It takes more than medicine...


Smart Suggestions for a Healthy Lifestyle

Published June 1, 2009


Horizons in Hemophilia, Fall 2008

By Penny Kumpf, RN, VWD Community Outreach Nurse

Here are some recommendations for health screenings that you might consider. Remember these are only recommendations and your primary care provider may suggest that you have these tests earlier and more often than these recommendations indicate.

  • Mammograms – Women should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years starting at age 40.
  • Pap Smears – Women should have a Pap smear every 1 to 3 years if they have been sexually active or are older than 21.
  • Obesity - Have your body mass index calculated to screen for obesity. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.
  • Cholesterol - Have your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 45. If you are younger than 45, talk to your doctor about whether to have your cholesterol checked if you smoke, have diabetes or if heart disease runs in your family.
  • Blood pressure - Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years, more often as you age or have a history of hypertension.
  • Colorectal cancer - Begin regular screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. How often you need to be tested will depend on which test you have.
  • Diabetes - Have a test to screen for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Depression - If you've felt "down," sad or hopeless and have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things for two weeks straight, talk to your doctor about whether he or she can screen you for depression.
  • Osteoporosis – Women should have a bone density test at age 65 to screen for osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). If you are between the ages of 60 and 64 and weigh 154 pounds or less, talk to your health care provider about whether you should be tested.
  • Chlamydia and STD - Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and chlamydia.

What else can you do to stay healthy?

  • Don't smoke - If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. You can take medicine and get counseling tohelp you quit. Make a plan and set a quit date. Tell your family, friends and co-workers you are quitting, and ask for their support.
  • Healthy diet - Eat a variety of foods, including fruit, vegetables, animal or vegetable protein (such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu or tempeh) and whole grains. Limit the amount of saturated fat you eat.
  • Exercise - Walk, dance, ride a bike, rake leaves or do any other physical activity you enjoy. Start small and work up to a total of 20-30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Healthy weight - Balance the number of calories you eat with the number you burn off by your activities. Remember to watch portion sizes. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about what or how much to eat.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation – If you drink alcohol, have no more than 2 drinks a day. A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

Here’s to your new healthy lifestyle!