A new report from Harvard Medical School says middle-aged and older women need to worry about certain health concerns – osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and microvascular disease, which is a type of disease more common in women.
What can women do to better their chances of not being afflicted with these health concerns? According to the report, A Guide to Women’s Health Fifty and Forward, 10 steps to a longer and healthier life is made available.
- Shun cigarette smoking. Tobacco smoke that is inhaled causes lung cancer, sinus disease and chronic obstructive lung disease; and increases the risk of strokes and heart disease.
- Keep moving. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests every adult get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. Sessions should be at least 10 minutes in length.
- Follow the Mediterranean diet pattern of mostly plant foods, limiting animal protein to fish and poultry, using olive oil as the principal fat and using wine in moderation.
- Mind the body mass index. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes 20 times and substantially boosts the risk of developing blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and gallstones.
- Lift the glass, but only one. Alcohol’s effects become more insidious as women age because the body’s water-to-fat ratio declines over the years.
- Don’t run up a sleep deficit. Medical evidence suggests we need seven to nine hours of sleep daily, but more than 60 percent of women fall short of this.
- Be your own best advocate on health issues. Know what’s best for you and just do it!
- Keep connected. Older women who remain socially active live longer, healthier lives than their solitary counterparts.
- Avoid stress. Find techniques to reduce stress and its effects.
- Use supplements selectively. Experts agree the best way to get nutrients is through food. Only calcium and vitamin D are recommended supplements.