Every year in May, the Office on Women’s Health celebrates Women’s Health Week. Let’s face it: when we are in our 20’s we think we are invincible! But the foundation of a healthy life starts as early as we can build it. The ‘musts’ of women’s health are divided into age group categories, from the 20’s up to the 90’s — talk about simple lifestyle changes to improve our health!
The top 5 actions we need to take for our health on a regular basis include eating healthy to maintain a healthy weight, getting active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, checking our blood pressure, limiting alcohol use and making sure our vaccinations are up to date. Oh, and if you are a smoker, don’t.
Obviously, as our bodies age, our road to wellbeing changes. Being healthy is being happy!
In your 20’s and 30’s, it’s imperative that you talk to your doctor about choosing the right birth control and whether you are planning to have children in the next year, how often should you get a Pap test, and the need to screen for sexually transmitted diseases, including an HIV test, at least once in your lifetime. Try to get 8 hours of sleep for a healthy life.
Further issues you might want to address include checking your cholesterol levels if you have a family history of heart disease in your family. If you are under a lot of stress, especially when starting your career, make sure that depression and other mental health concerns are addressed.
In addition to the above recommendations, if you are in your 40’s, get checked for diabetes if you are overweight, obese or have a family history. You might also begin experiencing perimenopause symptoms that need to be addressed. Program a mammogram screening every year along with hepatitis B and C.
In your 50’s, it is a good idea to get screened for colorectal cancer and lung cancer if you smoke. And if you do, quit! Talk to your doctor about the risks of osteoporosis. If you experience uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, address the possibility of hormone therapy with your physician.
In your 60’s and 70’s:
- Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days (65 and older who are fit and have no limiting chronic conditions). If you have a chronic condition, talk to your doctor about a physical activity program that is appropriate (65 and older with low fitness levels or chronic conditions).
- Get a shingles vaccine in addition to seasonal flu and pneumonia shots.
- Ask about daily aspirin use (for women 65 and older)
- Talk to your doctor about preventing falls
In your 80’s and 90’s, make sure you follow healthy habits: exercise, eat healthy, get at least 30 minutes of exercise when you can and 8 hours of sleep, quit smoking, get all your shots, and most importantly, address any health concerns you might have.
The time to take care of your health is NOW! For a healthy life, accept the challenge to schedule your wellness checkup and start on your path to health!
For more information on Women’s Health Week visit the Office on Women’s Health @ www.http://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/about/
About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.
The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community.
To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.howellfoundation.org.