Posts made in August, 2014

9 Ridiculously Simple Things All Women Should Be Doing For Their Health

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Health Topics | 0 comments

9 Ridiculously Simple Things All Women Should Be Doing For Their Health

Like many people, I dread going to the dentist, not because of the threat of pain, or the oddly intimate experience of someone handling the backsides of my teeth. It’s the flossing conversation. Invariably I’m asked, “You floss, right?” And invariably, I go pink and stammer some nonsense about trying … busy mornings … sensitive gums … blah, blah, blah. Because for the record, no, I have never been a regular flosser, despite knowing full well that it is a key part of good health. It’s cheap and quick. I should do it. With that in mind, we wondered, what other relatively easy and painless things should women be doing for their overall health and wellbeing — but aren’t? We asked a group of women’s health experts for their insights and here’s what they said: 1. Prep before you go to the doctor. …Or midwife or whichever qualified provider you choose to see. Alice Cooper, a nurse practitioner in the department of obstetrics and gynecology with Duke Medicine asks her patients: “Why don’t you think about the three top things that are important to you before you come to see me the next time?'” she said. “That way, we are making sure that your needs are being met, in addition to whatever boxes we need to check off to get the routine things covered.” Of course, for the many women in this country who lack access to quality, affordable health care, getting in to see a doctor is easier said than done. But if anything, that probably makes prepping ahead even more important. 2. Get to know your breasts. Several studies make the case against monthly self breast exams, finding they both needlessly worry healthy women, and give those who miss lumps a false sense of security. But Cooper disagrees: “I do encourage people to do a check once a month, after their period, in the shower,” she said. “Often, they do find their own breast lumps.” The American Cancer Society says that from age 20 on, all women should be told about the potential benefits and limitations of self breast exams so they can do what seems right to them. Those who choose not to do regular exams “should still know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to their doctor right away,” the group recommends. 3. Monitor your moles. Checking moles is very, very important,” said Dr. Nasreen Ghazi with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania. “Women who are fair skinned and have a lot of moles are [often] actually more cognizant of the mole thing, but women who are darker skinned should also be looking out.” Pay attention to the ABCDEs — asymmetry, border, color, diameter and whether and how any given mole is evolving — and try to do it around once a month. (Use a mirror and ask a friend to help check your back.) Oh, and wear sunscreen daily, too. “Even if you don’t burn, you’re still at risk for skin cancer,” Ghazi said. 4. Track your period. And your sex drive. A recent survey found that many women don’t understand basic reproductive concepts (like when ovulation typically occurs), but paying attention to your cycle makes it easier to alert your provider to any abnormalities. Potential red flags: “If you’re bleeding more days out of the month than not, or experiencing a lot of pain or heaviness of flow,” Cooper said. In the same vein, don’t pooh-pooh sexual health concerns, like painful intercourse. “Issues with lubrication, sex drive, or just being overly...

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Women’s Month 2014 | A month long plan for disease prevention

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 in Health Topics | 0 comments

Women’s Month 2014  |  A month long plan for disease prevention

          August is Women’s Month in SA, perfect time for us to put a spotlight on women’s health, young and old! Here is a month long plan for disease prevention, are you up for the challenge!     Day 1 Get a cholesterol test Many women worry a lot about breast cancer, when, in fact, heart disease is the number-one killer of women. Find out if you’re at risk.     Day 2 Stay positive In one study, participants who had heightened activity in a region of the brain associated with a positive attitude produced greater amounts of flu antibodies. Another study showed that people with sunny dispositions churned out more antibodies in response to vaccinations. Researchers aren’t clear on the connection, but they do know “the brain communicates with the immune system, and vice versa,” says Anna L. Marsland, PhD, the director of the Behavioral Immunology Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh.     Day 3 Up your calcium Many people don’t get enough calcium—which helps prevent osteoporosis—through diet alone. Women ages 19 to 50 should get 1,000 milligrams or eat three to four servings of foods high in the mineral (taken with vitamin D for absorption) daily.     Day 4 Boost your mood with exercise Exercise has a host of health benefits and can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions. But the best news is that it can improve your mood. One study found that for depressed people, exercise was as effective as antidepressant medication.     Day 5 Stay connected Having a good network of friends and family is associated with greater longevity, and loneliness is associated with a greater risk of heart disease. Do Facebook friends count? We like to think so.     Day 6 Reality-check your sex life Could you be a sex addict? If your sexual habits are out of control—wrecking relationships and disrupting your life in general—you could have a problem.     Day 7 Get a massage For the past three years, Mindy Hardwick, 38, of Lake Stevens, Wash., has dodged all the major bugs while volunteering at schools and a juvenile-detention center. Her secret weapon: a monthly massage.     Day 8 Cheers! Moderate drinking—no more than one drink a day for women—may shield you from cardiovascular disease and may even help avoid excess weight gain, according to research. Just be sure not to overdo it, and if you have risk factors or a family history that suggests you shouldn’t drink, don’t use it as an excuse to start. (And excess alcohol intake is associated with a higher breast cancer risk.)     Day 9 Have some fun in the sun Just 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure each day (sans sunscreen) can supply your daily need for vitamin D. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D may ward off diabetes, heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart disease, and maybe even the common cold. But don’t overdo it—too much sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer.     Day 10 See your dentist Dental health is about more than just pretty teeth. In particular, gum disease is linked to a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. So make that appointment!     Day 11 Skip the tanning bed While a little bit of sun is good, avoid roasting in a tanning bed. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently upped tanning beds from a probable to a known carcinogen.     Day 12 Hang out with healthy people Yes,...

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