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Khadijah Ahmad column: Living healthy in 30s an important focus for women

8:55 PM, Mar. 22, 2013  |  Comments
Khadijah Ahmad
Khadijah Ahmad
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Question: As a woman in my 30s and in good health, I'm confused about what I should know about health tests and prevention?

Answer: Your 30s are a time to find a balance in your life. Even as you juggle all of your responsibilities at work and home, find a way to make your health a priority.

In your 30s there's often a big shift from a focus on yourself to a focus on the health of your family. Of course it's important to keep your family healthy, but don't forget your own health in the equation.

It may be hard to think about at this stage of your life, but the more you do to take care of yourself now, the higher your chances of preventing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer as you get just a little bit older.

On a yearly basis, you should have: cholesterol screening, a fasting blood sugar test, flu vaccination, blood pressure check, skin cancer screening, and dental and eye exams.

Other tips:

? If you smoke, stop. It's one of the most important things you can do for your health.

? Look for ways to get your heart rate up with a daily exercise regime. Whether you work out at the gym or at home, doing exercise you enjoy is something to build on in your 30s for your future. Work toward at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise five days per week, plus strength training.

? Don't overlook the importance of getting at least seven hours of sleep per night.

? Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit your fat intake. Such a diet, in addition to physical activity, will help you maintain a healthy weight and a body mass index of less than 25.

? Keep your body well hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of fluid per day, preferably water rather than sweet or high-caffeine drinks. If you consume alcohol, do so with moderation.

? Take between 1,000 mg and 1,200 mg of calcium daily, more if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

? Get between 400IU and 800IU of vitamin D daily. If you take a common multivitamin supplement, it probably will not provide enough calcium and vitamin D, so you should take those in addition to the multivitamin.

The patterns you set now will stay with you throughout your lifetime. Take a serious look at your health status and make healthy changes in terms of food, exercise, health screenings and stress management.

Know your health numbers such as blood pressure and cholesterol. If they are too high, ask your health care provider for help in getting them under control.

Take action on anything that can help you enter your next decade with your controllable risk factors under control.

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