Facts to know:
- The leading cause of death among women in the United States is heart disease.
- Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women.
- Lung, colorectal, cervical, endometrial, skin, and ovarian cancers are other common cancers in women.
What can I do about heart disease?
Unless there are other genetic factors increasing your chance of heart disease, the best way to combat heart disease is a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise along with minimal alcohol and no smoking with reduce your risk.
How much exercise should I be getting?
A mixture of cardio and strength training for 30-45 minutes at least 3-times a week is ideal.
What should I be eating?
Fad diets are never the way to go. What you should focus on when dieting is simply eating better.
Avoid sodium, added sugar, trans and saturated fats.
Make sure you drink lots of water and eat fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy.
Know your numbers:
Blood pressure should be close to 120/80.
Aim for your cholesterol total to be around 200; LDL below 100 and HDL above 60.
Your blood sugar (or A1C) should be 5.7 or less.
What exams are right for me?
Screenings that should be performed every year at every age:
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Flu shot
- Regular STI testing if you’re sexually active at ANY age!
Screenings from age 18 to 39-years-old:
- Full-body skin checks
- Breast exam
- Pelvic exam
- Pap smear
Screenings from age 40 to 64-years-old:
Screenings at age 65 and older:
- Bone density
- Pneumococcal, shingles, and pneumonia vaccines
- Height check for osteoporosis
Mental health is often overlooked as an important aspect of women’s health. Women are typically the caregivers in the family and focus on other people more than themselves.
Remember to take some time for you. Find time in your day to meditate, read a book, watch a movie, get a mani/pedi, go for a walk, or do whatever it is that helps you relax and unwind.
You’ll find that stress is a main, contributing factor to some health issues you may be facing. It’s not selfish to look after yourself, it’s self-care and love.