Taking the proper measures to protect your health and wellness is an essential ongoing aspect of living a long, quality life. The specifics of what caring for your health entails will depend on a lot of factors, including your age, family history, preexisting conditions, gender, and lifestyle.
As a clinic dedicated to providing expert, compassionate care to women in Western New York, our team wants to make sure our patients have the information they need to come up with a plan that meets their healthcare needs. That’s why we’ve put together a checklist to guide women on the most important steps to take to stay happy and healthy.
Annual wellness exams are crucial for every woman’s overall health. These yearly visits should take place with your primary doctor, during which they will review your general healthcare needs, advise you on preventative measures specific to your person, and address any concerns you have.
During your wellness checkups, your physician should provide the following:
- Standard physical examination
- Blood pressure screening (every two years)
- Cholesterol level sceening (every four to six years, depending on family history and individual risk factors)
- Routine blood testing information
- Height/weight/BMI assessment
- Diet and exercise habit evaluation
- Up-to-date immunizations (standard vaccinations and boosters, annual flu shot, HPV vaccine for women under age 26)
Eye & Dental Health
Routinely checking your vision and maintaining your dental health are also important efforts that fall under the scope of your general healthcare concerns. You should visit your dentist for a cleaning and exam twice a year and schedule an eye exam every one to two years.
When it comes to sexual and reproductive health, there are several routine measures every woman should take, including:
Annual Gynecological Exams
Just as you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician every year, you should be making annual appointments with your gynecologist as well. Your gynecologist will evaluate your reproductive health, which typically includes a breast and pelvic exam and general questions about your period, birth control options, or any issues you may be having.
After you reach the age of 21, your gynecology exam should begin to include a Pap smear every three years to screen for cervical cancer. For women 30 years and older, co-testing for HPV every three to five years is also recommended. Once you become sexually active, you should also receive regular STI testing.
Women should begin to perform monthly self-breast examinations in their adolescence. This does not, however, replace regular breast cancer screenings or clinical breast exams. Your wellness provider will likely give you a clinical breast exam every one to three years, a process very similar to a self-exam.
After the age of 40—or earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer or are otherwise considered high risk—a mammogram is recommended every one to two years.
Additional Women’s Health Concerns
The steps outlined above are those that are essential to every woman’s health. Ultimately, your full wellness checklist will be determined by your age, history, lifestyle and other individual factors. Depending on your personal circumstances, there are a few other areas of health to which you may want to pay special attention, such as:
- Mental and emotional health
- Colon cancer screenings (a colonoscopy is recommended for every 10 years from the age of 50 and up)
- Bone density assessments
- Diabetic screenings (blood glucose and insulin level testing)
- Skin exams (for women at risk for skin cancer or with other skin conditions)
The team at South Avenue Women’s healthcare is here to provide you with the women’s wellness services and other information you need to lead a long and healthy life. Our clinic offers gynecology exams, mammograms, STI/STD testing, and many more essential and elective services for women of all ages.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment so we can help meet your healthcare needs!