Where does health fit in with your New Year’s resolution?

 

By Dr. JOYCE SCOTT

scottOnce while talking on the telephone to our three year old grandson James, my husband asked, “James what are you having for supper?”  James replied, “Kindda like a sandwich.”  My husband questioned, “Kindda like a sandwich?” James said, “Yes.  Cheese folded over.”  

Health is “kindda like a bank account.” If you do not continue to put back into the bank account, you may end up with a zero balance or even overdrawn.

Each New Year many individuals make the infamous New Year’s Resolution. So what is your new year’s resolution?  Is your health on the list?  Do you plan to take better care of yourself, get ‘into better physical shape’, stop smoking, eat better, lose weight, get more rest, take a vacation, and get a health check up? Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, claiming the lives of 349,000 American women each year. Yet many women do not even realize they are at risk.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are disparities in care and treatment of cardiovascular diseases for women. Women who are at risk are often not referred for appropriate diagnostic testing and are less likely to receive aggressive treatments than men.

Congress answered the need to address disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke in women by introducing the HEART (Heart Disease Education, Analysis and Research, and Treatment) for Women Act.

The HEART for Women Act seeks to make improvements to this disparity through gender based research and analysis and by raising awareness among women and their health care providers. In addition, the bill seeks to improve cardiovascular screening by providing greater access to low income and uninsured women.

On September 17, 2008, the HEART for Women Act passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee by unanimous voice vote. The bill must then be passed by the House of Representatives and Senate before becoming law.

The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Cervical cancer affects approximately 10,000 women in the United States each year. Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide, but because it develops over time, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer. Deaths from cervical cancer in the United States continue to decline by approximately 2 percent a year. This decline is primarily due to the widespread use of the Pap test to detect cervical abnormalities and allow for early treatment. Most women who have abnormal cervical cell changes that progress to cervical cancer have never had a Pap test or have not had one in the previous three to five years. 

Cancer of the cervix tends to occur during midlife. Half of the women diagnosed with the disease are between 35 and 55 years of age. It rarely affects women under age 20, and approximately 20 percent of diagnoses are made in women older than 65. For this reason, it is important for women to continue cervical cancer screening.

Cancer will overtake heart disease as the world’s top killer by 2010.  Cancer diagnoses around the world have steadily been rising and are expected to hit 12 million this year. Global cancer deaths are expected to reach 7 million, according to the new report by the World Health Organization.

Since I began practicing medicine in 1995, I am mindful of the diseases designated Awareness day or week or month, yet the statistics continue to accumulate.    I typed in the words ‘awareness disease’ into my computer and got 82,800,000 for awareness disease Search Scan.

Start your new year with an investment in a health checkup and physical examination with your doctor of choice.  Increase your awareness for your own personal health and wellbeing.   Avoid becoming a statistic by allowing your health account to become overdrawn or a zero balance.  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

Dr. Joyce Scott is board certified in family practice and geriatric medicine.