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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Monitoring Your Health

As Maureen talked about yesterday, exercise is very important for your health. We need to be good to ourselves, not only by exercising, but by making sure we monitor our health with regular checkups. Women should go once a year for a pap test and a mammogram. As women, we know these tests are not the most pleasant experiences, but they are important tests. Don't skip them. In between the yearly mammograms, you should do a breast self-examination each month.

You should also monitor your cholesterol and your blood pressure. Every time I go into a store that has one of those places to check blood pressure, I sit down and check mine. Although it is important to have this done by a professional also, these machines can be helpful in between visits to your doctor. Measuring blood pressure should be an average of a number of readings over time, not just one reading. If you notice a pattern of high blood pressure, you should see your doctor. Also a good thing to check is your heart rate recovery after exercise. To do this you should count your heartbeats for 15 seconds after regular strenuous exercise, then multiply by four to get your heart rate. Sit down and wait two minutes and then check again. Subtract the second number from the first. If it is under 55, your heart rate recovery is higher than normal and you should check with your doctor.

Your skin is another important thing to monitor. Every three months get naked and check your skin from head-to-toe, even in places like the underside of your arms, between your toes and fingers and your scalp. Look for for any new moles, changed moles, suspicious spots or rashes. If anything looks suspicious, see a dermatologist. I have a regular yearly exam with a dermatologist. Since I live in a very sunny climate and spend a lot of time outdoors, I believe this important.

You should also examine your feet. What can your feet tell you? You can check to see whether you have a good pulse in your feet that indicates you are getting good circulation in your legs. You should also check your toenails and be on the lookout for toenail fungus. We want to keep those tootsies healthy. After all, we need something to stand on and need them to exercise.

You have all been taught to keep an eye on your weight, but a better measure is your body mass index because it relates your weight to your height. A normal body mass index or BMI is about 19 to 24. You are overweight if your BMI is 25 to 30. A BMI of over 30 means you are considered obese. With a Google search, you can find a number of places on the Web to calculate your BMI.

If you are over 50 years old, there are a few other tests you should have to monitor your health. Your should have a colonoscopy to check for any signs of colon cancer. Another important test for women is a bone density test. This test monitors bone loss as you age. Keeping healthy bones is particularly important as you age. Unhealthy bones can lead to breaks that can have long-term consequences to your health.

These are some of the important ways you can monitor your health and be good to yourselves in the process. Something you can do every day that doesn't require a special test is making sure you get enough fruits, vegetables and fiber in your diet, exercise, relax and get enough sleep.

Are there any other things that you do to monitor your health?

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At 8:44 AM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

Merrillee - You pretty much hit on all the major points. I think it's just important to listen to your body. You know when it's a blip in your day and when something is "not right." We often ignore it when something is "not right" and that's probably the time to listen closer.

Mo - Hope you're feeling better today if you come out and play. :)

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Patricia W. said...

At my mammogram last year, the nurse told me that women shouldn't wait until 50 for bone density checks. We should get a baseline check done as early as 30 or 35 because that's when we begin to lose density, and have another check done every 5 years until age 50, after which it should monitored regularly. So I had my baseline done this year.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Great reminders--especially about skin health--something many of us forget about. As a person with a mother who has survived stage 3 melanoma, I can add my support of monthly skin checks and those yearly dermatology appointments.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Merrillee, these are great reminders. It's really hard for me to drag myself to the doctors...I would rather exercise! But I have been a good girl for the past two years and it wasn't so bad after all.

Patricia, how was the bone density check? Is it a long procedure? Or was it quick and easy?

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Christine said...

I've been very bad about doctors this year due to the move. I know I need to get the full on female tests and I am not eager to do it. Part of it is my weight: moving added onto it and it's so yucky to stand on the scale. I am back on a diet, but keep telling myself, in Feb I'll weigh less so it won't depress me as much... but I will go at the end of the month.

And then there is the whole, sheesh, when did everything change so much? Hair is getting gray--in weird funny ways--, body is changing it's shape -- in weird funny ways-- and energy levels are depleted.

I feel like I am a 25 year old stuck in a 46 year old body. Nothing is the same... and it really seems like it happened over night!

Sigh, getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative!

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Patricia W. said...

Theresa, the bone density check was fast and painless. It involved a body scan, kind of like an MRI except I was laying on a regular doctor's table and they moved some small piece of equipment over me which then displayed an image on a computer screen.


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