Women, take time for your health

5/18/2017  By HealthNews

May 18, 2017 

Kicking off annually on Mother's Day, this is Women's Health Week.

Busy moms are everywhere. Photo: @JayBe.

Women's Health Week serves as a reminder for women: take time for your health. While the advice seems obvious, many women put their own health needs on hold for a variety of reasons.

"We're so busy taking care of others, we just come last," says Teresa Beckett, ARNP at KVH Women's Health. "There's a thousand things to do, sports and school - but your needs are still there, just on the back burner." It's a reality, Beckett admits, that often prevents women from seeking regular preventative care. "It's not just moms who are busy," she adds. "Many of us don't value ourselves enough to make self-care a priority."

Consider these numbers, for example: 38.5% of women 20 and over are obese, and 33.4% of women 20 and over have hypertension (high blood pressure). While not oversimplifying the causes, it is possible that family responsibilities or body image issues play a role  - if not directly contributing to the condition, then possibly getting in the way of seeking treatment.

Obesity and high blood pressure are risk factors for other serious conditions such as cancers and stroke. Genetics also play a role.

We have to learn to prioritize our own health.
- Teresa Beckett, ARNP

If you're ready to focus on your health but you're unsure where to start, consider a well woman exam from a gynecological provider. During a well woman exam, patients can expect a check of the thyroid, heart, lungs, and abdomen, a pelvic exam, and a pap smear every 3 years*. Other tests such as bone density scans are ordered depending on the patient's needs. Beckett's exams include time spent "teaching, and answering questions."

For those who want to make a change but are hesitant, Beckett urges them to act now and make the appointment for an exam. "If we want to be there for our loved ones, we have to learn to prioritize our own health. We can't take care of anyone else if we haven't taken care of ourselves."

*While some providers recommend pap smears every 5 years, 3 years is the standard for OBGYN practitioners.

Managed by Kittitas Valley Healthcare, HealthNews does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, please see your healthcare provider.