Power Surge News

Issue 66


A Free E-Mail Newsletter
of the Power Surge Women's
Midlife and Menopause Community
The Power Surge Web Site
Dearest (Alice Stamm)
Founder and Facilitator

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Last month Power Surge had the honor of being acknowledged in two more publications, the April issue of MORE Magazine and the April 7th issue of  FIRST For Women Magazine.

I'm proud of the accolades Power Surge has received over the years.  It makes the nine years of hard work even more gratifying, but the most gratifying reward has always been the testimonials from the women who've benefitted from this community.

This newsletter is devoted to anxiety, stress, panic attacks/disorders
because despite the fact that journals write that hot flashes are the
most common complaint of women in peri/postmenopause, that's
not what I've seen for nine years. The most active discussions are
always in the areas of anxiety and anxiety-related issues.


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Thursday, May 29th, 9 PM, ET

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Psychiatrist, Neurologist & Expert
in the Area of Psychopharmacology


Dr. Shipko is the Author of

Stuart Shipko, M.D. is a Psychiatrist and Neurologist who has treated over 2500 patients with panic disorder. Menopause can be a time fraught with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, isolation. Many health care practitioners prescribe various and sundry medications to treat these emotional, and often hormone-related disorders.  Dr. Stuart Shipko is an outspoken expert in the area of psychopharmacology, and will discuss anti-anxiety and anti- depressants/SSRI's, such as Xanax, Prozac, Effexor, Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft and Paxil.

As the Medical Director of PDI -- the Panic Disorder Institute, Dr. Shipko's specialty is in the area of panic disorder and stress-related medical conditions, stress and trauma related  disorders, psychiatric injury, psychosomatic medicine and general psychiatry.

Dr. Stuart Shipko is an outspoken advocate for the "people."

Dr. Shipko is the Author of

The transcript of Dr. Stuart Shipko's last visit to Power Surge.

Join Stuart Shipko, M.D.

Power Surge Live! Chat Room

Read the transcript here 

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Use quotes / affirmations / positive thoughts
"The vibes you give out come back to you!"

*  Good health is my most precious possession
*  My physical, emotional and spiritual health are tied together
    Nurturing one strenghtens them all.
*  My good health and peace of mind are worth guarding
*  Releasing resentments, and allowing healing to occur
   promotes my health
*  My health and sanity are worth fighting for
*  Treating my well-being with as much concern as I show
    the welfare of others is healthy, not selfish

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If you've never read it on the Web site, you'll garner a lot of helpful information in treating menopause and related symptoms in our Menopause Survival Tips

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If you're more confused than ever since the abrupt halting of the WHI
(Women's Health Initiative) Study on women and hormones and the
most recent news about HRT and dementia, you'll find an excellent
compilation of articles and guest transcripts in The HRT Controversy

Additionally, there's information about a study being conducted by
our own, Dr. Erika Schwartz in conjunction with Health Magazine
You'll find more in the

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Did You Know?
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* One in every eight Americans age 18-54 suffers from an anxiety
disorder. This totals over 19 million people

*  Women suffer from anxiety and stress almost twice as much as men

*  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America,
surpassing even depression in numbers

*  Anxiety is the most common mental health issue facing adults over 65
years of age

*  Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. $46.6 billion annually

*  Anxiety sufferers see an average of five doctors before being
successfully diagnosed

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Panic - Anxiety - Why Is It Nobody
Seems To Understand?
by Stuart Shipko, M.D.  
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Panic anxiety is very similar to normal fear, and people without panic
anxiety can only relate to it as exaggerated "normal fear" As above,
panic anxiety occurs seemingly without reason. The person who has only
had fear linked with socially appropriate "fearful incidents" will
tend to relate to your anxiety as a heightened normal fear response.
It is not a heightened normal response, but a completely abnormal
response. Well meaning friends and family may take a "just jump back
on the horse" sort of response. They may embarrassingly confide in
their own fears and analyze what your real motives are for these
seemingly exaggerated fear responses. The etiology of panic disorder
is not known. It is probably highly genetic in transmission and
probably almost entirely a biological phenomenon. The best way to help
significant others to understand your problem is to be specific about
what sorts of activities are stressful for you and what sort of
special dietary and rest needs you have. When people ask why, you can
answer that you don't really know why and if they get more curious it
becomes more important that you be willing to discuss the poorly named
condition currently called panic disorder.

