FACTS TO KNOW FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH
- When managing your health, you should be aware of all the risks and
benefits of treatments.
- Making medical decisions involves reviewing the most current
information available to make the best choice. Your health care
professional should stay up-to-date on medical information and be able to
tell you about the latest treatments available.
- Medications can interact with each other to cause uncomfortable or
harmful side effects. Be sure to tell your health care professional about
every medication you take, including over-the-counter remedies as well as
herbal or vitamin supplements.
- Osteoporosis is a mostly preventable and treatable disease that thins
and weakens your bones. To prevent this disease, increase your intake of
calcium; do weight-bearing exercises regularly; and if you smoke, quit.
- Eating a balanced diet, exercising, scheduling time for yourself, as
well as balancing your priorities, are positive ways to beat stress.
- Limit your exposure to the sun to keep your skin healthy.
- After age 50, women may wish to incorporate some degree of strength
training -- lifting weights or exercising against resistance -- into their
activities. Strength training can make bones stronger, improve balance and
increase muscle strength and mass. Exercises such as running, brisk
walking, cycling and aerobics helps improve function of the heart, lungs
and circulatory system and helps decrease your risk of heart disease -- at
any age. Exercise also help women reduce their risk of developing diabetes
and may help them manage the condition, if they develop it.
- Mammogram and breast exams by a health care professional are currently
the most reliable way to detect breast abnormalities at their earliest,
most treatable stages. Breast self-exam may also help you identify
something abnormal in your breast tissue. Clinical breast exams should be
performed every three years between ages 20 to 40 and annually after the
age of 40. Every woman should have a mammogram once every one to two
years, beginning at age 40.
- All women should have a Pap test beginning at age 18, or at the onset
of sexual activity, if earlier, and continue annually. After three or more
consecutive satisfactory normal annual exams, the Pap test may be
performed less frequently at the discretion of the physician. This
painless test -- done during an annual gynecological exam -- involves
taking a sample of cells, which are scraped from the cervix, and examining
them for abnormal cells that could indicate cancer.
- If you have a family history of polyps (small growths in the colon)
and/or colon cancer, discuss with your health care professional how often
and at what age you should be screened for colon cancer. These factors
greatly increase your risks for developing colon cancer. Generally, you
should start having colon cancer screenings beginning at age 50.
Individuals with a family history of the disease or polyps should begin
Written by: Editorial Staff of the
Women's Health Resource Center