Page 4 - Friends Newsletter - Summer 2015
P. 4

Stay HeaTlitphs yfor Wom en

      “Although a woman’s health needs change            Keep bones healthy.
      as she ages, the basics of women’s health
      remain the same.” So says Eileen Kirk,             Osteoporosis is a progressive disease that causes bones
      MD, a physician at NLH since 1998 who              to become weak and brittle, possibly resulting in hip,
      specializes in gynecological care, obstetrics      spine and wrist fractures. Women are more likely than
      and women’s health, seeing patients of the         men to get osteoporosis. To reduce risk, be sure to
      NLH Medical Group in both New London               get enough calcium, vitamin D, and weight-bearing
      and at the Newport Health Center. Dr. Kirk         exercise, and don’t smoke.
      encourages all women to know their family
      histories and potential health risk factors.       Avoid risky habits.
      She says women can stay healthier and help
      prevent disease by getting screening tests         According to the American Lung Association, smoking
      and taking preventive medicine if needed.          is now the largest preventable cause of death among
      By practicing healthy behaviors, such as           women (as well as men). Quitting is the best way
      outlined in the tips below, women can do           to improve health and avoid exposing family to
      much to improve and maintain their quality         dangerous secondhand smoke. Drinking an excessive
      of life for years to come.                         amount of alcohol is also harmful to health. Although
                                                         women tend to drink somewhat less than men, lower
Eat a healthy diet.                                      doses of alcohol are required for women to develop
                                                         alcohol-related medical problems including alcohol
Women typically have less muscle and more fat than       toxicity, cirrhosis and hepatitis. Only drink alcohol in
men, and need fewer calories to maintain a healthy       moderation. Most women’s health studies show that
body weight and activity level. Healthy eating will      women can safely consume one drink a day.
help maintain a proper weight for one’s height,
important because being overweight can lead to a         Manage stress.
number of illnesses. Eat a variety of fresh fruits and
vegetables, whole grains and high-fiber foods, and       A woman often wears many hats and deals with a
choose leaner cuts of meat, fish and poultry. Avoid      lot of pressure and stress. Stress can have significant
foods and beverages high in calories, sugar, salt and    health consequences, from infertility to higher risks of
fat. Eating healthy doesn't mean having to forgo that    depression, anxiety and heart disease. Remember one
favorite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now  cannot control all that happens in life. Manage stress
and then. The key is moderation.                         with exercise, relaxation techniques or meditation.

                                                         Check for breast cancer.

Exercise regularly.                                      Breast cancer is the second most common type of
                                                         cancer in women (the first is skin cancer). The older
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among        a woman is, the greater her risk. Most women who
women in America. To keep a healthy heart, exercise      develop breast cancer have no special risk factors
at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.    for the disease, so it is critical to regularly self-check
Aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, jogging,           breasts and report any concerns to one’s healthcare
bicycling, dancing) combined with some weight-           provider. All women 40 and older should get a yearly
bearing exercise are good for women’s health,            mammogram as a mammogram is the most effective
especially the heart.                                    way of detecting cancer in its earliest stages, when it is
                                                         most treatable.

4 | Friends NEWSLETTER | SUMMER 2015
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