of women’s month, here are practices to consider and digital tools that can be customized and convenient to you, to better and sustain your health this season and beyond.

Personalize your diet and fitness goals

You might have heard of trendy fitspiration workout and diet plans to stay healthy and fit. But how sure are you that it suits your unique physique’s needs and capacity? What works for one individual may not for another, more so for women.

Oprah Daily said hormones influence feelings of hunger and fullness, metabolism and body fat levels that overall affect women’s lifestyle.[1] Hormone levels differ by age and reproductive or menstrual condition. Filipinas can pursue the latest intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet and calorie-counting trends to achieve their body goals, however, these should be done along with a consultation from your nutritionist or personal health providers. Approaches to your diet have to be an efficient and targeted program to achieve better and healthier results.

There are also high-tech fitness gadgets that can personalize and support your health and fitness journey, especially for female-body types. These gizmos can monitor one’s activity levels and notify workout, eating and water drinking schedules, overall helping users sustain personal diet and fitness programs.

Maximize women-focused tools and services

Thanks to technological advancements in modern society, gone are the days when women manually tracked and tested themselves for health issues. Female-focused virtual tools, in the form of mobile applications, have innovated primarily women’s reproductive, menstrual and sexual health monitoring for awareness and disease prevention. FemTech Analytics forecasted that by 2026, the Asia-Pacific region will see the world’s fastest growth in women’s health apps.[2]

These can be period and pregnancy tracking apps available in android and iOS, which also houses teleconsultations to help women be more knowledgeable about their bodies and conscious of their hormonal status, equipping them to make informed decisions in these aspects of their wellbeing.

Meanwhile, women-centered high-tech facilities are also gaining momentum in the market and are becoming safe spaces for Filipinas to get treatment. These establishments started from serving women and assisting them through common reproductive, sexual or pregnancy issues, and has now developed to holistically address mental health and even dermatological or aesthetic needs of women. You may find a number of facilities, whether government-funded or privately listed, in many regions nationwide, especially accessible within metros in greater Manila areas.

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Apotheca Integrative Pharmacy works closely with doctors and customers and considers factors such as patient age and allergy history in the process of customizing medicines to a patient’s needs.

Trust in customized medicines tailored to your specific needs

Forbes magazine revealed that Personalized Healthcare is one of the top trends in the industry this 2023, with emphasis on precision medicines that are tailored to patients based on age, genetics and other risk factors, rather than a generic approach.[3]

For Apotheca Integrative Pharmacy (AIP), pioneer specialty compounding pharmacy in the Philippines, women may require customized dosages or delivery methods for medications related to their reproductive and hormonal health. Better and more targeted management of these can lead to stronger immunity and preventive health.

Through compounding– the science of customizing medications to a patient’s specific needs, medications can be tailored to meet their individual requirements. This process removes problem-causing excipients, adjusts dosage strengths to suit certain patients, such as infants or the elderly, adds flavors for better taste and even creates alternative form factors to make medicines easily ingestible such as lozenges, candies, gels, creams, capsules and liquid.

This month, AIP encourages Filipinas to explore Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Weight Loss Management solutions, two of their top categories in service of female patients.

Women who suffer from hormonal imbalances caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or menopause, common conditions of Filipinas young and old, can turn to hormone replacement therapy to treat their symptoms. BHRT is the process of replicating hormones using natural resources to supplement the body with the hormones it lacks. These can be: Thyroid Hormones Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4) that stimulate body oxygen and energy consumption, increasing basal metabolic rates; Progesterone that increases core temperature during ovulation, relaxes smooth muscle, reduces gall bladder activity, normalizes blood clotting and vascular tone, and assists in thyroid function; Melatonin that improves the circadian rhythm and induces drowsiness for better sleep; Dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA that strengthens the immune system, slows the natural changes in the body that come with age and provides more energy, improving mood and memory, and building up bone and muscle strength; Pregnenolone that improves energy, vision, memory, clarity of thinking, well-being, and libido, and many others.

AIP also provides prescribed weight management offerings, including clinically proven prescription medication, Phentermine Hydrochloride + Topiramate that is used to treat obesity type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. AIP also offers various nutrients like Methionine thatmayassist in the breakdown of fats to help to lower cholesterol thereby preventing excess fat buildup in the liver and throughout one’s body’s circulatory system; Inositol that promotes the health of cell structures and nerve synapses in aid of the metabolism of fats, helps reduce blood cholesterol, and participates in the action of serotonin, a neurotransmitter known to control mood and appetite; Choline that supports the liver in its processing and excretion of chemical waste products; and Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B-12) thatis has been shown toboost energy and overall metabolic rates, assisting in the burning of stored body fat, detoxifies the body, increase of red blood cell production, maintain a healthy liver, help regulate sleep, mood, appetite and energy, and works synergistically with other nutrients to improve health, and slow aging.

