October is Women’s Health Month, and we’re reminded to put ourselves first and make time for our physical and mental health. If you make your health a priority, it’ll help you stay in good physical shape and will keep sicknesses and diseases at bay.
We often put our family’s needs ahead of our own, ignoring small aches and pains and minor symptoms … month after month and year after year – until it eventually begins to negatively affect our health. Practicing preventive care is one of the best ways you can stay healthy, as doing this will allow you to give your all in everything you do for your family, your spouse and yourself.
You should schedule an appointment each year for a Well Woman Exam. Have your blood pressure checked during this exam and talk to your primary care physician about what other screenings, tests or exams you might need based on your age, current health and family/medical history.
At age 21, women should begin Cervical Cancer Screening. Every 3 years, women ages 21 to 29 should have a Pap Test. Because of the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), most private health plans will cover these and other preventive care services at no cost to you.
There are other things you can do to live a healthy life:
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating nutritious foods and using portion control
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes three to five days per week
- Limit or stop alcohol consumption
- Don’t smoke cigarettes or cigars (quit if you’re already smoking)
- Practice safe sex by always using protection
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night
- See your doctor every year
- Get the necessary screenings and tests as recommended by your doctor
It’s very important to get screenings, especially if you’re at a higher risk for certain diseases such as diabetes or breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about emotional stress, depression and other non-physical concerns as well.
Certain life events can increase your stress with symptoms of anxiety, mood swings and insomnia. In order for you to remain healthy or become healthier overall, these concerns are just as important for you to discuss with your doctor as your physical health is.
As women, we can remain healthy at any age and at every stage of our lives with preventive care as well as eating a healthy diet, exercising on a regular basis and keeping our stress levels down to a minimum.
If you’re not already doing so, start making YOUR health a priority today!