Women's Health Week Recommends Preventative Measures

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Happy Women’s Health Week! Did you know that you’re being celebrated? It turns out that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health has designated May 13-19, 2012 as the week to focus on women’s health. “It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health,” the website dedicated to the week states. “The theme for 2012 is ‘It’s Your Time.’ National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority.”

    The week is designed to provide a focal point during which U.S. communities, neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties, hospitals, health centers, businesses, schools, places of worship, recreation centers, and online sites concentrate on women’s health. You may find that organizations in your area  hold specific events, such as free screenings or health fairs, provide educational materials, issue proclamations, and celebrate women’s health issues.

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    As part of the week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health is encouraging women to be aware that they need a number of screening tests as they age. The website specifically has a section that focuses on tests that are recommended for women who are 50 years old and above. These tests include:

    • Bone mineral density test (for bone health) – This test should be administered at least once when a woman is age 65 or older. A woman should discuss with her doctor whether there needs to be repeat testing. If you think you have an elevated risk for osteoporosis, you may want to discuss this issue with your doctor when you’re between the ages of 50-64.
    • A blood glucose or hemoglobin a1c test (for diabetes) – This test should be administered regularly after the age of 45 and at any age if a woman is overweight with additional risk factors.
    • Mammogram and manual breast exam (for breast health) – Mammograms should be conducted every two years between the ages of 50-74, depending on your doctor’s recommendations. A manual breast exam should be conducted yearly.
    • A colonoscopy, fecal occult blood test or sigmoidoscopy (for colorectal health) – One of these tests should be done at the age of 50, based on the doctor’s recommendations. Additional tests will depend on the doctor’s recommendations as the woman ages.
    • Full check-up, including weight and height (for general health) – This check-up should be scheduled based on the doctor’s recommendation.
    • Blood pressure test and cholesterol test (for heart health) – A blood pressure test should be conducted at least every two years if a woman has normal blood pressure (which is below 120/80). A cholesterol test should be conducted regularly if a woman is at risk for heart disease. Your healthcare provider can help make that determination.
    • Pap test, pelvic exam and sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests (for reproductive health) – Between the age of 50-64, a woman should have a pap test every three years if the pap test comes back normal for three years in a row. After the age of 65, a woman needs to discuss the need for this test with the healthcare provider. Women who are over the age of 70 do not need to have a pap smear if the test comes back normal for three years in a row and no abnormal results have been detected for the previous 10 years. Pelvic exams are recommended to be conducted yearly, starting at the age of 50. In the case of STI testing, it’s recommended that both partners should be tested, including tests for HIV, before initiating sexual intercourse.

    Primary Source for This Sharepost:
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. (2012). National Women’s Health Week website.

Published On: May 15, 2012