Women: Stay healthy at any age
May 14-20 is National Women’s Health Week, and the National Women’s Health Information Center recommends screening tests and healthy behaviors to prevent disease.Top health experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest women talk to their doctors or nurses about how to stay healthy, no matter their age, during checkups.Screening tests, such as mammograms and Pap smears, can find diseases early when they are easier to treat. Some women need certain screening tests earlier, or more often, than others.The Task Force has made the following recommendations, based on scientific evidence, about which screening tests are vital:• Mammograms: every one to two years starting at age 40• Pap smears: every one to three years for those sexually active or older than 21• Cholesterol checks: regularly starting at age 45.• Blood pressure: at least every two years• Colorectal cancer tests: starting at age 50• Diabetes tests: especially those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol• Depression: if you’ve felt “down,” sad, or hopeless, and have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things for two weeks straight• Osteoporosis tests: bone density test at age 65• Sexually transmitted diseases: test for chlamydia if 25 or younger and sexually active. If you are older, talk to a doctor about being tested. Also, discuss whether you should be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases.Tips on staying healthy• Don’t smoke. But if you do, talk to a doctor about quitting. Medicine and counseling can help you quit. • Eat a healthy diet. Eat a variety of foods, including fruit, vegetables, animal or vegetable protein (such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, or tempeh) and grains (such as rice).• Be physically active. Start small and work up to a total of 20-30 minutes most days of the week.• Stay at a healthy weight. Balance the number of calories consumed with the number burned off with activities. Watch portion sizes.• Drink alcohol only in moderation. One drink a day is safe for women, unless they’re pregnant..For more information on staying healthy, call (800) 358-9295, or visit http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/ppipix.htm.Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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