Health Week is a good time for a checkup

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 11, 2018

This article has been corrected to address inaccuracies.

National Women’s Health Week is the perfect time for healthcare professionals to encourage women to keep track of their health to help ensure a long and healthy life. 

According to the website, regular physical exercise is key to maintaining good health and can help lower the risk of many diseases.

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Staci Hess, women’s health nurse practitioner at Highland Center for Woman’s Health, said that more often than not women tend to overlook the importance of getting a yearly checkup and only seek medical attention when a problem arises.

“A lot of times it’s something more far gone which we could have easily caught early on if they decided to see their doctor on time,” Hess said.

The fast paced lifestyle led by women today can lead to an increase in stress levels, which impacts their overall health and development, Hess said.

Increased stress can trigger depression and anxiety, causing an increase in blood pressure and further deteriorate the immune system.

Regardless of age, women should make it a point to visit their doctor annually, Hess said. Starting at age 21, a head to toe assessment, including breast examination and pelvic examination, is necessary to detect abnormalities, she said.

Although diet and exercise are crucial, women should consult a doctor before starting any diet or exercise routine.

“Consulting a physician before starting any new routine may help detect underlying medical issues, if any,” Hess said.

Regular screenings detect certain viruses responsible for cervical cancer. Tests should also be conducted to detect risk factors associated with ovarian and breast cancer.

Teenagers and young adults need to know how to avoid problems in the future.

Hess said she typically has discussions with teenagers about teen pregnancy and the use of condoms to decrease the risk of STDs and unexpected pregnancy.