Get Healthy Carson City: National Women’s Health Week: Healthy looks good at any age
May 14, 2018
This column appears in the Nevada Appeal's Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Join women across the country in saying "yes" to making health a priority. Often women are caretakers for children, grandchildren or other family members while also maintaining a career. This leaves little room to fit in "me" time. This week, give yourself permission to focus on you and your health. Even small changes can make big differences in your health. Use our checklist to see what you might focus on for yourself and your health this week in honor of National Women's Health Week, May 13-19.
Take a health quiz
What is your health score? Take a quiz at https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/quiz.
Schedule your annual well women check-up
A well woman physical is recommended once every 12 months. This is time for you to talk with your doctor about what concerns you have about your health and the health goals you want to achieve. Preventive health screenings are often a part of this examination. One such screening, a Pap test, looks for abnormal cervical cell changes, while the HPV test can detect the virus that causes cervical cancer (human papillomavirus or HPV). Having your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked can lead to treatment that can prevent heart disease or a stroke. Discussing your diet and exercise can determine if you need your blood sugar screened, which can help find diabetes. Ask about needed vaccinations. Use the following resource to get preventive health recommendations just for you: https://healthfinder.gov/myhealthfinder/.
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Schedule a dental cleaning
A dental checkup is recommended once every six months. When did you see the dentist last? Did you know that good dental health can improve a woman's heart health as well?
Schedule 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity each week. Aerobic activity, or "cardio," gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. Spread your activity out during the week so you can break exercise up into smaller chunks of time during the day. You receive health benefits as long as you're doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time. It's about what works best for you.
Care for your mental health
Schedule as little as 20 minutes each day just for you. Take a few deep breathes at the beginning and end of this time. Use the time to listen to music, take a walk by yourself, and consider a hobby just for you. Depression is a true and treatable medical condition. If you are feeling hopeless, lose interest or pleasure in hobbies you once enjoyed, or feel sadness and anxiety for weeks at a time; don't carry these feelings alone. Talk to a friend and your doctor.
Carson City has many resources to help care for you when you want to end behaviors of addiction. For information on alcoholics anonymous or overeaters anonymous try these resources: http://www.simeetings.com/LA/NV/CarsonCityMtgs.html and http://www.oanns.org/meetings/local-meetings.htmare.
Other stress relievers: Yoga, Qigong Tai Chi, Intuitive Eating, Breast Feeding Support Group, Soft Strength for cancer patients, and Alzheimer's Caregiver Group can all be found at Carson Tahoe Health, https://www.carsontahoe.com/calendar.html.
Get help to quit smoking: Call 1-800 QUITLINE. The single most important thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking or never start.
Women have unique nutritional needs, particularly when it comes to calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, iron and folic acid. Nutritional needs change during pregnancy, when breastfeeding, or menopausal. Go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlatePlan. There you can find out how many calories are recommended based on your height, age and physical activity level. You can also take a quiz to test your knowledge about dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins. And you can find resources to reach your goals on a budget.
Take care of your health one step at a time. No one deserves it more than you!