Happy Mother's Day! Hopefully, you sent your mom flowers, cards, etc. (or at least gave a phone call). In thinking about mom (and all the women in our lives), it's important to remember their health. And, what better way to honor and celebrate the women in our lives than to support their health during National Women’s Health Week. Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation issued a new report on Women’s Health and it’s clear that many women put their family obligations and friends ahead of their health. Here are five suggestions for women (or the women in your lives) to take control of their health:
5 Ways to Take Control of Your Health During May Women’s Health Week
1. There’s a Doctor in the House. This month, schedule an appointment with your health care professional to receive your regular checkups and preventive screenings. The new health care reform legislation requires new health plans to cover recommended preventive services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and well-baby and well-child screenings without charging deductibles, co-payments, or co-insurance. It also assures women the right to see an OB/GYN without having to obtain a referral first. To learn more about the new benefits and cost savings available, please visit http://www.healthcare.gov/.
2. Move! Exercise is critical to staying healthy and managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis pain. And, exercise can help prevent more serious complications, such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in diabetics. With the responsibilities of work and family, it’s understandable that it might seem impossible to find the time and motivation to get moving. But physical activity can be as simple as taking the stairs, taking a walk at lunch with coworkers, setting a good example for your family by playing with your children outside, or going dancing with friends or family.
3. "Winning" by unwinding. Many women feel heavy stress from health, economic, and family issues, including health problems of their family members, financial concerns, and career challenges. Mental health is an often overlooked but critical aspect of women’s health care. Pay attention to your mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress to help prevent chronic disease. Take some “me time” to relax and meditate. Give yourself a pat on the back for taking steps to better health.
4. Food for Thought. An important factor in preventing chronic diseases is to maintain a healthy weight. Eating a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy, and “good fat” is easier than think. Eating right for you also sets a good example for your family.
5. No Smoking! Avoid risky behaviors, such as smoking. Speak with your health care provider and your employer about benefits and resources available to help you quit like the one available to Federal Employees and retirees