Women’s Health: 5 Tips for Preventing 3 Top DiseasesPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Some diseases don’t fight fair. Why do we say that? Well, some diseases affect women at a higher rate than men. Take, for example, these three:
- Osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 8 million (or 80%) are women. And about half of all women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
- Arthritis. The various types of joint ailments that are grouped together as arthritis are more likely to affect women than men. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 60% of all people who have arthritis are female. And several of the more common forms are more prevalent in women.
- Heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the U.S. Every year, it kills more women year than cancer, lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease and accidents, combined. Women are also more likely to die within a year of having a heart attack than men are.1
National Women’s Health Week is May 14 – 20 this year. It’s an annual observance whose purpose is to empower women to make their health a priority, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health.
It turns out that a few small healthy lifestyle changes could do a lot to help prevent those diseases that pose the greatest threat to women’s health. In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Medicare Made Clear encourages you to consider making a few changes to your life to help protect your bones, joints and heart and keep you as healthy as possible. They include:
1. Partner with your doctor. Working with your doctor, you can create a wellness plan for you that includes disease prevention or treatment. That’s what your annual wellness visit is for, so make sure you make an appointment. And if your doctor prescribes medication to help, make sure you take it.
2. Eat healthy. Plan a balanced diet that includes lots of whole foods. Include low-fat protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods that are high in sodium and saturated fat. And make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D.
3. Get moving. Being physically active can help protect your heart from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can also help keep your joints moving smoothly and help you maintain healthy bone mass. Look for weight-bearing, low-impact exercise, like walking and low-impact aerobics. Strength training is great for overall health as well. Make sure to check with your doctor before starting an exercise plan.
4. Get to and maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight can be hard on your joints and bones. It also puts you at risk for heart disease. If you’re overweight, work with your doctor to make a plan to lose weight safely.
5. Quit smoking and limit your drinking. Smoking is harmful to your overall health, and too much alcohol can be bad for your heart and bones. If you smoke, make a plan to quit today. And keep it down to a few alcoholic drinks a week.
Taking care of women’s health is important, and disease prevention is part of that. Honor yourself this May by taking steps to live a healthier life, and you’ll do yourself and those close to you a great service.
1 Women and Heart Disease, AARP Health & Wellness, 2011.
Office on Women’s Health: Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Medicare & You: The U.S. government’s official Medicare handbook, available online.
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