May 9 – 15 ; Celebrating National Women’s Health Week

12 June 2021

National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) is observed from month of May 9 to 15 led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). The theme of this year is “Ending the Pandemic and Elevating Women’s Health” owing to the importance of healthcare to COVID-19 prevention. Nowadays, women have the burden of household chores along with their occupation. They might have hectic schedule within the home as well as office and often present with complaints of fatigue, debility, exhaustion, but the fact is that they exhibit more physical inactivity.

 

Women and physical health

Women are mostly indulged in activities without physical exertion. Women at any age must practise regular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Maintaining a healthy BMI is important to prevent disease. Women with waist size greater than 35 inches (89 cm) may have greater risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension.

 

Nutritional needs for women

Many women do not follow an accurate food habit and faces nutritional deficiencies. Appropriate diet plan is mandatory for a healthy living. Women require lesser calories as they have lesser muscle mass. However, they require sufficient nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamins. Folic acid is required for cell functioning and prevent birth defects in women at the reproductive age. Daily requirement is 400 mcg, which can be acquired from natural food sources like green leafy vegetables, beans, oranges, peas. Everyday calcium intake is necessary to ensure bone strength. Women are more prone for low bone density and osteoporosis after menopause due to decreased level of estrogen. Hence dietary intake of yoghurt, cheese, milk, sardines, tofu is essential. Vitamin D is required for absorption of calcium. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include milk, yoghurt, orange juice, cereals, oily fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, canned tuna, sardines and eggs. Iron is an integral part in oxygen transport within cell. Iron deficiency anaemia is more common in females due to menstrual blood loss. Have diet rich in red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, peas, beans, and other pulses, seafood, seeds and nuts.

 

Mental health and coping up emotional instability in women

Mental health is as important as physical health to cope up with daily life situations. Women are more prone for depression and mood swings than men. Women may not find much time spending for social activities or communications. This gradually builds up frustration or introvert behaviour weakening mental health. Mental health plays an important role for managing stress. Find time for leisure activities to refresh mind and stay connected with family and friends. Adequate sleep for at least 7 hours is essential for well being of body and boost up immunity.

 

Reproductive health in women

Women face many unique health challenges than men. Urinary tract infections, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, anaemia are more common to females. Reproductive health disorders like PCOD, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, endometriosis require earlier detection. Regular check-ups, mammography, pelvic examination and other screening should be done, mostly over the age of 40. Diabetic screening should be done by women having gestational diabetes as they are more prone for diabetes at an early age. PCOD is another health concern, needed to be cared about in which 50–80% showed insulin resistance and 50% become pre-diabetic or diabetic before the age of 40.

 

Women health during the pandemic

Follow covid protocols, vaccinate and include immunity boosters in diet. There are many rumours and fake news spreading among social media pertaining to infertility of women after vaccination and avoiding vaccination during menstrual period. Vaccination during menstrual period is safe and it does not cause infertility in women. Breastfeeding can be done if the mother is covid positive, as breast milk is less likely to spread viral infection. Feeding can be done using pumps, and staying away from new-born at least 6 feet apart.

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