Last week, I had the good fortune of attending a panel discussion of leading healthcare experts brought together by Working Mother magazine and GE healthymagination to reflect upon what women need to know to be effective "chief medical officers" for themselves and their families.
All too often, women put their own health last, after taking care of everyone else in the family. The panel stressed a few basics for women’s health: that we need to ‘know our numbers’ including cholesterol levels, BMI (body mass index), blood pressure, and for menopausal women, bone density; that we be aware of the signs of a stroke using the FAST acronym, which stands for Face, Arms, Speech, and Time and know where the nearest stroke center is in your area; and that measuring your waste, rather than your weight, is a key indicator of cardiovascular disease. (A waste larger than 35” is a sure sign for concern.)
In an era of digital overload, one of the biggest challenges moms face is knowing where to turn for medical answers from trusted sources. I was lucky to sit with Lisa Collier Cool, a veteran health blogger, best-selling author, and winner of numerous journalism awards, who shared a few tips about websites that can be very useful, especially when used in conjunction with regular check-ups and visits with experts when called for. For general health information, www.medlineplus.gov, www.medhelp.org, as well as the Mayo Clinic have great content, including forums, experts and tools for tracking weight, sleep, your ovulation calendar, etc. To learn about medications, turn to www.Rxlist.com first, and to understand drug interactions www.epocrates.com. The American Heart Association also has an iphone app that can come in handy with first aid and CPR information with topics include that include CPR, choking, bites, bruises, burns, seizures and diabetic emergencies.
To read the highlights of the event, and to learn more about what the experts recommend, click here.