March Gladness-not Sadness-in 2021

On March 19, graduating medical students find out what residency program they will join through the National Resident Matching Program , which “matches” them with available positions in residencies all over the United States.

The clocks change, the season changes, physicians’ lives change, athletes compete, and a river turns green. It must be March, and most of us feel more hopeful than we did in March a year ago, as we entered the unknown of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daylight Saving Time

Most of the United States changed to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday March 14, 2021. Hawaii and Arizona do not (the Navajo reservation in Arizona does.)

The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe DST.

My husband and I enjoying sun, colorful flowers, and cacti in Scottsdale, Arizona.

So if you don’t like changing your clocks, you might consider moving to one of those places.

St. Patrick’s Day

Of course you know that March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.

The parade in Chicago has been cancelled, as it was last year due to the pandemic, but they revived the tradition of dying the Chicago River green.

My son took this photo a few years ago .  

The Chicago River is green on St. Patrick's Day
photo of the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day by Ryan Oglesby

Welcome Spring

We will welcome the  first day of Spring, March 20,  in the northern hemisphere, with the occurrence of the vernal equinox. I don’t think the virus can stop that, but may make it less enjoyable.

This link to The Weather Channel explains what the vernal equinox means.

graphic of the earth explaining equinox and solstice
original source not known

 

National Residency Match Day

On March 19, graduating medical students find out what residency program they will enter through the National Resident Matching Program , which “matches” them with available positions in residencies all over the United States.

Why should you care? This matching process determines who will care for our medical needs in the next 30-40 years; our family physicians, internists, pediatricians, general surgeons, obstetricians, dermatologists, psychiatrists, and the multitude of other medical specialties. Most doctors will continue in the same specialty their entire career, although some  switch after a few or many years.

For those graduates who match to a residency, especially if it is their top choice, it is a day for celebrating with family and friends, almost like a graduation. Last year and again this year, most of the celebrating will be done virtually, due to concerns about viral spread. Read more about

Why this year’s Match will be strikingly different

 

THE SURPRISING NEW DOCTORS CARING FOR YOU
photo from Lightstock.com, graphic created with Canva

Read this previous post about the new doctors who will care for you

National Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been designated National Doctor’s Day in the United States. You may not have heard of  a day to honor doctors. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond, and was first observed on March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia.

“Physicians don’t run from challenges. We run toward them.”

Dr. Patrice Harris

In 2020, Dr. Patrice Harris, past president of the AMA wrote this about National Doctor’s Day .

“Physicians display heroism and courage every day in their hospitals and clinics. But today, on National Doctors’ Day, their selflessness in the face of a deepening health crisis is truly extraordinary.

We’ve seen many cases in the U.S and around the globe in which physicians have fallen seriously ill or died after treating patients for COVID-19. The physical toll alone is daunting—extremely long and taxing hours in the hospital—but the emotional toll is just as significant, and enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned and experienced doctor. No one can say for sure how long the health threat will last or how much more our nation’s physicians will be asked to give.

When you ask physicians why they chose their profession, answers vary. But one theme tends to underlie all the responses: a profound commitment to helping others. We are called upon to help in moments like these. As I said in my inaugural address last year—that feels like a lifetime ago—“Physicians don’t run from challenges. We run toward them.” “

March Madness- NCAA basketball tournament

Even people who don’t follow college basketball tune in for March Madness-when college football teams vie to be named the National Champion. Cancelled last year, the tournament will resume this year on March 18, with protocols in place to prevent spread of the virus among the players.

the hands of several people holding a basketball
photo from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, an affiliate link

March 2020

You can reflect on March a year ago at this link

March 30 is Doctors' Day

March Sadness-how COVID-19 has changed 2020

In 2020 we’ll be thanking doctors for tackling this new and largely unknown disease that just a few weeks ago we knew little about. Since then we’ve learned it’s name, it’s genetic make up, symptoms, how it spreads, and complications, and slowly learning what does and does not work, and how to contain and stop it.

 

exploring the HEART of health

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

 

More scenes from Scottsdale Arizona, photos by Dr. Aletha

Effective solutions if you experience hair loss

causes and treatment for hair loss-and a brief book review

 post updated March 13, 2021

My Sister’s Keeper– a novel

I  enjoyed reading  My Sister’s Keeper ,a novel  by Jodi Picoult, which touched on  several medical themes – cancer, genetic engineering, organ donation ethics,  and medical autonomy.

Kate, an adolescent who as a toddler developed a rare form of leukemia, has spent the majority of her life either in the hospital getting treatment or recovering from them. After yet another chemotherapy regimen, she  lost her hair.

One day her mother, Sara, offers to take Kate and her younger sister Anna to the mall for a day out. Kate refuses.

