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a group of five women posing for photo in honor of national women's health week

National Women’s Health Week: What You Need to Know + Health Tips for Every Age

National Women’s Health Week was developed to teach women about important health issues they may face and also to encourage them to make their health a priority. National Women’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day every year; in 2018, it falls on May 13.

What you need to know about National Women’s Health Week

What are the primary health issues facing American women today?

  • Heart disease (the leading cause of death for white and African American women in the U.S., which kills more American women than all forms of cancer combined)
  • Cancer (the most common types of cancer for women are skin cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer)
  • Stroke (women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men)
  • Diabetes (people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing other life-threatening health problems)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (more American women die from this disease each year than breast cancer and lung cancer combined)
  • Alzheimer’s disease (two out of every three of the nearly six million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women, and one in three seniors with the disease will die)

Steps for improved health:

  • Exercise approximately 30 minutes a day, five times a week (include cardio and strength training)
  • Make doctor appointments for recommended check-up screenings and preventive screenings
  • Plan to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains; eat less fats and refined carbohydrates
  • Take care of your mental health, which includes controlling stress, getting enough sleep and seeking a therapist if you may be depressed or may suffer from another mental illness
  • Ditch unhealthy habits, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, not wearing a seatbelt, texting while driving, etc.
  • If you have an addiction or are in an abusive relationship, seek help immediately from a professional

How to participate in National Women’s Health Week:

  • Take a healthy, happy selfie and share it on your social media accounts with the #NWHW hashtag.
  • Follow the Office of Women’s Health on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Share beneficial health information (like this blog post) with the women in your life.
  • Plan a walk at lunch with your co-workers.
  • Invite a local fitness instructor to teach a free yoga or self-defense class.
  • Organize a healthy potluck at work.
  • Follow the steps above to greatly improve your own health.

Health tips for every age group

Young women

  • Health: Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day and get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night; seek a therapist if you are having mental health concerns.
  • Diet: Eat well-balanced meals full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Lifestyle: Don’t smoke cigarettes, don’t use illegal drugs, limit alcohol use to one drink or less, don’t drive and text, wear sunscreen, talk to your doctor about birth control if you’re sexually active, and talk to your parents or relatives about your family’s medical history.
  • Ask to be screened for: blood pressure; cholesterol; HIV; STDs including HPV; Hepatitis B and C; and tuberculosis.

Adult women

  • Health: Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day and get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night; talk to your doctor about your family’s history with diseases, especially cancer, as well as perimenopause symptoms, and ask for a mammogram.
  • Diet: Eat well-balanced meals full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; minimize alcohol consumption.
  • Lifestyle: Quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, wear sunscreen, be cognizant of your mental health, and abstain from illegal drugs or abusing prescription drugs.
  • Ask to be screened for: blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, STDs, Hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis.

Senior women

  • Health: Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day and get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night; talk to your doctor about any chronic conditions you may have.
  • Diet: Eat well-balanced meals full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Lifestyle: Quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, wear sunscreen, be cognizant of your mental health, and abstain from illegal drugs or abusing prescription drugs.
  • Ask to be screened for: blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, STDs, Hepatitis B and C, lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, osteoporosis and tuberculosis; get vaccinated for the flu, pneumonia and shingles.

America’s life expectancy dropped in 2018 for the second time in a row, making us 53rd in the world. American women may have a longer life expectancy than men, but many of our country’s most dire and fatal illnesses kill more women than men. We need to continue to inform the women around us about how to live a healthier lifestyle and push them to make regular doctor visits. For more information and resources about women’s health, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.

CATEGORIES: Chronic CareDisease & DiagnosisParentingWomen's Health

 

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