January is a great month to focus on women’s health. It’s a new year, and time for a new start, health-wise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focuses on cervical cancer prevention and raises awareness about the benefits of folic acid to kick off 2015. At American Family Care, we thought we’d piggyback on those topics and offer a checkup checklist just for women.
Women are at risk for a number of diseases and conditions, with heart disease, cancer and stroke the worst culprits. But a number of other conditions can lead to poor health in women, including obesity, high blood pressure and depression. Women are at a higher risk for these conditions, so it’s a great time to make an appointment with us for a quick checkup.
The next time you come in, be sure to ask our friendly doctors about the topics on our Checkup Checklist.
- Obesity: According to the CDC, more than 36 percent of women age 20 and above are obese. Make sure your doctor knows your body mass index (BMI) to determine whether you’re at risk for obesity.
- Breast cancer: After age 40, all women should get a yearly mammogram to test for breast cancer.
- Cervical cancer: A Pap smear every 1-3 years is the best way to screen for this form of cancer. If you’re sexually active or between the ages of 21 and 65, make sure your exam includes this test.
- Cholesterol: A number of factors can contribute to high cholesterol, but it’s especially important to screen for this if you smoke, have a family history of heart disease or you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Women over age 45 should have their cholesterol tested every year, but if you’re at risk, get screened earlier.
- Blood pressure: More than 30 percent of women over age 20 have hypertension, or high blood pressure. Blood pressure readings of 140/90 or higher signify hypertension. Due to hormonal changes, women over 65 are actually more likely to have this disease than men, according to the American Heart Association.
- Diabetes: Since diabetes often goes undetected, a screening is a good way to take preventative action. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, a diabetes screening is also a must.
- Depression: Depression is more prevalent in women than in men, but don’t let that keep you from telling your doctor about it. If you’ve felt sad or hopeless for at least 2 weeks, talk to your doctor about getting screened for depression.
- Osteoporosis: Thinning bones is a condition that typically affects women over 65, but according to the University of Irvine, if you are between the ages of 60 and 64 and weigh less than 154, osteoporosis screenings are a good idea.
- STDs: If you’re under 25 and are sexually active, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases are a good idea.
Start 2015 off right and commit to scheduling a visit at our clinics. Our friendly doctors can talk with you about everything on the Checkup Checklist and keep you on the right track health-wise through the coming year.
How do you motivate yourself to get a checkup each year? Share your thoughts with us!