To the heart
Women’s hearts have huge capacity: hearts that love the whole family,
kiss away tears and chase monsters from under the bed. But they have their
limits—heart disease is the number one killer of women over 55 years old.
Heart disease and stroke kill more women than breast cancer, and yet, only
13 per cent of Canadian women say heart disease is their greatest health risk.
Women’s risk factors for heart disease include conditions caused by
pregnancy, increased blood pressure, birth control pills and high cholesterol.
Women often focus on their family’s health needs, instead of their own—
and may ignore the symptoms of heart disease because they seem
Shortness of breath? She may think she’s just out of shape.Sudden weight gain, swollen feet? She may think she’ssimply gaining weight. Frequent indigestion andnausea? She waives them off because she thinksshe’s stressed. You get the picture. Short ofa crushing pain to the chest, women areless likely to know something iswrong with their heart than theyare to recognize it in the heartof others. Sadly for somewomen, knowing whento seek help about theirheart comes too late.
But there’s good news.Women can decrease theirrisk of heart disease and strokewith a few simple tips, which alsoapply to men:
1. Eat a healthy diet
2. Maintain a healthy weight
3. Exercise regularly
4. Quit smoking
5. Drink alcohol in moderation
6. Keep health conditions such as diabetesunder control
After pregnancy and in the throesof parenting, it may take time beforea woman is ready to become intimatewith her partner again. Talking is a goodway to work through any physical oremotional changes in the relationship.
Try to be understanding and lenda sympathetic ear—women liketo talk about their problems, andaren’t necessarily seeking solutions.
Communication is the key to a healthyrelationship, especially once a baby is
Man oh man
Menopause is the final stage in awoman’s reproductive cycle. Between42 and 56 years old, those reproductivehormones (again!) begin to drop, periodsstop and women can’t get pregnantanymore, but menopause brought onby illness, medication or surgery canhappen any time.
With menopause comes a changein hormones that affects women indifferent ways—some barely noticethe changes, while others have strongreactions. Among the symptoms canbe vaginal dryness, insomnia, moodchanges, weight gain, irregular periodsand changes to hair and skin.
Some may joke about women havinghot flashes, but imagine sitting in ameeting when, out of the blue, intenseheat starts in your chest and slowly risesto your face. You sweat hard enough tosoak your shirt. Your face becomes beetred and you have no idea how long thisfeeling will last, or when it will happenagain.
As Tammy Wynette famously crooned:
“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman.”
The advice Tom Keenan, a University
of Calgary professor who writes a men’s
health column for the Calgary Herald
and other Postmedia newspapers, gives
about men’s sexual health is equally
valid for women’s: “Remember, the brain
is the most important sex organ, and
there’s so much that a partner can do
to improve the mental side of life in