Health Secrets: Lifeline #3

Good Health Rule #11: Prevent Cancer

You can significantly reduce your risk for cancer by living a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Nora Hansen, director of the Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, discusses means by which to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

5 Steps to Reduce Risk of Cancer

  • Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods, stay active, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Avoid risky behaviors and get immunized – guarding against HPV and Hepatitis B can reduce your risk of certain cancers.
  • Get screened – make a habit of performing self-examinations and schedule regular screenings with your doctor.

Good Health Rule #12: Don't Face Diagnosis Alone

As a health reporter for Chicago's WGN-TV, Dina Bair is comfortable talking to Chicagoans about their health diagnoses. However, when Dina was diagnosed with melanoma she tried to battle the illness alone. Dina now understands the importance of opening up to loved ones and seeking community as part of finding the strength to take control and overcome a diagnosis.

  • 1. Educate yourself.┬áTake an active role in managing your illness by learning as much as you can about it. Informing yourself and getting your questions answered can make you feel more in control and better prepared to begin your recovery.
  • 2. Rely on family and friends for support. The confusion and sadness following a diagnosis often leads people to push their loved ones away when they're needed the most. Just talking to family and friends about what you're going through can get you on the road to recovery that much sooner.
  • 3. Try to maintain your normal lifestyle. Maintain your normal lifestyle, but be open to modifying it as necessary. Take one day at a time. It's easy to overlook this simple strategy during stressful times. When the future is uncertain, organizing and planning may suddenly seem overwhelming.
  • 4. Talk to other people who have the same illness. Sometimes it may feel as though people who haven't experienced the illness diagnosis can't fully understand how you're feeling. It may help to talk to people who have been in your situation. Other survivors can share their experiences and give you insight into what you can expect during treatment.
  • 5. Review your goals and priorities. Determine what's really important in your life. Find time for the activities that are most important to you and most meaningful. If needed, try to find a new openness with loved ones by sharing your thoughts and feelings with them. Communication can help reduce the anxiety and fear that your illness can cause.

Good Health Rule #13: Know the Warning Signs of Stroke

Knowing the warning signs of a stroke is critical to treatment and recovery. If you suspect you are experiencing a stroke, calling 911 and getting to a hospital equipped to take care of stroke patients increases your odds of reducing the possible effects of stroke.

Symptoms of Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Stroke Prevention

  • Know the symptoms of stroke.
  • Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Eat a low-salt, low-fat diet and consume alcohol in moderation.
  • Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Exercise regularly to improve circulation

Good Health Rule #14: Prevent Heart Disease

Most women are aware of mammograms and pap smears as annual disease prevention strategies. However, according to Dr. Martha Gulati, of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, most women are not aware of the need for a true cardiac examination, meaning an exam that goes further than a stethoscope to your chest. Since heart disease is the number one killer of women, it's imperative to get regular cardiac examinations.

Heart Disease Prevention: 5 Medicine-Free Strategies to Help Prevent Heart Disease

  • Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Get active – 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet – this means foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and salt. A diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products that can help protect your heart. Legumes, low-fat sources of protein, and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – determine if you are at a healthy weight by calculating your BMI and waist circumference.
  • Get regular health screenings and monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Select a Lifeline
Lifeline #1: Teens/Twenties Lifeline #2: Reproductive Years Lifeline #3: Forty + Lifeline #4: Taking Control of a Diagnosis
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Alberto Culver