Annual Checkups

Annual Checkups

Every woman wants to create beauty and part of creating beauty is taking care of our bodies. Busy moms often neglect themselves and give every excuse in the book on why we can't get in to the doctor. Yet, it's important to take care of ourselves and in turn, we model healthy behavior for our kids. Yearly exams are necessary to keep our bodies healthy. 

Are you reticent about a having health check up? "I tell women some of these tests can save your life. If they are a mom, I tell them their children need a healthy mother," says woman's health expert Elizabeth Stein, CNM, MSN, MPH.

Well Woman Gynecology Visit 

Many life threatening illnesses do not show symptoms until it is too late. High blood cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease. High blood pressure is often referred to as the "silent killer" because if left unchecked, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Early detection is essential in treating disease.

Moms, you can take care of these concerns in one annual visit to your doctor. A pap smear, pelvic exam, breast exam, STD screening, blood glucose, pregnancy planning, birth control, and blood pressure check can be done in one doctor visit. A bone density test to screen for osteoporosis is recommended for women age 65 and older. Yearly tests can detect many diseases early enough to treat and some diseases can be reversed by diet and exercise.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women. "Blood pressure, weight, nutrition, activity level, lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL) and diabetes screening all factors that affect heart health and should be discussed with your physician," says Stein. 

Mammogram

According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, one in every eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The first mammogram can be a bit scary, but think of your health and your family. "Some women choose not to do mammograms because they heard it hurts, which it does," says Stein. However, there is an 88 percent cure rate for breast cancer caught at stage 1. 

Monthly self-exams are also important. If you notice any breast changes during a monthly self-exam, contact your doctor immediately. It is recommended that beginning at the age of 20, women receive a clinical breast exam every three years and a mammogram after the age of 40. If a close family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer, mammograms should be scheduled earlier.

Skin Exam

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The rates of skin cancer among young women have risen significantly which may be the result of high risk tanning behaviors," says Dr. Oomen-Early. At home, regularly examine your body and watch for any changes in moles. Immediately consult your doctor about any change of shape or discoloration of a mole. Once a year you should schedule a skin cancer-related check up with your physician or dermatologist. 

Dental Check Ups

Your dental checkups twice a year include cleaning teeth and inspection of gums, cavities check and overall oral health. Beyond a bright smile, dental exams are important for your total health. "Oral health is essential to one's overall health and has been linked to an increase in chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease as well as periodontal disease and tooth decay," says Dr Jody Oomen-Early, Program Director, School of Health Sciences, Walden University.

Women who do not have dental insurance can contact their local health department in the community. A health educator can recommend low cost services in the area. Often dental schools or dental hygiene schools offer services to the public at a reduced fee.

Colonoscopy 

Colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer after skin, breast and lung cancer according to the National Cancer Institute. Most medical practices recommend a rectal exam after the age of 50. While a colonoscopy is not pleasant, the preparation is probably worst than the actual procedure and the benefits are life-saving.

Annual test results can help you make any necessary decisions. Early detection of any cancer can increase your chances of beating it. "Get tested for everything. Consider that each test should be done once a year, every year," says Stein. 

You have hair and nail appointments on your beauty to-do list. What's on your healthy body exam list that you need to make an appointment for today? 

Medical disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only.

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Written by: Jan Udlock See other articles by Jan Udlock
About the Author:

Jan Udlock is a freelance writer and mom of five. While it’s unpleasant, Jan had her mammogram for the year.

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