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Informative articles on menopause and a host of menopause and midlife-related issues in Educate Your Body

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Palpitations and Anxiety / Panic Attacks
by Stuart Shipko, M.D.
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Palpitation is a very common symptom. Here are some helpful tips.
Palpitation is one of the most common symptoms in panic disorder. It
may be a perception of a rapid heart rate or a more forceful heart
beat or in some people it may be enhanced awareness of the heart.
When panic disorder is first diagnosed I recommend that a 24-hour Holter
monitor be done as a part of the routine medical workup to rule out
cardiac arrhythmia.

Some people find relief from their palpitations with beta-blockers,
which slow a rapid heart. Palpitations may occur as a response to
hypoglycemia and this can be evaluated by the glucose tolerance test
as well as the constellation of other symptoms that are present with
tachycardia (usually feeling hungry, perspiration and weak several
hours after eating). Because the esophagus runs just behind the heart,
if it is irritated due to reflux then the heartbeat may induce
esophageal pain which is treated by treating reflux.

One way to treat benign cardiac arrhythmias and to keep the heart in
good shape is to take coenzyme q10 at a daily dose of about 60 mg
along with carnitine 250 mg. Both are natural substances found in the
body that enhance the ability of the mitochondria to produce
intracellular energy. The heart obviously uses a lot of energy, and
tends to have less coenzyme q10 and carnitine as people age. In
Germany coenzyme q10 is used to treat congestive heart failure in
doses of around 200 mg daily.

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Anxiety, Panic & Stress At Menopause

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What Treatment Is Best When Panic
Attacks Are Unremitting?
by Stuart Shipko, M.D.  
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At its worst panic attacks strike in clusters or can be continuous. When this happens it is a medical emergency.

When panic attacks are sporadic the need for immediate treatment is less urgent than when they occur in clusters. When this happens it is rapidly disabling and often intolerably uncomfortable. At times people experience "status panicus" where a panic attack is prolonged, lasting days or weeks. Clusters and panicus demand rapid treatment because of the high level of discomfort and disabling nature of this experience. While panic attacks are generally considered "harmless", anyone who is undergoing multiple daily panic attacks or a prolonged panic attack knows how exhausted and ill they feel and the cardiovascular strain is clearly excessive. Suicide can occur when this level of discomfort is allowed to persist.

The antidepressants (SSRI and tricyclic antidepressants) will usually aggravate panic attacks and are to be avoided. My experience is that the high potency benzodiazepines (Klonopin, Xanax) are the only rapid acting, effective medications. They should be used at a dose that is adequate to totally stop the panic attacks. It is usually necessary to treat the associated reflux with Carafate (coats the stomach and binds with bile in the stomach) and proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec or Prevacid).

There is enormous controversy over the use of these agents because of potential side effects and potential dependency. (See the FAQ on side effects of benzodiazepines). Ideally, it is best to use BDZs (benzodiazepines) at an adequate dosage for complete relief for about two weeks. In reality it turns out that the sense of relief and fear of return of symptoms is so profound that people do not want to stop these medicines after two weeks and chronic use is common. Some people do better using these medications long term, however BDZs can become part of the problem when used chronically.

When panic attacks are unremitting then the benefits outweigh the
risks for the use of high potency BDZs

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One of the most popular areas of the Web site is the
Recommendations area

Midlife is generally a time of awakening, but not always a gentle
one! By the time most women are 40-something (give or take a
few years), they suddenly find themselves being introduced to an
unfamiliar body, but as their transitional years pass, they will
become more familiar with that body than ever before in their lives.

Read about your options for treating menopause

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Simple Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder?
by Stuart Shipko, M.D.  
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Panic attacks can occur in people who do not have panic disorder. This is usually a stress response, but unlike panic disorder it goes away without intensive treatment and medication.

Panic attacks or Panic Disorder?

Many of you who will be having panic attacks of recent onset. Not all people who have panic attacks have panic disorder. Panic anxiety occurs at a time of rest or during sleep: it is an unexpected state of chaos. Nerves firing autonomously.

