Important Health Screenings for Women Over 40

The female body is an amazing machine. Strong, durable, soft, and beautiful, this vessel is unlike any other. As women age, their bodies can change in significant ways and as time goes by there is the potential for much to go wrong, and for certain health conditions to develop.

Due to this, it is important that all women get certain health screenings and at particular times.  For women 40 and over, there are tests both appropriate and extremely important that need to be taken to ensure you maintain your optimal health and wellness.

Take charge of your life and your health by running through this checklist of important health screenings.

Why Health Screenings Are Important

Health screenings are put in place to help doctors check for diseases and conditions that can crop up as you age.

The aging process is one of the main catalysts for the development of illness because the immune and other bodily systems are slowing down. Though your body may be physically slowing down, your life certainly isn’t. Don’t get blindsided by a serious diagnosis or a life-altering condition by staying on top of important health screenings for women 40 and over.

One of the most important reasons for the existence of these screenings is that early detection often saves women’s lives. One of the best examples of this is breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society cites this data from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database as to the 5 year relative survival rate of breast cancer patients in various stages of cancer. Stage 0 is early onset, and it graduates up to the most sever stage, which is, stage IV.

Stage 0 – 100%

Stage I – 100%

Stage II – 93%

Stage III -72%

Stage IV – 22%

As you can see, survival rates get lower and lower as stages progress. This is the key to early detection, and does ensure a much higher success rate for various treatment methods.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Stage 0 breast cancer, medically termed ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive cancer that is characterized by abnormal cells that have grown in the lining of the breast milk duct. In Stage 0, the cancer cells have not yet spread to the surrounding breast tissue, and is considered to be very treatable. And this is where early screenings come into play because if not detected, and therefore treated early on, the cancer will spread to the surrounding tissue and result in the development of cancer into the more dangerous stages.

Necessary Screenings

  • Mammogram: A mammogram is performed to check the breasts for cancer. This procedure usually begins at age 40 and is performed every one to two years. If a woman has certain risk factors, such as, family history, mammograms may need to be performed more often.

Speak with your doctor about how often this procedure must be done and make an appointment as soon as possible. Women who neglect to get this screening may increase their risk of developing cancer or other problems and can miss out on all the benefits of early detection. It is better to be safe than sorry, so contact your doctor today.

  • Clinical Breast Exam: Complementary to a mammogram, a clinic breast exam is an extra precaution performed by a nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or doctor. Though mammograms are quite effective, most women should use both exams to ensure optimal safety and assurance.

Women usually begin receiving this exam at age 20 and it is repeated every one to three years for women between 20 and 40 years of age. This test may be able to detect lumps and other signs of breast cancer. This same exam can be used at home by women to check for lumps or changes in breasts, and is referred to as a breast self-exam.

  • Pap Smear and Pelvic Exam: This exam checks for cervical cancer and usually begins at age 21 for most women, especially if they are sexually active. This procedure is meant to detect any signs of cervical cancer so that doctors can treat or possibly prevent the disease from developing. This procedure should be performed every three years unless recommended otherwise by your doctor.
  • Colonoscopy: This procedure is absolutely necessary for women over 40. The starting age is usually 50 unless otherwise specified by your healthcare provider. This screening involves the insertions of a long, flexible instrument into the rectum in order to view the inside of the colon. It may sound uncomfortable, but, this test is necessary for detecting signs of colon cancer such as polyps and other growths. Unless there are certain risk factors in place, this test is only needed once every 10 years.

For a complete list of women’s health screening tests, speak with your doctor. Some women may require more tests than others while others may need less. It all depends on you as an individual and your medical and genetic health history.

Remember that as a woman, you have the responsibility to take care of your body and your life. Don’t let health problems sneak up on you by being underprepared.

Stay on top of your medical care, and speak with your doctor, ask questions and remain in tune with your body to ensure your good health.

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Three Diet Tips for Serious Muscle Builders

Serious muscle builders treat their diet in an almost scientific, equation-like manner. What is the scientifically proven, most effective way to build more muscles?

