For those of you who haven't experienced a mammogram yet you may be feeling apprehensive. A mammogram is an important part of breast cancer screening. Guidelines for when to begin mammograms have recently changed. It used to be that physicians recommended that women should begin yearly mammograms at age 40. In 2009 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force decided that unless a woman has a family history or high risk of breast cancer that age 50 is appropriate to begin bi-yearly mammograms.
A mammogram is a non-invasive procedure that takes x-ray pictures of the breasts. Typically a basic mammogram takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.
What to Expect
Your mammogram technician will take you into a private room and hand you a very stylish hospital gown that opens in the front. You will be advised to strip from the waist up and put the gown on.
The technician will then explain the process to you and warn you of potential discomfort. Note, this is not the personal discomfort of having a stranger manipulate and smush your girls but the physical discomfort that may be caused by the mammogram machine.
You will then be asked to remove one side of your gown and step up to the machine. Your breast will be placed on an adjustable tray and with a lot of up close manipulating will be pushed, pulled and tugged into the proper position before an upper tray closes down on it. There will be a bit of pressure and the position is a bit uncomfortable but not painful.
Once your breast is all squished and situated and the tray is locked in the technician will tell you to hold your breath while the x-ray is taken. As soon as it is finished (just a few seconds) the tray will release and you can breathe. A basic mammogram will require a side and top view of your breast which means that you will have to go through the positioning and clamping once again on the first breast before starting all over with the other one.
Afterward you may experience some redness, tenderness and even bruising of your breast and chest tissue. These irritating results will fade in a few days.
While the procedure is somewhat intimate and embarrassing as well as uncomfortable mammograms are important if you are of the age, if your doctor recommends it, or if you find anything unusual during your monthly self breast exams.
For those of us who are just not quite up to an hour long workout there are alternatives that will also help you get in shape. No matter what your day is like you can fit in some exercise. If you are a housewife you can easily increase your activity and if you work outside the house you also have many options.
Add steps and count them!
It is recommended that you take at least 10,000 steps per day. You can either use an advanced device such as Fitbit or a simple pedometer to count your steps. Whenever possible walk instead of ride, park as far as possible from your destination and remind yourself hourly to take a quick walk around. These short walks will help improve your metabolism, fitness and heart health. The more steps you take the more you will be able to take!
Dance it out
If you are like me a 3-4 minute song is about all you can handle for an energizing, aerobic dance break. Simply put on an upbeat song and don't stop moving until the last note. The first dance may leave you breathless, but the more often you do it the more you will see it as a welcome break that leaves you feeling great! Dance it out 4-5 times per day to increase your heart rate, increase stamina and burn fat! Don't worry about how you look, just MOVE!!!
Change your position
It may seem like a useless activity to simply change your position but something as simple as watching television or working at your desk while sitting on a fitness ball or in a backless chair can help your body. Different muscles are used to keep your balance and that will help build your core as well as strengthen muscles you don't typically use.
Making small changes in your habits will help you build up your stamina and tone your muscles until you are ready for a full fledged, hard core workout.
Have you seen all the cool fitness challenges that pop up on Facebook and through various friends and family? These are fun challenges that let you target a specific area such as abs, thighs, arms or just cardio and strength in general.
For those of us who don't seem to be able to maintain any long term fitness goals but who want to make some kind of a difference in our shape or health during this new year the 30 day fitness challenges are a great way to keep pushing yourself.
There is a website that compiles all kinds of these challenges to help you select your fitness plan for the next month quick and easy! Check it out: 30 Day Fitness Challenges
My name is Suz and I'm just an everyday woman who is trying to figure out when exactly I turned old. I'm not a doctor or an expert- what I am is a woman who wants to know for myself and to share what I learn with other women.
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