Cost-Effective Solutions for Managing Common Menopause Symptoms

By definition, menopause occurs twelve months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle, marking the end of her child-bearing years. The entire menopausal transition, however, lasts an average of 7 to ten years. During this time, the production of hormones decreases, resulting in many uncomfortable symptoms that may continue for years.

The experience of menopause can vary greatly. Some women may only have mild discomfort, while others have more problematic and long-term symptoms.

The only treatments for menopause are those that seek to reduce its symptoms. Doctors may use hormone replacement therapy to achieve this.

But before starting any medications such as those used in hormone replacement therapy, try making a few lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. Doctors recommend making changes like these for at least three months before committing to hormone replacement, which has risks of its own.

Fortunately, there are many safe and affordable menopause symptom relief options. Here are four of the most common symptoms of menopause and some tactics to combat them.

Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. Caused by a hormonal imbalance, they can make you distressingly hot for no apparent reason. They cause flushing of the face, sweating, a rapid heartbeat, and chills. If hot flashes happen in the middle of the night, they are called night sweats. Night sweats interrupt your sleeping pattern, which will add to daytime stress and fatigue.

Although hot flashes are an uncomfortable disruption, you can minimize their impact if you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Carry a portable fan and water mister spray bottle.
  • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine.
  • Dress in layers so you’ll have more control over your body temperature.
  • Keep your bedding layered so you can easily remove blankets when hot flashes strike.
  • Use bamboo bed linens and pajamas.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Try natural supplements such as Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Soy, or Vitamin E.

Sleep Problems

It isn’t only night sweats that keep women from sleeping well. The production of progesterone, a calming hormone that induces sleep, declines drastically during menopause. Here are some strategies to help you get the sleep you need:

  • Follow a sleep schedule by waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day.
  • Establish a bedtime routine. Read a book, listen to calming music, meditate or soak in a bath.
  • Turn off your television, computer, and phone because blue light waves suppress melatonin production.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
  • Avoid caffeine for six hours before bedtime.
  • Don’t nap in the late afternoon or evening. Even a short power nap can disrupt your sleep schedule.
  • Try using melatonin supplements.

Weight Gain

Many women unexpectedly gain weight during and after menopause because metabolism slows. You will need to eat less and exercise more to maintain your current weight. A common reaction is to go on an overly restrictive diet plan that will ultimately fail. A better approach is to gradually introduce a diet filled with an abundance of healthy foods.

Foods to include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Calcium-rich foods such as milk and low-fat yogurt
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs
  • Nuts and beans
  • Whole-grain bread, cereal, and pasta

Mood Instability

Some chemicals made by the body, such as dopamine and serotonin, help to regulate mood. Unfortunately, the production of these chemicals slows down when estrogen levels decline, leading to anxiety and depression.

Getting restful sleep and eating a healthy diet will help regulate mood swings, and relaxation techniques will also help. Here are a few to try:

  • Meditation
  • Guided Imagery
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Aromatherapy using essential oils such as lavender or chamomile
  • Yoga
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Tai chi
  • Massage

Should Mobile Location Data Become Public?

Should We Be Using Mobile Location Data for COVID-19 Containment?

The collection and sharing of mobile location data has become a hot topic of debate. And rightly so since there have been several large-scale data breaches and serious questions of privacy. It’s no wonder why many people do not want this information publicly accessible. However, some governments have effectively been using this data for contact tracing and containment of COVID-19. In my mind, this begs the question…are there times when mobile location data should become public? And furthermore, don’t we already willingly provide this information through apps on our phones?

What Is Mobile Location Data?

When someone wants to use your mobile location data, it means they access your geolocation information from your cell phone. When you use your cell phone, it ‘pings’ your location through nearby cell towers. The Telecommunications operators (Telcos) then store this information in a secure location. Using GPS signals, Bluetooth beacons, and triangulation, anyone with access can track movement of a specific individual or an entire population in real time.

What Concerns Are There over Mobile Location Data?

There are dozens of ethical concerns about the collection and use of this data. However, the biggest points of contention for me come down to privacy and security. Collecting this type of information exposes sensitive information about you and everyone around you. It shows your exact location at any time and the routes you take every day. The data also reveals locations where you spend the most time.

While this may be unnerving to you, we freely and willing provide this information every day. Each time you click ‘OK’ when an app asks to access you location data, you give it permission to use and sell your mobile location data. Although millions of us consent to sharing this information through phone apps every day, little is known about how the information is collected or being used.

When governing bodies can freely access and use big data analytics as they see fit, it isn’t hard to imagine scenarios where it could be abused and used against its own citizens. What starts out as programs to support public health initiatives can quickly turn into more restrictive policies akin to a military state. While many governments in Southeast Asia have been effectively using apps for contact tracing and enforcing quarantine measures, how far will they go to ‘keep people safe’?

How is Mobile Location Data Used for COVID-19 Containment Measures?

During the pandemic, technology has been a critical tool in the fight to protect public health. Many governments have been using mobile location data to contain the spread of COVID-19. They conduct contact tracing and hot spot mapping to determine who is at risk. The data makes it easy to determine who attended “super-spreader” events or visited locations where there are higher chances for community transmission.

Local authorities use this data to see who has been in close proximity to confirmed cases of COVID-19. If you have been exposed, then health officials will contact you with health directives. They inform you of the exact time and location of exposure, how to monitor your health, and where the nearest hospitals and testing locations are if you have symptoms.

However, some governments have also been using this information to enforce quarantine and social distancing restrictions. They are able to track your location to ensure you are following official protocols. Some airports require you to install tracking apps on your phone when you enter the country, and deny access if you refuse to comply. In some instances, local governments even dispatch police officers or levy huge fines if you break quarantine without permission.

