If you were offered the opportunity to find health problems before they started, wouldn't you jump at the chance? National Women's Checkup Day is a good time to remind you all that just one day of paying attention to your health could add years to your life.
Yet, despite that chance, when you consider the bulk of your to-do list, it's no wonder that you might feel a bit weighed down with all the things competing for your time and attention.
And without fail, the something that almost always falls to the bottom of the list is you.
Yet, that thing—that most important thing—is too important to ignore. Sadly, many women feel that it's selfish to put themselves first. This is the reason HealthyWomen partnered with GCI Health to launch the HealthiHer Movement. This new movement encourages women to make self-care a priority in their lives. Check out the HealthiHer Facebook page for more information and join our movement for a healthier life!
Taking care of yourself doesn't mean you have to abandon all your responsibilities and escape to some far-flung paradise or escape to a spa for the day or even a few hours. It doesn't mean you need to ignore everyone around you and only do things that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Read about Self-Care Activities That Won't Break the Bank.
National Women's Checkup Day was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to remind women to take care of themselves and their health by scheduling appointments with their health care providers. It is celebrated annually on the second Monday of May as part of National Women's Health Week. This year's date is May 13.
There are countless ways to stay healthy, but it all starts with taking control and making the time to see your health care provider.
By taking control, you can often find problems early, when the chances of treating—and curing them—are better. By taking control, you have the opportunity to discuss and explore the proper screenings and exams that can rule out certain problems and highlight others.
By taking control, you can get an idea of what's going on in your body—things that you might otherwise be unaware of. For example, your blood pressure. High blood pressure is called "the silent killer" for a reason: You can have it and not know it. That's because there are usually no symptoms—until it's already done considerable damage to your heart and arteries. The best way to protect yourself is to have it checked and know what the numbers mean.
Likewise, cancer and cholesterol screenings, vaccinations and your lifestyle and family history are all important matters worth exploring to help you stay healthy.
It may cost a little bit of your time, but an annual checkup should not cost you anything extra if you have health insurance. Most health plans cover certain preventive care benefits without a co-pay, coinsurance or having to meet your deductible. (For those who need to find other options regardless of your ability to pay, click here.)
Different women need different things, depending on their age and health status. Here are some of the particulars (tests, medications or vaccines) the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggest a woman in her 50s should ask about each year:
- Low-dose aspirin
- Blood pressure
- Colorectal cancer
- Hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Lung cancer (55 and older)
- Measles, mumps and rubella
- Pap and HPV
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Tetanus, diphtheria or whooping cough
If you don't fall into that age group, click here to see what you need to do to take control of your health at any age.
I urge you all to do it today.