How women stay ahead of health problems

Helping women stay healthy

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  • | 10:00 a.m. November 3, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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You eat right. You stay active. You get enough sleep. Your health is on track, right? Still, it’s good to be on the lookout for some common health conditions that can affect women.

Heart disease: You may think of men when you hear “heart disease,” but this condition is the leading killer of women over 25. The good news is you can take steps to help prevent heart disease.

¥ Eat a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in simple carbohydrates.

¥ Exercise enough to raise your heart rate several times a week.

¥ Talk to your doctor about ways to manage or prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Breast cancer: Your risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, but you can be proactive in helping to lower your risk.

¥ First, get moving. According to the National Cancer Institute, physical activity can reduce breast cancer risk, and if you exercise enough to lose weight you can lower your risk even more.

¥ Second, avoid or limit alcohol.

¥ Most important, be sure to perform a monthly breast self-exam and get a mammogram every year or every other year.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis occurs when your bones weaken and lose mass. You may not even notice you have this condition until you suffer a broken bone. If you are at risk or have suffered a broken bone, your doctor may order a bone density test. A bone density test compares your bones with those of a healthy 30-year-old since that’s when our bones are the strongest. If you do have osteoporosis, you may be prescribed a bone-boosting drug that can reduce your risk of broken bones. If you don’t have osteoporosis, help prevent it by exercising, getting vitamin-D-rich sunlight each day and taking a calcium supplement. Exercise can help keep your bones strong. Here are some easy activities you can try: 

¥ Standing on your toes

¥ Walking or hiking

¥ Lifting small weights or using elastic resistance bands

¥ Dancing

Depression: Depression often strikes when you’re experiencing other health issues and life events, such as losing a spouse. However, even if you have reason to be sad, clinical depression is a serious health problem. It’s important to find a qualified professional to talk to during these times. Florida Blue members can stop in to our center in Winter Park for assistance in finding a qualified professional.

Quick wins for women’s wellness

Here’s a list of healthy tips to help you feel your best.

¥ Don’t smoke or use tobacco.

¥ Get plenty of exercise.

¥ Maintain a healthy weight.

¥ Get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

¥ Reach out to your doctor if you feel depressed.

¥ See your doctor for your annual wellness visit.

Medicare plans cover many services to help keep you feeling your best. See your Evidence of Coverage of details about what is covered under your plan. Here are a few services that are important for women. 

¥ Make sure you have a mammogram screening once every year or every other year, based on your doctor’s recommendation. Medicare covers a mammogram every 12 months.

¥ Open up to your doctor. Your annual wellness visit is a one-on-one conversation with your doctor about all aspects of your health, including how you feel emotionally.

¥ If you are post-menopausal, ask your doctor if you should have a bone density test.

Carol Lemerond, ARNP, is a community nurse practitioner based in the Florida Blue Center located in Winter Park Village. Carol provides on-site health screenings for Florida Blue members as well as one-on-one health coaching to discuss a member’s health priorities, assist in overcoming barriers and making permanent changes to improve a member’s health. She also leads lifestyle improvement programs at the Florida Blue Center that are free and open to the public to learn more about nutrition, blood pressure management, stress management and diabetes prevention.