The Real Makeover (for Women)

Manila Bulletin, March 28, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Real Makeover (for Women)


“A woman’s health is her capital.” Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) US author (and mother of six) Household Papers and Stories, part 2, ch. 5 (1865)Reality TV is obsessed with makeovers, the “before” and “after” poses and pictures, and yes, the “feel-good” ending. There is, however, one common feature they are all about the surface. The real makeover, to my mind, is internal and systemic.The real change will have to do with quality of life. Though a woman in this country lives longer than a man, we have no idea if the woman at 73 years has no heart disease, diabetes, cataracts, or cancer, or Alzheimer’s.Indeed what is the use, some may ask, of living long but living in agony?It doesn’t have to be that way. More and more the onus of healthy aging is being shifted to the individual. It’s convenient to blame one’s genes, the environment, even the government for disease. But to take charge of one’s health is probably more satisfying and well, healthier. A woman can take charge of her health by following these 10 steps.A health check list. These must be checked (or requested) by your doctor and dentist. The appropriate health professional to see is in parenthesis. * Blood pressure reading (Family Medicine doctor/Cardiologist)* Cholesterol level (Family Medicine doctor/Cardiologist)* Breast exam and Mammogram (General Surgeon/Oncologist)* Pelvic exam and Pap smear (OB/Gyne)* Colon and rectal cancer screening (Colorectal Surgeon)* Bone density measurement (Endocrinologist/Orthopedic Surgeon/(Rheumatologist/Rehabilitation Medicine specialist)* Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) screening (OB/Gyne /Urologist)* Eye exam (Ophthalmologist)* Fasting blood sugar test (Family Medicine doctor/Endocrinologist)* Dental check up (Dentist) Why bother? There’s a practical reason to all these. Disease prevention is less costly than treatment or cure. For example, cancer treatment is expensive, painful, and results are directly correlated to the stage or extent of the cancer. In a clinical breast exam, the doctor will look for unusual lumps and enlargements of the lymph nodes. After the age of 40, the doctor recommends a mammogram which is an X-ray of breast tissue. Abnormal calcifications and lumps not detectable by touching alone can be seen through this special X-ray.

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