I am so excited to present that this week is …
National Women’s Health Week.
It is so incredibly exciting to look back on our heritage as women and to see where we are now, especially when considering our health. Think back to our grandmother’s and great grandmother’s, they were strong women and rarely discovered they were ill, until it was too late. Unfortunately, some of those traits carry over into our generations today too, although through educating our communities this has improved immensely.
There were times when a woman would go to the doctor with complaints of pain in the chest, jaw or left arm and they were diagnosed with “anxiety” and sent home on an anti-anxiety medication. When in all actuality they were displaying symptoms of a heart condition. It became a time when the health profession began seeing the statistics rising in women and heart disease, the ladies were winning the race to St.Peter’s gates, it was at that time various organizations made a stand in the U.S. and initiated prevention campaigns regarding heart disease. They began educating women on early detection of heart disease and stroke.
You may wonder… Why did this shift take place between men and women and what caused the rising risk of heart disease and stroke? Women’s rights movements began back in the 1840’s and have continued on ever since. It is assumed that women did not start working outside the home until the mid to late 1960’s. Which really was not that long ago. The spark was lit.
I have spent many hours listening to women of all ages, as I sat at their bedside, while they were in the hospital. I worked in Cardiovascular medicine for years. Just about at that time the “Go Red” campaigns were being launched. Women were dying from heart disease and stroke, and being mis-diagnosed. I can not tell you how many times women would tell me that they would have never guessed their pain or symptoms were related to their heart. We women can also downplay our symptoms at times too. We can not have something wrong with us. Everybody knows when Mom is down everyone in the house is down. This was an amazing time to be in the nursing field. It was a true privilege to assist in making an impact in women’s lives as they came into my life during this time.
When someone would mention the words “heart attack” most people would think of a man. The stereotype was that a man was the one in the home that carried the stress, therefore men died from heart attacks. As women began seeking advanced corporate positions in the work force, in addition to maintaining their family responsibilities, the stress levels and wear and tear on their bodies spiked. Women are multitasker’s and at times feel they need to be a “superwoman”. These “superwoman” traits take over and we forget about the fragile and tender responsibility we have to take care of ourselves.
President Obama has made it official that this week in May after Mother’s Day is National Women’s Health Week.
Let’s join together and make an impact in all of the women lives that we know. Take a stand in your community and encourage women to take care of themselves, get the yearly tests you need, implement prevention, lose weight, quit smoking, decrease alcohol intake, reduce your stress, exercise, laugh, have fun, and know that you are unique and a chosen gem in God’s eyes. You are His daughter!