This guest post is from James Humble, a health instructor for a local community college. He’s working on his second book.
According to the American Heart Association, roughly 90 percent of women carry one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease — the killer of one out of every three females each year. The good news is that with the right forms of prevention, there may be no need for a cure.
Good mental and physical health begins with you. Paying attention to lifestyle habits like diet, nutrition and exercise go a long way in helping you look and feel your best without drug therapy. While you should always listen to the advice your health professional gives you, it doesn’t hurt to play a proactive role in the way your own body functions. Online resources like MeMD can give you fast consultations on any ailment you may have so you can stay on top of your health. Taking care of everyone else rates high on every mom’s list, but don’t forget to invest time in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for yourself as well.
Dodging the Heart Disease Bullet
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease was the number one killer of women in the United States as recently as 2010 — nearly one woman dies every minute from this debilitating condition. Perhaps the most surprising factor of all is that cardiovascular disease is mostly preventable. Making simple lifestyle changes greatly improves your chances of dodging this deadly bullet. If you’re a smoker, now is the time to stop. Ramp up your cardio regimen using at-home resources like the video workouts, and perhaps most importantly — watch what you eat. Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend amending your current diet in the following ways:
- Control Your Portions
- Eat Plenty of Fresh or Frozen Fruits and Veggies
- Go Easy on the Salt
- Avoid Saturated Fats
- Eat Plenty of Whole Grains
Closing the Door on Cancer
Cancer claims the second spot on the killers-of-women checklist. While breast cancer affects more women each year, lung cancer actually has a higher mortality rate. The CDC recommends taking the following precautions to help prevent the onset of lung cancer:
- Stop Smoking
- Avoid Exposure to Secondhand Smoke
- Test Your Home for Radon Gas
- Limit Your Exposure to Radiation (X-rays)
- Practice Safe Handling of Toxins and Pollutants in the Workplace
Striking Out Strokes
Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain becomes blocked. As brain cells are starved of blood, they begin to die. When brain cells die, your body loses function in that area. Typical areas affected by stroke include speech, memory and movement.
Stroke prevention involves enlisting the aid of your family doctor or other medical professional to help monitor the way your body functions. Factors like out-of-control blood pressure and too-high cholesterol levels are major contributors to strokes in women. The National Stroke Association recommends you take the following precautions to strike out a stroke:
- Keep an Eye on Blood Pressure
- Stop Smoking
- Control Your Intake of Alcohol
- Take Care of Diabetes
- Know Your Cholesterol Level
Maintaining Your Mental Health
Your mental state is every bit as important as your physical health. If you feel tired, depressed and run down, it’s difficult to do the things you need to accomplish each day — important tasks like fixing meals for your children or getting the bills in the mail. Keep your mental state in tip-top form by following these suggestions from WomensHealth.gov:
- Include Vitamins and Minerals in Your Daily Diet — Folate, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Iron, Zinc and Omega 3
- Exercise to Produce Endorphins
- Establish a Strict Sleep Routine — No Sleeping In or Staying Up Late on a Regular Basis
- Manage Your Stress Levels