National Women's Health Week: Will You Pledge to Be a Well Woman?
May 1, 2014
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National Women's Health Week is celebrated May 11-17 this year, and it's a great time to talk about the unique medical issues faced by women. An initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, the week challenges women to take a good look at their lifestyle and the health risks they face, and encourages them to pledge to be a "well woman" by making positive changes in their life and improve their health. But what are these changes?
Get Regular Checkups and Screenings
Getting an annual well woman checkup is vital to a woman's overall health. During this annual visit, women can discuss their health habits and get or schedule necessary disease screenings. Screenings for diseases like breast or cervical cancer can be done in-office, but screenings for more serious issues like heart and cardiovascular disease may require a visit to a specialist or a cardiovascular sonographer. This year, the annual women's checkup day is Monday, May 12. Talk to your doctor about getting your annual well woman checkup on this day.
Get Active and Eat Healthy
The CDC reports that more than 60 percent of adult U.S. women are overweight and more than one-third of overweight adult women are obese. Obesity can predispose women to a host of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. By making a pledge during National Women's Health Week to get active and eat healthy, women can take charge of their personal health and lower their risk factors for these serious diseases.
Pay Attention to Mental Health
The final part of the well woman pledge is to address mental health. Major issues such as depression, anxiety and even eating disorders can creep up on you and affect your overall health without you even knowing it. According to the National Institutes of Health, women are more likely to suffer from a major depressive disorder and eating disorders than men, so it's important for women to talk to their doctors about their mental health and possible treatments and lifestyle changes to undertake to improve their health.
In addition to encouraging women to take these healthy steps, National Women's Health Week is encouraging women to organize and/or participate in well woman meet-ups to spread the word and encourage others to take the well woman pledge. Meet-up ideas include organizing a 5K or hosting a healthy cooking workshop to get others in your community involved in healthy habits.
Beyond hosting meet-ups and spreading awareness for women's health week, if you have a passion for women's health, you might consider a career in healthcare. You can provide care as a nurse, help doctors make diagnoses as a sonographer, or even work one on one with patients as a medical assistant. There are plenty of fulfilling careers that those who care about women's health can pursue, no matter what their age, skill level or previous experience.
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