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Women’s health in national focus

May 1, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center , Salem News

To emphasize the importance of women's health in the United States, National Women's Health Week, May 8-14 kicks off on Mother's Day. Ladies, you take care of everyone around you. This is a time for you to see to your own health and well-being, guilt-free.

For many women, the issue of health care insurance coverage has been a huge influence on getting the care they needed. The Affordable Care Act is a tool for you to throw away your list of excuses and just get to it. You can choose your doctor and obtain services like mammograms, new baby care and well child visits.

There are some health priorities for women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Make your health a priority, physical and mental, and reduce your risks of certain diseases. The recommended exercise is 2-1/2 hours of moderate physical activity or 1-1/4 hours of vigorous physical activity per week. Exercise gets the blood flowing, sharpens your mind, and makes you feel good as well as being good for you.

Think about your diet, your eating habits. You need to have a healthy eating plan. Start by reading nutrition labels on the foods that you buy. For instance, to prevent heart disease and stroke, your diet should include fruits and vegetables, grains (whole wheat, oatmeal and brown rice), fat-free or low-fat milk products, fish, skinless poultry, lean red meats, dry beans, eggs, nuts, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar.

Get regular checkups and preventive screenings. Early detection puts time on your side.

Avoid risky behaviors. It takes only a moment to lock the seatbelt around you and may save your life. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, perhaps you will think about quitting.

See to your good mental health. For the brain to function well, you need enough rest every night. Managing your stress will reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Mental disorders common in women include anxiety (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, panic, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, social phobias, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, post-partum depression, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

Preadolescent girls and boys become equally depressed but by adolescence more girls than boys suffer it. By the time a woman is post-menopausal she is less likely to become depressed. Depression is not a normal part of aging. Causes of depression in women may be genetic, a chemical or hormonal imbalance, premenstrual dyphoric disorder, postpartum depression, menopause, trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, abuse or poverty. A stressful situation like caring for children and aging parents creates high stress. A combination of major life changes increases the risks of depression.

Depression can coexist with other conditions: anorexia or bulimia nervosa, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse, as well as chronic or life-threatening illness.

May 9 is the 12th annual National Check-up Day. You may not be able to get into the doctor's office by then, but you can set the wheels in motion by calling your healthcare provider, hearing, vision, gynecological doctors and making appointments. You are worth it.

Think about it. If something happens to you, what will happen to your loved ones when you aren't there to take care of them?

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs. Contact us for more information at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; and e-mail, FRC is funded by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-Women's Set Aside Funding.



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