Women’s Health Week

For the past 14 years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has deemed May 12th -18th National Women’s Health Week.

Image courtesy of womenshealth.gov.

Image courtesy of womenshealth.gov.

According to womenshealth.gov, this week is dedicated to empowering women to make their health of utmost importance and encourages them to take the following five precautionary steps:

Receive regular preventative checkups and be sure your physician checks your bone, breast, colorectal, heart, reproductive and sexual health. An annual full-body scan should be scheduled with a board-certified dermatologist to check for any skin abnormalities. It’s also recommended to perform monthly self-skin checks to determine if a mole or lesion looks suspicious or has changed.

Stay active and exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans claims that staying active can lower the risk of an early death caused from heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, Type 2 diabetes (adult onset) and a variety of cancers, such as colon and breast cancer. Regular exercise also lowers the incidence of weight gain and obesity.

Eat healthy based on your age, sex, height, weight and the average amount of physical activity you participate in. By eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy and protein, you can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and many other diseases.

Be aware of your mental health by getting plenty of sleep and managing stress levels. Knowing when to reach out for help is imperative to minimize anxiety and to treat mental illness, such as depression or insomnia, before it becomes an intolerable problem

Avoid risky behaviors such as smoking, texting while driving, excessive alcohol consumption or not wearing sunscreen. One of the most preventable lifestyle diseases is sun-induced skin cancer. By applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above 30 minutes before sun exposure, you can greatly minimize your risk of sunburn, which is a major contributing factor of many skin cancers.

Although Women’s Health Week is a designated time to be aware of your health, women should practice these five steps every single day to live a long and healthy life.

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