Dear Red Hot Mamas

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: August 16, 2012

family health history and menopause

Have you ever walked out of your doctor’s office feeling confused about what he/she has told you? I must confess, it frequently happens to me. Mid life crisises are rare, but mid life confusion is a common malady, especially at menopause!

To make matters worse, I find it difficult to keep track of all the continually changing advice we get fed from news reports. Forgetfulness is at the beginning of the list of changes occurring at menopause, so I know I’m not alone.

I’ve spoken to many Red Hot Mamas and they feel the challenges of taking care of their health are truly not as easy as we think. The more we do for our health at middle age to prepare for aging, the better.

One of the best things we can do for our health now in order to set up for success in the future is to learn what we can control. A key component in that is to be able to identify your risk factors for getting certain diseases. Then, you can make changes to your health by incorporating healthy behaviors to reduce those risks.

If you know you are at risk for developing heart disease, maybe because you inherited that risk from a gene of a parent, you can look at adopting changes to your lifestyle that might lower that risk. Eating healthy, stopping smoking, exercising more and getting screened regularly are all ways to lower risk. A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 80% (according to the Nurses’ Health Study).

My gene pool brought about several genetic disorders such as Thalaseemia (a blood disorder passed down through families) and Von Willebrand’s disease (a bleeding disorder that affects blood’s ability to clot). I’m fully aware that the genes I was born with can negatively affect my health, if I allow them. It is essential for me to discuss with my doctors ways to maintain my health and manage these conditions.

How healthy is your family tree? The Department of Health and Human Services provides some easy to use tools to keep track of your family’s health history. One allows you to create your own family health portrait. It’s a good idea to have this on hand at your next doctor’s appointment so you can make choices now to help prevent repeating history.

Practicing healthy behaviors contributes to a longer and healthier life. I like to think of the following as the Four Essentials to Live a Healthier and Longer Life:

  • Avoid excessive alcohol use
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Improve nutrition
  • Engage in physical activity

Follow these essentials and you’ll also be surprised how many menopause symptoms will diminish or even disappear… even the brain fog!

This month, we are pleased to announce a new important addition to our medical advisory board, Marina Johnson, MD. We are delighted to have her join us as she brings years of experience working in the area of menopause management. She brings us her gifted intelligence and an abundance of empathy, cognitively identifying with all menopausal women. Look for upcoming articles from Dr. Johnson and ask her your questions through Ask the Experts.

Next month is the 100th edition of The Menopause Minute. Stay tuned for a special edition loaded with information from our experts. Have you ever looked through The Menopause Minute archives? It’s incredible to think how far we have come!

Good Health to You All,

Karen Giblin
Founder and President
Red Hot Mamas