Our health is our number resource and it is delicate and finite. Our ability to earn the money we do, provide for our families both monetarily or otherwise, and to find personal fulfillment through activities is reliant on our good health. While taking care of ourselves often falls on the priority list we cannot be present for others like we would like (or sometimes must) if we are not taking care of ourselves.
The Susan G. Komen foundation has made an immense impact on women’s health. They bring breast cancer awareness to the forefront year-round but especially in October. As said in an U.S. News article: “There is one thing all experts agree on: Breast cancer is a highly individual disease, influenced by genes, family history and unknown factors.”
Regular exams are key to breast health, and according to Mayo Clinic, these exams should be carried out by you. Self-exams are one of the top ways to prevent major health concerns. No one knows you, better than you. While looking for lumps through touch, also be sure to take note of abnormal pain or sensitivity.
If you are 40 or over you can add a yearly mammogram to your health checklist. But if you haven’t had a mammogram you may have some incorrect pre-conceived notions.
John Hopkins Medicine has taken some time to address myth’s surrounding mammograms such as:
Breast Cancer doesn’t run in your family, so you don’t need one.
o “More than 75 percent of women who have breast cancer have no family history.”
The radiation of the exam is too harmful.
o “There is constant background radiation in the world that we are exposed to every day. The radiation dose from a mammogram is equal to about two months of background radiation for the average woman.”
A mammogram will detect any type of cancer in your breast tissue.
o The denser the breast the more difficult detection may be. Breast ultrasound or MRI may be needed.
Your mammogram was normal last year so you don’t need one this year.
o Having an exam every year increases the chance of detection
Self Magazine created a great article on major tips for vaginal health. Most of them include some variation of knowing your body and taking care of it through basic self-care routines. The article also answers a few questions you might not feel comfortable asking. You can also check out Monistat's Website, they put together a great resource on symptoms, causes and treatments of some of the most common discomforts.
Cancer.gov has a great fact sheet on cervical cancer, did you know that: “Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with sexually transmitted oncogenic, or high-risk, types of human papillomavirus, or HPV. It can take 10 to 20 years or more for a persistent infection with a high-risk HPV type to develop into cancer.” Because it can take so much time to develop it is crucial to get regular Pap tests.
Other risk factors from cancer.net include:
· Oral Contraceptives
· Low Immune System
Prevention consist of:
· Regular Exams – about every 3 years
· HPV Vaccine – for women 9 – 45 years of age
· Practicing Safe Sex
In an article from WebMD they state “Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women. In women, the condition is responsible for about 29% of deaths, reports the CDC.” Taking care of heart and preventing it from disease is one of the easiest things we can do health wise. We can often multi-task by doing good things for our hearts with family and friends.
An article from Mayo Clinic lists these tips for prevention:
· No tobacco use
· 150 minutes a week of moderate activity
· Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
· Maintain a healthy weight, keeping BMI under 25
· Get enough sleep and manage stress
· Get regular screenings for: blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar