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Women Often Neglect Health When Prevention is Most Important

Feeling fine? No troublesome health problems? Another year to skip an annual doctor visit?

Many women in midlife forgo a yearly physical examination, or they rely on an Ob-Gyn visit to provide comprehensive care, according to women's health specialists at Mayo Clinic.

"Women's lives are filled with the same work stressors as men, but they generally have more household and family responsibilities," said Dr. Deborah Rhodes, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Women's Executive Health Program.

"Women find it difficult to justify using personal time for health maintenance and prevention, yet any time spent attending to health is time well spent," she observed.

Dr. Rhodes advocates that women actively manage their health. She offers the following suggestions:

  • Take time each year for a thorough medical checkup, including age-appropriate screenings. A young woman may need only blood pressure measurement and a pelvic exam, but as you age, your doctor will recommend a mammogram, colorectal cancer screening, cholesterol profile, bone density screening and other important diagnostic tests.
  • Create a dialogue with your doctor in which you ask questions and, together, lay out health options and goals. Be sure to cover every concern, from psychological health to sexuality, to your family medical history.
  • Focus your checkup on prevention. You can help prevent heart disease, the number one killer of women, as well as cancer, stroke, emphysema and diabetes, by making healthful nutrition choices and meeting even minimum exercise guidelines.
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