National Women’s Check-Up Day
5/5/2017 1:27:37 PM

Between the never ending piles of laundry, the chauffeuring of children to their various activities, and keeping the homestead in tip-top shape to the weekly meals prepared for the family, and for many, a full-time job, staying on top of health matters can fall to the bottom of a to-do list. In truth, your health is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones, so it is imperative you make time to take care of yourself in addition to taking care of everyone else. Consequently, the Department of Health and Human Services has made May 8, 2017 National Women’s Check-Up Day. 

Women’s awareness of both physical and mental health issues is immensely important, and as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking preventative steps on a daily basis ensures a healthier you, gives you peace of mind, helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle, and improves your overall well-being. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 33% of women twenty years or older have hypertension. Only 32% of women 18 years or older engage in regular physical activity, and 36% of women twenty years or older are considered medically obese. These are staggering facts that can add more worry to your already full load, but there are easy steps you can take each day to maintain a healthier lifestyle and alleviate your stress. 

Implement a healthy diet. This isn’t something new. Most people know how important it is to consult with their health care provider and determine which diet works best for their lifestyle. Whether it is consuming less sugar, eating more protein, incorporating leafy green vegetables into your daily meal planning, or saying no to Sonic’s mozzarella cheese sticks, a healthy diet can help you gain control of your health and well-being. 

Eliminate or reduce your intake of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.  Although there are benefits of caffeine, there are side effects, too. Jitteriness and a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in stress levels. The use of nicotine and alcohol on a regular basis can have well-documented major adverse health effects. By reducing or eliminating these from your diet, you should begin to see positive effects on your health. 

Get Enough Sleep. This can be easier said than done for many people, but trying to relax two hours before bedtime, eating fruit or a high-protein snack a few hours before bedtime, and journaling or doing yoga prior to going to sleep can help you fall asleep faster and increase your sleep quality, helping you to wake up feeling refreshed.


While these steps will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle, there are additional things that you should do on a monthly, bi-yearly, and yearly basis to ensure early prevention of many health issues.  

Monthly: 

Complete a breast self-exam. The best time to do this is a few days after your menstrual cycle. You can do it in the shower, and check for anything unusual like lumps or bumps in your breast tissue. If you find something unusual, make an appointment with a local physician. 

Complete a skin self-exam. Search your skin for unusual or uncommon marks. Use the ABCDE method to do this: asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, bigger than six millimeters in diameter, and evolving size and shape. If you find something unusual, contact a local dermatologist for an appointment.

Bi-Yearly:

Get a dental check up every six months to ensure clean and healthy teeth. A build-up of plaque can cause periodontal disease. 

Yearly:

Get a full physical exam. During this exam, your height and weight should be checked, along with your blood pressure. Your doctor should also complete a routine blood test that will check for things like blood count, blood sugar level, and hormone levels. 

Get a Pap smear and pelvic exam. These tests can ensure uterine and ovarian health, and check for things like abnormalities in the cervix which could point to cervical cancer. 

Get an eye exam. It is recommended that everyone check their eyes once every two years, but if you already wear glasses or contacts, do this on a yearly basis. 

Get skin cancer screening. A local dermatologist can perform this test quickly and easily every one to two years.

There are other important tests that do not have to be done on a yearly basis, but are important to have completed, like cholesterol and blood count, a thyroid test, colonoscopy, diabetes screening, and mammogram. Let your doctor decide how often you need to have these tests performed. Everyone woman should make time to care for themselves because health is our most valuable asset.



Posted by: Lauren Atterbery Cesar | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Health

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