A woman’s decision to take HRT is greatly affected by whether she is having bothersome symptoms. Understandably, if a woman is experiencing minimal symptoms, she may be less inclined to take estrogen. Women with a family history of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or osteoporosis should carefully weigh each of these factors with her physician.
There is much you can do yourself to improve your health and lessen risks. Many chronic diseases are made worse by poor lifestyle choices. Eating nourishing foods, exercising on a regular basis, getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and having little or no alcohol are all healthy habits that greatly fortify the ability of your body to stay healthy.
We all know these benefits but their importance often gets diluted by the latest new drug that promises results by just taking a pill. I challenge myself and my patients by reminding them that each of these beneficial activities, especially exercise, is like medicine with far-ranging benefits on your metabolism. A study of 23,153 participants ages 35 to 65, followed for 7.8 years, studied the effect of four factors: never smoking, being non-obese, performing 3.5 hours or more of exercise per week and eating a nutritious diet.
Participants who adhered to all four factors at the beginning of the study had a 78% lower risk of developing a disease like diabetes, myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke or cancer as compared to participants who did not follow these factors.
If we strive to follow these lifestyle habits, we enhance therapies that physicians can offer. Some individuals are blessed with good genetics but no matter how good your genes are, if you don’t follow a healthy lifestyle, eventually the system breaks down. Become informed, proactive, and accountable for your actions and omissions. A knowledgeable, engaged patient working with her physician increases the likelihood of achieving her health goals.
Excerpt from “Outliving Your Ovaries” © 2012 by Marina Johnson MD.
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