May 15, 2020

Prioritizing Your Health: National Women’s Health Week

National Women’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day every year to remind women to take care of themselves and to make their health a priority, especially this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has several recommendations including getting the suggested screenings and preventative care, which may be delayed due to the pandemic. As health care providers, we hope that we will be able to resume breast cancer screenings as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact your primary care or breast physician.

Other recommendations by the CDC encourages you to “get moving.” There are free workouts available from well-known brands or you can consider a socially distanced walk. The CDC recommends at least 2 ½ hours of aerobic activity once a week and at least 2 days of strengthening activities. Physical activity lowers your risk for heart disease and cancer risk so any exercise helps.
While in quarantine, a lot of us have become chefs! We can try to have a more balanced diet, which includes adding more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Additionally, we can try to eat more lean meats, saturated and trans fats and added sugars. As my favorite dietitian says, “you can eat everything, but just in moderation!”

It is also important to avoid drinking too much alcohol. One glass of red wine a day is recommended for heart disease but drinking in excess can have deleterious effects.

While practicing social distancing, it is important to prioritize mental health. Send a text or make a phone call to a friend who you haven’t talked to in a while. It is important to check on your friends, family members and neighbors. Research shows that positive mental health is associated with improved physical health. Mental health is correlated to stress levels and there are healthy ways to cope with stress including meditation.

There can be a positive that comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of those positives can be your health. Let’s start this together today!

Authored by Dr. Ann Chuang