Health Updates for Women - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/24/04

Health Updates for Women

We have been warned that the American diet contains too much salt. The reason is that we eat a lot of processed and restaurant food. Some doctors wonder if it is also the reason that over 60% of people over 65 have high blood pressure.

A recommendation has now come from the Institute of Medicine that we double our intake of potassium. We should eat about 700 milligrams every day. Potassium is found in bananas, spinach, potatoes, orange juice, and cantaloupe.

If you are even thinking of becoming pregnant...think before you drink. The latest research out of Washington University suggests that just two drinks a day may kill brain cells in the developing fetus.

Alcohol is not the only killer of brain cells. General anesthetic is also lethal. Doctors recommend postponing surgery until after delivery if at all possible. Exposure to street drugs and lead are also implicated in fetal damage.

The best reason yet to exercise comes from the University of Illinois. They have used MRI's to demonstrate improvement in brain function after exercise. When the older adults walked 45 minutes three times a week, they showed an 11% improvement in decision making. The tests they were given apply to every day activities such as driving.

That may get some older people's attention. Worried about loosing their license, they may start a program of healthy brain exercise. And it is never too late to begin.

Too many women are still getting mastectomies, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Only 50% of cases of early stage breast cancer are getting breast-conserving surgery. The latest research confirms that less is better when it comes to early stage breast cancer.

Women need to get the message. Lumpectomy followed by radiation treatments is just as effective as having the whole breast removed. If you are diagnosed with early breast cancer, ask for a second and maybe a third opinion if someone recommends a mastectomy.

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