Women in healthcare supporting Filipina patients

AIP has been providing world-class health and pharmaceutical care for custom medication needs for 10 years. In the last three years, AIP’s study showed more than 70 percent of their subscribers are female patients, a significant increase of 72 percent in the number of female patients served from 2021 to 2022. The female patients’ profiles comprise of gen Z adults ages 18 and above at 53 percent, millennials ages 27 to 42 as the largest generational group at 23 percent, followed by Gen X ages 43 to 58 at 20 percent, and Boomers ages 59 to 68 at 4 percent.

AIP’s Managing Director Sofia Lista also harps on supporting women empowerment in the industry which is evident in their operations. “Many women work in the field of pharmaceutical compounding as pharmacists, technicians, or researchers, and their contributions are vital to advancing the field and improving patient care. In AIP, 66 percent of the workforce are women and hold leadership positions. Let’s celebrate the important role that women play in healthcare and medicine,” says Lista.

AIP works with female doctors who specialize in women’s health– gynecology, endocrinology and dermatology. It advocates for the pharmacy triad or finding accountability with doctors, patients and pharmacists to provide superior pharmaceutical care, strengthening patient confidence and compliance. Visit apotheca.com.ph to know more about their offerings, and follow AIP’s FacebookInstagramYouTube and LinkedIn channels.

NewsMakers

Young people who vape more likely to report chronic stress

Young people who use e-cigarettes had poorer quality of life but lower risks of some signs of ill health, such as high blood pressure, although these findings did not reach statistical significance.

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Young people who have used e-cigarettes are more than twice as likely to report experiencing chronic stress, according to a study by Dr Teresa To, a senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada.

She said: “Research is starting to show how vaping affects young people’s physical and mental health. For example, our previous research has shown that those who vape are more likely to suffer an asthma attack. In this study we were particularly interested in the relationship between vaping, mental health and quality of life among young people.”

The researchers used data from the Canadian Health Measures Surveys, a national survey designed to represent the Canadian population. It included 905 people aged between 15 and 30 years, of which 115 (12.7%) said they had used e-cigarettes.

The data showed that although young people who vaped were more likely to be physically active, they were also more likely to report experiencing extreme chronic stress in their lives.

Dr To said: “Chronic stress can lead to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. It’s important for young people experiencing chronic stress to be given support early on to help them avoid resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms like vaping or smoking. Vaping is not an effective way to cope with stress, but stress and anxiety can trigger vape cravings, and make it harder for a user to quit.”

The researchers point out that while their study shows a link between vaping and stress in young people, it does not show whether stress caused an increase in vaping, or whether vaping increased experiences of stress, or if another factor led to an increase in both. However, their research did take into account other factors that are known to influence stress, such as income, alcohol consumption and health conditions like asthma and diabetes.

Dr To added: “We do not know why young people using e-cigarettes tend to be more physically active, but it could be that they are trying to control their weight with exercise and believe vaping could help.”

The results also indicated that young people who use e-cigarettes had poorer quality of life but lower risks of some signs of ill health, such as high blood pressure, although these findings did not reach statistical significance.

“At the time of the study, this group of young people had good physical health overall; however, we need to study the effects of e-cigarettes in the longer term to understand their impact on young people’s health. We know that stress induces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body and these play an important role in the risk of developing chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Dr To added.

Professor Elif Dağlı, who is chair of the European Respiratory Society’s group on Tobacco, smoking control and health education, and was not involved in the research, said: “This study suggests a link between vaping and stress among young people, and it adds to what we already know about the effects of vaping on young people’s health. Vaping is still relatively new, but the numbers of children and young people using e-cigarettes are rising rapidly. We need more research on the impacts of vaping, but we also need to raise awareness of the harms of using e-cigarettes and provide support to help young people avoid or quit vaping.

“This is one of several studies about the effects of vaping that are being presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress. In particular, we will be examining the influence of favoured e-cigarettes and looking for ways to end the epidemic of vaping among children and adolescents.”

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Blackbough leads environmental awareness campaign with locals

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In the picturesque paradise of Siargao Island, Jemina Ty, the creative force behind the globally celebrated swimwear brand Blackbough, takes the helm as the leader spearheading a sustainability campaign, hand in hand with the local community.

With its pristine islands, stunning white sand beaches, and sprawling coconut fields, Siargao Island has captivated beach-lovers and adventure-seekers from all over the world. However, this idyllic destination in the southeastern region of the Philippines is facing threats due to plastic pollution and environmental degradation. In response, Blackbough recently organized a beach cleanup campaign to protect Siargao Island and raise awareness among locals and tourists alike.

Ty pointed out, “By 2050, there’s a good chance that we’ll see more plastic in the ocean than fish. That’s why through this initiative, we hope to create a chain reaction and encourage people to be more mindful of their actions and to make choices that nurture the environment.”

