Today is National Women's Check Up Day - a day set aside by the federal government to urge women to make some time for themselves and schedule an appointment with their health care provider.
Yeah, I know. You're not sick. So why waste the time, energy, and resources with a trip to the doctor? Well-woman visits help you get the preventive care you need, including screenings. Screenings can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. They can identify other problems and help lower your risk for many conditions, like heart disease. They also give you the opportunity to talk to your doctor about nutrition, health goals, mental health, and anything else you might have questions about.
The best part? Under the Affordable Care Act, many women can receive these services without paying a deductible or copay.
So what should you know about a well-woman visit? Here are five topics that every woman should cover at least once with her health care provider:
1. Nutrition. Be honest. If you eat fast food every day, let your health care provider know and if you want to get healthier, he or she may be able to help you come up with a plan to improve your diet.
2. Family history. Your health care provider should have a record of any illnesses or diseases suffered by your family members - particularly the women. This will give your doctor a clearer picture of your health and help flag key symptoms if they pop up.
3. Baseline screenings and exams. If you have never had your blood pressure or cholesterol checked - do it now. It will give your health care provider a baseline from which to understand and monitor your health over time.
4. Reproductive health. No matter whether you are 18 or 88, talk with your doctor about what should be going on with you cycles. And if this differs from what is happening in your body, don't be afraid to say so. Also, if you are thinking about having a baby anytime in the next few years, your health care provider can give you tips on the best ways to prepare your body and give your baby the healthiest start in life.
Want to know more about women's health? There is a plethora of info in this Healthy Woman guide over at WomensHealth.gov.
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