Additional information that has come to light states what many have been saying for decades, in that there does seem to be a genetic predisposition to fibroids among women from African descent. The UK’s NHS adds that women of Caribbean heritage may also be at higher risk for developing uterine fibroids.
While modifying DNA isn’t currently possible, modifying family-inherited lifestyle is definitely feasible and could save the next generation from some of our pain.
The Mayo Clinic acknowledges that there are a number of factors involved, heredity included among them, stating that, “If your mother or sister had fibroids, you’re at increased risk of developing them.” However, they also state another interesting risk factor:
“…Obesity, a vitamin D deficiency; having a diet higher in red meat and lower in green vegetables, fruit and dairy; and drinking alcohol…increase your risk of developing fibroids.”
So what’s a woman to do, seeing her mother, grandmother and perhaps sister(s) all dealing with decades of life with complications from this malady?
- See a doctor. Go in for an examination and share your concerns. Choose a gynecologist who makes a point to keep up with the latest in medical research and developments. When was the last time your vitamin D levels were checked? Are there any lifestyle modifications that need to make their way higher up on the priority list?
- Choose to exercise. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, and exercise can mean many things. What works for your family’s taste, schedule and budget? Jogging, swimming, team sports and working out at a gym are options that work for some but not for others. For those lucky enough to start this plan while the kids are still small, family fun ideas abound. For older children, why not discuss the situation frankly? While teens may tend to ignore reality, nobody really wants to deal with medical issues if they may be at least partially avoidable. Even if they aren’t on board, if YOU get moving, it may be contagious. Try it.
- Practice sneaky menu planning. How about starting out by adding ground chicken or turkey to ground beef? Keeping washed and cut beautiful fruits available at short reach for quick, easy snacks? Incorporating a delectable fish meal at least once a week? Even making a family project out of shopping for, washing and cutting colorful vegetables can contribute to positive dietary changes. Using positive language is also part of the process in order to do this healthily, both physically and psychologically.
So while some families will still find it impossible to avoid passing fibroids from generation to generation under current medical knowledge, others can choose to lessen the chances of this happening. As with all changes, a healthy attitude and creativity are key, along with tolerance for our own periodic but inevitable mistakes.
May we all pass down the REAL legacies and stop the unhealthy ones right in their tracks.