This is National Women’s Health Week—an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to encourage women to make their health a priority.
Great idea, but unfortunately, there are many myths out there with respect to women’s health, and when you’re talking about serious and possibly life or death concerns, ignorance is definitely not bliss.
Here are some of the common myths regarding women’s health and the real facts to consider.
Myth #1: Mammograms are always the best way to screen for breast cancer
Fact: Mammograms can increase your breast cancer risk, since the ionizing radiation they use causes cancer. In addition, they are incorrect up to 80 percent of the time (providing a false negative or false positive), they use compression which can damage your breast tissue or spread existing cancer, and they’re not effective for women with dense breasts or implants.
A safe and very accurate test is breast thermography. Thermography does not use radiation or compression, and can detect signs of inflammation and/or tumor-related blood flow up to 8-10 years before a mammogram or a physical exam can detect a mass!
Myth #2: If your blood pressure and cholesterol are OK, you’re not at risk for heart disease
Fact: High blood pressure and elevated cholesterol are only two of the signs of possible heart disease brewing.
To provide a more thorough picture, ask your doctor to run tests for C-reactive protein and homocysteine.
C-reactive protein is a compound that, when elevated, indicates either inflammatory or free radical damage is occurring within your blood vessels in a way that contributes to cardiovascular disease. And high levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream can cause inflammation in the blood vessels and increase your heart disease risk.
Myth #3: If your TSH test is normal, you don’t have a thyroid issue
Fact: The TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test primarily assesses the functioning of your pituitary—not necessarily your thyroid.
Plus the TSH test measures your blood level of thyroid hormone at that one moment in time when your blood is drawn. But your thyroid hormone levels are constantly fluctuating—so a “snapshot” blood test is not always an accurate picture of thyroid health.
A far more accurate and sensitive test that assesses thyroid health is the “TRH challenge test” also known as the “TRH Stimulation test.” Ask your doctor to run this test in addition to the TSH.
Myth #4: You have to suffer with menopause because synthetic hormone replacement increases your risk of breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots and stroke
Fact: There is another option—natural hormone replacement with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Unlike synthetic hormones, the body has an easier time assimilating bio-identical hormones because they are exactly identical in molecular structure to the hormones made by the body.
Since BHRT is a more holistic therapy, many mainstream practitioners are still not familiar with it. You may need to seek out a naturopath or ask your local compounding pharmacy what doctors in the area do BHRT.
Other helpful measures
Many women are faced with very demanding schedules and high stress levels—both of which can take their toll on your health!
Here are other measures you can take to help support optimal health:
Take a daily multi-strain probiotic formula like Super Shield. You can’t beat probiotics when it comes to supporting sound immune function, promoting more regular bowel movements, reducing gas and bloating and counteracting the harmful effects stress has on your gut.
Supplement with a multi-vitamin and mineral formula like Super Core. With busy lifestyles and eating on the run, it’s difficult to always make the healthiest food choices. Plus it’s a fact that our food today is not as nutritious as it once was. So taking a nutrient formula like Super Core can help make sure you have all bases covered, plus you get the added benefit of its antioxidants and anti-inflammatories too!
Do some form of exercise almost every day (with your doctor’s OK). You don’t have to go gung-ho—you can work in little activities like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk around the block after lunch, parking far away from the store when you’re going shopping, stretching at your desk or taking the dog for an extra walk. Every little bit counts.
Learn to say no. Many women create their own stressed-out existence because they say yes to every invitation, offer and request. Learn to say no when your plate is already full.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your doctor. A doctor should be your partner in health care and willing to discuss your concerns. If yours isn’t willing to listen to you or worse yet, refuses to address your questions, find another who will. There are a lot of wonderful caring doctors out there and they deserve your business.