Article first published as Ladies, When Was Your Last Check-Up? on Technorati.
It is National Women’s Health Week.
Women’s health covers many issues. With work, family and children it is amazing there is any time at all to schedule your next appointment! Yet, women often overlook their own health according to the 2006 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Putting ourselves last is having an effect. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 36% of women over 20 are obese and only 25% of us engage in activity that lasts 10 minutes or longer three times a week.
Inactivity and being overweight are just two of the risk factors for heart disease — the leading cause of death of women in the United States, according to the CDC. Rounding out the top five killers of women are:
4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases, and
5. Alzheimer’s disease.
Ladies, stop putting yourself last and schedule your check-up today! Remember to treat your doctor appointment like a business meeting and go in prepared:
Make a list, check it twice.
Keep a note of questions or concerns you’d like to discuss with your doctor. Take charge of the appointment by advising your doctor what you want to discuss when s/he greets you. I literally pull out my list and keep it with me and do not leave until I feel my questions and concerns have been addressed.
For example, when I completed a half marathon up Pike’s Peak I made sure to request a medication that would help me deal with altitude. Although I still became sick, I’m positive the medication helped me finish — even if I was blue, cold and practically crawling across the finish line.
May I get a copy, too?
Also always ask for a copy of any lab results. Why? Because knowing where your numbers lie within the ranges will help you take better control of your health.
What and when.
Women’s Health.gov recommends discussing with your doctor about the frequency of general health screenings. However, most insurance companies will cover for an annual physical exam. Additional screenings include:
- Blood pressure – at least every two years for all ages
- Pap test – every two years starting at 21, then every 3 years 30+
- Pelvic exam – yearly for all ages
We all know we should eat a healthy diet and, like many, I am sure we all feel we eat relatively healthy. Relatively because we do not know how healthy or unhealthy our diets are until we record what we eat.
Recent research reminds us that whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Mypyramid.gov wants us to make half our grains whole. I would advocate making all your grains whole! In the Journal of Nutrition, the American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium on Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together revealed that 95% of Americans are not meeting their whole grain intake!
According to the article, “Steffen et al., in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study observed that 3 servings of whole grain foods per day was associated with a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease, whereas Nettleton et al., observed a 7% lower risk of incident heart failure in the same cohort.”
Science is showing us that increased whole grain intake can have a significant impact on our health and helps to lower risk of heart disease! Not sure how to incorporate whole grains into your diet? Click here to read four ways to increase your grains.
Regular check-ups with a physician are important to help detect disease. We often feel that we’ll go in when we have the time or when it is necessary. However take it from someone who has the health odds stacked against her (heart disease and diabetes on both sides of the family) - health and prevention is not an option, it is your life!
Jonnalagadda, S., Harnack, L., Liu, R., McKeown, N., Seal, C., Liu, S., & Fahey, G.. (2011). Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together: Health Benefits Associated with Whole Grains-Summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium1-3. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(5), 1011S,1012S,1013S,1014S,1015S,1016S,1017S,1018S,1019S,1020S,1021S,1022S.