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Women Urged On National Level to Seek Preventative Care  

Annual checkup one of top five things women can do to lead healthier lives

DAYTON, Ohio (April 11, 2013) – Women are seemingly busier than ever before, and unfortunately preventative health checkups often fall to the bottom of their list.

“It is very important to have a checkup each year to make sure that preventative care health screenings are up to date and to try and catch things before they become a problem,” said Lauren Roth, MD, a Premier HealthNet physician who practices at Phillipsburg Family Care. “I think it is important to have an ongoing relationship with a doctor who knows you well when you are healthy because it enables them to take even better care of you when you are sick. Also, just because you may go for an annual checkup and find out everything is going well, doesn’t mean it was a waste of time.”

An annual checkup is among the top five things women can do to lead a healthier life, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office (HHS) on Women’s Health. The HHS will observe its 11th Annual Women’s Health Week from May 12 – 18 to put greater focus on women’s health. The week is also a time to encourage individuals across the country to support the women in their lives by helping them to take steps to ensure longer, healthier lifestyles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the top three causes of death in women is heart disease, cancer and stroke. About one-third of the women in the United States are obese or have hypertension, which are both risk factors for heart disease. An annual checkup can be the first line of defense in preventing these risk factors and fighting against the onset of certain diseases.

An annual well-check can include fasting labs to check for anemia, thyroid issues, high cholesterol and other screenings such as a mammography, pap smear, colonoscopy and bone density test. Each of these tests are issued according to a woman’s age and family history. Women should not feel as if an annual visit to her gynecologist is all that is needed. An annual gynecological visit, while important, only focuses on issues surrounding a woman’s reproductive health. A family physician can provide a more comprehensive look at potential problems with every body system, Dr. Roth said.

Many women often apply the adage “If it isn’t broken then don’t fix it” to their bodies, but that philosophy couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Many people have the attitude that it is not necessary to visit a physician unless something is wrong,” Dr. Roth added. “This is a myth! There are many medical problems which are easier to treat if caught early. These include scary things like cervical or colon cancer, but also diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.”

Women are encouraged to make a pledge to call and schedule an annual checkup on National Women’s Checkup Day, May 13. Another idea, Dr. Roth said, is for women to make their annual visits on or around their birthday each year.

“That way, it is easy to remember and it is something that they are doing only for themselves,” Dr. Roth said. “The long-term benefits of good healthcare can’t be beat.”

View frequently asked questions about women’s health.

 

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