4 Tips for Taking Care of Your Health as a Woman

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As a woman, it is essential to be knowledgeable about the unique health risks that you face and how to take proper care of your health.

Tip #1: Start Getting Pap Smears in Your 20s

A Pap test, or pap smear, as it is more commonly called, is a way of screening for cervical cancer. You should get your first pap smear when you are about 21 years old. If the test is normal, it is common to wait three years between tests as you age.

If you have an abnormal test, you will need to be screened on a more regular basis. A pap smear is a preventative screening test that can be used to identify cancer that is hard to spot otherwise. The only reason why you would stop is because of advanced age or because you have had your cervix removed.

Tip #2: Start Mammograms Screens in Your 40s

Various medical organizations recommend you start getting annual mammograms between 40–45 years of age. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you should begin to get screenings earlier. In addition, you should ask your doctor to teach you how to perform self-examinations properly.

Tip #3: Know the Signs of a Heart Attack for Women

There are gender differences in how a heart attack presents in people. Most of the warning signs the general public has been taught about heart attacks are based on male patients' medical research and observations. It is important to be aware of the subtle differences in heart attack signs for women so that you get the appropriate help if you experience those signs. 

Men are most likely to experience chest pain and discomfort. On the other hand, women tend to feel nauseous and experiencing vomiting, along with back pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, and fainting. Women may not experience the typical intense chest pressure that men commonly experience when having a heart attack.

Tip #4: Find Exercise You Love

Exercise is so important to your overall health. Exercise can help keep your body at a healthy weight and protect you from injuries. Exercising can also strengthen your heart, which is important when considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women. You don't have to engage in contact sports to exercise; something as simple as going on a short brisk walk every day or engaging in activities such as bicycling or dancing can do wonders for your overall health.

Tip #5: Get an Annual Health Screening

Finally, you should get an annual health screening. Most healthcare plans don't charge for annual screens, as they are great preventative medication tools that can make you aware of health issues while they are easy to correct and can save insurance companies money. Even if you don't have health insurance, some organizations offer low or no-cost annual exams.

It is important to be aware of the different health obstacles you face and be vigilant about, such as cervical cancer, breast cancer, and heart disease. For more information and support, contact local women's health care services.