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This Mother's Day we kick off the first day of the annual National Women's Health Week.  This is a weeklong health observance beginning that serves as a reminder for women and girls to make their health a priority and take care of themselves. During this COVID crisis, many people have put off their regular checkups or other health screenings, but we all know by now that safety measures are in place in doctors' offices and all medical facilities. We need to make sure we are taking care of every aspect of our health.  As we are trying to prevent one disease, we cannot put ourselves at risk for another.

If you have underlying health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, or if you are a woman 65 years or older, it is especially important to take care of yourself. Check out this online tool called "Find Your Health" to uncover personalized tips to help you take the next step on your health journey.

 

Something I have recommended in the 30 plus years that I have been a health reporter, is to get your annual exams and important health screenings, such as your mammogram,  around your birthday so you don’t forget.  Could you really give yourself and your family a better gift? We also need to take care of our mental health and avoid unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol, and distracted driving. One tip I always share - get your screenings and check-ups around your birthday, so you will not forget.

In addition to medical visits, we also can do home self-checks. Here are six health checks every woman should know.

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    1

    Breast: Occasionally to Once a Month

    Women should be familiar with their breasts so they can notice if there are any changes and stay up to date with exams from their doctor as well as any recommended screening tests such as mammograms. Feeling around while taking off your bra or washing in the shower should suffice

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    2

    Skin: Once a month

    Skin cancer may be the most common type of cancer in the U.S but it’s also one of the easiest to see and regular skin self-exams may actually save your life. If caught early, skin cancers are usually treatable and even curable.

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    3

    Waist Circumference: Every Three to Four Months

    Your waistline may be a better gauge of your health and future risks than numbers on a scale or body mass index. Why? Fat around your belly is a bigger risk factor when it comes to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes than fat gathered other places in your body

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    4

    Pulse: Once a Month

    A pulse or heart rate that is too fast can be a sign of an overactive thyroid, atrial fibrillation, or other heart issues.

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    5

    Height: Once a Year

    Measuring your height at least once a year is a simple way to keep tabs on how healthy your bones are. A loss of height means that you are losing bone which could be an early sign of osteoporosis.

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    6

    Blood Pressure: Every One to Two Weeks If You’re At Risk

    Regular blood pressure readings can give you a window into your current and future health. Someone who is healthy but who has had occasionally elevated blood pressure readings but no diagnosis of hypertension, or who has hypertension risk factors, should do further monitoring.