Healthy habits go a long way in ensuring we provide our bodies with the correct nutrients, remain active and reduce stress levels on a daily basis. It’s vital we eat the right foods, reduce alcohol consumption or even stop, quit smoking, regularly exercise and learn to be calmer. Not only will this ensure optimal health now, but it will safeguard our health for the future. The life decisions we make now can have a huge impact on our health when we are elderly and help prevent illness and disease.
As a woman, there are also a few health checks we should regularly undergo and some we can do ourselves. Here are three important checks that can help to stop disease in its tracks and save our lives:
As breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, affecting approximately 1 in 9 women, it’s really important we regularly check our breasts for abnormalities.
If you’re not confident checking them totally by yourself, consider using a Breastlight breast screening device. Using this in a dark room it shines a harmless red light through the breast so you can see any abnormalities. Breastlight gives women more confidence to check their breasts successfully in the comfort of their own home. It’s been featured on GMTV, This Morning and in several high profile magazines.
Most publications I’ve read recommend checking your breasts once per month. It’s important to become familiar with how your breasts feel and then it’s easier to spot an irregularity.
Cervical smear test
Women are invited for a free cervical smear test once every three years if aged 25-49 and every five years for women aged 50-64. It’s a fairly quick procedure that involves taking a swab from the lining of the cervix to check for abnormal cells that could potentially become cancerous.
Cancer Research explains how common cervical cancer is: ‘In females in the UK, cervical cancer is the 13th most common cancer, with around 3,200 cases diagnosed in 2014. More than half (52%) of cervical cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in females aged under 45 (2012-2014).’
Though it’s not the most glamorous experience out there, it’s quick, painless for most and could save your life. It’s so important to arrange a test once you have received an invite to one. Once you’ve been once you’ll realise it’s not nearly as bad as you imagine and so important.
Dailyinfo.co.uk perfectly explains how a smear test feels: ‘the speculum feels a bit weird (like extremely slow sex with a large vegetable) but not painful; the actual smear test does hurt (they have to remove cells) - about as much as a vigorously misplaced tampon. But it doesn't hurt for more than the few seconds while they're actually doing it.’
As many as 7 million people have undiagnosed high blood pressure in the UK. Though you might not be able to feel it, hypertension (high blood pressure) puts you at higher risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, so it’s important to regularly check your levels, especially if there’s a history of it in your family. Some doctors surgeries have machines you can use yourself in the waiting room, so you don’t even need to book an appointment. If high blood pressure is not treated, over time it can cause heart failure.
Though the British Heart Foundation say there sometimes isn’t a known cause, these factors can cause you to develop high blood pressure:
- Lack of physical activity
- being overweight
- too much salt in your diet
- regularly drinking too much alcohol
- a family history of hypertension
Regularly checking your blood pressure and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will greatly reduce your risk. A check once every two years is recommended for those who have a normal blood pressure.
Do you lead a healthy lifestyle and regularly check your health?
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The benefits of wholemeal over white
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