young nurse with an older woman in a wheelchair

Health by the Decade: Creating Health Habits for National Women’s Health Week

Each year during National Women’s Health Week, millions of women take steps to improve their health. The 19th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on May 13 and serves as a reminder for women to make our health a priority and to build positive health habits for life.

Our journey to create these health habits can include:

Why should we begin this journey toward improved health?

These steps are the foundation for a lifetime of good health. They can help us be as healthy as possible whether we’re 20 years old or 100 years old! Check out age-personalized tips for lifelong health habits below.

How can you participate in the 19th annual National Women’s Health Week?

  • Learn more about what steps to take for good health
  • Take the National Women’s Health Week quiz to test your knowledge about healthy living
  • Show your friends how you’re making your health a priority with these social media resources and use the #NWHW hashtag
  • Participate online or organize activities within your community or office

Whether you’re in your 20s or your 80s, you can take steps to put yourself on the path to better and long-lasting health. Check out steps we should all take as well as personalized steps for your decade below.

For Every Decade:

*A well-woman visit is a yearly preventive checkup with your doctor. It’s a time to check in on how you’re doing, how you’d like to be doing, and what changes you can make to reach your health goals.

In addition to talking with your doctor or nurse about your health, you may also need certain vaccines (shots) and medical tests.

 For Your 20s

 Talk to your doctor at least once a year about:

  • Whether you plan to have children in the next year or the right birth control
  • Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Your family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)
  • Protecting yourself from the sun and the hazards of tanning

Ask if you need these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • HPV vaccine (26 and younger*)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap (21 and older*)
  • Sexually transmitted infections (including chlamydia and gonorrhea tests for women 24 and younger*)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

If you are pregnant, prenatal care can also be a well-woman visit. There are also certain tests during pregnancy to check your and your baby’s health. Click here to learn more.

* Suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and may not apply to every person

For Your 30s

Talk to your doctor at least once a year about:

  • Whether you plan to have children in the next year or the right birth control
  • Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Your family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)

Ask if you need these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap and HPV
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

If you are pregnant, prenatal care can also be a well-woman visit. There are also certain tests during pregnancy to check your and your baby’s health. Click here to learn more.

For Your 40s

Talk to your doctor at least once a year about:

  •  Whether you plan to have children in the next year or the right birth control (for premenopausal women)
  • Perimenopause symptoms
  • Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Your family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)

Ask if you need these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Mammogram
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap and HPV
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

If you are pregnant, prenatal care can also be a well-woman visit. There are also certain tests during pregnancy to check your and your baby’s health. Click here to learn more.

For Your 50s

Talk to your doctor at least once a year about:

  •  Menopause symptoms
  • Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Your family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)

Ask if you need these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Low-dose aspirin
  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Lung cancer (55 and older*)
  • Mammogram
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap and HPV
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

* Suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and may not apply to every person

 For Your 60s

Talk to your doctor at least once a year about:

  •  Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Who will make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to

Ask if you need these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Low-dose aspirin
  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Lung cancer
  • Mammogram
  • Osteoporosis (65 and older*)
  • Pap and HPV (65 and younger*)
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

* Suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and may not apply to every person

For Your 70s

Talk to your doctor at least once a year about:

  • Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Who will make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to

Ask if you need these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol (75 and younger*)
  • Colorectal cancer (75 and younger*)
  • Diabetes (70 and younger*)
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Lung cancer
  • Mammogram (74 and younger*)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

* Suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and may not apply to every person

For Your 80s

Talk to your doctor at least once a year about:

  • Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Who will make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to

Ask if you need these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Lung cancer (80 and younger*)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

* Suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and may not apply to every person

Many thanks to the Office of Women’s Health for this information and their work on behalf of women.

For more information on National Women’s Health Week as well as resources on a variety of trending topics in women’s health, wellness, and medical conditions, please click here.

With our leading edge tools and technologies, we’re upgrading how you experience your choice of coverage.

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doctor holding a patient's hand with a teal overlay

Advocate for Cervical Health Awareness This Month

2018 is upon us; with it comes opportunities to improve our health and to learn about health concerns our loved ones may face. One approach to do so is to recognize annual health awareness observances such as January as Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Promoting awareness resources about specific and often preventable health concerns throughout the year is an active step we can all take to advocate for more discussions, more questions, more media coverage, and most importantly more knowledge about diseases that impact millions.