It takes a lot of discipline to follow the rigid guidelines for developing your body in the absolute fastest manner. But if you’re really serious, that’s what it’ll take to get results the fastest.

Here are three dietary tips for serious muscle builders.

40% Carbohydrates, 20% Fats, 40% Proteins

The 40:20:40 rule has been tested again and again to be the optimal balance of nutrients for losing fat and gaining muscle.

Keep in mind that many foods contain both fats and proteins in them without explicitly being a fatty or protein food. For example, when you’re buying your meats, make sure to read the labels and see what percentage of the meat is actually fat and what percentage is protein.

Also avoid eating carbohydrates close to bedtime.

In the beginning, you’ll likely have to record all the foods you eat in order to get a good sense for how much fat, carbs and proteins you’re taking in. After you get more experience, you’ll be able to estimate your intake with a high degree of accuracy.

Eat in 2.5 Hour Intervals

Don’t binge. Don’t eat big meals. Big meals cause your body to spike up in blood sugar levels and then crash. It also causes food build-up in the digestive system, which is detrimental to muscle growth.

To maintain a steady energy level and to facilitate the fastest growth possible, aim to eat smaller meals every two and a half hours.

That’ll come out to six small meals a day instead of three large meals. If you need snacks in between meals, go for something healthy like mixed nuts.

Cycle Your Caloric Intake

To keep your body from adapting to a certain caloric intake level, regularly cycle your caloric intake.

Consider alternating low calorie days with high calorie days. If you’re trying to gain weight and muscle mass, you can put in higher calorie days, while doing the opposite if you’re trying to drop weight.

This process doesn’t necessarily have to be rigid or planned, but you should still keep track of your calories and consciously decide the night before whether you’re going to have a high or low calorie day tomorrow. Track your high and low calorie days so you can make sure you’re getting a good balance.

These are three diet tips geared specifically towards serious muscle builders. If muscle building is just a hobby, these tips might not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re really dedicated to building the body of your dreams, these tips can help take you to the next level.

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Best Healthy Eating Practices for the Senior Population

As people age, their bodies require extra care and attention to ensure that health and vitality are maintained. The number of calories one needs begins to decline, making it important that every calorie consumed is filled with the necessary nutrients aging bodies require.

Many seniors notice that as they slow down, they need more rest and specific foods to feel energized. The diet one keeps as they age can make a big difference when it comes to longevity and energy, making it imperative that the right foods are included in one’s everyday lifestyle.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of choices to consider, and seniors may not know where to begin when building their new healthy diet.

Starting Out: Foods to Avoid

Empty calories are dangerous as people age because they literally deny the body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Though these food may have been part of one’s diet in the past, they should be avoided as they get older.

  • Deep Fried Food: As people age they may notice dietary changes that prevent them from eating certain foods. The digestive system begins to slow down, requiring easy to digest foods that won’t cause a lot of strain on the stomach.Fried food contains lots of fat, carbohydrates, and cholesterol, making it a difficult food to digest. Those with higher metabolisms can get away with consuming this food every now and again, but elderly bodies should avoid it completely.
  • Processed Foods: Processed foods are those that have undergone procedures that strip them of their nutritional value in favor of additives such as artificial colors and flavors.Due to the low nutritional value of these foods, they are known as being filled with empty calories that seniors really cannot afford. Consuming these foods can also cause digestive problems over time.
  • Sweets: Loaded with sugar and filled with empty calories, sweets are not the best choices for seniors. These can be anything from candies and sodas to pastries and ice cream. While these foods are okay in moderation, they should certainly not be a part of the everyday diet. Eating too much sugar can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease in older adults.
  • Undercooked Meats: While this may seem like a food people at any age should avoid, it is especially dangerous for seniors to consume undercooked foods.

Due to their compromised immune systems and aging digestive systems, undercooked foods can cause serious damage that can lead to hospitalization or worse. Make sure that all meats, fish, and eggs are properly cooked before consumption.

The Best Foods for Seniors

Whole foods that have retained their natural nutritional values are the best for seniors. These foods are rich in necessary nutrients and vitamins that older adults need to stay health and feeling great.

