The Unique and Exceptional Woman
No matter where you go on planet Earth, women have held an important role in the development and evolution of the human race. For starters, everyone has a mother. During the nine months your mother carried you, her body provided nourishment for your developing body. Women are the predominant caretakers in the world. They are unique and exceptional beings filled with love.
While a fundamental part of everyone’s life, women face many challenges. Health is one of them. Women not only have unique health concerns, but some diseases that affect both men and women have a greater impact on women or affect them in a different way.
More Is Not Always Better
For example, according to the National Institutes of Health and Human Development, women have a greater chance of dying from a heart attack than men. Women have higher chances of experiencing depression and anxiety. The effects of sexually transmitted diseases tend to be more serious in women.
Just these few examples illustrate how important is it for women to look after their health. The best way to do so is by keeping current with exams and screenings. This requires access to medical services free from discrimination. This is a responsibility that should be shared by both men and women because at the end of the day, everyone was born from a woman.
Screenings Are Important
Detection tests, called screenings, look for signs of diseases before any symptoms are present. Some of these tests are conducted in a doctor’s office, such as measuring blood pressure. Others, such as mammograms, require special equipment. When you have a screening, it’s important to ask when results will be available and who will discuss them.
Talk with your healthcare provider to know more about detection tests and examinations you may need and when should you schedule them. Speak freely and ask them to investigate any condition in your family history.
Nobody knows your body better than you do. It’s important during every visit with a medical professional that you make sure to inform them of any changes in your health, including vision and hearing. Any abnormality that you notice in your body is a good enough reason to schedule a visit with your healthcare professional.
For Women Only
If you are a woman, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the following preventative examinations should be performed routinely.
Cervical Cancer – Starting at 21 years of age, schedule a Pap smear every three years until the age of 65.
Breast Cancer – Consider any abnormality in your breasts as suspicious, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer. Immediately notify your primary physician and ask if you need a mammogram.
Diabetes – Conduct a diabetes test (high blood sugar) if you have high blood pressure or if you take medication for high blood pressure. Diabetes may cause problems in the heart, brain, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves and other parts of the body.
High Cholesterol – Make sure to have routine cholesterol tests through blood samples if you smoke, are overweight or are obese.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Infections transmitted sexually can make it difficult to become pregnant, affect your baby if you are pregnant and cause other health problems. Schedule detection tests for chlamydia or gonorrhea if you are younger than 24 years of age and are sexually active. If you are older than 24 years of age, ask your doctor if you should schedule detection tests.
Osteoporosis – At the age of 65, schedule a test to evaluate the strength of your bones; the test is most commonly done by a low-dose X-ray of the spinal column and hip. If you are younger than 65 and have a high risk for fractures, make sure to schedule an examination.
Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health, which is why it’s important to be in a good mood and have a positive outlook on life. But when things don’t go your way, it’s very easy to confuse disappointment and sadness with depression.
Sadness is a normal reaction during difficult times in life. But sadness generally disappears after a period of time. Depression is different; it’s a constant low-mood outlook that can cause serious symptoms that affect how you feel and think. It can also interfere with daily activities such as sleep, appetite or work.
According to Mayo Clinic, women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men, and depression can occur at any age. Because women experience several hormonal shifts during their lives, these times can increase their risk of depression. Some changes in mood and feelings associated with depression appear alongside, not necessarily from, normal hormonal changes. The biggest risk for depression is associated with other biological factors, hereditary characteristics, circumstances and life experiences.
A Plan for Health
Whether you’re a man or woman, today is a good day to start taking care of your health. Did you know you could have your primary healthcare provider create a plan for your better health and well-being?
If you do not have a doctor, visit Equality Health’s provider directory to find a provider: www.equalityhealth.com/members/providers.
Published in Prensa Arizona, 5/6/2021