National Women’s Health Week: The nationwide initiative, which kicks off on May 11 (Mother’s Day), encourages women to make their health a top priority and take simple steps for a longer, healthier and happier life. As the Society for Women’s Health Research points out:

Women are often the primary caretakers of their family’s
health, but when it comes to their own needs, they often relegate
themselves to the bottom of the priority list. But studies have
consistently shown that when women make the time to take better care of
themselves, the benefits trickle down to the entire family.

So use next week to take care of you. You can pledge here to make an appointment on May 12 for at least one recommended preventive health screening to take place within the next 90 days.

As Your Body Changes, So Should Your Choice of Foods: "It’s no
surprise that women have different nutrition needs than men. Hormonal
changes that occur with menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and
menopause alter a woman’s daily need for nutrients such as calcium,
iron and folate," writes Leslie Beck, a dietitian, at the Globe and Mail. Check out her suggestions to help women eat healthfully at every age.

Plus: The Washington Post looks at the safety of sugar substitutes and other sweeteners.

Chance of Pregnancy Is Often Overlooked by Older Women: This Wall Street Journal’s Heath Matters column focuses on unplanned pregnancies later in life and the potential health risks associated with pregnancies in women over 40.

Close to 40 percent of pregnancies among women over 40 are unplanned, according to a 2001 survey by the National Center for Health Statistics in Atlanta, the most recent data available.

"It’s very common that women don’t realize they still need to worry
about birth control even after they hit their 40s and move into their
50s," said Vanessa Cullins, vice president of medical affairs for the
Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Until they complete
menopause, which means going 12 months without menstruating, women
should consider themselves to still be fertile."

Too Much/Too Little Sleep: "People who sleep fewer than six hours a night — or more than nine — are more likely to be obese, according to a new government study that is one of the largest to show a link between irregular sleep and big bellies," reports the Associated Press. "The study also linked light sleepers to higher smoking rates, less physical activity and more alcohol use."

The study was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cost of Overtreating Patients: "Doctors are frequently criticized for the things they fail to do. In general, they don’t spend enough time on patient education, don’t provide adequate preventive care and don’t treat many chronic disorders aggressively enough," writes Valerie Ulene at the Los Angeles Times.

"An equally important problem that attracts less attention, however, is doctors who do too much. Whether it’s ordering an unnecessary test or advocating an aggressive form of treatment over one that’s more measured, the result is the same. Patients wind up getting more than they need."

Test Men for Osteoporosis, Too: Thinking of getting screened for
osteoporosis? You may want to bring your husband or partner along. The American College of Physicians
unveiled new screening guidelines for men age 65 and over, urging doctors to look for factors that put
older men at risk, reports USA Today. The report, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, says a substantial number of men go undiagnosed.

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.