Not only will these foods provide energy and nutrition to the aging body, but they can also promote longevity when paired with other healthy practices like proper exercise, getting enough sleep, and practicing self-care. Seniors should add the following to their everyday diet:

  • Fruits: Fruits contain good sugars as well as vitamins and nutrients the body needs to carry out standard functions. Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, and limes are high in Vitamin C, while dark fruits like berries, pomegranates, and cherries are high in antioxidants.These fruits are excellent for slowing the aging process by eliminating toxins in the body. Bananas, plums, and prunes are fruits high in potassium, which helps keep ones strong and cells functioning correctly.
  • Veggies: High in folic acid, which is an essential B vitamin known for combating anemia and poor nerve function, vegetables are a necessary staple for any diet.Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, and arugula are a delicious and nutritious way to add folate to one’s diet.
  • Dairy: While unpasteurized dairy products should be avoided, seniors need dairy items such as milk, cheese, and yogurt to get their necessary amount of calcium.This nutrient is most important for building and maintaining strong bones, but it also plays many other major roles in the body. Avoid brittle bones and the risk of fractures by adding calcium to the everyday diet.
  • Grains and Beans: These foods are high in fiber which is highly important for seniors. As the digestive system slows down, irregularity can become a problem for many seniors.By consuming fiber rich foods like beans, whole grains, and some fruits and veggies, seniors can keep themselves regular and maintain a healthy colon.

How the Right Diet Encourages Longevity

Just as children require certain nutrition and care options, the elderly do as well. Seniors are in a time of their lives where they are winding down physically and mentally. While this is natural, it doesn’t have to be final.

The right foods and lifestyle practices can actually slow the aging process into a gradual progression, offering seniors years of energy and vitality so they can do what they want with their time.

When the right nutrients and vitamins are regularly fed to the body, all the systems function well, vital organs maintain health and vitality, and the body can keep going strong for years to come.

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How Yoga Alleviates Stress Related Conditions and Body Aches

Any situation the body perceives as dangerous or threatening triggers the stress or “fight or flight” response in the body. This threat may be overt physical danger or more subtle, dealing with interpersonal conflict such as a disagreement with a coworker or situational pressures, like coping with financial problems.

The body’s efforts to deal with a threatening situation cause a series of reactions. The heart accelerates to provide maximum oxygen levels to organs and cells. The muscles tighten and shorten to prepare for action, to maneuver through the situation, to fight or to flee from the danger. Adrenaline courses through the body heightening awareness and providing a quick burst of energy.

The automatic stress response serves a purpose. It protects the body. However, chronic stress, remaining in a stress response state for a prolonged period of time, takes a negative toll on the body. It causes physical and psychological distress, which affects a person’s overall health and well-being.

Effects of Stress

  • 43% of all adults suffer from health problems because of stress.
  • 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress is a key contributor to heart disease, headaches, body aches, high blood pressure, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, anxiety, and depression.
  • The 50% prevalence of any emotional disorder is typically due to untreated stress.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that stress is a significant hazard in the workplace and results in costs of over $300 billion annually. 

Symptoms of chronic stress related to the continuous release of stress hormones and an elevated metabolism:

  • The digestive system may experience stress as stomach aches, nausea, and intestinal irritability.


  • Mentally, a person under chronic stress may experience racing thoughts, unreasonable worrying, lack of focus and disorganization and pessimism.


  • Loss of quality sleep.


  • A person under chronic stress also displays emotional and behavioral markers of the condition. They may become irritable, experience feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.


  • Stress associated behaviors, overeating or undereating, avoidance and displaying nervous behaviors like nail biting and pacing emerge under chronic stress.


  • Stress related aches and pains could occur in different parts of the body. When the muscles shorten or tighten to prepare for action within the stress response then remain that way, it causes aches and pains in different parts of the body.


  • Where muscular tension presents itself while under stress varies from one person to another. Some people may clench or tighten their jaw causing pain and discomfort in this area and possibly across the forehead and scalp. Other people hold tension in the shoulders and neck. Some people may find themselves experiencing chronic backaches.


