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Women's health: a guide for women at every age
Posted 5 February 2019
Women – we’re good at multi-tasking. Whether it be kids, work deadlines, girlfriends, brunch dates, or our partner’s birthday, we’re always on the go. But more often than not, our health doesn’t make the cut. Taking the time to book in check-ups, self-evaluations or time for our bodies to heal or be pampered just doesn’t make our priority list sometimes.
While keeping busy may be good for our wellbeing, it’s important to stop and take note of how we’re feeling, what we’re monitoring and what we might need to take time out to do for ourselves and our bodies…after all, we’ve only got one, so we need to take good care of it.
We’ve put together some general guidelines that might help you to put your health back at the top of your to do list.
Healthy diet – focus on moderation
We’ve heard it before, folks. Remember we’re only as healthy as the fuel we put into our bodies.
Do what you can, when you are able, and whatever suits your body and health at the time, but making time to move in some way is important.
Sleep, sleep, sleep!
While everyone is different, and there’s stacks of information out there, the average amount of sleep recommended for adults is around eight hours. The general rule? If we feel like we need to rest, we probably should. While life happens, make sure not to let yourself wrack up too much sleep debt.
It’s important at every age to be self-checking our breasts for any kind of changes. Do it in the shower, before you get changed, in the bath, when you get up – whatever reminds you, make it a regular part of your week.
Blood pressure & cholesterol
After the age of 18, it’s important to visit your doctor at least every two years, to have regular check-ups on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You might also like to have a blood test, especially if your doctor’s visits are infrequent, to make sure you’re fit and healthy from that point of view.
18 - 34
Preventative health measures
We may not think we have to think about health much in our earlier years, but the truth is, now is the time to give your body all the preparation and steps ahead you can get. A healthy diet (with moderation – don’t worry, we like chocolate too), regular exercise and a healthy work-life balance are as important in these years as the rest of our lives.
Skin care routine
Take the time in your earlier years to really hone-in on a skin care regime that works for you. The habits you develop now are likely to stick with you for longer. Buy a face washer, a nice foamy cleanser and get to know your toners from your tonics. It’s a pretty overwhelming world out there when it comes to skin and beauty products, so it’s important to work out what works out for you and your beautiful face. Remember, it might not be what your housemate or your neighbour uses.
Cervical screening test
If you’re over 25, you’ve likely had a pap smear before. This year (2018), the new Cervical Screening has taken place of the Pap Smear. While it’s the same procedure, it’s said to be more effective. The best news? You only have to have it every five years, as opposed to two with our previous pap smears.
It’s recommended that all women receive the HPV vaccine prior to becoming sexually active.
35 - 50
If you’re planning on trying for a baby, it’s important to have an overall health check-up beforehand, just to check you’re fit and healthy. Your doctor may go through any health risks for you associated with pregnancy, or recommend supplements or diet changes to potentially assist in a successful and healthy pregnancy.
Blood test for heart health
It’s recommended that you receive a blood test every five years, just to test that your cholesterol is at a healthy level. If there’s something in the family, you may need to be tested more often.
A visit to the optometrist never went astray, and even if your eyesight is still 20/20 (lucky you), it’s recommended you should have an eye test every two years if you’re under 65 years old, and every year if you’re over 65. But if you start to notice any changes in your vision, no matter how small, you should see one of our Health Partners optometrists as soon as possible.
Book your bulk-billed appointment today
If you’re between the ages of 50 and 74, it’s important to book yourself in for a mammogram every two years to check for any changes in your breasts that may indicate breast cancer. For those with a family history, your doctor may advise much shorter intervals.
Bone density test
With the risk of osteoporosis higher with age, it’s recommended that women over the age of 50 receive regular bone density check-ups to keep track of the health of their bones.
While we might all be familiar with the concept of menopause, it can present in different ways, and with different symptoms and lengths of time for different people. With this in mind, if you’re concerned or require guidance, visit your doctor or a women’s health clinic for advice on how to cope with the symptoms and any medications or alternative therapies that may assist you through this phase.