The Blackbough Swim Team led by Chief Executive Officer and Founder Jemina Ty accumulated a total of 100 sacks of plastic waste and debris during their coastal clean-up activity at Malinao Beach, General Luna, Siargao.

Under Ty’s leadership, Blackbough became a widely followed international swimwear brand with a heart for sustainability. The company is committed to reducing its environmental footprint by using recycled nylon, investing in ethical factories, repurposing scrap fabrics to accessories, and incorporating recyclable and reusable packaging options. By offering stylish and eco-friendly swimwear, Blackbough encourages customers to make more sustainable choices.

“At Blackbough, we believe that every journey towards sustainability begins with a single step. Leveraging Blackbough’s global presence, we aim to showcase the beauty of our Philippine islands and the importance of taking care of them.” 

The beach cleanup event took place at Malinao Beach, General Luna drawing over a hundred volunteers from diverse backgrounds, including tourists, locals, and stakeholders. Their collective effort resulted in the removal of 100 sacks of plastic waste and debris, offering participants a firsthand perspective on the detrimental effects of pollution on the island.

The Blackbough team, composed of young, creative, and passionate individuals who champion various causes such as marine life conservation and environmental preservation, includes team members based on Siargao Island. Ty acknowledged their commitment, saying, “Siargao is not just a location for us; it’s also home to many of our amazing team members. I recognize that it’s my responsibility to contribute positively to the communities and societies where we operate.”

Beyond cleaning up the beach, Blackbough’s campaign is a call to arms for travelers, environmental enthusiasts, and conscious consumers to begin their sustainability journey. Siargao Island is just the starting point for Blackbough’s beach cleanup initiatives, marking the launch of their Clean Beach Campaign, a series of beach cleanup activities in collaboration with various local communities across the Philippine islands as part of Blackbough’s advocacy for sustainability and environmental protection.

Ty believes in being proactive when it comes to addressing environmental issues. Ty emphasized, “I think that we should not wait for our beaches to reach a critical level of degradation before we act. We hope for everyone’s support as we pursue our mission to protect the country’s beaches. Together, we can make a lasting impact and inspire others to join us on this journey.”

As part of its journey towards sustainability, Blackbough has launched a fundraising drive dubbed “Donate to Clean our Coasts” on its website’s checkout page, running until mid-October. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised through this campaign will be dedicated to supporting the International Coastal Cleanup Philippines, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to cleaning up marine debris and promoting ocean conservation. Blackbough has also pledged to match the cumulative donations made during the month of September.

To learn more about Blackbough’s fundraising initiative, please visit https://blackboughswim.com/pages/our-commitment.

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All work and no play will really make a dull life – research

‘Achievement’ and ‘conformity’ values had no impact on happiness whatsoever. However, the researchers believe achievement could impact on happiness when linked to job satisfaction or the amount of days worked.

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A study across three countries led by the Department of Psychology’s Dr Paul Hanel discovered people who prioritised achievement over enjoyment were less happy on the next day. Whereas those who aimed for freedom said they had a 13% increase in well-being, recording better sleep quality and life satisfaction. And participants who tried to relax and follow their hobbies recorded an average well-being boost of 8% and a 10% drop in stress and anxiety.

Dr Hanel worked with colleagues at the University of Bath on the Journal of Personality-published study. For the first time, it explored how following various values impacts our happiness.

Dr Hanel said: “We all know the old saying ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and this study shows it might actually be true. There is no benefit to well-being in prioritising achievement over fun and autonomy. This research shows that there are real benefits to having a balanced life and taking time to focus on enjoying ourselves and following individual goals. Ironically by doing this, people could in fact be more successful as they will be more relaxed, happier and satisfied.”

The study –Value Fulfilment and Well-being: Clarifying Directions Over Time – examined more than 180 people in India, Turkey and the UK. They filled in a diary across nine days and recorded how following different values affected them.

Interestingly all nationalities reported the same results with the following of ‘hedonism’ and ‘self-direction’ values leading to increased happiness. ‘Achievement’ and ‘conformity’ values had no impact on happiness whatsoever. However, the researchers believe achievement could impact on happiness when linked to job satisfaction or the amount of days worked.

Professor Greg Maio, University of Bath, said: “This multination project was an exciting foray into questions about how values affect well-being in day-to-day life. People often spend most of their days working hard for their daily income, studies, and careers. Against this backdrop, where achievement-oriented values have ring-fenced a great portion of our time, we found that it helps to value freedom and other values just enough to bring in balance and recovery.”

In the future, it will be interesting to consider how this pattern interacts with relevant traits, such as conscientiousness, and situational contexts, such as type of employment, Maio added.

It is hoped the research will now influence mental health provision and influence therapeutic give to clients.

Dr Hanel added: “Our research further shows that it might be more important to focus on increasing happiness rather than reducing anxiety and stress, which is of course also important, just not as much.”

The study was published in collaboration with Hamdullah Tunç, Divija Bhasin, and Dr Lukas Litzellachner.

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