Resources from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), and the American Cancer Society (ACS) show us how pervasive HPV and cervical cancer are:

  • At any time, there are approximately 79 million people in the United States with HPV1.
  • There are 14 million new HPV infections in the United States each year1.
  • HPV is so common that most people get it at some time in their lives and usually causes no symptoms2.
  • If HPV does not go away on its own, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer2.
  • While the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50% thanks to the increased use of the Pap test, nearly 13,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer are estimated to have been diagnosed in 20173.

What can you do? 

  • Talk to your doctor about your health as well as the health of loved ones.  Vaccines can help prevent infection from both high risk and low risk HPV and are recommended for all boys and girls at the age of 11 until the age of 261.
  • Know the risk factors. The CDC notes that smoking, using birth control pills, giving birth to 3 or more children, and having several sexual partners are all risks for cervical cancer2.
  • Get tested. Schedule a cervical cancer screening and/or a Pap test. A Pap test can find cell changes to the cervix caused by HPV. HPV tests find the virus and help healthcare providers know which women are at highest risk for cervical cancer1.
  • Understand the options. There is no treatment for HPV, but there are options to treat diseases caused by the virus.
  • Advocate for the importance of early detection. Talk to your loved ones about this disease and make sure they know it’s preventable. Ask your local media to cover Cervical Health Awareness Month. Ask your local legislators to publicly recognize this important health observance.
  • Consider finding support. Reach out to online communities at Inspire.com, a website that specializes in connecting patients, partners, and caregivers to resources they may need.

With our leading edge tools and technologies, we’re upgrading how you experience your choice of coverage.

Stay tuned to our next blog post!

Click here to join our Facebook community for more information about your health and your healthcare coverage.

Sources:

1: “Ten Things to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer.” National Cervical Cancer Coalition. http://www.nccc-online.org/images/pdfs/10ThingsHPV_CCAM.pdf

2: “What Are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer?” Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

3: “What Are the Key Statistics About Cervical Cancer?” American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

 

 

 

 

hands holding pink ribbon during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Mammogram 101

Approximately 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point, the second most common kind of cancer in women2. The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about steps women can take to decrease their risk and to detect this disease, including having a mammogram.

If you are a woman who is age 40 through 49, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises1 that you talk with your doctor about a plan for your breast health, including when to get a mammogram.

If you are a woman who is age 50 to 74, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises1that you get mammograms every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often.

Here are some questions to help you start the conversation with your doctor about mammograms:
  • Do I have risk factors for breast cancer?
  • Based on my risk factors, what are my chances of getting breast cancer?
  • What will happen when I go to get mammograms?
  • How long will it take to get the results of my mammograms?
  • If I don’t hear back about the results of my mammograms, does that mean everything is okay?
If you are under age 50, you might want to ask:
  • Should I start getting regular mammograms? If so, how often?
  • What are the pros and cons of getting mammograms before age 50?
If you are between ages 50 and 74, you might want to ask:
  • How often should I get mammograms?
  • What are the pros and cons of getting mammograms every 2 years instead of every year?

While most women can survive breast cancer if it’s detected and treated early 1, there are several lifestyle factors that your clients should consider when assessing risk, including:

  • Consuming dairy (with risk of death increasing for those who continue to consumer dairy after diagnosis)3
  • Being overweight or obese4
  • Not being physically active4
  • Regularly drinking alcohol5
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy5
  • Taking hormonal birth control4

With our leading edge tools and technologies, we’re upgrading how you experience your choice of coverage.

Stay tuned to our next blog post!

Click here to join our Facebook community for more information about your health and your healthcare coverage.

Sources:

1: “Mammograms: Questions for the Doctor.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/doctor-visits/talking-with-the-doctor/mammograms-questions-for-the-doctor

2: “October: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/OctoberToolkit.aspx

3: “High – and Low-Fat Dairy Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.” Candyce H. Kroenke Marilyn L. Kwan Carol Sweeney Adrienne Castillo Bette J. Caanhttps://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/105/9/616/986948/High-and-Low-Fat-Dairy-Intake-Recurrence-and

4: “Lifestyle-Related Breast Cancer Risk Factors.” American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/lifestyle-related-breast-cancer-risk-factors.html

5: “Lifestyle: How Our Lifestyle and Choices Affect Breast Cancer Risk.” Breast Cancer Now. http://breastcancernow.org/about-breast-cancer/what-can-cause-breast-cancer/lifestyle