We spend a lot of time around Mother's Day thinking about what makes a good gift — flowers, breakfast in bed, a day off from chores, jewelry could all qualify. But the best gift you could give yourself or your family is the gift of health.
Mother's Day kicks off National Women's Health Week, an annual observance to empower women to make their health a top priority. It's a great time to talk to your mother or other women in your life about whether they are taking care of themselves. It's also the perfect time for you to make changes in your own life.
Need help getting started? Here's what every woman should know about her health.
- What screenings you should have. Prevention is key for a long, healthy life. Some — mammograms and Pap tests, for example — are specific to women. But don't forget general tests for your overall health, either. Cholesterol checks, colorectal cancer screenings, blood pressure and bone marrow density all are important, though some should be done more frequently than others. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health lists screenings and applicable ages online.
- Your family medical history. Understanding your family's medical background will help you know what you might be at risk for and if there are special precautions you should take. It could save your life or your children's lives.
- Your mental health. Take a survey of your mindset and stress levels. Are you prone to depression? Do you have a history of eating disorders? Are you practicing good mental health habits, such as not over-committing, taking time for yourself or asking for help when you need it?
- Your physical health. Like your family history, know your own medical history so you know what you need to concentrate on. If you struggle with high cholesterol, for example, make sure you follow an appropriate eating plan and get tested regularly. And no matter what your weight or specific health concerns, be good to yourself — do something active daily, quit smoking, use sunscreen and limit alcohol.
Women's Health Week is from May 13 to 19 this year. Aventura Hospital and Medical Center is proud to participate by hosting a Women's Health Symposium, a free health education event for the public, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 22 in the Medical Arts Building, 21110 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 101. There will be guest speakers, giveaways, refreshments and entertainment.
On a daily basis, we've made it easy for you to take charge of your health. If you are due for a mammogram, you can schedule one online now. Or call our Consult-A-Nurse service if you have health questions or need a referral to a physician. We are always available at 1-888-256-7692.