We spoke to health experts from various fields and they have outlined common health mistakes that women make and what they should do instead!
Dr. Manoj Kumar, Cardiologist
1. Never ignore severe leg pain.
Working women and housewives must never ignore severe leg pain since it can be an indication of peripheral artery diseases (PAD), caused due to blockages in the blood vessels.
2. Monitor your blood pressure.
There is a common misconception amongst women that an easy to recognise indication of low or high blood pressure is dizziness and fatigue. The truth is that both hypotension and hypertension are silent diseases that often go undiagnosed. It is thus important that high-risk individuals get their blood pressure tested on a regular basis to prevent future heart disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can rupture the blood vessels and cause a brain haemorrhage or result in blood clots, thereby causing a heart attack or brain stroke.
3. Chew celery sticks or mint leaves instead of tobacco.
Giving up tobacco consumption is crucial because cigarette smoking alone doubles the risk of heart disease. To beat tobacco cravings, one can chew gum or eat celery sticks or mint leaves.
Dr. Duru Shah, Gynaecologist
4. Make it a point to exercise or walk during pregnancy.
It is very important that you do some activity during this time. Exercising during pregnancy does wonders for you. It helps prepare you for childbirth and gets your body back in shape once the baby is born. Avoid contact sports, strenuous workouts and any activity where you can slip and fall. It is not advisable to stand for long. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids while exercising.
5. Don’t ignore vaginal problems.
Taking good care of your vagina is an important part of staying healthy. When it comes to vaginal care, women often misconstrue serious symptoms such as abnormal bleeding or pain, two things that should never be ignored. Vaginal health can affect a woman’s fertility, libido (the desire to have sex) and ability to orgasm.
6. Use contraceptives and hygiene products carefully.
Contraceptives and hygiene products such as diaphragms, cervical caps, tampons, condoms and spermicides, may cause vaginal irritation and infections, espeically if used improperly. These products should be used according to the directions given to avoid vaginal irritation and infections. It is advisable not to leave cervical caps, diaphragms and tampons in for long, as they can cause serious infections.
7. Seek treatment for menopausal symptoms.
One of the biggest mistakes women make during menopause is thinking they have to learn to live with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, sleeping difficulties, vaginal dryness and urinary problems. Short-term use of hormonal therapy has been shown to help many appropriately tested, counselled and carefully chosen women. Bladder issues like stress or urge incontinence can also be treated with medications, behavioural changes and sometimes day-care surgical procedures.
Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Dr. Vimal Arora, Dental Expert
8. Take your time whilst brushing your teeth.
Take your time whilst brushing. It’s important to brush slowly, lightly and gently. The Indian Dental Association advocates brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day. Avoid brushing in a back and forth motion as it could lead to damage of the gums and tooth enamel.
9. Use toothbrushes with soft bristles.
Avoid toothbrushes with hard bristles. Gums have a predisposition to shrink or draw back with age, even if they’re healthy. Though the part of the tooth above the gum-line is made of enamel, cementum is the outermost layer of the root surface and it is not as impervious to decay.
10. Floss every day.
We tend to skip flossing, or only floss before our dentist appointment. Flossing works best when done daily. It reduces the bacteria between the teeth and gums. Take the time to curl the floss around each tooth and go down to the gums as well. This reduces the risk of periodontal disease and early tooth loss.
11. Drink lots of water.
Water plays a significant role in oral health and in preventing dry mouth, which could prove to be problematic as we age. 8 cups of water a day remains a general guideline. A dry mouth allows the development of bacteria and fungi and leads to bad breath and tooth decay. Make it a point to schedule appointments with the dentist every 6 months to keep your teeth healthy.
Eileen Canday, Dietician & Priya Kathpal, Nutritionist
12. Fidget while you work.
Most of us today have desk jobs. Gone are the days when working on your feet and with your hands was a common thing. Therefore, you need to take extra precautions to not jam your legs, back or neck during those 8-12 hour days. Make your desk job healthier and more fun by moving around. Stretch a little, walk around every hour or so, do whatever it takes to be active despite having to use a computer at a desk all day.
13. Don’t skip breakfast.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you should never skip it, if you want to attain a healthy lifestyle. If you are not accustomed to eating breakfast, then start with small portions like a plateful of fruits or a bowl of cereal, etc. Eating a healthy breakfast will help you stay focused throughout the day and reduce your over-eating during the second half of the day.
14. Make your plate more colourful.
Whether it is red, yellow, blue or green, add all colours of fruits and vegetables to your plate. The more the colour the better the health benefits you’ll derive. By adding all the fruits and vegetables to your plate, you will ensure that you are filling up on most nutrients and vitamins.
