Observing National Women’s Health Week – May 12-18, 2013
Women in the United States face a number of issues when it comes to their physical and mental health. Unfortunately, as many statistics show, these important health areas aren’t being addressed to the capacity they should. Women tend to eschew with things and want to take care of everyone except themselves; this is a trend that has to stop. If you are sick or are not getting the care you need to be as healthy as possible, how could you possibly help anyone else? It’s an impossibility, one that needs to be reiterated from time to time publicly.
If you really want to be a good ‘caregiver’, take care of yourself first. Don’t ignore it when things don’t seem right with you — do something about it now.
National Women’s Health Week runs from May 12 through 18th this year with the goal of getting women across the nation to take the right steps toward improving their health. Now is an opportune time to get those key preventive screenings done (depending on your age), such as:
- Osteoporosis screening (check your bone mineral density – over 50)
- Breast cancer screening (mammogram testing – suggested starting age 40)
- Colorectal cancer screening (commonly with colonoscopies or similar – over 50)
- Diabetes screening (all ages – this is a pervasive epidemic in our country)
- Blood pressure & cholesterol testing (check your heart – over 18)
- Cervical cancer screening (pap smear test – generally over 18)
- STD testing (if you’re sexually active, you should get this checked regularly)
In addition to seeing your doctor to get preventive testing done, it’s probably a good time to look at your lifestyle. Are you active? Are you eating healthy? There’s no better time than the present to get your sneakers on and start walking, or to start an exercise regimen. Do something active that you love! It could be dancing (like Zumba) or softball… whatever it is, make it a fun activity. There are so many health benefits to leading an active lifestyle — increased energy, lower blood pressure, lower chance of obesity, lower risk of various cancers… and it downright makes you feel good.
In a nation where obesity has become a veritable epidemic, eating right is critically important these days. While everyone’s nutritional needs are different, we can likely all agree upon several things:
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruit;
- Eat more whole grains than refined;
- Limit meat consumption to a handful of times a week;
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Keep sugar intake to a minimum, especially refined sugars
Eating well and exercising is great, but if you surround yourself with stress and other anxieties, it can make your mental health and overall wellness seem not worth the effort. It’s hard sometimes, especially for working mothers or anyone caring for family members, or perhaps your job is particularly stressful. It’s key to get these stresses under control; they have a direct link to your body’s response and health as a whole. If you feel like it’s getting too much, reach out for help through some counseling or a support group. Confide in a trusted friend. Find a positive outlet to release your stress. It’s sure better than bottling it up inside of you.
Although this is one week out of a year that is observed to raise awareness of women’s health issues, women should keep this at the forefront of their minds as they go about their daily lives. Our health, our lives, our bodies… are all we have. If we treat them well, they’ll be around for a long time to come.
For more information on National Women’s Health Week, check out their website at: http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/.
(Source of top image: http://www.winchesterfamilyhealth.com/womens-health/)