A 2015 article published on ThinkProgress website has brought an important issue to light: gender stereotypes are very much present in the healthcare system. How many times have you visited a doctor due to chronic pain, headaches or period problems and your “diagnosis” was something along the lines: “It’s all your imagination”? This sort of doctors’ approach can discourage a lot of women from doing their regular and emergency checkups, which can significantly compromise their health. You should, by no means, pay attention to this discriminatory behavior.
Your priority is your health, and therefore, you must check it from time to time. Here are four essential yet simple checks you can do.
Regular gynecological checkups are imperative, especially after a woman turns 25 or 30. You shouldn’t go to your gynecologist only when you have some symptoms or avoid going for a checkup thinking that nothing can happen to you. Virtually, every woman is affected by an infection or some other gynecological condition at some point in her life, and some of them, if left untreated, can lead to infertility and have other dangerous consequences. A typical gynecological checkup should include:
- A breast exam – to check for any irregularities or lumps in the breast tissue. You should also learn how to do a self-exam.
- A pelvic exam – where the doctor examines the female reproductive system. This exam also includes a Pap smear, which is used to detect the presence of abnormalities that can be caused by infections, cervical cancer, etc.
Hormonal imbalance is common in women of all ages. More often than not, women attribute symptoms of this condition to other causes and tend to ignore them when they are doing regular checkups. You would be surprised to know just how many signs indicate that you may have problems with hormones. Fatigue and poor sleep can be caused by an imbalance in thyroid hormones. Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and even depression can happen due to cortisol, testosterone, or estrogen imbalance. Low thyroid levels can lead to hair loss, dry skin and hair, and brittle nails. Changing levels of estrogen and progesterone manifest themselves through hot flashes and night sweats.
Do you know how easy it is to check that? A simple saliva test will tell you all about your hormones.
Heart condition and blood pressure
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in women and as such, it shouldn’t be ignored. Routine doctor visits can save your life, so try to make time for annual heart checkups even if you don’t have a heart condition. While you are there, ask for screening tests that include weight and BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose. If the results pose a concern, you might need to change your lifestyle. Blood pressure is something you can also check regularly at your home with a digital monitor.
Did you know that 2/3 of visual impairment and blindness happens to women? The good news is that ¾ of visual impairment are preventable. Feeling the urge to visit your ophthalmologists yet? It is crucial to check your eye health on a regular basis. If you notice any problem, such as blurring vision, problem with focusing, headaches, eye strain, sensitivity to light and eye pain, you should make an appointment to do an eye test as soon as possible to see if you should start wearing glasses or contact lenses or undergo another treatment to prevent vision deterioration. If you are already wearing vision correction mean, regular eye exams are even more important.
“Prevention is better than the cure” is much more than just a saying. If you take proper care of your health right now, you will avoid a lot of troubles in the future.