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Focus on Women’s Health

The first Friday in February (February 2 this year) is Go Red for Women’s Health Day. It focuses on increasing awareness of womens’ risk for developing cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease. While a serious danger for women of all ages, cardiovascular disease is not the only thing that women need to be aware of. Women can be at risk for developing certain cancers, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and many other chronic problems.
Luckily, we have doctors, hospitals, and screening. There are many tests that women can get to catch problems or potential problems early, and prevent major diseases from developing.
Recommendations for Women over 65 years old, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (these general guidelines should not supersede a doctor’s recommendations):

✓ Have your thyroid checked every 5 years
✓ Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years if it has not been high (less than 120-80), or every year if it has been borderline (120-139/80-89)
✓ Have your cholesterol checked per your doctor’s recommendation, or at least every 5 years
✓ Get a Bone Mineral Density test at least once (around age 65), talk to your doctor about repeat testing
✓ Have a test for diabetes at least every 3 years
✓ Do a breast self-exam for breast cancer screening every month, have a mammogram every 1-2 years
✓ Cervical cancer screening (pap test) is likely only required if
there has been a past abnormal result (but check with your doctor)
✓ Colorectal tests- fecal occult blood test every year and colonoscopy every 5-10 years depending on doctor’s recommendation
✓ Have a complete eye and ear health exam every 1-2 years
✓ Do a self-exam of moles for skin cancer screening every month, a doctor should do this every year
✓ Have a dental exam and cleaning 1-2 times per year

✓ Influenza – yearly
✓ Pneumonia – only once
✓ Tetanus-Diphtheria – every 10 years
✓ Herpes-Zoster (to prevent shingles) – only once (ask your doctor if it’s ok for you to get)