The electric system of the nerves and muscles are not like copper wires that transmit electricity. Electricity conduction depends on diffusion of various ions across the cell membrane both in and out of the cell. It is an inherently unstable system that will enter into the chaos of a panic attack or even a series of panic attacks, but still not be an actual panic disorder. This is important because these sort of benign panic attacks are uncomfortable, but do not signify the chronic recurring and sometimes progressive prognosis of panic disorder. Rather, these sort of attacks will persist for a period of time and remit with no medication needed and will not tend to recur.

Telling the difference between these two states of nervous system chaos can be very difficult. The disorder condition tends to be genetic, and present in one or the other parents, tends to show an onset or major exacerbation between 18 and 24 and to be recurrent. It is much more likely to be associated with a wide variety of other indications of nervous system instability and general sensitivity such as migraine headaches, motion sickness, food allergies, muscle aches and pains, recurrent psychophysiologic gastrointestinal problems, narcolepsy like symptoms and many others. Medical or psychiatric problems simultaneously different organ systems tend to be present.

In benign panic attacks there tends to be an association with stress, or it can be a period of altered hormonal states such as menopause or it can herald the onset of almost any significant medical problem. For example, one patient called me up because he was having panic attacks. He knew me socially, and knew that I specialized in this area. But after I spoke with him on the phone I learned that he had had a rather profuse nosebleed for several days, and he was becoming shocky from blood volume loss. It can be a very nonspecific warning of severe systemic illness, or it can be a harmless but annoying response to stress. Non-disorder attacks are also common in people with a primary depression.

Family history, age of onset and long term medical history are very important discriminating factors between panic attacks as a harmless stress response, and panic disorder, a disabling recurrent illness. Differentiation between the two is important because the risks of medication for simple panic attack often outweighs the benefits. Careful medical examination and a reassuring therapy would be best for those who have panic attacks but not panic disorder.

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Jenny's husband, Charley, was a male chauvinist. Even though they both worked full-time, he never helped around the house.

Housework was woman's work!

But, one evening Jenny arrived home from work to find the children bathed, one load of clothes in the washer and another in the dryer, dinner on the stove, and the table set. She was astonished. Something's up!

It turns out that Charley had read an article that said wives who worked full-time and had to do their own housework were too tired to have sex.

The night went well and the next day she told her office friends all about it.

"We had a great dinner. Charley even cleaned up. He helped the kids do their homework, folded all the laundry and put everything away. I really enjoyed the evening."

"But what about afterward?" asked her friends.

"Oh, that was perfect too. Charley was too tired!"

Remember, you don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stopped laughing.

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"Each year, 600,000 women in the U.S. have hysterectomies,
but more than 400,000 of them probably didn't have to...However,
three years after the February 2000 report, some doctors lament
that practices aren't changing, and too many women still have
the procedure."...Obstetrics & Gynecology medical journal.

Read some excellent transcripts about unnecessary hysterectomies:
Lise Cloutier-Steele and Mary Ann Wyatt
and: Elizabeth Plourde

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You can read more of what the most prestigious experts in the area of women's health have said when they've guested in Power Surge chats in the Library

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* Anti-Depressants & Panic Attacks: With Stuart Shipko, M.D.
* Menopause & Soy Isoflavones / Revival: Aaron Tabor, M.D.
* Women, Menopause & Natural Hormones: Erika Schwartz, M.D.
* Women And Fibroids: Michael Broder, M.D.
* Caregiving / Aging Parents / Alzheimer's: Sandy Braff, MA, MFT
* Naturally Compounded Hormones: Pete Hueseman, Pharmacist
* Unnecessary Hysterectomies: With Lise Cloutier-Steele and Mary Ann Wyatt
* How To Calm Down: With Fred L. Miller
* Menopause: With Marcie Richardson, M.D.
* Vulvovaginal Health:  With Elizabeth Stewart, M.D.
* Weight Loss: With Dr. Howard Shapiro
* Eating Disorders:  With Dr. Denise Lamothe
* Body Blues:  With Dr. Marie-Annette Brown

