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Women's Health Screening

Medical Problems and Their Risks with Exercise
Problem Limitations/Risks
Bleeding problems be careful with injuries and falls
Carditis (inflammation of the heart) severe restrictions of exercise intensity
High blood pressure avoid heavy weight lifting
Congenital heart disease possibly limited per doctor
Irregular heartbeat possibly limited per doctor
Mitral valve prolapse usually no limits
Hear murmur possibly limited per doctor
Diabetes watch blood sugars if more than 30 minutes exercise
Diarrhea watch fluid status and increase salt/potassium
Eating disorders limited if severe and nutrition poor
Fever do not exercise
HIV infection no restrictions if currently healthy
Kidney disease possibly limit contact sports
Liver disease possibly limit contact sports
Cancer possible limits after surgery or chemotherapy
Concussion no contact sports if more than three in lifetime
Seizures possibly limited, make sure medications taken
Obesity avoid overheating and dehydration
Asthma might need to modify environment, take medications
Bronchitis possibly limit exertion
Sickle cell disease avoid overheating/overcooling, dehydration
Skin diseases if contagious, contact not allowed
Enlarged spleen (mononucleosis) no contact sports

There are also lifestyle risk factors that can lead to medical problems. These can be screened with the following questions. If you can answer any of these questions with a "yes," reconsider your behavior, as this might lead to serious problems. Behaviors can be hard to correct; if you need help, speak to your health-care provider, therapist, school counselor, social worker, or a family member or close friend you feel you can talk to and confide in.

Do you smoke? YES NO
Do you drink more than seven alcoholic drinks a week? YES NO
Have you ever used any street drugs? YES NO
Do you often forget to wear a seatbelt? YES NO
Do you forget to wear a helmet while biking or motorcycling? YES NO
Do you have trouble sleeping on more than two nights a week? YES NO
Do you feel stressed out with no relief in sight? YES NO
Do you throw up after eating? YES NO
Do you use laxatives on a regular basis because you "feel full"? YES NO
Do you take pills or teas to help you lose water weight? YES NO
Have you ever taken anything to help you lose weight? YES NO
Have you ever taken anything to help you gain muscle or strength? YES NO
Have you ever taken any drugs to keep you awake or alert? YES NO

Nutritional Health
Nutrition is an essential part of inner body health and athletic performance and, thus, is an important area of assessment and monitoring in athletic women. Health and performance problems can be due to poor nutrition, and poor nutrition can be due to poor health and performance. Athletic performance is one of the best indicators of nutrition. With the right nutrition, you perform at your best with low incidence of injury or illness. If you are feeling tired and run down, weak, irritable, or cramping, nutrition can be a factor. Weight is, of course, a good guide, as any quick change of weight can signal nutrition problems. It is always recommended to take a multivitamin daily to ensure nutrient balance. This along with a well-rounded diet of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats is essential. To quickly assess your nutritional habits, ask yourself the following questions:

Do you skip meals? YES NO
Do you always feel hungry? YES NO
Do you restrict yourself of certain foods? YES NO
Do you feel that you cannot quench your thirst? YES NO
Do you crave salty, sugary, or fatty foods often? YES NO
Do you take more than three vitamins or supplements a day? YES NO
Do you worry about your nutrition or weight on a daily basis? YES NO
If you have more than two "yes" answers, refer to this article for more information, and make an appointment to see a doctor or nutritionist.

Next: Page 3 >>

From The Active Woman's Health and Fitness Handbook by Nadya Swedan. Copyright © 2003 by Nadya Swedan. Used by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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