Health Tips for Women

Colleen Oakley offered some health tips for women.  It’s a fact that doctor visits are short and will tend to get shorter over time.  Alyssa Dweck, MD, an OB-GYN doctor has laid out some prescriptions for a lifetime of wellness for the female in the family.

  • Zap your stress. This seems to be the biggest issue that doctors see in women as they have way too much on their plates, making it difficult to juggle.  Many significant health consequences come from stress, such as infertility to higher risks of depression, anxiety and heart disease.  Stick with the stress-reduction method that works for you.
  • Stop Dieting. You don’t have to forgo your favorite glass of wine or piece of chocolate cake all the time.  Moderation is the key and foregoing these all the time doesn’t necessary mean you are eating healthy.
  • Don’t OD on calcium. Too much of this supplement can increase the risk of kidney stones and could even increase your risk of heart disease.  If you are over 50 you should be getting 1,200 milligrams per day through your diet, or about three servings of calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon and almonds.
  • Do more than cardio. All women need cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week in order to stave off osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Good self-image is promoted through exercise, and a really important mental health issue for women.
  • Think about fertility. Not many of us had trouble getting pregnant in our late 30’s and even early 40’s, but our fertility can start to decline as early as 32.  Talk to your doctor about freezing your eggs if you intend to have children later in life.
  • Appreciate birth control. Eliminating pregnancy before you plan for it calls for using birth control.  It has shown through studies that it can also lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as to regulate your cycle. I would like to add that it is best to research birth control drugs before starting on them. Be sure it’s the right one for you. Know all the side effects that may come with it.
  • See your doctor every year. Be sure to have that Pap test for cervical cancer every 3 years if you are 21 or older.  A Pap test and HPV test should be given every 5 years if you are 30-65.  If you are older than that you might be able to eliminate these tests.  If you are still sexually active and have a higher risk for STDs, be sure to get the testing done and have an HIV test at least once.  Keep up the yearly checkups.
  • Have good sex. Sex tends to reduce stress and lower the risk of chronic disease as long as you enjoy it.
  • Get more sleep. Everybody requires a different amount of sleep, but if you have trouble getting out of bed, tire easily or have trouble concentrating, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep.  Lack of sleep puts you at greater risk of heart disease and psychological problems.
  • Consider genetic testing. People can now be screened with a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and chronic diseases to assess their risk and take preventive measures if needed.  Speak to your doctor regarding this type of testing.

~Dr Fredda Branyon