This month I am celebrating women and all we do to everyday, not only for ourselves but for everyone else! If we want to keep up with the challenges of a busy lifestyle, we need to stay healthy! Here are some tips!
It is pink month! Breast cancer awareness is grabbing all the headlines this month, and rightly so, a diagnosis of breast cancer is very devastating and the most common cancer in women. The good news is that since the start of breast cancer awareness month in 1985, the death rates in breast cancer have dropped 39%! These decreases are believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier, increased awareness of preventative measures, and better treatments.
In general, women’s health care has come a long way over the last several decades. Once treated as if we were similar to men, it is now clear to the medical community that women differ physiologically from men, which not only puts us at a higher risk for certain diseases, but also changes how our symptoms present. Although women tend to outlive men, we are at greater risk for dementia, breast cancer and osteoporosis. Even though men have more heart attacks, women are more likely to die from them, in part because the symptoms may be more subtle in women.
Let’s take a look at the 5 common health issues facing women and things you can do TODAY to lessen your risk!
Cancer All though we are celebrating breast cancer awareness this month, lung cancer actually kills more women each year than breast cancer. In 2009, the leading causes of cancer deaths in women were lung (26%), breast (15%), and colorectal cancer (9%).
It is a no-brainer that if you smoke, QUIT. Although the development of any cancer involves genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors, you can decrease your risk of all cancers by eating a diet rich in vegetables, limiting the consumption of processed foods and exercising.
It is often cited that the high rates of colorectal cancer in the US, in both men and women, may be attributed to the consumption of red and processed meat. Societies that follow a Mediterranean Diet have the lowest overall cancer mortality. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, tomatoes and complex carbohydrates, and low consumption of meat, poultry and processed grains. There is also a large body of evidence indicating that physical activity has positive effects on every aspect of cancer, including prevention, medical treatment, and aftercare prognosis.
Heart disease is actually the #1 cause of death in women. One of the reasons more women die from heart attacks is that doctors and patients have trouble recognizing heart-attack symptoms in women. Instead of classic chest pain, women are more likely to experience discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdomen along with shortness of breath, nausea, light-headedness and fatigue. Because of these vague symptoms, women tend to be under-diagnosed and are often delayed in getting treatment.
When it comes to taking care of your heart, diet, exercise and stress management are the key. Study after study points to the benefits of following a plant-based diet for optimal heart health. Decreasing the intake of inflammatory foods, such as refined sugar, alcohol, red meat, and processed food laden with trans-fats, is also important for reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease.
There is also a significant connection between stress and heart disease. When you experience high levels of stress, the secretion of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline can cause coronary arteries to spasm and may create micro-tears that can lead to the buildup of plaque. Finding techniques to manage your stress is a vital part of reducing your risk of heart disease.
Alzheimer’s disease Women are more likely than men to suffer from depression and brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 70% of new cases of Alzheimer’s disease are in women – and not just because women live longer. In fact, scientists do not know why women’s brains are more susceptible. What we do know is that a women’s brain functions differently than a man’s which may make it more vulnerable to developing brain diseases. Higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease may also be influenced by our hormones. The hormone estrogen, which has properties to protect against memory loss, significantly declines after menopause, which could play a role in increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. However, studies of women taking hormone replacement show mixed results as to whether or not hormone therapy is helpful for preventing dementia.
You can protect your brain health though aerobic exercise which aids in the growth and repair of brain cells. Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to positively influence regions of the brain associated with memory and learning. The best “brain foods” include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, dark leafy greens), antioxidants from fruits such as blueberries and omega-3 fatty acids from fish.
Osteoporosis, my favorite topic, is also one of those diseases that women need to be concerned about as they age. In fact did you know that a women’s risk of breaking a hip due to osteoporosis is equal to her risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancers combined. Just because your bones lie deep inside, doesn’t mean you can ignore them. If you are frequent reader of my newsletters or blogs you know that maintaining strong bones requires more than just popping calcium and vitamin D. A healthy skeletal system requires a nutrient rich diet, optimal digestion, daily exercise, stress management, along with safe supplementation.
Fibromyalgia can also have a major impact on women’s health. Fibromyalgia syndrome affects three to six million Americans, 85 to 90% of whom are women. It can cause severe muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and brain fog which can interfere with a women’s ability to perform normal daily activities. Why fibromyalgia affects more women than men is not fully understood, but studies have identified a link between fibromyalgia and a woman’s reproductive health. In fact, women with fibromyalgia syndrome are more likely to have diagnoses such as dysmenorrhea and breast cysts.
It is also suspected that fibromyalgia is linked to food intolerances, gut disturbances such as leaky gut or small bowel overgrowth, or vitamin deficiencies. Because there are no medical tests that can be used to diagnoses fibromyalgia, it is typically diagnosed by ruling out other medical conditions and through a full evaluation of your symptoms.
Fibromyalgia can be treated naturally by uncovering potential food intolerance’s. Try cutting out foods such as wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, and soy for at least 3 months to see if your pain eases. Finding a practitioner that can help you to restore your gastrointestinal health, along with balancing exercise with rest, can help reduce your symptoms as well. Some women also find relief through acupuncture and myofascial release. Myofascial release is a technique in which a practitioner slowly stretches your muscles and their connective tissue called fascia. It can help by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles.
To find a myofascial practitioner in your area, go to mfrtherapists.com
Come learn more about Women’s Health Issues and how you can prevent and treat them holistically!
Women’s Health Summit
The topics addressed will be as follows:
- Hormones through a Woman’s Life Stages
- Menopausal Transitions
- Benefits of Breast Thermography
- Cancer Prevention
- Cardiovascular Health
- Bone Health
I will be presenting a holistic approach to preventing and treating osteoporosis.
This educational series begins October 18th, and lasts for 7 days.
Please join us and reserve your spot by clicking here!
The goal of this summit is not only to educate women about health risks that we face, but also to provide a holistic approach to treating these health issues so that we can continue to live in good health.