In case you hadn’t noticed, the country’s healthcare system is in chaos right now. For many women, deductibles are so high they can’t get any insurance payouts when they get sick, having to pay for everything out of pocket. And when they do get to the doctor’s office, the doctor is run off their feet and doesn’t have time to sit down and have a proper conversation with them about their problems. It’s all rather worrying.
Many women are turning to other health professionals for answers on how to live healthily. Here is what Alyssa Dweck, a medical doctor and author of “V Is For Vagina,” thinks is important.
Consider Genetic Testing
Being on the frontier of science, Dweck is well aware of the growing power of technology in medicine. Just a few years ago, getting a DNA test was prohibitively expensive, But now sequencing a genome is getting really cheap.
You may recall that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy in 2015. The reason she did this was because she found out that she was carrying the same breast cancer gene that had killed her mother, and the doctors said that she had an 80 percent chance of developing the same condition herself.
Dweck says that genetic screening can be a great preventative measure, especially if you have a history of breast or ovarian cancer in your family.
Recently, there’s been a campaign to get more women to go and get pap smears to make sure that they aren’t at risk of HPV. If you’re sexually active, you have a higher risk for STDs, some of which can increase the chances you’ll get cancer. Dweck says that women need to visit their doctor for testing every year, just to be on the safe side.
Don’t Go To The Doctor’s Office Unless You Have To
A leading reason why people end up consulting with a personal injury lawyer is because of medical malpractice. It turns out that hospitals are actually rather dangerous places. Estimates suggest that as many as 300,000 people a year die in hospitals because of some mistake made by people in the medical system. It could be overdosing a patient, prescription errors, surgical errors or even undiagnosed diseases. Given that going for treatment is so dangerous, many savvy women are now taking a different approach: looking at ways to prevent sickness instead.
It’s been known for more than 60 years that dieting doesn’t really work. The reason for this is that diets are, by their very nature, constructed to be short term things. They work for a while as we do them, but then we slip back into our old habits and patterns and, unsurprisingly, the weight returns.
Dweck says that diets are a waste of time. Denying yourself the stuff that you want completely isn’t sustainable and will result in relapse and overeating at a later date. A better approach, she says, is to make lifestyle changes that last. Things like replacing that afternoon bag of Doritos with an apple or making dinners with beans instead of meat.
Zap Your Stress
Dweck says that the biggest issue she sees among her patients is stress and anxiety. Stress, she points out, isn’t just something that happens in the mind: it also affects our bodies and can put us at risk of developing diseases. Higher levels of stress can lead to infertility, depression, and anxiety. Her advice, therefore, is to find a stress reduction plan and stick to it.
Do More Cardio
Dweck says that women need to do a mixture of cardio and weight training to stay healthy. According to her, exercising five or more times a week is required to prevent things like osteoporosis, cancer, heart diseases and diabetes. She also says that exercise helps to promote a positive self-image which in turn can reduce stress and make women more outgoing.
You could also see benefits in your job from exercising more. Exercise helps with mental focus, improving the quality of your work and the speed at which you can get things done.
Think Early About Fertility
We’re used to hearing about women having children in their 30s and 40s, but from an evolutionary perspective, that isn’t normal. In the past, many women would have had their first child in their teens. Dweck says that some women can experience declining fertility as early as age 32. It’s a good idea, therefore, to have a consultation with your doctor about your fertility options before it is too late.