The Stay-At-Home Order Was Lifted: Is It Safe to See Friends and Family?

Stay at home orders have started to lift across many regions, leaving people wondering—is it safe to see friends and family now? We know everyone is eager to see their loved ones, but it’s important to remember that it’s still risky to see people, even if you’re healthy and no longer being asked to stay home.

Once a vaccine becomes available this will become less complicated, but until then, seeing people won’t be without risk. For now, the best way to stay healthy is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The novel coronavirus is transmitted through small respiratory droplets when we come into contact with others who are infected, so there will always be a risk of transmission when you spend time with someone.

That said, there are some factors to keep in mind to stay safe if you do start to see people. Here’s what you need to know:

Remember that some people are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications
People with compromised immune systems and people above age 65 are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, so it’s important to be very cautious about seeing people from these groups, as well as people with other health conditions. Consider having a conversation with your loved ones to involve them in your decision and see how they feel.

If you want to see someone from one of these groups but don’t live with them, rather than meeting in-person, a phone call or video chat may be a better option for now. If you do live with someone who’s at higher risk of COVID-19, take extra precautions like washing your hands frequently and not inviting guests into your home if you don’t have to—especially if your family member at risk is not comfortable with it.

Consider seeing people outdoors
We still have a lot to learn about the novel coronavirus, but early research findings show that the virus is more likely to spread in indoor settings than outdoors. With this in mind, it may be safer to see friends and families in a park, backyard, or another outdoor setting rather than meeting in someone’s home or in a restaurant. But remember that the disease can still be transmitted, even outside, so it’s still important to wear a mask, keep a safe distance (at least 6 feet), wash your hands frequently, and follow other recommendations from health officials.

Large gatherings aren’t a good idea just yet
The novel coronavirus is highly contagious, so the more people you are around, the higher the risk of virus transmission. Some people could have the virus even if they’re not showing any symptoms, so with any large gathering there’s always the chance of a lot of people getting sick. Instead of putting yourself and others at such a risk, stick with smaller gatherings for now.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Understanding Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are tumors that develop in the walls of the uterus. Usually these tumors are noncancerous, but this is a fairly common condition that’s known to affect more than 50% of women who are of reproductive age. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about uterine fibroids.

What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Some women do not experience any signs or symptoms when they have uterine fibroids. For others, the symptoms are more noticeable and may include heavy menstrual bleeding, fatigue, anemia, frequent urination, pain during sex, lower-back pain, and pressure and pain in the abdomen.

Uterine Fibroids

Most of the time uterine fibroids are diagnosed following an ultrasound or another type of imaging exam like an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray. These fibroids can vary in size greatly, with some as small as an apple seed and others as large as a grapefruit. Around 60% of uterine fibroids are too small to be detected during a physical exam with your gynecologist.

Are uterine fibroids cancerous?
Around 99% of the time uterine fibroids are benign, which means they’re not cancerous. They also won’t increase your risk of uterine cancer.

Are some women at higher risk for uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are most common among women who are nearing menopause, which typically includes women in their thirties, forties, and fifties. Research also shows that women are at higher risk if they are African American, obese, eat a large amount of red meat, or have a family history of uterine fibroids. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, eating a large amount of vegetables may help protect you from developing uterine fibroids.

Is there treatment for uterine fibroids?
Often, uterine fibroids don’t require any treatment. This is especially true if they’re not causing any symptoms or affecting your life in any way. But if uterine fibroids are affecting your quality of life or causing any health issues, they can be treated with pain medication, low-dose hormonal birth control pills, hormone therapy, or surgical removal.

Surgical removal is often recommended if the fibroids are large enough to interfere with pregnancy or your ability to get pregnant, or if they’re causing fatigue, anemia, or other health problems. The two common methods for surgical removal are a hysterectomy, in which the whole uterus is removed; or a myomectomy, in which only the fibroids are removed.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

5 Heart Health Mistakes to Avoid

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, and yet there are a lot of basic facts about keeping our hearts healthy that many women are in the dark about. In fact, many women regularly make mistakes in day-to-day life that have a negative impact on heart health. Here are a few mistakes you may be making, and some tips for improving:

Smoking
Smoking is bad for a lot of reasons, including your heart health. Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack, and the risk is even higher for women who smoke and also take hormonal birth control pills. To keep your heart healthy and strong over the long term, smoking is one habit you’re going to want to ditch.

There’s good news here, too—after you stop smoking, your risk of heart disease drops fairly quickly. Even just one year after you stop smoking, your heart disease risk will be reduced in half, and after 15 years your risk of heart disease will be equal to someone who doesn’t smoke.

Misunderstanding the warning signs for a heart attack
Many of us think of chest pain as a defining characteristic of a heart attack. And while this is the most common symptom, it’s not always severe or noticeable, especially among women. Since heart attacks often present differently for women than men, it’s really important to know about some of the most common symptoms. In addition to chest pain (which might actually feel more like a tightness or pressure), here’s what you want to look out for:

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Discomfort in your abdomen, shoulder, neck, jaw, or upper back
  3. Pain in one or both arms
  4. Nausea/vomiting
  5. Lightheadedness and dizziness
  6. Fatigue
  7. Indigestion
  8. Sweating

It’s important to get medical attention right away if you experience any of these symptoms or believe you’re having a heart attack.

Eating an unhealthy diet
Diet has a huge impact on various aspects of your heart health, and eating too many unhealthy foods can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, protecting your heart health doesn’t require an extremely strict diet and can actually be pretty delicious. The American Heart Association recommends eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods from every food group, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats. At the same time, you’ll want to avoid foods that are loaded with salt, added sugars, and trans fats—these don’t do any favors for our heart.

Not maintaining a healthy weight
Your risk of heart disease is lower when you maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, your doctor can help you determine how much weight you need to lose to protect your heart health, and they can also help you come up with a plan for losing this weight and keeping it off. Overall, experts say a slow weight loss is the best route for keeping weight off in the long term.

Additionally, if you suffer from heart disease, maintaining a healthy weight is an important way to control the disease and reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

Not getting enough exercise
People shy away from exercise for a number of reasons—they don’t enjoy it, they get bored of doing the same thing every day, they don’t have any free time, and plenty more. But to maintain a healthy heart, exercise is key. Experts suggest fitting in at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every day, at least five times per week, or an hour and fifteen minutes of more vigorous physical activity per week. If your schedule doesn’t allow long exercise sessions, you can break this up into mini ten-minute exercise sessions throughout the day.

One of the best ways to make a habit of exercising is to stick to a routine. Choose a schedule that works for you and try your best to avoid letting obstacles like work and other commitments get in your way. When you put your health first, the rewards keep coming.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.