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Dr. April Speed will go just about anywhere to spread the message about the importance of women taking care of their health – including “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Speed got a call from Kenya Moore, a cast member on the Bravo reality show, regarding Moore’s concern about a breast lump. Moore also asked that the consultation be filmed and shared with viewers to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Speed agreed and the episode aired in February. The mass found in Moore’s biopsy turned out to be benign.

“As physicians, we have to understand that patients aren’t acquiring information only in our offices anymore,” Speed said in an interview with ASCO magazine, a publication of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

“Mass media is a place where people are gathering information about cancer. The responsibility is on us to not be afraid of technology, but to use it to educate people on a broad scale and help save lives.”

Speed, a breast surgeon, also encourages women to focus on their overall wellness, having a good work-life balance and doing all the other things women should do to remain healthy, including reducing alcohol intake to no more than 1-2 drinks per day, reducing the intake of processed foods and sugars, and decreasing foods high in saturated fats.

Moore vowed to change her life to eliminate unnecessary stress and take better care of her body.

And women would do well to get the eight basic health screenings that can help ensure optimal health:

•    Annual well-woman visits. This covers preventive services that are age and developmentally appropriate, including mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, preconception and prenatal care.

•    Screening for gestational diabetes. This covers pregnant women between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation and at the first prenatal visit for pregnant women identified to be at high risk for diabetes.

•    Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. This covers high-risk human papillomavirus DNA testing in women with normal cytology results. Screening should begin at 30 years of age and should occur no more frequently than every 3 years.

•     Annual counseling for sexually transmitted infections. This covers counseling on sexually transmitted infections for all sexually active women.

•     Annual counseling and screening for human immune-deficiency virus (HIV). This covers counseling and screening for human immune-deficiency virus infection for all sexually active women.

•    Contraceptive methods and counseling as prescribed by a doctor. This covers all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.

•    Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling. This covers comprehensive lactation support and counseling by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, and costs for renting breastfeeding equipment.

•    Annual screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.

Do birth control pills make you retain water weight? Or make you gain weight?

Yes, BCP can cause you to retain more

What do you do about a rash that is around/under your breast?

This  could be yeast which occurs naturally on our skin. To treat it use nystatin or Gold Bond mediated powder. Make sure you get a bra fitting, wearing the wrong size bra can irritate the skin under the breast

I am 34-years-old, 5′ 11, 155 lbs. My problem is belly fat. I have a good diet. How can I get rid of the belly fat?

Exercise and stress less.

Can extreme stress affect a woman’s metabolism?

Yes, it can slow the metabolism down.

My children recently lost their father to blood clots in his lungs. Is this hereditary? What are preventive measures that can be taken against getting blood clots?

It can be but your children would need to be tested if they got blood clots for no reason. Inactivity, cancer, pregnancy, orthopedic injuries can put you or your children at increased risk of blood clots

My name is Shidina and I  was listening to the meatless Monday portion of your discussion and didn’t hear your answer regarding whether fish was okay.  Also, could doing something like that help you lose weight?

Fish is ok but there is some fish that has just as much fat in it as a pork chop. Try to get wild (non-farm raised) fish. Weight gain be minimized by having moderate meat, sugars and processed food intake coupled with exercise.

What do we do about urinary leakage?

Kegal exercises (squeeze as if you are trying to stop your urine stream, several times a day

How late is too late to have kids? I’ve never really wanted kids and right now I’m focused on school and my career but I may change my mind.

The longer you wait past 40 the more difficult although not impossible to have children. You are born with all the eggs you’ll ever have so as we age they don’t work as well.

Ladies, Take a Time-Out: Dr. April Speed Encourages Health Checks for Women Who Keep It Movin’  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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