I’m in my 50’s and my mom had a heart attack at 55. What can I do so that I don’t have the same fate?
The truth of the matter is that it’s ancient advice we’ve heard time and time again…diet and exercise. Heart disease is the number one killer in the US killing 630,000 people each year––that’s one in every four deaths (according to the CDC). The new American College of Cardiology guidelines 2019 are out! Incredibly, the number one recommendation is––guess what––diet and exercise! Adults are supposed to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise (like jogging, biking, etc.) and then we get to the diet discussion. So, which one? The Mediterranean diet has the most evidence to decrease morbidity and mortality. High in vegetables, nuts, fruit, lean protein (preferably fish), and complex whole grains.
I’m still on birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, and I’m in my mid-40’s. How long should I be on these?
There’s no firm timeframe that you need to get off birth control pills. It really depends on your individual situation; but, women can safely take low-dose birth control pills all the way through the time of menopause to help ease that transition. Talk with your doctor about your concerns (hot flashes, vaginal atrophy, bone loss, sleep disruption, depression/irritability, memory problems, cardiovascular health, and or skin/hair changes) and see what method is right for you. There are many ways to treat all of these issues and birth control pills is one way!
I just had a baby (he’s 3 months old now) and I’m still nursing. I have ZERO sex drive. What can I do?
Congrats on the baby! The low sex drive can be coming from a number of directions––likely a little from all of them. Fatigue (physical and emotional) can play a big part, so be sure you are getting enough sleep and also getting time to talk with your partner. Don’t forget to ‘date’ again after kids come along! Exercise and a healthy diet along with sleep help naturally boost your testosterone level. Having a baby puts your body through just a few hormonal changes! Women feel the effects of low testosterone just in a similar manner as men (fatigue, weight gain, irritability, low sex drive, etc.), so talk with your doctor, but know that your lifestyle can help or hurt your sex drive. Those hormonal changes can also affect how intimacy feels to you––sometimes it’s painful. Again, talk with your doctor. Sometimes certain exercises, medication or procedures can help get your spark back.
Dr. Raye-Anne Ayo is a board- certified Family Physician who practices in Farragut and is a mom of three sons. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and look for your answer in Knoxville Style magazine’s next issue.