Uprooting Top 10 Health Myths


The roots of International Women's Day began almost 150 years ago on March 8, 1857. On this date, one of the first real organized actions of women's solidarity took place in New York City. Hundreds of women staged a strike against the garment and textile factories in New York City, protesting low wages, long working hours and inhumane working conditions.


International Women's Day is a special day reserved to address the issues and needs of women around the world. In this article we catch up on some Women health and fitness myths in order to help them better understand themselves.



Myth #1: Young Women don't have Coronary Disease.
 

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. It is also a leading cause of disability among women. While it is true that before the age of menopause, women without risk factors (family history, diabetes, high cholesterol, for example) do have an advantage over men in rates of heart disease. Younger female patients with classic symptoms are sometimes overlooked even by their physicians, because of the myth. It is key to know your family history and the symptoms of heart disease. 

 

Women right from the early years should be physically active, watch what they're eating, reduce saturated fats in their diet, eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and good fats, and not smoke. Monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is also important to check for diabetes if you are overweight, obese or have close relatives with premature coronary heart disease.

Heart disease often has no symptoms. But, there are some signs to watch for. Chest or arm pain or discomfort can be a symptom of heart disease and a warning sign of a heart attack. Shortness of breath (feeling like you can't get enough air), dizziness, nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), abnormal heartbeats, or feeling very tired also are signs. Talk with your doctor if you're having any of these symptoms. Tell your doctor that you are concerned about your heart. Your doctor will take a medical history, do a physical exam, and may order tests. 

 

Myth #2: Women should be more Concerned about Breast Cancer than Heart Disease.
 

A healthy heart is vital for living life to the full. The majority of women, over 60 percent, identify breast cancer as their greatest health concern, yet heart disease and stroke claims more than eighteen times the number of lives.


If your dad or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or if your mom or sister had one before age 65, you're more likely to develop heart disease. This does not mean you will have a heart attack. It means you should take extra good care of your heart to keep it healthy.

Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, includes many conditions, but the most common type is coronary artery disease, which is also the most preventable. Coronary artery disease involves blockages in the arteries caused by plaque build up. If this plaque progresses or ruptures, heart attack or sudden death can result. Hypertension, which is under the umbrella of cardiovascular diseases, can have many serious effects on the heart, the blood vessels and the kidneys and, if untreated, is a major cause of stroke. It occurs when the blood pressure is greater than 140/90 mm Hg. Other types of heart disease include diseases of the heart rhythm, which can cause either a very slow heart rate or a fast heart rate. One could also be born with an abnormal heart, a condition called congenital heart disease. And heart failure occurs when the heart can't pump properly because it has been damaged or weakened, or because of high blood pressure or hypertension.


 

 

Myth #3: Load up on Protein for Muscle Mass
 

If the aim is to build muscle mass, engage in a strength training workout and increase caloric intake by as much as 500 calories . Not all of these additional calories must come from protein sources, especially if the aim of the meal is to replenish what has been utilized in exercise. About 60 percent of a weightlifting session is fueled by fats, 35 percent by carbohydrates, and 5 percent by protein, according to Essentials of Exercise Physiology.


Consuming more than 30 percent of food intake as protein may cause a build up of ketones, which the kidneys must flush out of the body. This may stress the kidneys and the heart, lead to dehydration, calcium loss from the bones, and a loss of muscle mass. While protein is essential for building muscle, skin, and hair, synthesizing hormones, and blood clotting, it is important to remember that even the most avid athlete benefits most from a balanced diet consisting of no more than 25 percent fat, 55 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent protein.

We don’t need a pyramid for protein; you can simply follow the fat pyramid and you’ll naturally get the right type and amount of protein.


 

 

Myth #4: Sweating gets you in Shape
 

The basic rule of working out is to avoid excessive sweating whenever possible. Energy is required to cool the system. This energy comes from the activity of your sweat glands, millions of them lying just under your skin that use metabolic energy to secrete sweat. This energy is drained from the total energy you have at your command to do the work of your body. Your muscles have to share in this energy in order to function properly. If a disproportionate share of that energy is used to secrete sweat, then there isn’t enough left for your other bodily functions. The amount of work you can do lessens when sweat glands use energy. When exhausted, they stop secreting, and you are in peril of a heat stroke.

The second loss of energy when you are over-heated is in the cardiovascular system. When the skin gets hot, the peripheral vessels leading to the skin open. Blood supply rushes to the surface of your body. This deprives the muscles of the blood they need. The heart tries to make up for the loss by pumping harder. The load becomes so great that if it is maintained for a prolonged period you could collapse. Inducing sweat is dangerous- and it makes no contribution to fitness.
 

Sweating does make the heart work harder, which is an objective of a fitness workout, but it does so in a hazardous manner. Sweating does burn calories, but it is a dangerous way to reduce weight.


