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Women are often thought of as nurturers. While tending to the needs of your family is important, you need to take care of you, too.

You probably already know the basics to protecting your good health:

  • Schedule all recommended health screenings.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Drink in moderation, if at all.
  • Take private time to unwind and decompress.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.

Putting them into practice is essential not just for you, but for the sake of those who depend on you.

Preventive care for women

Even if you’re managing your weight and staying healthy, sometimes there may be issues lurking beneath the surface that aren’t presenting symptoms. That’s why preventive screenings are so important. Consider these general guidelines for women. 

  • Physical Exams – Every year, or as directed by your doctor.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) – Every year.
  • Blood Pressure – Every two years.
  • Mammogram – Every two years starting at age 50. At age 40, start discussing breast cancer screenings with your doctor.
  • Pap Test – Ages 21 – 65, every three years.
  • Diabetes Screening – Beginning at age 45. If you have a family history, high blood pressure or other risk factors, consider being screened earlier.
  • Colon Cancer Screening – Beginning at age 50.

Of course, these recommendations aren’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on your risk factors, including personal and family health history, your doctor may recommend a modified schedule.

Women’s unique health issues

Women's bodies are more complicated than men's. And their health issues often are, as well. For instance, women with diabetes have a higher risk for heart disease, blindness and depression than men. And certain infections can be more severe. Chlamydia, a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) can permanently damage a woman's reproductive system. It can lead to infertility or a potentially fatal tubal pregnancy. It's crucial to talk with your doctor about your risks and take seriously any recommendations for tests or screenings.

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