Heart disease – it is the #1 killer of women in America. Cardiovascular disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 American women’s deaths each year. Breast cancer takes 1 in 31 American women’s lives each year. In spite of these numbers, many women live more in fear of breast cancer striking than heart disease. Both are important women’s health issues; both deserve the time and attention of all women. Be in the know about heart disease and women. Know the warning signs, know the risk factors, and know how to stay healthy. Heart disease is not just a man’s disease; it is not just for “old” people; it does not occur just in frail or inactive people. Get the facts. What are you doing to take care of your heart?
I know what you’re thinking – who doesn’t have stress? It’s a fact of life. True, but there are lots of things you can do to manage chronic daily stress. And, there are many reasons beyond headaches and ragged relationships to pay attention to your stress level. The biggest reason – it affects your health. Stress can cause your immune system to falter, it can play havoc with your blood pressure and heart rate, your digestive system can go crazy and your appetite can go whacky. When stress levels are high, creativity goes out the door and options don’t seem to exist. One of the biggest downsides to stress – it ages you! Who needs that? So get on it! Visit the Stress Center for coping resources. Try some natural relaxation techniques to chill out. Only have 5 minutes? That’s okay – try these ideas. Quick tips to keep your stress in check:
- Meditate – it’s a mini vacation!
- Practice deep breathing
- Practice yoga
- Spend time with positive people
- Connect – get (or give) a hug!
- Get up and move – stretch it out
- Get some sunlight
- Take a nap
- Change your environment – take a 5 minute walk
- Read a book
- Take a day trip
In the course of our conversation at a meeting, I was stunned to learn that my table mate had suffered a stroke. She was all of 34. She looked “normal” – she was bright, conversive, and appeared to be in reasonably good physical condition. Imagine my shock. You see, I know about strokes. Old people have them. In fact, my Dad died from one. Way back in my memory, I knew younger people could have one but somehow I had chosen to ignore that fact. This conversation brought it back, front and center. No matter what your age, you should know the warning signs of a stroke. This woman did and that’s what saved her from a lifetime of disability, or worse – death. How about you? Do you know the warning signs? Take a minute to get in touch with your blood pressure. Know your numbers and understand what they mean. Record your numbers on a tracking sheet that you can give your doctor. If your blood pressure tends to be high, buy a home blood pressure monitor. If you are uncertain how to use it, check out the online instructional video. You’ll be a pro in no time. Remember how to spot the signs… F: Face Drooping A: Arm Weakness S: Speech Difficulty T: Time to Call 911
Your colon is a critical part of your plumbing system. After so many years, you need to have a look at the pipes to be sure everything is working well, check for general wear and tear, and find anything that could cause a future disaster. Just like the pipes in your home, it’s easy to put off an inspection and it’s never convenient when the system goes down. No one likes surprises. So, do yourself a favor. Read the Screening Guidelines. Get checked, if it’s your time. Use the resources on Your Colon. Read Straight Talk About Colon Cancer. As a friend of mine says, “Colonoscopies are like plungers. It’s better to get one before you absolutely need it.”
Feeling a little embarrassed to talk about your colon? Colon health isn’t really “coffee table talk”, but come on – we all own one! So, get comfortable with your colon. Talk to your doctor. Learn the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer. Know the screening guidelines. Get a free at-home kit. Review the resources; walk through the “inflatable colon”. Colon embarrassment is not worth dying over. For a practical and fun take on colonoscopies, watch the 2.5 minute “Jo-Jo Video”.
Not counting some forms of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, and second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths (CDC). Know the symptoms and risk factors. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and there are numerous free or low-cost screening clinics across Idaho beginning on 9/11. If you’re in the Treasure Valley area, register for the FREE Noon-hour seminar Are You Man Enough? presented on 9/27 by Dr. Linda Lam with the Saint Alphonsus Medical Group. Lunch is provided as part of this seminar so register now! Women are welcome to register. Stop with the old worn-out excuses … No news is good news… I feel just fine… Why borrow trouble?… My wife/partner takes care of those things… I just don’t have the time or money right now… Don’t let excuses stand in the way of your good health!