We’ve all heard the old proverb, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but is it really true? Actually, it’s not, according to researchers who found that apple eaters generally used the same amount of health care services as people who don’t eat apples.
Most people think of doctors only when they’re injured or sick, but they can also be a valuable teammate in the quest for good health. Here at Advanced Infectious Disease Medical, Dr. Avisheh Forouzesh offers guidance and support to women at all stages of their health journeys. In addition to keeping you up to date on immunizations, she can offer help with losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle, and address concerns as you enter each new phase of life.
While improving your health can seem daunting, even small shifts can produce big results. Here’s our list of 5 tips you can use to stay well.
1. Stay up to date
The best time to catch a problem is before it starts, so stay up to date on your annual physical, which should include a blood pressure check and breast exam along with other possible screenings, such as checking your cholesterol levels and additional blood work. Depending on your age and family history, other preventive assessments could include a pelvic exam and Pap smear, mammogram, bone density testing, and STD screening.
In addition to getting an annual flu shot, make sure your other immunizations are current. Ask whether you need vaccinations for tetanus, pneumonia, hepatitis B, or human papillomavirus (HPV), as well as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
2. Reduce the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States, so reducing your risk is key. Here are some tips to cut your risk:
- Stay active and aim for cardio exercise like walking, dancing, biking, or swimming for 30 minutes 4-5 days a week. Start gradually if you’re new to exercise.
- Watch your weight and eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and fiber, while limiting sugar, fat, and salt.
- If high blood pressure is an issue, work to keep it under control.
- If you have diabetes, be sure to check your glucose regularly to maintain steady blood sugar numbers.
- If you smoke, stop.
- If you experience any chest pain or left arm pain, go to the ER or notify your doctor.
3. Discuss menopause issues
Menopause is a normal part of life, but that doesn’t mean the transition is always easy. Physical symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep problems as well as emotional issues like mood changes and confusion can leave you feeling tired and cranky. If these problems or others are bothering you, treatment options are available.
4. Know your family history
A complete family history covers three generations of relatives including immediate family members — parents, children, and siblings as well as grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Because family members share genes, environment, and lifestyle, knowing your relatives’ health status can help you discern whether you might be at greater risk for developing a certain ailment.
While family history is no guarantee you’ll develop a particular disorder (or that you won’t get one that no one in your family has), the knowledge can help you take proactive steps to reduce your risk, including modifying lifestyle behaviors and undergoing screenings.
Stress can cause physical ailments, including headaches, high blood pressure, and heart problems, as well as mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Take 30-60 minutes each day to de-stress, either first thing in the morning, at midday, or at the end of the day. Whether it’s doing yoga, practicing meditation, or even just listening to music, you can explore what activity helps you relax and recharge, and make it a regular part of your daily routine.