4 Ways Women Can Take Charge of Their Health Today

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is a great time to remind yourself what you can be doing to improve your overall health as a woman. When you’re implementing your own health and wellness routines, don’t forget to pay special attention to these priorities…

Bone Strength

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), “of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80 percent are women.” After the third decade of life, we begin to lose bone density, but with the proper diet and exercise, this loss can be prevented.

While it’s important for everyone to take care of their bone health, women in particular should take special care to get enough calcium and vitamin D and incorporate weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises to maximize bone density and strength.

Click here to view some bone healthy recipes recommended by the NOF.

Iron-Rich Diet

Iron is a mineral in the hemoglobin of red blood, which helps transport oxygen throughout the body. The National Institutes of Health states “infants, young children, teenaged girls, pregnant women, and premenopausal women are at risk of obtaining insufficient amounts [of iron].”

As a result, it is recommended that you include iron rich foods, such as beans, nuts, meat, dried fruit, dark-green leafy vegetables, etc., in your diet.

Stress Management

Though some stress can be beneficial, most stress is often harmful to our wellbeing. According to research from PubMed Central, 33 percent of adults reported experiencing high levels of perceived stress. The same study found that, of the women surveyed, 72 percent indicated that they felt stress at a level three, which measured at “very much” stress, compared with 28 percent of the men surveyed.

The American Institute of Stress notes that stress can affect all parts of the body, including the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, the digestive system, and more. Some common signs and symptoms of stress include frequent headaches, back pain, tremors, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, hives, heartburn, etc. Though it’s impossible to be completely stress free at all times, it is important to learn how to manage stress using techniques like taking slow, deep breaths, meditation, going for a walk, listening to music, and working out.

Routine Doctor Visits

While regular physicals, dental checkups, and blood tests are essential for maintaining good health, women should also be sure to get additional routine screenings that could help prevent complications. Essential tests like pap tests for cervical cancer prevention and mammograms are important preventive services that could help detect disease early and determine risk factors for potential health problems.

Did you know? Most health insurance plans cover the cost of mammograms and pap tests. Contact ARC Benefit Solutions to find a plan that will support your preventive care needs.


Resources

What Women Need to Know (National Osteoporosis Foundation)

Bone Health Basics: Get the Facts (National Osteoporosis Foundation)

Exercise for Your Bone Health (NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resources Center, National Institutes of Health)

Iron: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals (National Institutes of Health)

Iron: What You Need to Know (WebMD)

Stress Effects: How is Stress Affecting You? (The American Institute of Stress)

Prevalence of Perceived Stress and Associations to Symptoms of Exhaustion, Depression, Anxiety, in a Working Age Population Seeking Primary Care: An Observational Study (PubMed Central)

3 Tips to Manage Stress (American Heart Association)

4 Doctor Appointments Every Woman Needs This Year (Heath.com)

10 Health Screenings All Women Should Have (Everyday Health)