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Women: Take Charge of Your Check-Ups


Going to the doctor may not be high on your summer priority list, but there are some key check-ups you should consider scheduling — even if you’re feeling fine. Every woman can gain something from preventative screenings and immunizations: In addition to helping you stay healthy longer, your doctors can identify potential problems as early as possible, when they may be easier to treat or manage. Rest assured, protecting your health doesn’t have to be time-consuming, costly, or worrisome. In fact, making these appointments now may help keep minor symptoms (and expenses) from becoming bigger issues down the road.

The first step in maintaining your health is to book a well visit with your general practitioner. Here, your physician will look at personal risk factors (i.e. age, family medical history, general health, lifestyle) and advise you of any follow-up appointments you may need to make. This is the place to discuss any specific health questions or concerns and make sure your immunizations are current. Note: There’s more to immunizations than the annual flu shot. In fact, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annual recommendations, adult women may also need things like tetanus boosters and HPV vaccinations.

Another key screening: the breast exam. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year. Talk to your doctor about getting mammograms to screen for breast cancer once you turn 40. Your doctor may recommend mammograms starting earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer. Getting a regular breast exam and performing monthly self-exams can help with early detection. Yearly visits to the gynecologist should include pelvic exams, STD testing, and cervical cancer screenings.

While you’re making your preventative appointments, be sure to consider your heart health. After all, according to the American Heart Association, an estimated 43 million women in this country are affected by heart disease each year. What’s more, ninety percent of females have one or more risk factors for developing this disease. Women who are 45 years or older or at high risk for heart disease should also have cholesterol and other risks checked.  Talk to your doctor about when it’s appropriate to schedule a screening. Your doctor might recommend you start screenings at an earlier age if you have certain risk factors, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of heart disease

The good news? Simple lifestyle changes like improving your diet and getting regular physical activity can significantly reduce your chance of future heart disease or stroke.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of routine exams in maintaining your health and detecting potential problems. The National Cancer Institute notes that annual trips to the dermatologist can help detect and treat melanoma, which is the leading cause of cancer death for women aged 25 to 30. Additionally, regular eye exams can test vision and detect things like glaucoma. And, lastly, a dental check-up won’t just clean away plaque and bacteria — the dentist will also use your visit to check for things like tooth and gum disease and mouth and tongue cancer.

Find more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.


Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcare professional.