See other recent transcripts and upcoming guests: Schedule

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If you've never participated in or read the transcripts
of this series, you really shouldn't miss it.
Reclaiming Ourselves At Midlife

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The Most Caring & Supportive
Award-Winning Message Boards
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Forbes Magazine Selects Power Surge a "Best of The Web"
Web site and "Best of the Web" Health / Menopause Boards

Join other women in menopause and choose from over 60 menopause and midlife-related message boards filled with compassion, information, support and caring. Be prepared for an abundance of support, information and love!  The Web Message Boards

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The one thing that eliminated my hot flashes, depression, fatigue, vaginal dryness, mood swings, lowered my menopause-related cholesterol by over 100 points and generally gave me back my life the past five years has
been doctor-formulated Revival Soy Protein. I've seen Revival help not only me, but thousands of other women experiencing the typical symptoms of perimenopause. Soy is SAFE and has been used as a staple in the diet of Japanese women for thousands of years. They are considered among the healthiest women in the world. Soy is effective and reliable, especially for those who can't or choose not to use hormone replacement therapy. The FDA approves the use of SOY in lowering cholesterol and providing general heart health. It's made from non-genetically engineered soybeans, as are most of the soy products out there and the isoflavones are taken from the "heart" of the soybean where they are most concentrated. Read more

Ask Medical Director, Aaron Tabor, M.D. aything at
Ask The Soy Doctor

Read Dr. Tabor's last transcript

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How are you handling menopause and
how is Power Surge helping?
We'd love your feedback!  Click here

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If you're dealing with menopausal issues you can't resolve
with other natural modalities and with all the controversy
surrounding conventional / synethetic hormone therapy, you
if you want to switch or start using hormones, make sure they're
natural, bio-identical hormones.  

Read: Natural, Bio-Identical Hormones:
What Are They and How Do They Apply To Me?

For answers to your questions about *natural* bio-identical
hormones, derived from plant sources:

Ask Dr. Erika Schwartz
Ask The Pharmacist, Pete Hueseman

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I hope to see you at the chats and on the boards.

Until then, remember... menopause may have you
feeling like you're going to hell in a handbasket, but,
there are treatments that work for your issues. It isn't
terminal and it does eventually pass.


The Power Surge Newsletter disclaims any representation for the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein. The sharing of information herein is not indicative of Power Surge's personal endorsement of same. It is purely for informational purposes. Health matters should be taken up with one's personal physician. Nothing in the Power Surge Newsletters, chats, message base, bulletin boards is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Opinions expressed are Dearest's and the authors who contribute to Power Surge and don't reflect the opinions of America Online.

Sharing is what Power Surge is all about


Good Health!


'Power Surge recommends Revival Soy Protein to replenish estrogen

Doctor-formulated Revival Soy Protein is the #1 doctor-recommended soy protein in the country. Soy isoflavones eliminate menopausal symptoms.

Read one of Medical Director,
Dr. Aaron Tabor's transcripts

Ask the Soy Doctor 

'For natural, bioidentical hormones, Pete Hueseman and Bellevue Pharmacy Solutions

Why put your body through the rigors of adjusting to the "one-size-fits-all" HRT when naturally compounded, bio-identical hormones can be tailor-made to your body's needs?

Read Pete Hueseman's,
most recent transcript about natural, bio identical hormones.

Ask The Pharmacist

Also, read Paul Hueseman, PharmD's transcript
on bio-identical hormones


Visit our recommendations page for tips and advice on multi-vitamins and supplements to help ease menopausal symptoms, and improve your overall health.


If you haven't already done so, why not check out our extensive Educate Your Body area. There you will be able to read articles on midlife issues, as well as answers to commonly asked questions such as:

What Is Menopause?
The 34 Signs of Menopause
What's A Hot Flash?
Thinning or Losing Hair?
Why Bioidentical Hormones?
Have High Cholesterol?
Menopause And Your Sex Life
The Benefits of Soy
Menopause And The Mind
Coping With Hypertension?
Take Off / Keep Off Weight!
Selecting A Practitioner
Adrenal Fatique
Depression Facts And Help
Menopause and Migraines!
Fibroids FAQ
Many More Articles...


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