Special Report

50 Health Tips Every Woman Should Know

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26. Test your cholesterol

Women who have been through menopause should pay special attention to their cholesterol. The female sex hormone estrogen seems to boost the HDL “good” cholesterol, but that changes at menopause. Total and LDL “bad” cholesterol rise, and HDL cholesterol falls. High triglyceride levels in the blood can increase your risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. Exercising and eating a healthy diet may reduce the risk of high cholesterol levels. Healthy eating was at its lowest level in 2016, and these are the cities with the worst diets in America.

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27. Know how to relieve migraines

About three of every four people who have migraines are women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They are most common in women between 20 and 45. Migraine, an intense pain in one or both sides of the head, is the most common type of headache for which people go to see a doctor. Experts are not sure what exactly causes them, and there is no cure. The best ways to prevent them from occurring is to avoid triggers, once you know what they are, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, eat a healthy diet, don’t skip meals, exercise, and avoid alcohol and caffeine, according to HHS. (There are, however, at least 18 reasons to drink coffee for your health.)

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28. Be careful with those calcium supplements

Who doesn’t remember being told as a child to drink milk for healthy bones? Women between 19 and 50 need 1,000 mg a day of calcium; those over 50 need 1,200 mg daily. More than half of women over 60 years of age take calcium supplements to reduce their risk of osteoporosis as calcium helps to strengthen the bones. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that calcium supplements offer little to no protection against hip fractures. Also, some studies have linked calcium supplements with an increased risk of kidney stones, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. It’s possible, however, to get too much calcium, since it’s present in many foods. Side effects of having too much calcium include constipation, and too much calcium from supplements but not food can increase the risk of kidney stones.

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29. Don’t dismiss mild but frequent headaches

Sometimes a headache is more than just a sign of dehydration; sometimes it is a symptom of a more complicated health problem, including tumor, brain swelling, and infection in the brain. There may be an emergency, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, bleeding in or around the brain, or a stroke, according to the National Institutes of Health. If the headache is severe as in “the worst ever,” sudden, and it comes with other symptoms such as vomiting, stiff neck, high fever, or nausea, go to the ER.

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30. Keep your bones healthy

Women are more likely to get osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weaker and brittle. There are about 10 million Americans living with the condition, and about 80% of them are women, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. One reason osteoporosis is so prevalent in women is that they have smaller and thinner bones than men. Another is the natural decrease with age of estrogen, a hormone that helps keep the bones healthy. Some ways to keep the bones healthy include eating foods rich in calcium and vitamins, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, spending time outside to increase vitamin D levels, and exercising.