Medical Milestones — What to Do on the Road to Healthy Living
Many health concerns are facing today's women. Using the technological and diagnostic advantages of contemporary medicine can play an essential role in our overall health. Diagnostic imaging and other tests help detect health problems such as breast cancer and osteoporosis. Knowing what and when to start looking for medical problems can help you to live a long and healthy lifestyle.
Life's highway brings many milestones and here are a few tips on healthy living and medical testing, what age you should start the testing and how they play a role in your over well being.
- Start an exercise plan early in your life and keep up the habit. Cardio exercise is a great way to reduce the risk of many health problems, including breast cancer. This goes for pre-menopausal women and well as those in their later years. Cardio exercise is best, but anything that gets you moving helps.
- Limit exposure to harmful radiation. If you need an X-ray or CT scan, see if you can have an MRI or ultrasound instead. This test can be as accurate without the harmful high levels of radiation.
- Cut back on steaks and other red meat. Healthy eating should be a part of your everyday routine.
- Check your cholesterol level every 4 - 5 years. Controlling your cholesterol can prevent heart attacks and strokes.
- Shedding the pounds off now will keep you in the habit of healthy eating. Also, significant weight gain can increase your risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal years.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Too much "happy hour" can cause or contribute to health problems.
- Have your blood pressure checked. This simple test can keep you in top cardiovascular health.
- Do monthly breast self-exams and see your doctor yearly for breast check-ups.
- Have a pelvic exam and a pap smear every 1- 3 years. This can pay off big in the early detection of cancer.
- Look for moles. Watch out for anything suspicious and have your doctor check it out. Lather up with the sun screen, even if you aren't heading for the beach.
- Check your immunization records. Keep up to date on immunizations for optimal effectiveness. Include a vaccination for HPV, a big help in preventing cervical cancer.
- Stop smoking.
- Staying active can reduce your risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
- Have your thyroid checked. This test detects the hormone level that affects your metabolism. A hypo- or hyper-thyroid condition is manageable with medication.
- Take charge of stress. Try planning your week on Sunday evening. Organize your life by coordinating your time with the schedules of your spouse/partner and kids. This will prevent any surprises later on. Remember to schedule some "me" time.
- Check out your framework with a bone density test to detect osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones that leads to fractures and breaks. This painless, non-invasive test uses X-rays to determine the density of your bones.
- Find out with a blood sugar test to detect diabetes. Check again in three years or as often as your doctor recommends.
- You should have a yearly digital mammogram. This test is generally more accurate than the standard X-ray. A digital mammogram allows for enhanced interpretation of the test results by your doctors. Women under 50, pre-menopausal or women with dense breasts at any age can benefit from this digital type of mammography.
- See your optometrist. Periodic testing for problems such as glaucoma and macular degeneration can catch problems early. Test every two-three years but go more often if you are having problems with your vision.
- Women who gain significant pounds after menopause run a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
- A colonoscopy and a rectal exam, an essential way to check for occult blood in the stool and other signs of colon cancer. Test at least every 10 years beginning at age 50.
- Have a hearing test. Many people over 60 have a hearing loss problem which is easily corrected. Test yearly so you don't miss out on any good gossip.
- At 65 you should start yearly vaccinations against pneumonia and the flu. These diseases can be harder to beat later in life.
- Get more sleep. Menopause can affect your ability to sleep through the night. So catch up during the day with a cat nap. Or just take a few minutes to sit in a comfy chair and relax.
Taking the time to be healthy sounds like a lot of work. But it really only takes a few minutes or hours out of what could be a very long and healthy life. Becoming an advocate for your own health and taking charge of your lifestyle is a woman's best weapon in healthful, graceful aging. Remember, this is just an outline of the health issues you should be thinking about. At any age, talk with your doctor and make a plan together. Just for the health of it!
Call the Women's Health Imaging Center to schedule your appointment
for your mammogram, bone density test, ultrasound exam, breast biopsy or automated whole breast volume scan (ABVS).