It’s that time of year again when we see pink ribbons everywhere. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is something I talk to women about all year…not just in October. I’d like to share a few tips that I discuss with women in my practice.
All healthy adults ages 18 to 65 years need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three days each week, according to updated physical activity guidelines released last week by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA). [Read more…]
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women over the age of 50 and is largely preventable.
Modifiable risk factors include smoking, obesity, abnormal cholesterol profile, elevated glucose, hypertension, and lack of exercise.
What can you do?
Reverse the above risk factors, and see your provider on a regular basis for appropriate testing. Eat a healthy diet, get exercise daily and consider medications that may be appropriate.
If you have non-modifiable risk factors such as belonging to a race or ethnic group that is at higher risk for heart disease (African American, Mexican American, Native American and native Hawaiians), and if you have a family (mother, fathers, sister, brother) history, then it is essential for you to follow the above recommendations to maximize your health and minimize your risk.
(c)2005 Barbara C. Phillips, NP
(*excerpt from “Protecting Your Health” by Barbara C. Phillips, NP)
Note: I’m copying this article here because I’ve been told by some they cannot access my Medscape.com links. If you can you can go here to see the article with web enhancements.
Consistent, Moderate Exercise Reduces Women’s Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death
Medscape Medical News 2005. © 2005 Medscape
Linda Little, May 9, 2005 (New Orleans)
Women should exercise more regularly for longer periods of time to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) both overall as well as during exertion, Boston researchers reported here at the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) 26th annual scientific sessions.
Although they saw a short-term increase in the risk of SCD in women during moderate to vigorous physical activity, the risk lessened in women who reported more weekly exercise, the researchers said.
“Women who exercised regularly had a lower transient risk of [SCD],” said William Whang, MD, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, told Medscape. “For women who exercise, the transient risk was lower in women who exercised two or more hours a week.”
The study was the first to assess both the short- and long-term risks of SCD conferred by exercise among women.
“The important point of this study is that regular exercise can substantially reduce the risk of [SCD],” commented Dwight Reynolds, MD, HRS program chairman and chief of cardiology at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in Oklahoma City. “Even if the overall risk is low, if you don’t exercise, then the risk is increased.”
The researchers examined the relationship between self-reported physical activity and SCD in 70,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study. Information on moderate to vigorous exertion in hours per week were collected during six different years starting in 1986 and ending in 2000. The information was collected via questionnaires and at the time of SCD by reviewing medical records and talking with the next-of-kin.
Women were queried on hours of such exercise as walking, jogging, running, bicycling, lap swimming, and aerobics performed in a week.
Of the almost 70,000 women with no cardiovascular disease or history of stroke, the relative risk for SCD within one hour of moderate to vigorous exertion was 6.2 times that of no exercise in a case crossover analysis, Dr. Whang noted.
Women who exercised fewer than two hours per week had 21 times the risk of SCD during the one-hour period after exercise compared with when they did not exercise. That risk was dramatically reduced in women who exercised regularly, Dr. Whang said. Women who exercised more than two hours a week had three times the risk for SCD in the time period after moderate to vigorous exertion compared with when they did not exercise.
Case crossover analysis estimated the odds ratios for exposure to moderate to vigorous exertion in the hour before SCD. The researchers then determined estimated hazard ratios for the long-term risk of SCD with increasing amount of exertion after adjusting for comorbidities and cardiovascular risk factors.
In a multivariate analysis that adjusted for biologic factors such as body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol there was a consistent reduction in the risk of SCD with increased hours of exercise per week.
“Increasing amount of regular moderate to vigorous exercise was associated with a lower overall risk of SCD,” Dr. Whang told attendees.
With each increase in the number of hours of moderate to vigorous exercise, there was a relative risk reduction in SCD. For example, women who exercised more than four hours per week had about a 50% reduced risk of SCD. Those who exercised more than seven hours per week had a 66% reduced risk of SCD compared with women who exercised less than one hour.
The relative risk was under one for women exercising more than four hours per week, said Dr. Whang. “It’s consistent with common sense that exercise is associated with benefits in [SCD]; while a transient risk is present, it is very low,” he said. “Women should start off an exercise program slowly and build up. Regular exercise is beneficial.
The study was independently funded. The authors report no pertinent financial conflicts of interest. HRS 26th Annual Scientific Sessions: Abstract 12. Presented May 5, 2005.
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD
Linda Little is a freelance writer for Medscape.
While many women “sail” through menopause without any major issues, there are also those that experience problems as they move through their menopausal years.
Here are a few tips to help with any challenges you may experience during this time.
***Use non-toxic methods to alleviate any uncomfortable sensations you might experience with menopause. While some women may temporarily encounter power surges (hot flashes), poor quality sleep, moodiness, memory concerns and vaginal dryness, many do not. Be aware that every woman experiences menopause differently.
***Expect freedom, creativity, joy, peace and wisdom! Many women have wonderfully positive menopausal experiences. Sounds like it calls for a Celebration to me!
***Practice good nutrition. In the realm of menopause it is suggested that one consider foods that contain phytoestrogens such as celery, fennel, parsley, soy, nuts, whole grains, apples, and alfalfa. And drink lots of water!
Until next time,
Barbara C. Phillips, NP