Posted on May 14, 2018
National Women’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day each year and is a reminder to women to take care of themselves and to make their health a priority.
Yesterday families across the country gathered to celebrate the woman who cooks for them, does laundry for them, drives them to after school practices and games, and basically makes life wonderful: Mom. For the most part, moms are wired to be caregivers. They look after and take care of their children, spouse, perhaps parents or even a sibling, and a neighbor or friend in need. Who’s missing from that list? Mom, herself!
It’s becoming more and more common for women to focus on the health and well being of others without taking the time to care for themselves. If they get sick or injured, those who depend on them can suffer. This just adds more stress for an already overworked mom.
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for moms to maintain a healthy diet and remain active. When you don’t feel well, see a doctor. In fact, you should visit a doctor once a year to stave off problems before they start.
Preventive Care and Screenings
Protect your health by getting the care you need to prevent disease, disability, and injuries. Regular check-ups are important—preventive care can keep disease away or detect problems early, when treatment is more effective. Talk to your doctor to learn more about what screenings and exams you need and when.
Go out there and enjoy the spring and summer weather. Physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health and has many benefits, including lowering your risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women.
Adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity that requires moderate effort. You don’t have to do it all at once, but be sure to get at least 10 minutes of exercise at a time. You should perform strengthening activities (including all major muscle groups) at least two days a week.
More than one out of four older people falls each year and women fall more often than men. Strength and balance training can help reduce falls.
Watch Your Diet
Nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. A healthy eating plan includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat free and low-fat milk and other dairy products, lean meats, and is low in salt, saturated and trans fats, and added sugars. Learn the basics and move toward a lifestyle of healthier eating habits.
Folic acid is a B vitamin. Our bodies use it to make new cells and everyone needs folic acid. It’s also important to help prevent major birth defects when pregnant. Women who could become pregnant need 400 micrograms (400 mcg) of folic acid each day. Two easy ways you can meet your quota are to take a vitamin that has folic acid in it each day or eat a bowl of breakfast cereal with 100% of the daily value of folic acid each day. Folic acid pills and most multivitamins sold in the U.S. have 100% of the daily value of folic acid, but check the label to be sure.
Don’t drink too much alcohol. Excessive alcohol use can increase the risk of many harmful health conditions and can lead to the development of chronic diseases. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation: Just one drink per day for women.
Mental Health Matters
Research shows that positive mental health is associated with improved health. We all experience stress at times so it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with stress. Make yourself familiar with the symptoms of depression, these include a loss of energy or a lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
If you think you may be depressed, the first step to seeking treatment is to talk to your health care provider. Remember, depression is not your fault. By asking for support, you’re helping both yourself and your family.
Practice Makes Perfect
Your daily decisions influence your overall health. Even the smallest actions help keep you safe and healthy while setting a good example for others.
- Stay up-to-date on cancer screening tests and protect your skin from the sun when outdoors.
- Getting enough sleep is important for overall health. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
- Avoid distracted driving, which is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from the road. Each day in this country, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver.
- Take prescription medicine only as directed by a health care provider. More than 7,000 women died from overdose of prescription opioids in 2016.
- Be smoke free. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects your overall health.
Get started on the journey to healthy living today. Take this “What’s your health score?” quiz to find out how much you know (or don’t!) about proper serving proportions and eating a balanced diet. Whether you’re in your 20s or 90s, it’s important for you (and those who love you) to take the time needed to care for yourself. Remember: The simple steps you take today will build a foundation to last a lifetime.
Coastal Carolina Health Care (CCHC) offers primary and specialty care services with offices located in New Bern and Morehead City. We also operate the CCHC Urgent Care located in New Bern, off McCarthy Boulevard. CCHC is physician owned and operated and always welcomes new patients. If you would like more information, or would like to join the CCHC family, call our Patient Information Line today at (252) 633-4111 or visit www.cchchealthcare.com.
(Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; World Health Organization; DHEC’s Health and Environment Blog; Community Health Magazine; and Huffington Post.)