Checking In On Women's Health

Good health doesn’t happen by accident. It takes self-awareness, education, and commitment – and the guidance of an expert physician doesn’t hurt, either.

We asked Karen Bradshaw, M.D., Medical Director of UT Southwestern’s Lowe Foundation Center for Women’s Preventative Health Care, what women should have on their checklist to make good health part of their life. Her advice:  

Get in the Habit

Small, positive changes to your daily routine can make a big difference in your health. For instance, eat breakfast, wear sunblock when you go outdoors, and get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Know Your Numbers

Aim for these ideals: body mass index (BMI) between 19 and 24; waist less than 35 inches; blood pressure 120/80 or lower; and cholesterol under 200, with LDL under 100.

Read Labels

Most packaged foods – even ones labeled “lite” or “low-fat” – contain too much salt and sugar, which increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Limit sodium to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day (one teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg) and sugar to less than seven teaspoons a day.

Keep Your Bones Strong

You can help prevent age-related bone loss by getting enough calcium and vitamin D, avoiding excess alcohol, and doing weight-bearing exercises such as walking or jogging. Calcium-rich foods include dark, leafy greens, low-fat dairy products, and canned salmon or sardines.

Get Tested

Screening can detect many common cancers that are treatable if caught early. As a general guideline, have a pap smear every three years starting at age 21; clinical breast exam every year starting at age 21; mammogram every 1-2 years starting at age 40 and yearly after age 50; and colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bradshaw, call 214-645-8300.