Dr. K.M. Sunesara, General Physician
15. Store your medicines correctly.
You might wonder, how this change will help you live a healthy life, but this advice is one of the most essential changes one should adopt. If your pills and medicines are kept just anywhere, they are exposed to various factors like light, heat or humidity. Due to this exposure, your pills can get degraded and lose their quality. To get the best out of your medicines, store them in a dry and dark location.
16. Check your BMI.
It is extremely important to keep checking your Body Mass Index (BMI). This will help you to always maintain a healthy weight and help you avoid various diseases that are caused due to obesity, like diabetes, stroke, gallstones, heart disease and high blood pressure.
17. Laugh like a baby.
The popular saying, laughter is the best medicine, is 100% percent true! When you laugh out loud, your body releases feel-good hormones that kill the stress hormone cortisol. Giggle as much as you can to achieve good health by watching back to back comedy videos or by joining a laughter club.
18. Breathe properly.
Most of us do not breathe properly, as we fail to understand the importance of breathing. Proper breathing is essential to obtain the best health. Even a proper deep breathing session of 10-15 minutes provides a range of health benefits like better digestion, improved blood quality and more efficient functioning of the nervous and respiratory systems. Hence, pay attention to your breathing – if you notice that you’re breaths are too shallow or deep, correct your breathing style at that very instant.
Dr. Aparna Jaswal, Electro-physicist
19. Don’t ignore common ailments.
Don’t ignore common symptoms such as sweat spells, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort, pain in the right arm or tiredness – these all could indicate an underlying heart condition.
Women are often on the forefront when it comes to managing the health of their family, yet their own health and proactive measures to assess risk take a back seat. The myth that mostly men are at risk for heart disease has been busted. Unfortunately, women are still oblivious to this truth and continue ignoring their heart health. Awareness and attention to one’s self can go a long way in preventing heart disease amongst women.
20. Live a healthier lifestyle.
Unfortunately drinking, smoking and obesity have increased significantly among Indian women in the last couple of years and these habits all are precursors to cardiovascular disease. Quit smoking and drinking, get your weight under control through a balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt and exercise for 30 to 60 minutes every day.
21. Get your numbers checked.
Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease significantly more in women than in men. Get your numbers checked – cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar, ejection fraction (echo test). This goes a long way toward preventing heart disease.
Dr. Yash Gulati, Orthopaedic Surgeon
22. Take exercise seriously.
Women tend to take exercising lightly, which makes them more prone to developing osteoporosis. Not controlling your weight, especially after pregnancy, leads to joint and back pain. You must jog and exercise regularly.
23. Maintain the right posture.
Whether you are working at home or in office, avoid incorrect wrong postures that result in chronic pain. Pay attention to your sitting and standing postures and ensure that you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your knees while holding heavy weights or bending improperly.
24. Don’t exercise at the gym without supervision.
Unsupervised exercise at the gym can lead to serious complications. Instead, it is advisable to avoid overdoing gym work outs and losing weight gradually.
25. Take Vitamin D supplements.
Do not ignore a Vitamin D deficiency. Make sure your Vitamin D levels are balanced at all times. Additionally, eat a diet that is high in protein or at least balanced and avoid excess sugar and oil.
Dr. Chiranjiv Chabra, Dermatologist and Cosmetologist
26. Beware of bleach.
It’s common for our skin to get tanned, especially in summer. Avoid bleaching your skin to get rid of your tan, since bleaching does more harm than good. Bleach contains strong chemicals that damage the skin. Hence, bleaching is strictly not advisable to address the issue of tanning.
27. Choose the right sun block.
A lot of negligence is shown by women when it comes to sun block. While many do not make it a habit to apply sun block stepping out in sun, others do not choose the right product for their skin type or customised needs. While selecting a sun block, more than the brand, the sun protection factor (SPF) should be taken into account, depending upon the time one spends in sun. Secondly, sun block should be applied without fail every 2 hours, after cleaning the face properly.
28. Use beauty products seasonally.
Most women do not bother changing their products according to the seasons. They tend to buy expensive products and are then reluctant to change them when the weather changes. This is a major error because our skin’s requirements change with the weather. The products of a particular season should be kept in the refrigerator to be used again later.
29. Don’t go to the parlour to treat skin problems.
Women often do not visit a dermatologist when it comes to common skin issues. Instead, they prefer to go to the salon to find a solution. However, it is essential to visit a dermatologist even in case of minor skin issues as they can solve the problem at its core.
Cover image via britishcouncil.in
Article By : Kalpana Sharma