Have you ever wondered what your doctor would consider the best-kept health secrets?
Staying healthy is very much a matter of common sense and a secret-free approach to seeking care, medical professionals agree.
“I think each woman should have a provider they feel comfortable with and can communicate openly and honestly. I would let them know there is nothing too embarrassing, bizarre or unique that we haven’t heard or know about,” said Jacqueline Agenbroad, women’s healthcare nurse practitioner for Banner Health.
Agenbroad’s list of tips for women should be no secret:
- Manage stress in your life and seek support when needed.
- Manage your weight in a healthy way.
- Protect your heart, because heart disease kills and impairs women more than breast cancer.
- There aren’t any good screening tests for ovarian cancer despite what the magazines say. Have regular gynecology visits.
- Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections.
- Take a multi-vitamin.
“We all know what we need to do, but we keep looking for the quick fix, the pill, someone else to save us. Common sense really is the best medicine,” said Dr. Sandra Miller, assistant director of Banner Good Samaritan Family Medicine Residency in Phoenix.
Stop smoking, Miller said. Lung cancer from smoking is a major threat for women. The doctor recommends the quitters’ hotline at www.ashline.com.
“Daily exercise is probably the single best approach to health, along with healthy eating, of course,” she said. “Women who exercise regularly have less depression, live longer, have less diabetes, have stronger bones and can delay dementia. Start today.”
And lastly, watch what you drink, Dr. Miller advised.
“Quit drinking sugared beverages. Liquid calories don’t satisfy hunger and in a desert climate we drink lots of fluids. That adds up to tons of calories in drinks,” she said.
If you enjoy a drink to unwind in the evening, or some social time on the town, be sure to keep it in moderation, Dr. Miller said.
“You don’t have to be addicted to alcohol to get damage from drinking alcohol. Alcohol can cause poor and restless sleep, damage heart muscle, damage nerve cells, cause loss of bone density, and add calories. Women should average no more than a drink a day per week, or 7 drinks weekly,” the doctor said.
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