How Yoga Can Help With Stress Related Aches and Conditions

Essentially, yoga acts as a therapeutic antidote to stress; it provides physical, mental, and emotional relief to people experiencing chronic stress. Relief occurs during the actual yoga practice and the benefits continue to present beyond sessions when a person practices yoga consistently.

Yoga poses ease stress related aches and pains due to muscular tension. The yoga poses stretch, lengthen, strengthen, and relax tense muscles. The meditation and breathing exercises calm the mind and the nervous system. They also allow a person to reestablish mental focus and clarity during and following practice.

The breath work and poses practiced during yoga elicit the relaxation response in the body, which helps to decrease and regulate stress hormones.

It is also important to note that yoga has a profound effect on various aspects of one’s health, including the ability to lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, help regulate blood sugars in diabetes, and decrease anxiety, all of which are commonly seen with chronic stress.

How to Utilize Yoga to Manage Stress

If one intends to develop a yoga practice as part of a stress management plan, consistency is the key to success. Yoga provides progressive therapy.

The poses reshape and improve the health and functionality of the muscles, the joints and organs over time; it is a form of training and as with any training, regular practice sets the stage for progress.

This also applies to the meditative and relaxation exercises associated with the practice. According to Dr. Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD, recent studies show as little as three months of weekly yoga practice, relieves stress related headaches, backaches, reduces stress, and lowers cortisol (stress hormone) secretions. It also lowers blood pressure and improves participant’s mood.

Practicing yoga has been shown to relieve the immediate symptoms of stress related aches, pains, mental distress, and negative emotional states. It also appears to effectively counter the fight or flight stress response by lowering cortisol levels and teaching the mind to observe (through meditation) rather than react to situations. People experiencing chronic stress can benefit greatly from incorporating a yoga practice in their health regimen.

You can begin with yoga by joining a class that is led by a qualified instructor. There are also instructional programs available on DVD. It is very important to learn proper techniques for poses and breath work to reap all the benefits yoga has to offer.

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Flat, Toned Abs in Just Ten Minutes a Day

Summer, and swimsuit season, is just around the corner. That means it’s time to start working on those flat abs you want so badly. Don’t have time to work out for hours every day? Not to worry, with a little planning and ten minutes a day, you can have the flat, toned abs you want.

Step #1 Pay attention to your fuel. Track what you eat and what you burn each day. Abdominal fat is just that, fat. If you want to see the muscles underneath and get rid of the bulge you’re going to have to consume fewer calories than you burn.

There are wonderful, free, and easy to use programs and iPod/iPhone applications that will help you track what you eat and what you burn each day. Use them to stay on track. One pound of fat is 3500 calories. That means that by simply burning 500 more calories a day than you eat you can lose a pound in 7 days.

Tracking what you eat will also help you see what foods fill you up longer and what foods burn quickly. Quick burning foods mean you’re hungry soon after you eat them. Aim for lean protein, lots of fiber and fruits and veggies.

Step #2 Get moving! Move your body; it wasn’t designed to sit on a couch or at a desk all day. Take the stairs, take a walk around the block, move your body and find a way to take at least 10,000 steps a day. Studies have shown that people who take 10,000 steps a day lose weight faster and keep it off. They’re healthier and thinner. You can be too!

Step #3 Okay, now you have pounds melting off just by tracking your intake and moving your body. The next step is to work your core muscles, and you can do that in just ten minutes a day. The best fitness activities are ones that focus on your entire core, your back and stomach. Sit-ups are great but they only work specific muscles in your abdominals.

Instead of sit-ups, spend ten minutes working through a low rep workout. Do full crunches where your legs also come off of the ground, bridge, single leg abdominal press, plank pose, and side plank. Move through each repetition slowly so you get the full benefit of the movement and hold the exercise for a few seconds before releasing it. You’ll build muscle and burn more fat. Repeat each exercise 8-10 times then move onto the next exercise.

The good thing about these core exercises is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to do them. All you need is ten minutes. Get down on the floor during your favorite television show or do them right when you get up in the morning before your shower.

With commitment, a plan of action and a little bit of willpower you can have those flat abs you want. Watch what you eat, get moving and find ten minutes each day to work your core muscles. You’ll have that beach body in no time.

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