The chance you'll get a royal flush in poker is a staggering 1 out of 649,739 hands. But for a woman around 50, the chance of getting a hot flush (a hot flash accompanied by a red face and chest) is a lot higher: 30 percent to 80 percent of you can bet on it. And while hot flushes are uncomfortable, when they first hit, they're a useful announcement that "menopause is coming."
At this first sign that your hormones are headed for the off switch (sometimes called premenopause), you can take steps to reduce your risk of postmenopausal breast cancer by as much as 30 percent! You also can protect your brain and slash your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and a lackluster sex life.
Here's our three-part plan to cool you off while you heat up your healthy habits.
1. To ward off hot flushes and weight gain, keep LDL (lousy) cholesterol in check, preserve muscle tone, fight depression and keep your heart, brain and breasts healthy, walk 10,000 steps a day and do strength-building exercises two to three times a week.
2. Saturated fats, sugars and processed foods let unhealthy gut bacteria flourish, and that hurts your immune system, blood sugar levels, brain and memory. So enjoy lean protein and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. You'll balance intestinal bacteria while shedding pounds and improving digestion.
3. Talk to your doc about the benefits and risks of taking two baby aspirin a day along with hormone therapy using bioidentical estradiol and micronized progestin.
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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.