Preventative health care is an approach to health care that mixes good health habits-like eating well and exercising regularly-with frequent tests to identify potential health problems. For many conditions, early detection and prevention are critical.
By undertaking such an approach, women can help to minimize their risks for a number of different health conditions. For example, preventative health care for women should involve regular exercise as well as breast self-examinations to reduce their risk for breast cancer.
The following are ten of the best preventative health care tips for women. There tips will help you get on the path to preventative health care-and your doctor can help identify more based on your specific risk factors.
10 tips for preventative health care for women:
Regularly Visit Your Doctor – Regular visits to your doctor are probably the most important aspect of preventative health care for women-and men for that matter. A yearly check-up can help detect many health conditions before they become dangerous or life threatening. Your doctor can administer tests necessary for checking for various health conditions. Before your check-up, it helps to brainstorm a list of questions for your doctor and to note any changes in your family history. For example, you should tell your doctor if your mother recently was diagnosed with breast cancer or heart disease.
Breast Self-Examination – Once they reach their 20s, women should regularly do a breast self-exam. Such an exam can help detect changes in a women’s breasts. Changes observed during a self-examination should be reported to your physician.
Regular Mammogram – In addition to regular breast self-exams, women interested in tips for preventative health care should also get regular mammograms once they reach the age of 40. These should take place every 1 to 2 years. If you have a family history of breast cancer, have had breast cancer, or have other breast problems, you may need to get a mammogram sooner. Your physician will be able to help you setup a schedule for mammograms.
Regular Pap Smear – Routine pap smears can help detect the early signs of cervical cancer. It’s one of the most oft-cited preventative health care tips for women. Women should have a pap smear every 1 to 3 years if they are sexually active or are over the age of 21.
Exercise Regularly – Regular exercise is one of the most important tips for preventative health care. Physical activity reduces the risk of numerous conditions including osteoporosis and health disease, both of which can affect women. You should strive to have 20-30 minutes of physical activity per day-although more is certainly beneficial.
Eat A Healthy Diet – Eating healthier foods can reduce the risk of a number of health conditions including cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Foods that are high in saturated fats should be avoided and proteins coming from lean meats and vegetables should be emphasized over red meat and high fat dairies. In addition, women should pay extra attention getting enough calcium in order to minimize the risk of osteoporosis.
Stop Smoking, Moderate Alcohol Use – Smoking contributes to a number of health problems including lung cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. If you smoke, quitting can substantially benefit your health. While quitting is certainly difficult, your doctor can help you through the process.
Cholesterol Test – In order to help assess your chances of developing heart disease, women should have their cholesterol tests. It is recommended that cholesterol be tested every five years starting at age 20 and more frequently as you age. Your doctor can help you setup a testing schedule that makes sense based on your risk factors. High cholesterol can be lowered or prevented by eating well and engaging in regular physical activity.
Blood Pressure Test – You should have your blood pressure tested every one to two years to help assess your risk for heart disease and stroke. This may be done more often based on your specific risk factors and your family history.
Stay at a Healthy Weight – In order to prevent health problems such as heart disease and osteoporosis, women should work to stay at a healthy weight. This can be done by eating healthy foods and engaging in regular physical activity, as outlined above. Obesity requires the body to work harder than it otherwise would, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood and requiring the bones have to hold more weight.
Pay Attention to Mental Health – While many people focus on cancer and heart disease, women should also pay attention to their mental health when contemplating preventative health care. At various points in their lives-during puberty, after having a baby, and in menopause-women’s mental health is at a greater risk. If you suspect you have mental health issues, contact your doctor.