Focus on these three things to stay well
Eating well, exercising, and managing your weight will go a long way toward keeping you healthy. But you can do even more by getting the medical screenings you need and taking preventive steps to avoid illness. To start, focus on your heart, breasts, and immune system. They’re key to your overall health and hot spots of concern for many women. Protect yourself with these tips.
Mind Your Heart
“Heart disease kills more women than men in the US today,” says Kevin Campbell, MD, a cardiologist in Raleigh, NC. And not only is it the number one killer of women, it takes more women’s lives than the next three causes of death combined. “Women must understand that they are at risk for cardiovascular disease and what risk factors they have,” Dr. Campbell says. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, an inactive lifestyle, being overweight, and a family history of heart disease. Fortunately, you can do something about many of these risk factors.
Your Must-Do: Work with your doctor to manage your heart disease risk. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked at your next doctor’s appointment.
Protect Your Breasts
Breast cancer is still the most common cancer among women. “Know your risks and communicate them to your physician,” says Ravi Grivois-Shah, MD, a board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “If your mother or sister, for example, was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk for this condition is much higher, and you might need additional screening.”
Your Must-Do: The American Cancer Society recommends women in good health begin getting yearly mammograms at age 40. “Mammograms remain the gold standard to screen for breast cancer and to evaluate a lump or mass before considering biopsy,” says Sue DeCotiis, MD, a medical internist in New York City.
Get Your Flu Shot
Cooler weather signals the return of the flu. Your best bet is to prevent getting sick in the first place.
Your Must-Do: “Proper hand washing and preventive flu shots are always a good idea,” Dr. DeCotiis says. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get your flu shot soon so you’re protected this flu season.
WHEN YOU NEED MEDICAL CARE RIGHT AWAY
Did you know that the emergency room isn’t the only place you can go if you have an unexpected illness or injury? There are ER alternatives that may be able to give you the care you need while saving you time and money. Learn about your options below.
Retail Health Clinic
A clinic that can provide basic medical services to “walk-in” patients (Cost: $)Coughs, cuts, rashes, ear pain, or minor allergic reactions
Urgent Care Center
A center that can treat urgent issues that aren’t as severe as emergencies (Cost: $$)Sprains, animal bites, X-rays, stitches, or vomiting
A facility that can treat medical emergencies (Cost: $$$)Major injuries, chest pain, severe shortness of breath, or life-threatening conditions