National Women’s Health Week 2018

This week marks National Women’s Health Week. It started on Mothers Day and will run from May 13th until May 19th. Women’s Health Week was started by the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office to encourage all women to be as healthy as possible. Doctor visits, screening, getting active, eating healthy and avoiding smoking are all important factors to live a healthy life. Mental health is also encouraged, getting enough sleep and managing stress can help. Practicing safe behaviors such as avoiding texting while driving, wearing a seatbelt while in the car as well as using a helmut while bicycle riding.

Well visits are covered by most insurance companies. If you do not have health insurance the website provided locations where you can have low cost physician visits.

The website is worth a look. It summarizes what you can do to promote a healthy life starting in your 20’s up to your 90’s. This includes different topics of discussion, vaccine schedules as well as what screenings should be completed at each decade. The suggestions for each decade includes eating healthy with some recommendation on Choose My Plate, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, 8 hours of sleep, limiting alcohol, getting to a healthy weight, avoidance of illegal drugs and opioid prescriptions, wearing a seat belt and taking 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid each day.

There is a handy PDF download that you can bring to your physician visit. By being prepared ahead of time you will be less likely to forget a question or mention a concern you may have. If you are taking the time to make the appointment, make the most out of your visit.
Women’s Health Week –Exercise CDC recommendations
  • “Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity that requires moderate effort. You don’t have to do it all at once, but get at least 10 minutes of exercise at a time.
  • Adults should do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week that include all major muscle groups.
  • More than one out of four older people falls each year and women fall more often than men. Strength and balance training can help reduce falls.”

Women’s Health Week -Eating Healthy CDC recommendations,

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat free and low-fat milk and other dairy products, lean meats that are low in salt, saturated and trans fats, and added sugars.
  • Supplement with  Folic acid is a B vitamin. Our bodies use it to make new cells. Everyone needs folic acid. It’s also important to help prevent major birth defects when pregnant. Women who could become pregnant need 400 micrograms (400 mcg) of folic acid each day.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol

Women’s Health Week -Stress reduction

Manage stress with exercise and meditation. Studies show thought people who have better mental health are healthier.

Lets look at some suggested screenings

Blood pressure screeningThe American Heart Association (AHA) recommends checking a blood pressure every 2 years if it is below 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Cholesterol check

It is recommended to have your cholesterol checked every 5 years or less if you have borderline numbers.

Pap smear

Beginning at age 21 and until age 65, you should have a Pap smear every three years.I f you’re 30 or older, you can have the test every five years if you combine it with a screen for HPV, which is a STD that can lead to cervical cancer.


The most recent guidelines from the USPSTF recommend that starting at age 50, women should have a mammogram every two years. The American Cancer Society, however, says that women should start annual screenings at age 45, Ensure you speak to your physician if you have a family history.

Bone Density Screening

A DEXA scan can help detect osteoporosis. Screening should start when you are 65 or earlier if you have risk factors such as fractures or low body weight.

Blood sugar testing
Starting around age 45, women should get a blood glucose test every three years. This will help detect if you are at risk for or have diabetes.
Colon cancer screening
It is recommended that you have a colon cancer screening at age 50. Your doctor may recommend an earlier screening if there is a family history of colon cancer.
Skin examination
Plan on a skin examination once a year. You should be doing monthly skin checks on yourself to detect any changes that are occurring.
Weight management
You should be aware of weight changes and have your body mass index checked. An elevated body mass index increases your risk of  diabetes and heart disease.
Dental check ups
Plan on teeth cleaning twice a year to help prevent tooth decay. If you do not take care of your teeth there is a good chance you will not have them as you age.
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