“Don’t say it. Don’t tell me that nobody’s going to stare at me, because they will. Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter because it does. And don’t tell me I look fine because that’s a lie.” Her eyes, lash-bare, fill with tears. “I’m a freak, Mom. Look at me.”

Sara looks at her and says, “Well, we can fix this.”

“She walks out of the room followed by Kate and Anna. She finds a pair of ancient electric grooming clippers, plugs them in, and cuts a swath right down the middle of her own scalp.

“Mom”, Kate gasps.

With another swipe of the razor, Kate starts to smile. She points out a spot Sara missed. Anna crawls onto Sara’s lap. “Me next,” she begs.”

As Sara later remembers:

“An hour later, we walk through the mall holding hands, a trio of bald girls. We stay for hours. Everywhere we go, heads turn and voices whisper. We are beautiful, times three.”

Also a movie

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult was also made into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, and Joan Cusack.  

(These, and other links in this post are affiliate links, used to generate revenue to fund this blog. )

Alopecia- hair loss

You’ve known people who lost their hair due to cancer chemotherapy-you may even be that person. The medical term is anagen effluvium, which means hair loss during the anagen, or active phase of hair growth. 65% of people who receive chemotherapy will lose their hair.

Fortunately, anagen effluvium is reversible; the hair usually grows back in 1-6 months. While waiting, sometimes women wear wigs, while others wear colorful scarves and turbans on their heads. And some simply do as  Kate, her mother and sister did- show their heads proudly.

Stress and hair loss

The most common form of diffuse hair loss is telogen effluvium which occurs during the telogen or resting phase. Stress can cause hair loss, it is not a myth . Any type of physical, mental, or emotional stress can cause hair to fall out. Probably the most common stress that precipitates this is pregnancy. Others include

  • major surgery
  • serious illness
  • disorders of the thyroid, kidneys, or liver
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • anemia due to iron deficiency
  • malnutrition or rapid weight loss

This hair loss is also reversible with the hair usually growing back within 2-6 months after the condition resolves or is treated.

a middle aged woman and a young woman together
Hair loss can occur at any age and with any type of hair. (Lightstock)

 

 

Genes and gender

The most common type of hair loss in both men and women is considered a “normal physiologic variant”- that being androgenetic alopecia. It tends to run in families, hence the “genetic” connotation. As many as 50% of men and 30%-40% of women may experience hair loss with increasing age.

There are two forms. (click on the links to see an illustration.)

Male pattern hair loss– affects the temples, front, and top of the scalp

Female pattern hair loss– causes diffuse thinning on the top and sides of the scalp

Two treatments are approved by the FDA.

Minoxidil- a topical solution applied daily to the scalp, causing increased hair growth within 6-12 months, and is used indefinitely. This is effective for both men and women.

Finasteride is a pill approved for use in men only, if minoxidil does not work. It can have undesirable side effects which limit its use.

Another option for both men and women are hair transplants.

5 people young men and women with arms overlapping their shoulders
Hair loss can happen to men and women,; men may start losing hair as young as 30 years old. (Lightstock)

 

Less common causes of hair loss

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder. it may cause

  • round, bare patches on the scalp
  • complete scalp hair loss
  • hair loss on other body areas

Hair may spontaneously regrow in up to 30% of mild cases. When treatment is needed choices include

  • topical corticosteroids
  • topical minoxidil
  • anthralin
  • oral janus kinase inhibitors

More info is available from the American Academy of Dermatology

Trichotillomania results from repeatedly pulling, twisting, or twirling the hair. Treatment is difficult.

Trichorrhexis nodosa results from trauma to the hair, including excessive brushing, tight hairstyles, and use of heat and chemical products on the hair.

 

 

What to do if you are losing hair

If you experience unexplained hair loss, see your doctor for an evaluation. It’s best not to assume that it is just a hair issue.

It is especially important to determine if there is some underlying condition, such as a thyroid disorder, that needs treatment.

Consider your family history. Have your grandparents, parents, or siblings experienced hair loss?

Evaluate your lifestyle to see if there are nutritional, traumatic, or stress factors that may contribute to hair loss. Remember, these may have happened as long as 6 months ago.

a smiling woman working on a laptop computer
Tightly braiding hair can lead to damage if done often enough. (Lightstock)

Consider the way you care for, style, and wear your hair; do these traumatize your hair frequently or excessively?

Hair care by Arbonne

Arbonne carries  hair care products  that  help keep our hair healthy and attractive- TrueStyle and True Hair- for all hair types:

  • color treated
  • dry or damaged
  • fine or limp
  • curly
  • short

Lightstock  photos at this affiliate link 

Cheesy free faith-focused stock photos

exploring the HEART of health

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

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