It’s National Women’s Health Week! During this time, it’s important for healthcare providers to remind women of the important steps they can take to improve and sustain their health. Be sure to schedule your yearly primary care exams and checkups, which are important for preventative care. Share the information below with fellow healthcare providers, patients and family members to continue building awareness about healthy habits, health screenings and other health concerns for women of all ages.
From healthy eating to staying active and making sure you're getting enough rest, there are many things women can do to keep their bodies healthy and to help decrease risks of various illnesses:
- Diet – No not diet as in dieting, diet as in what you eat to fuel your body. Women have unique nutritional needs that vary with age. A balanced diet consisting of lean meats, fruits and vegetables supports heart health and other important health factors.
- Physical activity – No matter your age, strength or flexibility, all women can benefit from regular physical activity. Start simple by adopting healthy habits such as moderate regular exercise; at least 30 minutes a day. Regular physical activity can lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of certain diseases including breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
- Rest – Sleep is important. A regular sleep cycle of at least six to eight hours nightly supports mental clarity and heart health. Hormones during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can affect sleep patterns and quality. Discuss any OTC sleep medications with your physician as some sleep disturbances can be symptoms of a medical problem.
In addition to healthy habits, routine health screenings are an additional component to maintaining your health. Life gets busy and somewhere between board meetings, family gatherings, child care and date nights, it’s important to take time for yourself. Other than routine self-care, there are a variety of health consideration, tests and screenings that are important for women to make the time for:
- Heart Disease – Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. accounting for 610,000 deaths; one in four every year. Women also experience heart changes around menopause.
- Cholesterol – Women are at an increased risk for developing heart disease which is why it is important to have regular cholesterol testing and lipid profiles.
- Pap Smears – A pap test is recommended every three years for women 20-60 years old to test for cervical cancer.
- Mammograms – Mammograms are important for women to test for breast cancer, especially for women aged 50-75 years old.
- Dermatology – According to the American Cancer Society, women should examine skin monthly for skin cancer concerns. One out of every five Americans develop skin cancer in the lifetime.
Stay on top of preventative care and be sure to discuss your unique risks with your primary care physician, especially if you're 40-55 years of age.
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*This blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.