This One's For the Girls

In your role as wife, mom and career woman, your health may have fallen on your priority list to somewhere between cleaning the garage and detailing your dryer’s lint trap with a toothbrush. Well, give the toothbrush a rest. It’s time to give your well-being VIP status. Starting today, use this handy, by-the-decade guide to good health. The dryer lint can wait. Your well-being? Not so much.

In Your 20s
Focus on: Establishing a healthy lifestyle that includes annual checkups and practicing safe sex.

Stay-healthy strategies: Annual screenings and doctor appointments? Those may sound like things more suited to your grandparents, but it’s important that you start a healthy ritual of annual checkups with your primary care physician and your OB/GYN now. Also, ensure future health success by maintaining your weight, eating a healthy diet and incorporating exercise into your routine.

Screenings to schedule: Start getting Pap tests and a clinical breast exam every two years at age 21, and get screened for gonorrhea and chlamydia yearly after you become sexually active. Schedule a physical with your primary care physician to check your blood pressure and to determine which immunizations you need. You should get a tetanus booster every 10 years. In addition, the Office on Women’s Health recommends those 26 and younger (to age 9) complete the HPV vaccine series.

DIY: Take a daily multivitamin that contains folic acid, calcium and vitamin D.

In Your 30s
Focus on: Getting enough sleep and keeping the numbers on the scale from creeping up.

Stay-healthy strategies: If you are juggling a family and a career, make sure sleep and exercise aren’t the last things on your to-do list. If you’re not pushing a stroller yet but would like to be soon, bring it up to your OB/ GYN. She will cover all the preconception details you need, from which vaccines are necessary now to the importance of getting enough folic acid.

Screenings to schedule: If your previous Pap tests have been normal, schedule one every three years, starting at age 30. Continue to get your blood pressure checked at your annual physical—hypertension is often tied to weight gain.

DIY: Conduct a breast self-exam once a month, and talk to your doctor if you notice anything unusual.

In Your 40s
Focus on: Taking time for yourself and staying in tune with your mental health.

Stay-healthy strategies: Dealing with growing children, aging parents and a demanding career can take its toll. And remember, exercise provides you with the perfect trifecta by boosting feel-good hormones, taking a whack at your stress and keeping your BMI within the healthy range, so make time to get moving. Finding an exercise buddy can help you stay on track and give both of you a sympathetic ear to vent to. And don’t forget about contraception. Talk to your doctor about long-term solutions.

Screenings to schedule: Pap tests every three years are still on the table; you should also schedule a mammogram every one to two years. And beginning at 45, have your cholesterol
checked every five years, and get tested for diabetes every three.

DIY: Add strength training to your workout routine to preserve muscle mass and bone density. Both are important as you age.

In Your 50s
Focus on: Getting enough fiber and scheduling the screenings you need—they’re essential!

Stay-healthy strategies: If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings or trouble sleeping, speak to your doctor about possible treatments.

Screenings to schedule: This time in your life brings new and necessary screenings. As you
continue mammograms and Pap tests, you’ll also want to sign up for a colonoscopy at 50 and get your thyroid checked. Keep on top of your heart health by continuing to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked every two years and five years, respectively—and more often if levels are elevated.

DIY: Taking an aspirin a day after age 55 may lower your risk of stroke, but speak to your doctor first to find out if it’s the right move for you.

In Your 60s
Focus on: Planning for the future and continuing your healthy ways.

Stay-healthy strategies:  It’s never too late to start exercising. No matter what age you
start, you get the benefits. Just be sure to clear any new regimen with your doctor first.

Screenings to schedule: Good news! If you’re over 65 and your previous Pap tests were normal or you’ve had a hysterectomy (unrelated to cancer), you can cross these off your list. Instead, focus on getting a bone density screening at 65 and every two years after that. Continue getting mammograms after 65 (every one to two years), diabetes testing (every three years), blood pressure checks (every year) and cholesterol screenings (every three to
five years). Also, ask if you need a shingles vaccine (at age 60) and a pneumonia shot (at age 65). Colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years, so you’re due again.

DIY: Keep your mind sharp by trying something new, whether it’s enrolling in a class or taking on a new hobby.

Tools to Help You Succeed
GMC’s Care-A-Van offers mammograms throughout the community. Call 678-312-4760
to schedule the Care-A-Van to come to your organization or event. For an appointment on
the Care-A-Van, call 678-312-3444.

Our expert exercise physiologist at Gwinnett SportsRehab can develop a customized exercise program regardless of your fitness level. Call 678-312-7440 for our Lawrenceville office or 678-312-2803 for our Duluth location.

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