 

Myth #5: Never Drink Water while Exercising
 

This is wrong. You shouldn’t even wait until you are thirsty. If you feel you are losing water, you should immediately replace it. And if you intend to exercise the first thing in the morning, you should drink a glass of water before you start.

The body cells depend on circulation in order to get the energy they need, and to get rid of their waste products. When you become dehydrated, the fluids that bathe the cells diminish. The cells cannot function properly until it is restored. When that happens, your muscles cannot keep up the work they are doing and your heart receives an added strain. Part of the fluid you’ve lost is blood fluid. This means that the heart has to pump that many more times to re-circulate the diminished supply of blood.


 

Myth #6: Women and Men can Safely Drink the same Amount of Alcohol per Day.
 

The safe limit for women is one drink a day, fewer than men's two drinks. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that women who are non drinkers have a 40 percent lower risk of getting breast cancer than women who consume two to five alcoholic beverages a day. A woman's cumulative lifetime risk is about one in eight and women who consume more than two drinks a day raise their risk to one in six. Women who are lighter drinkers (one per day) have a much smaller added risk and that one drink a day can help actually reduce the risk of heart disease. A woman should evaluate her risk factors for breast cancer and heart disease before deciding about the appropriate level of alcohol in her diet.


 

 

Myth #7: I'll Lose Weight if I Eat Low-Fat Foods.
 

This widespread myth explaining why women are eating less fat yet getting fatter. National surveys find that despite carving 7 percent of the fat from our diets, the number of us who are overweight has increased by 9 percent during the last 14 years. You can put on pounds even if you eat low-fat versions of your favourite high-fat foods. Though you're consuming less fat, you may be eating more calories. Remember, low-fat doesn't necessarily mean low-calorie


Low-fat, not necessarily cumulates to low-calorie For example, the difference between one-half cup of vanilla ice cream and one-half cup of low-fat vanilla ice cream is only about 40 calories. But even if you save calories by dishing up a 100-calorie, half-cup serving of the low-fat version, you may be tempted to eat more because it's low-fat and too tasty to pass up. Eating more equals more calories. By all means, reduce the fat in your diet. But if you're watching your weight, remember to count calories — because calories still count. The average woman needs between 1600 and 2000 calories a day. You can figure out how many calories you need each day by multiplying your weight (in pounds) by 12.


 

 

Myth#8: I had one normal mammogram, so I don't need another one.
 

One is not enough. Women should have mammograms done as recommended. Mammography is the most advanced and cost effective way to detect early breast cancer. It can detect breast cancer when it is in its earliest, most treatable stages. However, approximately 15-20 percent of all breast cancers will not be identified by mammography alone. For this reason, monthly breast self-examination (BSE) and a yearly physical exam also are recommended as part of a complete breast health program.


The American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society recommend women between the ages of 35 and 40 have a baseline mammogram; women between 40 and 49 should have an annual or biannual mammogram and should consult their personal physicians about their need for mammography; and women over 50 should have a mammogram every year.


 

 

Myth#9: Just because Headache is common doesn’t mean that it’s normal.

This is the most significant headache myth.
Despite the out-dated stigma about people with migraine or other recurrent headache being malingerers, weak, neurotic, or having a mental illness, headache is a real, legitimate, biologic syndrome that can be prevented, treated, and managed.

Headaches can be triggered or made more severe when sufferers are exposed to specific environmental factors, such as strong odors like cigarette smoke or perfume. Specific aspects of one's diet (beverages, meals, snacks) also may trigger headache. For example, low blood sugar as seen with prolonged fasting or extensive dieting may lead to increased headaches.

For many, the frequency and severity of headaches may actually be a signal of how hectic and stressful life may be for them. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. Here are some examples of lifestyle changes that may improve headache management:
 

  • Diet: Eat a healthy, balanced diet at regular times. Long periods of fasting, and dramatic swings in blood sugar levels, may cause an increase in headaches. Limit caffeine and smoking.

  • Exercise: Regular exercise is an important part of reducing headaches and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • Sleep: Fatigue and sleep deprivation may lead to an increase in headaches. Excessive sleep may trigger headaches.

  • Calendars: Track the frequency and severity of headaches by keeping a calendar. This will help monitor lifestyle factors that contribute to headaches.


Myth#10: Food Eaten late at Night is more Fattening.

Many diets tell you not to eat after a certain time in the evening in the belief that the body will store more fat because it is not burned off with any activity. However, a study at the Dunn Nutrition Centre in Cambridge suggests otherwise. Volunteers were placed in a whole body calorimeter (which measures calories burned and stored) and were fed with a large lunch and small evening meal for one test period, then a small lunch and large evening meal during a second test period. The results revealed the large meal eaten late at night did not make the body store more fat – it's the total amount eaten in a 24-hour period that's important, It is true that people who skip meals during the day, then eat loads in the evening are more likely to be overweight than those who eat regularly throughout the day. This may be because eating regular meals helps people regulate their appetite and overall food intake.

Take care & Happy Woman's Day

 

Dated 07 March 2012

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