Women's health expert and pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm discusses the importance of health screening.
Marla Ahlgrimm knows that throughout a woman's life, numbers are important to overall health. Cholesterol numbers, blood pressure numbers, and weight are only a few. As Marla Ahlgrimm consistently tells her patients, keeping an eye on these numbers is crucial to getting and staying healthy.
According to the Center for Disease Control, says Marla Ahlgrimm, approximately 600,000 women die of heart disease each year in the U.S. This is one in four deaths each year. Today, we know more than ever about what causes heart disease and how to prevent it, points out Marla Ahlgrimm. For this reason, Ahlgrimm sees it as a very important mission to consistently remind women how important it is to keep those numbers in check.
One area women can improve their overall health is in their diet, according to Marla Ahlgrimm. As Marla Ahlgrimm describes, a healthy diet can help lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, strengthen bones, and more. Marla Ahlgrimm urges aging women to take 1200 milligrams of calcium each day and 600IU of Vitamin D. Minimizing fatty foods, controlling carbohydrates, and reducing sugar can make a big difference in keeping health numbers in check, Marla Ahlgrimm says.
Marla Ahlgrimm also stresses the benefits of daily exercise. Just a half an hour each day, points out Marla Ahlgrimm, is all it takes to significantly improve a person's overall health. These days, many women complain about being far too busy to exercise each day, to which Marla Ahlgrimm suggests, instead of watching the news after dinner each evening, try tuning your radio to a local news station and listen while going for a brisk walk.
Blood pressure is extremely important to a woman's health, Marla Ahlgrimm tells us. If numbers are not below 140/90 consistently, it can result in hypertension, which can mean a higher risk of heart attack. Marla Ahlgrimm tells women that exercise and diet can make a big difference in reducing blood pressure levels.
Cholesterol levels are important, but Marla Ahlgrimm also informs her patients that triglycerides should stay below 150. Reducing alcohol and sweets, as well as refined carbohydrates can help keep those levels low and decrease risk of heart disease. Marla Ahlgrimm reports that omega-3 fatty acids can help keep triglyceride numbers in check.Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold-water fatty fish like tuna or by supplementing with fish oil capsules.
One number that can be a sore subject for many women is weight, acknowledges Marla Ahlgrimm, pointing to the body mass index that recommends a weight based on a woman's height and age. By staying within the recommended weight range, Marla Ahlgrimm believes women can significantly improve health, feel better, and have more energy. Marla Ahlgrimm points to research confirming that obesity can reduce lifespan by as much as 13 years.
When it comes to overall health, says Marla Ahlgrimm, knowledge is power. If it has been a while since those numbers have been checked, Marla Ahlgrimm recommends speaking to a physician to discuss what can be done to improve them.
Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm is the founder of Women's Health America, an organization focused on women's health nationwide. Since the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has been a pioneer in the management of PMS and menopause. Marla Ahlgrimm is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison School of Pharmacy.
Contact Marla Ahlgrimm:
2935 S. Fish Hatchery Road #162
Madison, WI 53711