In the Spotlight
Preventive Health Care Tips for Women: A Checklist to Live By
Contributed by Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group
1. Make sure you have a primary care provider.
Discuss your medical history with your health care team. Talk to them about the common screenings listed below. These screening tests, diagnostic tests, and medical exams are used to find a disease or determine your risk for health problems. Screenings help identify problems early. This gives you the best chance for successful treatment of problems. Ask about setting up your personal screening schedule.
2. Reduce your risk of heart disease.
More women die of heart disease than any other single cause.
- Report any pain, pressure, or discomfort in the chest, left arm, shoulder, neck, or back
- Do cardio-exercise for 30 minutes, five or more days a week
- Check with your health care provider first, particularly if you have any medical conditions
- Start gradually
- Walk, dance, bicycle, swim, roll in your wheelchair
- Watch your weight
- If you smoke, STOP
- If you have high blood pressure, control your blood pressure
- Eat a well-balanced diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables
- If you are diabetic, control your blood sugar
- Have your cholesterol checked
- See your doctor regularly for blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol and other blood tests, and routine checkups
3. Discuss menopause concerns and symptoms management with your primary care provider.
Symptoms can include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Emotional changes
- Change in interest in sexual activities
4. Prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones) as you age.
Know your risk factors and the symptoms and take steps to keep your bones strong.
- Eat a diet rich in calcium, including low-fat dairy, leafy green vegetables, and sardines
- Ensure adequate calcium and vitamin D intake
- Do weight-bearing exercises for 30 minutes, five or more days a week
- Walk, dance, weight train
- Most sports, except swimming and bicycling
- Know your family history
- Discuss getting a bone density screening test with your health care provider
- Women's Heart Disease Risk Quiz (Women’s Heart Foundation) - the way you live each day affects your heart. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Making lifestyle changes now could save your life. Take this simple quiz to find out if you are at risk.
- Osteoporosis (Medline Plus®) - understand what osteoporosis is, as well as symptoms, causes and treatment
- Pap Smear (Medline Plus®) – learn what a Pap smear is, how it is done and why it is important
- Menopause (Medline Plus®) - learn about the changes that happen to your body and your mind
- Exercising for a Healthy Life (Medline Plus®) - learn how exercising and becoming more active may improve your health
- Managing Stress (Medline Plus®) - a learning activity that shows you how to manage everyday stress
- Smoking - The Facts (Medline Plus®) - understand why smoking is addictive and unhealthy
- Healthcare 411 (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) – listen to health tips and watch videos or read transcripts
Updated/Reviewed: May 1, 2010