Do You Recognize The Serious Health Issues That Can Get In The Way of Your Dream?

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Health Blocks That Get In The Way of Your Dream

Photography courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn

We dreamers have the tendency to forge ahead with our dreams without regard to health, sleep, food, love and fresh air.  If you’ve ever worked at a start-up then you know what I am talking about.

We lock on to our dreams like a crab to its food – while we ignore the signs that our body could be breaking down trying to keep up with our demands.

In honor of the holidays and you dreamers who push your bodies too much, I’ve brought together a comprehensive list of common symptoms of diseases that women often ignore.   Listen to your loved ones who are begging you to take a break and visit your doctor.

Below I offer the signs and implications for women that your body is not keeping up with your dream.

Do you suffer from the symptoms of diabetes?

  • frequent trips to the bathroom
  • unquenchable thirst
  • losing weight without trying
  • weakness and fatigue
  • tingling or numbness in your hands, legs or feet
  • blurred vision
  • skin that is dry or itchy
  • frequent infections or cuts and bruises that take a long time to heal
  • headaches
  • hunger

If you have more than three of these symptoms, you could be showing the signs of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has a great website full of information at

A study found that that the chance of developing metabolic syndrome, a condition which can lead to diabetes, rose by 26% every extra hour a woman spent sitting past three hours, no matter how much exercise she participated in.

Metabolic syndrome involves a group of conditions that, when they occur at the same time, put a woman at a risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

The signs of metabolic syndrome are –

  • high blood pressure
  • abdominal obesity
  • insulin resistance
  • high cholesterol.

Because dreamers stress our bodies and cause our loved ones to worry about us, there are other diseases we can be packing that we don’t see, but those that know us feel it’s like a neon sign.

Do you exhibit the following signs of chronic stress depression?

  • lack energy (and this means if you have no caffeine or sugar to boost you)
  • complain that you are exhausted all the time
  • have trembling hands when you don’t eat
  • have disturbed sleeping patterns (sleeping only a few hours a night)
  • worry all the time
  • feel irritated by many things
  • want to shut the world out
  • feel like you’re dog-paddling through life
  • have overwhelming feelings of guilt about things done or not done
  • have frequent headaches
  • aches and pains, even when you haven’t worked out
  • have a racing heartbeat sometimes
  • have no interest in sex
  • not feel like eating, or only want to eat comfort foods
  • feel that doing things you used to love take too much energy
  • butterflies in the stomach

These are the signs of stress depression. People often think that depression means that you feel sad, when in fact, this is not always the case. More common is that people feel anxious and turn to food or alcohol to ease the anxiety, and over time it turns into clinical depression – without ever shedding one tear. Fo more information see

Extreme periods of adrenal fatigue can cause you to lapse into depression. Do you know the signs?

Thanks to Natural Healing, here are 30 signs your adrenals could be failing due to prolonged stress –

  • excessive fatigue and exhaustion, chronic fatigue
  • non-refreshing sleep
  • sleep disturbance, insomnia
  • feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
  • craving salty and/or sweet foods
  • sensitivity to light
  • low stamina and slow to recover from exercise
  • slow to recover from injury or illness
  • difficulty concentrating, brain fog
  • poor digestion
  • irritable bowel syndrome, IBS
  • low immune function
  • premenstrual syndrome
  • menopause symptoms
  • low blood pressure
  • sensitivity to cold & heat
  • fearfulness
  • severe Allergies
  • frequent influenza
  • joint pain
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • inflammation
  • hypoglycemia
  • depression
  • reduced memory
  • low libido, sexual drive or interest
  • lack of lust for life
  • food extremes – either excessive hunger or no appetite
  • panic/anxiety attacks
  • irritability, impatience, quick to anger
  • if quick to anger, the person will often tend to back down quickly if confronted

When you demand that your bodies carry you through years of high stress, your adrenal glands will chronically sustain high cortisol levels to try and help you cope, then they eventually become fatigued. Once fatigued, the adrenals lose the ability to produce and balance hormones like DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  For more information on adrenal fatigue visit

Do you experience these gall bladder problems?

