5 Tips For Getting Your Health House in Order
By Joy Twesigye, MS, NP Women’s Health Editor
It’s almost January and I am sure many of you have made a health based New Year’s resolution or two. Sally promises to not only get a gym membership but to actually go. Susie promises to schedule herself for the often-skipped gynecological annual exam. Sara is thinking about giving up her pot-of-coffee-a-day habit for lent (the year did just start).
I am going to tell you something that you already know…but repetition is gold. You are important.
Women are basically half the population across age groups. Women work in non-traditional settings. We are freelancers, independent contractors as well as small business owners and as a result, may not have robust health insurance plans.
Do not keep your gifts from the universe because you neglected yourself and are broken.
Get your health behind in order. Skinny doesn’t mean healthy…you can have high cholesterol and still be skinny.
So what do women, especially small business owners, really need to focus on when making a personal health plan for the year? Let me give you five places to start.
1. Get access to care
Having a regular source of care is important. Schedule an appointment with a Primary Care Provider (PCP) so that it is easier to get for an unexpected illness or management of a chronic condition like asthma.
In 2008, women were more likely to have asthma than men (8.8% versus 5.6%, respectively); this was true for all income levels.
A visit to the emergency room due to an asthma attack may indicate that asthma is not being effectively controlled or treated. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2008, 22.1% of women with an asthma attack in the past year sought care from an emergency room for their condition. Consistent access to and use of medication can reduce the likelihood of an asthma attack, as well as the use of hospital and emergency room care for people with asthma.
Don’t have a PCP? Try out Zoc Doc. Zoc Doc is a website where you can find a doctor by city, specialty and insurance coverage and actually make your appointment online. No excuses—make an appointment.
2. Know your numbers
Women are disproportionately affected by a number of diseases and health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and asthma. Diabetes is a chronic condition and a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Download this Your Numbers worksheet to keep track of where you stand. It gives you a place to record your cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting glucose, body mass index, waist circumference and exercise numbers right along side the goals for each categories. Use American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women website for a year round resource the website provides information on how to stay heart healthy at any age.
3. Plan ahead
Look at your business calendar and schedule your health screenings (colonoscopy, mammogram) around busy times. Switch your prescriptions over to a 60 or 90 day supply so that you spend less time waiting at the pharmacy. Schedule breaks—think of self-care as important as taking your daily vitamin.
4. Mental health
Your brain is part of your body and it needs breaks too. Recently, data has come out that women have find multi-tasking stressful. I’m not sure if women are going to do away with multi-tasking but keeping stress controlled by exercising regularly, meditating and/or seeing a mental health professional is important. You and your business will not be successful if you are running on fumes or so full of anger that you can’t see straight.
Did you know that the food pyramid is passé? We now have the food plate. The daily serving of fruit, protein, vegetable and grains are more balanced than in the pyramid. Dairy is off to the side in a cup next to the plate. You can read more about the plate here.
Don’t forget to read the actual nutrition label and don’t stop at what is in bold on the front of the box. According to the CDC, adult women need 46 grams of protein and 25 grams of fiber a day. Remember even if the commercials say that high fructose corn syrup is the same as sugar consider that you are consuming it in more products than you would expect so keep track of your “sugar” intake. You don’t have to go out of your way to find healthy products anymore so take the time to read labels.
Cheers to a healthy and productive New Year!
*Nothing in this article should be considered a replacement for personalized medical advice/treatment from a health care professional. MyCity4Her does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.