National Women’s Health Week (May 8-May 14, 2022)

Generations of Women

Celebrating the Importance of Women’s Health

It is vital for all women and girls, especially those with underlying health conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and women aged 65+ years and older to take care of their health, especially now, considering COVID-19 and its lingering effects.

National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) is May 8 through May 14 to raise awareness of the many things you can do to maximize your health throughout all the stages of your life, from teens through the golden years.

Your Capital Women’s care team addresses important women’s health issues to pay specific attention to, including nutrition, mental health and wellbeing, healthy weight, heart and bone health and mobility during teen, reproductive years, peri- through menopausal years and senior post-menopausal years to help you prioritize your health and take care of yourself.

Initiating and maintaining healthy practices, no matter what your age, provides you with the best opportunity to enjoy a long quality life.

Healthy Basics

Foundations for good health include:

It’s important to remember that every daily decision influences and impacts your overall health, now and in the years to come.

Teen Years

By establishing good habits in their teens, young women set the foundation for having a healthy life. Teen girls should:

  • initiate healthy eating habits. Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder) frequently present during adolescence. They are serious and sometimes fatal illnesses that alter behaviors, thoughts, and emotions, with rates higher among girls than boys.

  • establish stress management and coping strategies. Bullying, self-esteem issues, depression and loneliness compound teen years and if overwhelming can lead to suicide. Effective stress management and coping strategies lead to good mental health and wellbeing while providing a strong foundation for managing personal mental health throughout adulthood. Voice feelings to a trustworthy friend or adult with whom you are close to determine wise choices.

  • develop personal boundaries and healthy behaviors. Avoid recreational drugs, unprotected sex, plus tobacco, vaping and alcohol use.  Talk to a trusted adult about unhealthy consequences such risky behaviors incite.

  • begin reproductive healthcare. Contact your local Capital Women’s Care practice to schedule your initial reproductive health exam. Be aware of sexually transmitted infections and diseases, including HIV/AIDS; safe sex practices; birth control methods to avoid unplanned pregnancy; and HPV vaccination to reduce threat of cervical cancer.

  • be active. Exercise not only helps you to maintain a healthy weight, but it also boosts mood and feelings of wellbeing and can lessen adverse effects of menstrual cycles. Choose an activity you enjoy, whether it’s biking, volleyball or dance classes at the local gym. Prioritizing activity and fitness helps maintain mobility, boosts heart health and decreases risk of osteoporosis as aging occurs.

  • get enough sleep. Make sure you get ample sleep daily. Poor sleep habits adversely affect physical health and development, decision making and mental wellbeing. Strive to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night and establish a relaxing bedtime routine.

Reproductive Years

The reproductive years incorporate many physical and mental changes, largely in part due to fluctuations in hormone balance due to monthly menstrual cycles and pregnancy. Women should:

  • monitor monthly menstrual cycles. Note any changes in schedule or symptoms, especially important if you wish to conceive. Schedule well woman check-ups yearly to address reproductive health issues (infertility, gynecological cancers and other pertinent screenings, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS] and birth control, to name a few.)

  • be aware of your mental health. Depression, anxiety disorders and other such mental health issues affect more women than men. Have a daily check-in with yourself and if your symptoms persist, seek help from a professional mental health practitioner.

  • establish a personal preconception health plan before trying to conceive. Discuss your health goals plus your pre-existing health conditions including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diabetes, thyroid disease, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases with your local Capital Women’s Care practitioner before becoming pregnant. Doing so allows you to maximize your health to increase chance of experiencing a healthy pregnancy and delivery of a healthy baby.

  • know your numbers. Get recommended checks on your blood pressure, blood sugar and weight based on your personal and family health histories so you can reduce your heart disease, stroke and diabetes risks.

  • eat a diet with foods containing folic acid (leafy green vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits) to help prevent risk of birth defects during pregnancy.

  • establish mammography within your personal health plan at age 40 or as recommended by your practitioner based on your personal health and family histories to optimize breast health.

  • maintain prenatal healthcare during each pregnancy. It’s important to see your OB/GYN practitioner as early as possible during each pregnancy to ensure both you and your baby’s health.

  • institute self-care to manage stress. Managing career, home, parenthood, and relationship with your partner is a busy season within a woman’s life. Managing stress effectively controls your blood pressure and wards off additional health problems like gastrointestinal issues, back pain, sleep difficulties, relationship conflicts and abdominal weight gain. Turn to yoga, tai chi, dance, meditation or a favorite hobby and be physically active to maintain mental and physical health.

Peri- and Menopausal Years

Menopause usually occurs between 45 to 55 years of age and is defined as an absence of menstrual cycles for 12 months in a row. Menstrual cycles stop due to ceased estrogen and progesterone production by the ovaries.

Women who have experienced menopause face increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, weight gain plus urinary tract infection and incontinence.

Women within this age bracket should:

  • increase intake of foods with calcium and Vitamin D (like seafood, fruit, low-fat dairy, and egg yolks to prevent osteoporosis.

  • schedule a baseline colonoscopy at age 45 years to catch potential colorectal cancer before it becomes a serious health threat.

  • have blood pressure and cholesterol screenings each year to monitor heart health and watch for heart disease and stroke risks.

  • maintain physical activity to retain mobility and quality of life. Many older adults who don’t get physical activity risk mobility issues affecting their everyday quality of life. The more you move, the greater your mobility and balance as you age while lessening risk of serious falls that lead to bone fractures.

65-Plus Years

Women are more likely to develop multiple health problems as they age, according to research.

Women in this age bracket should:

  • get annual bone density screenings beginning at age 65 years. Women 65 years and older are at greater risk for problems with their bones, which is why most doctors recommend annual bone density screenings beginning at age 65.

  • monitor your health for recurring memory or cognitive problems. Older women are more prone to memory or cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Follow a healthy, varied diet to ensure proper nutrition.

  • keep tabs on your wellbeing and mental health. Be involved in your community, enjoy a reading group or travel with others to keep your mind engaged and avoid loneliness, a key component of depression, which affects women more than men, with increased risk in women’s senior years.

  • get pneumonia and flu vaccines each year to avoid risk of complications from both illnesses that can cause serious and lasting health effects.

  • maintain heart health by eating a healthy diet, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol plus getting daily exercise. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women within the U.S., with 20% of U.S. women’s deaths directly attributed to heart disease. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood sugar checked regularly as recommended by your practitioner.

  • keep moving and get daily exercise. Women age 65+ with a history of a sedentary lifestyle often have difficulty carrying out daily activities like dressing, walking and bathing without help and are prone to falls accompanied with serious injuries that shorten lifespan. Exercise helps retain mobility, agility and balance plus keeps joint pain associated with arthritis in check.

  • have hearing and vision checkups to monitor for potential hearing and vision loss. Regular checkups can help detect problems early when treatment is more likely to yield favorable outcomes, helping to maintain quality of life and independence.

Your Capital Women’s Care team of knowledgeable health professionals are here for you throughout the seasons of your life to ensure you receive the best comprehensive care and treatment, so you enjoy a long quality life.

Sources:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/about
https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/find-your-healthing of
https://www.cdc.gov/women/nwhw/index.htm
https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/healthtips/ask-our-expert-5-health...
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/take-char...
https://www.cdc.gov/preconception/women.html
https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/womensrh/index.htm
https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health
https://www.grmedcenter.com/womens-health/
https://www.ncoa.org/
https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/women%27s-health-an...
https://www.womenshealthaz.com/perimenopause-what-you-need-to-know-in-yo...
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/topics/womens-health
https://www.fda.gov/consumers/womens-health-topics/5-healthy-aging-tips-...

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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