This World Health Day, we will be discussing five simple steps that women can take to safeguard their health. Keep reading to find out.
1. Lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle
Having a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Stay active and aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, 4-5 times a week. If you are just starting out and have trouble keeping up with an exercise routine, try incorporating activities you enjoy. It could be hiking, dancing, biking, swimming or even a walk in the park – anything works as long as it gets you moving!
Complement your exercise routine with a healthy diet for optimal health. Load up on whole, unprocessed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut back on saturated fat, refined sugars and salt. Remember to stay hydrated as well – the recommended water intake for women is at least 2 litres per day, but you may need to drink more, especially in Singapore’s hot climate.
Apart from a healthy diet and regular exercise, don’t forget to get at least 7 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with many health conditions, including heart disease, obesity and depression. To improve your sleep, avoid consuming caffeine late in the day. Turn off your devices 30 minutes before bed and try a relaxing activity, such as reading or meditating.
2. Go for regular Pap smear tests
Cervical cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women worldwide. Going for regular Pap smear tests is an effective way to detect early changes in the cervical cells and reduce the likelihood of developing cervical cancer.
Women between the ages of 21-29 are recommended to have Pap smear screening once every three years. Women aged 30 and above can consider combining Pap smear screening with testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which accounts for almost all cervical cancer cases. Most HPV infections clear up on their own by age 30, so once the virus is confirmed to be absent, Pap smears can be done every five years instead.
If precancerous cells are detected in a Pap smear, or you test positive for HPV, your doctor may recommend more frequent cervical screenings.
3. Keep up with routine mammograms
Breast cancer has the highest incidence rate among women across the world. On top of monthly self-checks, it is essential to go for regular mammogram screening. Mammogram screenings can detect cancer in the early stages, resulting in better treatment outcomes.
You are recommended to get a mammogram screening once a year if you are between the ages of 40-49, and once every two years if you are aged 50 and above.
4. Keep stress at bay
Being constantly stressed and anxious can raise cortisol levels to unhealthy levels. Also known as the stress hormone, cortisol triggers a “fight or flight” response in dangerous situations. However, having consistently high cortisol levels can increase your risk of developing health issues, including high blood pressure, insomnia and low energy levels.
Set aside time daily to unwind and relax. Incorporate relaxing activities in your daily routine, such as taking walks, reading and meditation. However, if you find that you are unable to cope with the demands of daily life, consider getting professional help.
5. Get your health screened yearly
Finally, make sure to get a yearly health screening to detect any health changes early. Instead of generic health screening packages, we provide customised health screening solutions. At Osler Health, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all solution to a health screening. Our doctors will assess your individual health needs and recommend tests based on your age, gender, health conditions and health history. And we will explain the costs along the way – so there are no surprises. You have control.
Book an appointment with us today!