To celebrate Women’s Health Week, May 14–20, Main Line Health hosted a series of Facebook Live chats on topics that are important to women, including hormones’ effect on heart health, the hurdles that women face when trying to lose weight and the delicate balance of sleep, stress and mindfulness.
Experts from across Main Line Health joined us for the chats to offer their advice on these topics. If you couldn’t join us last week, don’t worry! You can check out the videos below, plus quick recaps of each chat.
Hormones and your heart
Gynecologist Beverly Vaughn, MD and Lankenau Heart Institute cardiologist Kate Hawthorne, MD—both of Lankenau Medical Center—may not be in the same specialty, but they have a shared interest: improving women’s heart health through education and awareness.
During their chat, Dr. Vaughn and Dr. Hawthorne discussed the ways in which the phases of a woman’s life—like pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause—can affect their heart health and heart disease risk.
- Women are never too young to take control of heart health
- Pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes during pregnancy increases your heart disease risk
- Heart health should be a consideration in choosing your birth control method
- Women with a history of radiation to the chest can be at risk for heart health issues
- Heart disease risk increases after menopause
- Hormone therapy isn’t one-size-fits-all
“Women should always be thinking about their heart health, and we should be encouraging our children and their families to do the same,” says Dr. Hawthorne.
Women and weight loss
If weight loss has ever felt like an uphill battle, you’re not alone. Despite their efforts, many women struggle to lose weight through diet and exercise. While every woman is different and the reasons for their struggles may vary, many often face similar hurdles.
Lynn Freda, CRNP of the Bryn Mawr Hospital Bariatric Program; Kristin Hock, RD, of the Main Line Health Fitness & Wellness Center at the Main Line Health Concordville; and Deb Bosley, PT, ACP, of Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital shared some thoughts regarding the behavioral and biological reasons why it’s often more difficult for women to lose weight.
- Muscle mass, metabolism, gut hormones and psychological changes are among the differences between men and women that can be the difference between weight loss and weight gain
- For successful weight loss, make time for yourself to plan and organize meals
- A food journal is an important tool for staying accountable and reflection
- Look for foods that are rich in carbs and protein
- A healthy diet can prevent co-morbidities like diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis
- Learning functional coping strategies can help curb habits like emotional eating
Sleep, stress and mindfulness
Too little sleep and too much stress are far too common in today’s society and women, in particular, are feeling the pressure of the demands of personal and professional lives. With so many things on the to-do list, self-care often falls to the bottom.
Liz Bland, MSW, LCSW, of the Main Line Health Women’s Emotional Wellness Center; pulmonologist Catherine Riley, MD of Bryn Mawr Hospital; and sleep medicine specialist Rochelle Goldberg, MD of Main Line Health offered a plea to women during their chat: Don’t let self-care be last on your list. They discussed the importance of sleep, managing stress and dismantling the superwoman theory.
- Research continues to support seven to eight hours of sleep per night for adults
- Many women have insomnia because they have trouble turning off mental checklists
- With practice, everyone can learn and practice mindfulness
- There is pressure for women to say yes and not ask for help or delegate but, for your health, it’s important to learn to say no and to ask for help when you need it
- Take time for yourself in the little moments: in line at the bank, washing your hands at the sink, et cetera
- Think of your bedroom as a ‘nursery’ and make it a soothing environment conducive to sleep