  • steady, severe pain in the upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours
  • pain in the back between the shoulder blades
  • pain under the right shoulder
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal bloating
  • recurring intolerance of fatty foods
  • colicb
  • belching
  • gas
  • indigestion/bad heartburn
  • what you think is an ulcer every time you eat a certain food, which then keeps you up at night pacing back and forth
  • fever and chills

What are your risk factors for getting gall bladder disease?

  • if you are diabetic
  • if you have thyroid problems
  • if you are overweight and past the age of 40
  • if gall bladder disease runs in your family
  • if you live on a high fat, low fiber diet

If this sounds like you then your gallbladder could be the culprit. Did you know that women are twice as likely as men to suffer a gallbladder attack?  Visit for more information.

Another way women forget self care is by not regularly checking to see if their hormones are in balance. Hormone imbalance can happen to women at any age, so don’t think just because you are under 40, hormone imbalance can’t happen to you.

How do you know if your hormones are out of balance?

  • do you suffer from persistent headaches?
  • anxiety?
  • insomnia?
  • poor concentration?
  • irritability and mood swings (swings that go from happy to sad, or happy to angry)?
  • weight gain?
  • acne?
  • hair loss?
  • night sweats?
  • reduced or overactive libido?

You can take an online hormone balance assessment test at

It may come as a surprise to some of you that thyroid disease falls into the category of hormone imbalance. In the case of hypothyroidism, where the thyroid is producing insufficient hormones, you can cause irreversible damage to your heart if left untreated.

Do you know the common signs of thyroid disease?

  • do you have difficulty swallowing, or does your neck always appear swollen?
  • did you suddenly gain weight without knowing why?
  • have you suddenly become very thin without understanding why?
  • do your joints ache?
  • has your hair become brittle, coarse, dry, and breaks off easily?
  • do you notice your hair thinning in a male-balding pattern?
  • has your skin can become coarse, thick, dry,and scaly?
  • has the hair in the outer edge of your eyebrows disappeared?
  • are you tired all the time?
  • are you sensitive to cold?
  • are you sensitive to heat?
  • have your periods become heavier, more frequent and more painful?
  • or have your periods suddenly disappeared?
  • is stress difficult for you to handle?
  • are you depressed?
  • do you suffer from the type of fatigue where your brain is active and can’t relax, but your body is exhausted?
  • do you suffer from occasional insomnia?
  • do you snore and suffer from the symptoms of sleep apnea?

These can all be signs that either you are suffering from hyperthyroidism (thyroid working too much), hypothyroidism (thyroid working too little) or Hashimotos disease (body attacking its own thyroid).  For more information visit or thyroid advocate Mary Shomon’s site at

Today I want to raise awareness of the most common diseases for women, to remind the women who read this blog to consider making that much needed appointment with their doctor. I did not discuss heart disease and breast cancer – both major women’s health threats because I think there is more public awareness for these diseases and their signs.  It’s the lesser conditions that we women tend to live with for prolonged periods of time while we care for other people.

You can be athletic, eat right and still be sick. It’s important to listen to our bodies when they speak to us, so that we have the strength to live the lives we dream.

Wishing you radiant health and a life free of health issues.


  • Cath I’ve never seen the list before for “chronic stress depression” but can honestly say I used to suffer from that! Not anymore, thank God, because I DO put my health first now (I didn’t used to and have learned to do some after burning out and getting sick so many times I just declared STOP to the madness!). Still, I have to remind myself week in and week out to get to the gym, to continue to choose healthy foods (I love them, and of course am also tempted like everyone by holiday treats etc!), and for me especially to continue with my daily meditation practice, which keeps me peaceful, happy, grounded.

    Great reminder now both with the holidays coming up AND as people are setting goals for the New Year to put our health first! Thanks for all the great info/research!

    Love ya!

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  • Remy, Photographer & CEO of Cornerstone Creative

    Talk about checking under the hood! What a great list and thanks for doing this. I am one that definitely ignores warning signs to things, so I’ll remember to pay attention a bit more. xox Rem

    • Lack of sleep can take a person down a slippery road that they don’t see coming until it’s too late. You can handle most anything when you are properly rested, but you push your body for years without sleep and one day you wake up and your body slaps you down hard. It’s a cautionary tale . . .