Their justification is that people cannot be trusted to adhere to the prescribed guidelines which puts the public at risk. However, international watchdogs worry that it could also be used to further discriminate against marginalized groups who already have limited freedoms and restricted movement.

Should We Be Using Mobile Location Data to Combat COVID-19?

Knowing both sides of the argument, that brings us back to the main question: should we allow authorities to use mobile location data to combat COVID-19?

After reviewing several case studies and personal testimonies, I would have to say yes. However, there are several asterisks following this statement. First and foremost, all health initiatives need to be in compliance with international laws. This means any restrictive measures should be “lawful, necessary, and proportionate” to the severity of the problem. It also requires both transparency and defined time limits to reduce the long-term impacts on people’s livelihoods.

Then, of course, there is the issue of security. Private citizens have a right to know how their information is being used and secured. Health authorities should specify what data it is collecting and sharing. Additionally, they should also outline how they will maintain anonymity and protect against unlawful surveillance.

For these reasons, self-reporting initiatives will likely have greater success. By creating platforms where people can disclose information, it puts more power in the hands of individuals. It also invites free and active participate in the national programs to fight COVID-19. If people feel as if they have a choice in the matter, they will be more likely to comply with public health measures.

How Can You Secure Personal Data?

However, if you disagree, what can you do to secure your personal data? Unless you are going to give up your devices that track your location, you will never be able to completely mask your personal information. But, there are steps you can take to protect your personal information from hackers, scammers, and cyber-attacks.

  1. Don’t store personally identifiable information on your cell phone. Delete passwords, social security number, credit card, and other sensitive financial information from your mobile devices.
  2. Regularly delete your browsing history and cookies. Your internet activity is constantly monitored and stored by the browser. Deleting it makes it harder to track your web activity.
  3. Clean up emails and messages that contain personal information. If it fell in the wrong hands, it could leave you vulnerable, especially if they have access to sensitive financial information. Review and delete sensitive information so it is not remotely accessible.
  4. Use secure payment methods for online purchases. Some scammers direct you to payment portals then skim your credit card number and steal your information. Using secure portals protects you from unauthorized transactions, identity theft, and cloning of your information.

In the digital age, personal privacy will continue to come into question. As more entities have access to information like your mobile location data, we have an individual responsibility to ensure our rights our not violated. Therefore, make sure you know what you’re agreeing to before you click ‘OK’ and grant access to sensitive data.

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How to Live Like a Celebrity Without the Baggage

Have you ever wanted to know what it was like to live like your favorite celebrities? If you have, there is no need to be ashamed. After all, it is only natural. We see them on big screens that make them look larger than life. If you have ever met a celebrity in person, you have no doubt experienced the involuntary thrill of quick, shallow breaths and a suddenly racing heartbeat that indicates intense excitement. The feeling is a little like falling in love for the very first time.

Celebrities are a lot like royalty. Everything about them is outsized. Their lives are under a microscope all the time. They are only as good as their last performance. And while the praise is over the top, so is the criticism. Few things can withstand that amount of scrutiny. Their relationships are more strained because of it. There is little wonder so many of them are fleeting.

The good news is that you can enjoy some piece of the celebrity experience without having to have the celebrity paycheck or carry the celebrity baggage. It is just a matter of focusing on a few things that make a big difference. Here are three:

Celebrity Health

Don’t allow yourself to get overly impressed with celebrity health. It seems to mostly focus on that which can only be described as skin deep. There is no evidence they live any longer than you do. And do to unchecked vices, they might live a bit less on the whole.

That said, there are a few health tricks they use that are available to everyone. Among the most effective are custom vitamins. You can get the same personalized vitamins and supplements as they use delivered to your door on a monthly basis at a surprisingly affordable price. With that kind of service and convenience, you will feel like a celebrity from the first delivery.

You can surpass celebrity health by doing a better job of watching what you eat. People with unlimited budgets can literally eat anything they want at any time of the day or night. They don’t have to prepare it themselves or even pick it up. They need only tell someone to bring it to them and it is done. You can do better by preparing your own healthy meals and utilizing healthy meal kit services. You can have the best part of celebrity health without the medical interventions.

Celebrity Home Decor

You don’t have to buy a fully furnished and highly designed McMansion to enjoy celebrity decor. Professional designers and decorators love budget tricks and use them all the time. Good decor is in the eye of the beholder. And you can reproduce a lot of what you see in Better Homes for a lot less than you think.

Home decor is not just a useless indulgence for the already over indulged. Your home is your biggest investment. You will spend the lion’s share of your life behind those walls. For your own sanity, it is important that you enjoy the time you spend inside. During the pandemic, The home has had to serve as castle, office, school, daycare, and church. There is a good chance that some of those functions will remain after the immediate danger has passed. Take this time to add some celebrity decor to your home without the baggage of a 36 car garage.

Celebrity Tech

The thing about Coke is that it is the same drink for the CEO as it is for the person on the street. The same is mostly true for technology as well. You can trick out your newly decorated home with the latest home automation hardware for a fraction of what it cost just 10 years ago. You can have connected cameras and locks and doorbells and alarms that you can install yourself without the need of an electrical engineering license.

Celebrities use the same iPhones that you can get for just a few dollars a month. The computers they use to produce TV shows and movies are the same computers you can purchase from your local Best Buy.

It is easy to imagine how different a celebrity’s life must be from yours. But it is not as different as you might think. For a lot less than you thought possible, you can enjoy celebrity health, celebrity decor, and celebrity tech without any of the downsides that come with actually being a celebrity.