Sunday, May 12, is Mother’s Day in the U.S. A day to recognize the trials and challenges our individual Moms’ experienced while raising her family, and to thank her for being the loving and important person that she still is in our lives. I’ve sent out my Mother’s Day wishes to West Seneca, NY and I’ve already received a card from the Chef and his wife (thank you!).
In making sure that everyone else’s needs are met, sometimes Mom puts her own needs aside. Including health needs. Now, even though she lives 1300 miles away, I talk to my Mom every couple of days so I think that I am fairly current on her health issues. But how about your Mom? When was the last time she had a mammogram or pap smear? Did she keep the appointment for her colonoscopy or bone density scan?
The entire month of May is dedicated to women’s health. Since heart disease is the number 1 cause of death for women in the United States, at the very least our Mothers should know their ABCs.
A1C or glycosolated hemoglobin refers to the average serum glucose level from the previous 3 months. It can be used to diagnose both diabetes and prediabetes. Mom should have a glucose screen at least annually since diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels leading to cardiovascular disease.
B is for blood pressure. Recently, normal has been changed to 120/70 from the previous 140/80. Left untreated high blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke (brain attack). When caught early high blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle changes like physical activity, weight loss and lower sodium diet that contains adequate potassium, magnesium and calcium. Otherwise known as the DASH diet, this is one of those times when mineral supplements won’t do the job; they need to be from foods.
C is for cholesterol: the good, bad and total which make up 3 of the 4 tests in a lipid panel. Your physician can help your Mom understand her heart disease risk based on the results of this blood test. A good diet, physical activity and sometimes medication are important strategies for reducing blood cholesterol and reducing heart disease risk.
I am very blessed to still have my Mom(and Dad) with me. Yes they find pills, blood tests and doctor’s appointments a bother. It is only because they follow through with the physician’s plan of care for them that they are able to maintain their good health from year-to-year.
Sunday when you go to visit your Mom (or make that phone call) remind her to schedule her screenings for 2013 if she hasn’t already. It is important that she do this for herself and her family who loves her.