Studies show that women are more likely than men to look up health information on the Internet. Although doing your own research is a good thing, Cooper physicians say, it also can spur unnecessary worry and fear.
“What’s needed is a careful balance,” said Rosemarie A. Leuzzi, M.D., an internist and medical director of Cooper for Women.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the media-hype and conditions reported in the news, such as MRSA infections and the sudden cardiac deaths of television personalities or athletes,” Dr. Leuzzi said. “I’ve had patients with no symptoms at all, calling for appointments, convinced they had a disease or condition they’ve heard about in the news,” she said.
To prevent misguided health concerns and allay unwarranted fears, Dr. Leuzzi offers women the following advice:
- The most important thing a woman should do to protect her health is to be knowledgeable about her own health, her family history, and her personal risk factors.
- Equally important: Do not ignore symptoms and be sure to get routine medical exams and physicals.
- Women should take time for themselves despite their busy lifestyles. Get regular mammograms, gynecology exams, colorectal examinations, and review heart disease risk factors with your doctor.
Practice stress-relief. Setting aside five minutes without interruptions to do deep breathing or listen to soothing music can do wonders for dealing with stress.
- Exercise can also help reduce stress. Thirty minutes of regular exercise daily is recommended, and that includes anything from a vigorous workout to walking around the neighborhood.
- It’s important to take care of yourself to detect illness early and to avoid medical complications from untreated issues.
- Women promote healthy habits for their families, so serving healthy foods at mealtime and encouraging physical activities will improve the well-being of the entire family and, in turn, your own peace of mind.
- Women should discuss scheduling screening tests with their physician. Recommendations may include blood work, mammogram, Pap smear, colonoscopy, and osteoporosis screening tests.