4 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Women’s Health Problem
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What disease kills more American women than any other?
If you answered anything except heart disease then you must read this article. According to the American Heart Association heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women. They are two of the many cardiovascular diseases that kill nearly 500,000 women each year. That’s more than the next seven causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
1. Get your cholesterol tested every year. Many women don’t know they have high cholesterol. They assume that heart disease is a man’s problem. Even many doctors don’t realize the risk that women have of heart disease so they fail to suggest testing.
2. Increase your weekly exercise. We now know that as little as 10 minutes of exercise three times a week can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk the dog a little bit longer each day. Get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite music
while you clean the house. Walk during your lunch hour instead of eating at your desk.
3. Eat more fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and high in fiber. They contain heart healthy nutrients. Leafy greens are particularly healthy. Orange juice is high in folic acid, a nutrient known to protect the heart and prevent birth defects. Add one vegetable or fruit to every meal and you will likely double your current intake. You can make it easier by keeping prepared vegetables in the refrigerator to throw into a salad or munch on for snacks.
4. Learn about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS affects as many as 5-10% of all women. It is one of the most common endocrine disorders and is one of the most common causes of infertility. PCOS is a cluster of symptoms that can include: unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight, depression or mood swings, painful or irregular periods, absent periods, acne, hair loss, unexpected hair growth (face, arms, stomach, etc.), infertility, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. Untreated PCOS can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer. Protecting your heart is easier than you might think and it will reward you every moment of every day. Take care of yourself. You are worth it!
Julie Lenz is a life coach who helps professional women cope with the effects of chronic illness. She writes the weekly e-newsletter “PCOS Success!” She is also the author of “A PCOS Daybook: Daily Meditations for Coping With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome” to be released May 2004.