How women can live a healthy life at every age range

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The 19th annual National Women's Health Week kicked off on Mother's Day, May 13, and is celebrated through May 19, 2018. (Source: AP Images) The 19th annual National Women's Health Week kicked off on Mother's Day, May 13, and is celebrated through May 19, 2018. (Source: AP Images)

Dr. Angela DeRosa, founder of DeRosa Medical

(3TV/CBS 5) - The 19th annual National Women's Health Week kicked off on Mother's Day, May 13, and is celebrated through May 19, 2018.

The Mother's Day kick-off provides the perfect impetus for women of all ages to honor and respect themselves by making better health choices.

Sadly, women's health issues and care are often lamentably not a priority in many male-oriented physician practices. As such, it is important that all women take a proactive stance in ensuring they receive the best healthcare possible; this can only happen by educating ourselves.


Knowledge is POWER.

The following are steps/choices that women can take towards living their best life at any age:


Get your well women check up and how to choose the best birth control method for you. There are now many more choices:

  • IUDs - They're not your mother's IUD anymore. IUDs have come a long way since their widespread use in the 1960s and 1970s. IUDs provide great, long-term protection against pregnancy, are more than 99% effective and work as well as sterilization and the birth control implant. An IUD protects against pregnancy for 3 to 12 years depending on which type you choose and many are non-hormonal. You can have the IUD removed at any time without affecting your fertility. 
  • NuvaRing/Ortho Evra Transdermal Patch - Again, these newer birth control methods help decrease the daily probability and risk of pregnancy that can occur by forgetting to take an oral contraceptive. Once a month birth control is highly effective and much more "user" friendly for many women.  
  • Get the HPV vaccine (26 years old or younger) -  The HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is a common virus; nearly 80 million people, about one in four, are currently infected in the United States. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women, cancers of the penis in men; and of the anus and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx), in both women and men. HPV vaccination can prevent most of the cancers (about 28,000) from occurring.
  • STD testing - Common sense dictates the more sexually active you are, especially, if you have multiple sex partners, the greater the odds you will have of contracting an STD. Many STDs are symptomless or take years to manifest (stress is a great trigger). Always wear a condom to protect yourself and your partner AND get tested! 


First mammogram and discuss family planning: 

  • It is important to establish a baseline from which all future mammograms can be compared especially if there is a family history of breast cancer.
  • It is time to have discussions about wanting to conceive. The longer you wait to start a family the higher the risk rises for birth defects especially after the age of 35. With so many high-profile celebrities giving birth in their 40s and even in their 50s (Janet Jackson), the perception is that delaying childbirth is easy to do. The reality is these women have unlimited sources of income and access to the best fertility doctors in the world which, of course, is not normally the case for the majority of women. The reality is the health risks for babies and mothers are extremely high and dangerous. 



  • Hot flashes, night sweats, mid-section weight gain, low libido are all telltale signs that women are in the perimenopause years. Thankfully, women have choices that work that can help to lessen or completely stave off these uncomfortable symptoms: bio-identical hormones in the form of a pellet, troches, creams or patches can bring much-needed relief that can be taken safely up through.



  • Menopause begins when a woman has not had a period for one full year. The average age for the onset of menopause is 52. Women, it WILL happen to you. It is a natural part of life that can't be avoided. With that said, bio-identical hormones that are created specifically for you and your genetic make-up (mirroring what your body naturally made) can help you navigate the menopause years much more smoothly. You do NOT have to suffer in silence. There is help and there are choices!


  • The 50s also mean it is time to schedule your first colonoscopy. I know no one who looks forward to getting a colonoscopy. I can tell you that, thankfully, colonoscopies have come a long way too!  A colonoscopy is the most accurate test for cancer of the colon and rectum, proven to detect the disease early and saves lives. Thankfully, if a colonoscopy doesn't find adenomas or cancer and you don't have risk factors, the next test should be in ten years. For most people, one and done for at least ten years. Because colonoscopies are done under sedation, truly the most uncomfortable part will be the restricted diet and laxatives you have to take before the procedure. It really isn't all that bad of a procedure any longer. Thank goodness for sedation! 


STD and bone density testing:

  • The little blue pill means that men are eagerly having sex much later in life and thanks to women no longer able to get pregnant, STDs are rampant in retirement and assisted living communities and nursing homes. According to the CDC, between 2007 and 2011, chlamydia infections among Americans aged 65 and over increased by 31 percent, and syphilis by 52 percent. Why? Viagra for men, plus hormone therapies for women, plus no chance for pregnancies means a lot of STDs. 
  • The 60s mean its time to schedule a bone density test to determine if you have osteoporosis. The test estimates the amount of bone in your hip and spine and other bones as well. The stronger your bones the lesser your chance of falling and perhaps breaking a bone. No bone breakage means no rehab and no extended long-term care which means you will better able to keep your freedom and, most importantly, freedom of movement! 



  • Are your vaccines up-to-date? Shingles, influenza and pneumonia are deadly to those folks over 70. Vaccinations can ensure you enjoy your golden years as optimally as possible. 

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