Home Cover Story A Woman’s Guide to Better Health at Any Age

A Woman’s Guide to Better Health at Any Age

Armed with this information from medical experts, women can stay on track with their health in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.

A Woman’s Guide to Better Health at Any Age

3 Easy Ways to Manage Stress

It’s difficult to juggle a busy work schedule with maintaining your responsibilities at home. It can be even tougher to pencil in a social life. When your schedule gets overwhelming, commit to working in one or all of these activities at least a couple days each week to relieve stress.

1. Work in an exercise break, even if it’s short. Start your day with a 15-minute yoga session in your living room or go for a walk on your lunch break. You will be doing your body a favor and giving your brain a break from the chaos.

2. Make time for the things you love. Read a book, catch up on your favorite TV show, tend to your garden or indulge in a glass or two of wine with your girlfriends. Your life shouldn’t be all work and no play.

3. Meditate before bed. Apps like Headspace (free to download at Apple, Google and Amazon stores with subscription options available) and Insight Timer (free on Apple and Android devices) will do all the work for you. Just get comfortable, close your eyes and listen.


Understanding Your Risk for Cervical Cancer
By Aileen Caceres, MD, Endometriosis Center for Women

Cervical cancer is the most preventable cancer in women due to pap screening and HPV (human papilloma) vaccine. Cervical cancer occurs when healthy cells in the cervix grow and multiply out of control. These tumors form on the surface of the cervix and can extend to the vaginal walls.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women start having Pap tests at age 21. A routine Pap test is important to check for abnormal cells in the cervix so they can be monitored and treated as early as possible. The Pap test is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening methods available and guidelines in screening are followed for women in all age groups. However, the Pap test may not detect some cases of abnormal cells in the cervix. The HPV test screens women for the high-risk HPV strains that may lead to cervical cancer. It is approved for screening along with the Pap test in women over age 30.

Although screening methods are not 100 percent accurate, these tests are often an effective method for detecting cervical cancer in the early stages when it is still highly treatable. Infection of the cervix with HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer. However, not all women with an HPV infection will develop cervical cancer. Hence, routine Pap testing is the best way to detect abnormal changes to the cervix before they develop into cancer. Because of this, women who do not regularly have a Pap test are at increased risk of developing the disease.

Risk factors for cervical cancer include high-risk HPV exposure, smoking and sexual behaviors such as sex before age 18, having multiple partners and sex with someone who has had multiple partners. Women who smoke also have an increased risk for developing cervical cancer.

When present, symptoms of cervical cancer may include vaginal bleeding that includes bleeding in between menstrual cycles and/or bleeding after intercourse or post-menopausal bleeding. Signs of advanced cervical cancer may include weight loss, fatigue, back pain, leg pain or swelling, and/or leakage of urine or feces from the vagina.
Cervical cancer is a preventable condition. Understanding your Pap results along with your HPV status is key in helping you stay healthy.


How to Keep your Bones Strong
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. Osteoporosis is most common in women, affecting approximately 25 percent or one in four women ages 65 and over. It causes bones to weaken, leading to fractures caused by falls, although broken bones can also occur more easily such as by coughing or bumping into something.

Many individuals with osteoporosis don’t know they have it until they break a bone, but screening is available so those at risk can take steps to decrease the effects of the disease. Screening is recommended for women ages 65 or older and for women ages 50 to 64 with certain risk factors like a parent who has broken a hip.

If you have osteoporosis or if you think you may be at risk for developing it, try these tips for improving your bone health:

-Take medications to strengthen your bones and avoid medications that can make your bones weaker
-Eat a healthy diet that includes adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D
-Perform weight-bearing exercises regularly
-Do not smoke
-Limit alcohol consumption


Countdown to a Healthy Lifestyle
Courtesy of Florida Hospital Medical Group

Every mom wants her child to grow up healthy and strong. The good news is there’s an easy way to keep an eye on your child’s weight and generally balance his or her overall health. Count it down from 5-4-3-2-1…

5 servings of fruits and vegetables
It’s easy to understand why people give up on this basic tenet of nutrition. It sounds like a lot, but if you think about what five servings of fruits and vegetables look like, it seems far less daunting. Here are two examples of the big five – mix and match to make it work for your family:
• One small apple, 12 grapes, 10 green beans, one cup of corn and two large leaves of lettuce
• One banana, one cup of cooked beans, one cup of dried fruit, six small broccoli florets and half a cucumber

4 servings of water a day
This one is pretty straight forward, and here in Florida, where temperatures climb so high, it’s extremely important. A serving of water is eight ounces. It can be tough to get your child to drink four glasses each day (adults need eight glasses) so try this trick. Have them drink at least one glass before they leave the house each morning and make it a race!

3 servings of low-fat dairy a day
Kids love dairy, thank goodness, and they need three servings of low-fat dairy per day for healthy bones and growing bodies. Try one cup of skim milk, one cup of low-fat yogurt (watch the sugar) and an ounce or two of reduced-fat cheese.

2 hours of screen time a day or less
Restricting screen time probably seems like the biggest challenge of all. How many screens do kids have to look at these days? Between television, smartphones, tablets, laptops and video games, they have ample opportunity to stare at rectangles for hours on end. Even if the material that kids are viewing is educational, spending more than a few hours in front of a screen is not good for anyone. Make it a family affair to have designated screen breaks.

1 or more hours of physical activity a day
Even for kids who don’t enjoy organized sports or exercise, there are ways to get moving. Go outside and walk 30 minutes in one direction, turn around and come back. Or try a family bike ride after dinner.

Counting down together can create lifelong healthy habits. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, make an appointment with a board-certified pediatrician at FHMedicalGroup.com.


3 Beauty Boosters

Whether you’re working toward getting your pre-baby body back or are going through the initial stages of hormone loss associated with menopause, there are many life events that can bring your confidence levels down. While you might not feel your best every day, knowing that you look good on the outside can lead to you feeling good on the inside.

Here are three simple ways to boost your confidence with retail therapy.

1. Treat yourself to a new outfit, and don’t forget about the shoes. You know you deserve it.
2. Go for the “it” handbag – the one you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself but that will have everyone’s head turning when you walk by.
3. Grab a friend and get your nails done together. It’s not only an opportunity to pretty up your fingers and toes but also a chance to chat about anything that’s bothering you.

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Lyndsay Fogarty Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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