Reader Submitted

Bedford Women’s Club presents a focus on staying healthy

Friday, May 16, 2014

By KATHLEEN REDMOND CATANIA and DR. ROBERT CATANIA

Special to the Journal

Dr. Phillip J. Manno provided the Bedford Women’s Club with “10 Tips All Women Should Know to Stay Healthy and Enjoy Life” on March 27.

Manno, who is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the clinical director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester, presented this medical program to share medical advice designed to help women feel better and live longer.

In this controversial era of change in the health care delivery system, Dr. Manno’s advice focused on ways that patients can gain control of their health and maximize the return on their health care investment.

Proven approaches to leading a healthy lifestyle that were highlighted in the talk include staying active, focusing on nutrition, remaining mentally active and getting adequate sleep.

Daily activity, such as yoga, walking, Tai Chi, cycling and gardening, were recommended. Remaining active maintains strength and flexibility, retards bone loss from osteoporosis, and is beneficial to your joints and ligaments. In turn, this allows a woman to maintain her range of motion, improve her balance, strengthen her core muscles, and reduce stress and the risk of injury.

Focusing on making good nutrition decisions is key to health and longevity. Dr. Manno advocates reading the nutrition labels when shopping to avoid inadvertently making poor choices.

He stressed the importance of choosing complex carbohydrates and eating the appropriate amount of protein and fat each day. Dr. Manno encouraged choosing leaner protein sources, as well as incorporating seafood, nuts, dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables into the daily routine.

He also stressed maintaining hydration, as drinking plenty of water each day helps maintain kidney function, avoid constipation and improves complexion.

An active brain is a healthy brain, and by constantly exercising her brain, a woman can retard the development of the decline often associated with aging.

Playing memory games, using humor and meditation can all accomplish this goal. By reading, doing puzzles, playing games, learning new skills, and designing and planning future projects, a woman can keep her mind active, happy and healthy.

Socialization is another way to stimulate the mind, and staying in contact with friends, sharing ideas, joining clubs and performing volunteer work will all preserve clear thinking.

Getting adequate sleep is another way to maintain mental and physical well-being.

Budgeting seven to nine hours of sleep time per day and treating any sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, will maximize the healthful benefits of rest.

Bone health is extremely important for a post-menopausal woman. Maintaining adequate calcium intake and taking a vitamin D supplement are important for healthy bones. A woman older than 50 should remain active, particularly with weight-bearing exercise.

Working to maintain strong bones can allow for a more active life and minimize the danger of injuries leading to fractures or other disabilities. A physician should be told of a family history of bone disease.

Skin health demands the prevention of overexposure to the sun by using protective clothing and sunscreen. Screening for sun-induced damage, such as skin cancer, can also allow for early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

Hormone levels change throughout life. Fluctuations in hormone levels can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. Safe solutions suggested by a physician can minimize the effects of menopausal changes.

It is also important to stay up to date with recommended screening exams so that developing problems, such as colon or breast cancer, can be detected and treated early, increasing the likelihood that cures can be achieved.

Finally, “knowing your numbers” is important!

Tracking and treating numbers such as blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, glucose levels and body mass index help the health care provider promote health and longevity.

Kathleen Redmond Catania, past president of the Bedford Women’s Club, wrote this Bedford Attitude column with her husband, Dr. Robert Catania.

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