Special Report

50 Health Tips Every Woman Should Know

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31. Test your posture

In a proper posture, the head should be above the shoulders, and the top of the shoulder should be over the hips. Poor posture contributes to accelerated wear and tear on the joints and muscle strain, resulting in back pain. Slouching can also contribute to the so-called “tech neck,” which has been linked to wrinkles around the neck and chin due to the constant downward gaze. Slouching alters the spine’s natural alignment, putting pressure on muscles and bones, and possibly causing permanent deformity. Exercises to improve posture include neck extension, bridges, back extensions, and planks.

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32. Always remove makeup before bed

Wearing makeup overnight can lead to eye irritation, styes, infections, lash breakage, acne, and dry skin, among other problems,Richmond said. Free radicals can be trapped by makeup, leading to premature aging with prolonged exposure. “It is always best to gently but thoroughly wash off your makeup before bed, and sleep with clean, moisturized skin,” Richmond said. Even better, apply retinol cream before bed to help repair fine lines and wrinkles and combat sun damage.

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33. Avoid caffeine if you have menstrual cramps

Menstrual cramps, which are the result of not enough oxygen reaching the uterus walls because of muscle contraction, are common. Sometimes the pain in the lower back or belly is debilitating. You can talk to your doctor about taking medication, including aspirin and over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen. You can also apply heat — a heating pad on the stomach or lower back to relieve some of the pain. Avoid caffeine, as it can increase bloating and make muscles tighten up, possibly making cramps worse. These are other signs you might be drinking too much coffee.

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34. Beware of allergic reactions

Hives and runny nose are common signs of an allergic reaction, but some are much lesser known. Dark circles under the eyes, for example, may indicate an allergy. Known as allergic shiners, people often think they are just aging or perhaps not getting enough sleep, said  Dr. Tania Elliott, spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. “The truth is blood vessels under the skin dilate in the setting of allergic reactions, and because the skin under the eyes is so thin, you see the result of that dilation in the form of dark circles.” This is just one reason why dark circles under the eyes should not be ignored.

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35. Know what increases risk of stroke in women

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States, and more women have a stroke every year than men. Stroke risks in women are different because of hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth. For example, a history of eclampsia or preeclampsia doubles the risk of stroke within five to 15 years. Women with high blood pressure should avoid birth control pills because they can also increase the risk of stroke even more. Other factors that may increase the risk of stroke, and that are also more common in women, include irregular heartbeat, depression, diabetes, and emotional stress.

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