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number 40 smThe fifth decade of life is often a period of great transition for women. The nest may be emptying at the same time that your reproductive years are coming to an end. Reaching age 40 can be a turning point for your health, so here are a handful of tips to make it easier.

1. Know Your Numbers
It's important to know your readings for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and body weight. These numbers can indicate your risk for some serious conditions. Higher blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Higher blood sugar and body weight can indicate a risk for type-2 diabetes. Visit your doctor for a blood sugar test and cholesterol check and find out your blood pressure.

 

2. Climb Your Family Tree
Completing a family health history can help you learn if genetics increase your risks for some diseases. Conditions like colon cancer and heart disease can have a strong genetic component. If your family history dictates it, you may want to begin screening sooner that is typically recommended, to find out if treatment needs to start now.

3. Butt Out
If you're smoking, reaching age 40 should be your wake-up call to kick the habit.  Quitting can lower your risk for everything from lung cancer and emphysema to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. When you quit smoking in your 40s, your risk of stroke and diabetes drops to that of a non-smoker and your risk of lung cancer is cut in half after just five years.

4. “Lift” Your Metabolism
Your 40s are often when everything you eat begins to show up on your hips or waistline as metabolism slows down. Strength training can counteract this by improving the way your body burns calories. It also offers the added benefit of strengthening bones and building muscles to help you maintain better balance as you age.

5. Strengthen Those Ties That Bind
Relaxing with others reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, and even improves your relationship with your partner, so don't let friendships fall by the wayside. Women who socialize regularly through family, friends, volunteer organizations or religious groups have lower blood pressure, less diabetes, a reduced risk of heart disease, and fewer strokes.

 


woman hot flashIt's something that 75 percent of menopausal women experience, but just because hot flashes are common doesn't mean you should ignore them. It could be your body's signal to look for other health issues associated with menopause.

You should talk to your health care provider about hot flashes because if you're having symptoms that significantly impact your life, there may be other problems as well. Everything from painful intercourse to fragile bones and depression can be the result of menopause and a discussion with your doctor can open the door to exploring all the ways to address these issues.

That might be as simple as suggesting light exercise such as daily walking to fight menopausal weight gain that can lead to obesity. Exercise is also a proven stress reliever. Discussing hot flashes with your doctor may open a dialogue on the question of whether to consider hormone therapy.

Getting help for hot flashes also offers an opportunity to examine whether you're at a higher risk for bone-thinning osteoporosis. A bone scan may be needed to determine if additional treatment is necessary.

When you skip the discussion about hot flashes, you may also miss out on learning the latest about emerging treatments and new science regarding menopause. The Internet offers some reliable sources, but your doctor should be your primary contact for medical information because he or she knows you best.

You may be able to take the heat of hot flashes, but it might not be that simple. Talk with your doctor about hot flashes to find relief and ensure that you're in the best shape to live healthy all through menopause.

 


woman heart attackA heart attack doesn’t always feel the same in women as it does in men, and knowing the symptoms you may experience can make the difference for survival.

It's an important distinction because heart attacks are more deadly for women. That's why the American Heart Association is hoping to raise awareness about key differences in heart attack indicators in women.

A first-of-its-kind scientific statement from the AHA says that while chest pain or discomfort is the most common heart attack symptom, women are more likely to report shortness of breath and nausea and vomiting. Pain in your arms, back or neck is more common in women than in men. That can be confusing if you expect the pain of a heart attack to be focused on your chest and left arm. For a woman, the pain can be gradual or sudden, and it may come and go before becoming intense.

Women may also suffer stomach pain or severe abdominal pressure, and breaking out in a nervous, cold sweat is common among women who are having a heart attack. Some women who have heart attacks feel extremely tired and may not be able to stand up and walk.

Because these symptoms may not seem like a heart attack, some women delay getting emergency treatment and that can be a deadly decision. If you have chest discomfort and experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Don't drive yourself to the hospital or have a friend or relative take you, because you may not get there fast enough.

Most of all, don't dismiss what you feel. Don't worry about being embarrassed if it's not a heart attack.  It's better to be safe than to become a grim statistic.

 

cervical cancerCervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than half. That's the good news. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and the challenge in 2016 is to use prevention and detection tools to defeat cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is highly preventable with regular screening tests and appropriate follow-up care. It also can be cured when found early and treated.  The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 21. There are two tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cervical cancer is almost always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The Pap test looks for precancerous cells, which are changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.  The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.

Another way to prevent cervical cancer is to get vaccinated against HPV.  Because HPV is usually spread through sexual activity, this vaccine is most effective when given at the age of 11 or 12. Boys and girls can carry and spread HPV, so both should be vaccinated for HPV.

If a teen or young adult through age 26 has not started or finished the series of three HPV vaccine shots, you can still get protection if you complete the vaccination now, and most health insurance plans cover the cost of the HPV vaccine.

With regularly scheduled Pap tests and HPV tests and HPV vaccination, we can prevent or cure most cases of cervical cancer and bring an end to this killer of women. Ask about cervical cancer testing and consider having your child vaccinated against HPV.

 


woman question 21Why should teens and young women see a gynecologist? Although most young women don't need to have a pap test until they are 21 years old, there are many reasons why you should see a gynecologist before you reach the age of 21.

A visit to your gynecologist can start you on the lifelong path to better health by showing you how to stay at a healthy body weight and feel good about your body.  We can also give you advice on good habits for healthy bones.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax