Ask Our Expert: 5 Things Women Should Do for Their Health
Preventive care, like physicals and routine screenings, is your best defense against serious medical problems. Such services are particularly important for women, who have unique health needs and risk factors. Dr. Anne J. Choi, an Ob/Gyn and the Director of Women’s Health at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur, shares five things every woman should do to live her healthiest life:
- Schedule your annual well-woman visit. This visit is different from a typical appointment for a specific illness or injury. Your doctor will assess your overall health and provide the necessary services or screenings that can help detect any issues before they become serious. This is also a good time to discuss your personal health goals with your doctor, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.
- Stay on top of your breast health. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, and your risk of developing the disease increases as you get older. Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors for breast cancer. Women should initiate mammogram screening at 50 years old. Women who are 40 to 49 years old and those 75 and older should talk to their doctor about screening recommendations.
- Take care of your heart. Heart disease kills more women than any other condition. High blood pressure increases your risk of developing the disease. There are usually no symptoms for high blood pressure, so be sure to get yours checked at your next visit. Talk to your doctor about how you can keep your heart healthy by eating better and moving more.
- Get screened for cervical cancer. Every year, more than 400 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in NYC. Cervical cancer affects a part of your reproductive system. Women who are 21 and older should talk to their gynecologist about getting a Pap test, which screens for cervical cancer. And girls who are not yet sexually active can lower their risk by getting an HPV vaccine.
- Be mindful of your mental health. We often think of health as our overall physical state, but your emotional well-being is just as important. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling sad or hopeless, having a hard time eating or sleeping, or are experiencing any violence or abuse in your life. Your doctor can help you get the confidential support you need to feel better.
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