By making healthier lifestyle choices and receiving regular wellness exams and preventive screenings, women can reduce certain health risks. It’s never too late to become a healthier you.
Here are 10 things you can do to help you live longer, live better and live happier.
- Be informed.
Learn about health promotion and disease prevention and ask your healthcare provider for specific information regarding your needs.
- Be good to your bones.
For healthy bones, be sure to replenish your stock of calcium every day with calcium-rich foods, such as milk and other dairy products, tofu, leafy green vegetables, canned salmon or sardines and calcium-fortified juices or breads. It is recommended to consume 3 cups of fat-free, low-fat or milk substitutes per day. Speak with your healthcare provider about calcium supplements.
- Drink in moderation and avoid illegal drugs.
For women, the definition of moderate drinking stops at one drink a day. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines a drink as one 5-ounce glass of wine, one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Remember that the alcohol content of each type of drink can vary widely. Where illicit drugs are concerned, there is no such thing as “moderate” use.
- Take medicine wisely.
Read the labels, follow the instructions carefully, and remind your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any other medicines or supplements you might be taking. For your safety, to lower your risk for adverse side effects or medicine interactions, you should let your healthcare provider know if you use any illicit or “recreational” drugs. If you have any questions about possible side effects, call your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
- Play it safe.
Avoid injuries. Buckle up. Wear a bike helmet. Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Wear sunscreen, UV protected sunglasses and dress appropriately. Also, practice safe sex by using condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
- Get checked.
Get regular checkups, preventive exam and immunizations. Do not forget self-exams too. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women have their first Pap test at age 21. Women ages 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. Women 30 and older are recommended to have co-testing every 5 years.
- Don’t smoke.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in our country.
- Eat smart.
Remember to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Enjoy a variety of foods with a balance of food from each food group. It is recommended to eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Get moving.
The other secret to good health: just 30 minutes of physical activity, accumulated over the course of each day, can radically improve the way you look and feel, both physically and mentally.
- Be happy.
Take time for yourself. Practice mindfulness and meditation. Get connected with family, friends and your community.
Click here to visit Touro’s Health Library to learn more about women’s health.
Dr. Jennifer Laguaite is an OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. She earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed post graduate training at Ochsner Medical Center. Dr. Laguaite cares for patients at two convenient locations, Uptown and Old Metairie.