In 1908, Anna Jarvis launched a nationwide campaign for observance of Mother’s Day to honor her late mother, a community health advocate.
More than 100 years later, the history of Mother’s Day is a reminder that we should not only celebrate with gifts and cards, but also with meaningful conversations to remind the women in our lives to take care of their health and well-being.
Angela A. Shippy, M.D., an internal medicine specialist and Chief Quality Officer at Memorial Hermann offers five tips for discussion this Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 10 – on women’s health and wellness:
-Heart Disease: Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and is often diagnosed too late for adequate treatment. Women also don’t always experience chest pain, a leading indicator of a heart attack, which underscores the importance of routine heart health checkups. When’s the last time you saw a doctor about your heart?
-Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women; however, it is treatable if detected early enough. Regular mammograms and self-breast exams are critical to detecting cancer early on. How long has it been since your last mammogram?
-Osteoporosis: Women’s bones are strongest around age 30, but begin to lose density as they age with post-menopausal women most at risk of developing osteoporosis. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can decrease the risk of osteoporosis, the underlying cause of 1.5 million bone fractures each year. Are you getting enough calcium?
-Autoimmune Diseases: More than 80 serious chronic illnesses are considered autoimmune diseases, including diabetes, lupus and thyroid disease. About 75 percent of autoimmune diseases occur in women, and symptoms are often ignored. Knowing and understanding family history can help medical practitioners provide better care. Have you had your symptoms checked out by a doctor?
-General Women’s Health: Simple measures can often make a substantial impact on a woman’s health. Receiving regular pap smears, colonoscopies, teeth cleanings and mole checks, along with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are simple and important measures all women can take to live healthier lives. Are you seeing all of your doctors on a regular basis?
“Mothers often spend significant amounts of time caring for others, and may forget to care for themselves,” said Dr. Shippy. “This Mother’s Day, Memorial Hermann wants to remind all mothers that their health should not be ignored if they want to ensure a healthy and long life.”
To learn more about women’s health, visit womens.memorialhermann.org.