For many women, caring for their health is not easy. Family duties, work demands and lack of time and energy are roadblocks.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, so we’re reminding women to get screened for this health issue and others, and to make time to care for themselves. Stay Up-to-Date on Health Screenings One good way to stay on top of health issues is by using your preventive benefits for important screenings.
- Pap test screening for cervical cancer; start within three years of start of sexual activity or at age 21.
- Osteoporosis screening test — ideal for all women aged 65 or older.
- Mammogram screening for breast cancer; risk of this disease rises after age 40.
- Colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50.
The timing and frequency of screenings may differ for each family member’s health history. Talk with your doctor about which screenings are right for you. Guard Against the Bone Thief It may not be a popular health resolution, but it’s a crucial one for women and girls of all ages. Osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease, is a major public health threat for 44 million Americans, 80% of whom are women.1 To take care of your bones:
- Cut back on salt intake, as this causes calcium wasting.
- Try to get at least three servings of dairy a day. Healthy sources include skim milk, low-fat cheeses and yogurt.
- Other good sources of calcium include seeds, nuts, legumes/beans and dark leafy greens.
Don’t Overeat, But Eat Well
People try to cut out major food groups as their diet resolution — candy, desserts or carbohydrates. But it’s wiser to just cut back on certain foods. Don’t deprive yourself — practice moderation. Be sure to get adequate servings of whole grains, calcium, fiber, fruits and veggies. This can be as easy as having a high-fiber cereal with milk and a banana. Exercise Outside the Box Many people who resolve to become more fit think only of going to the gym. But exercise doesn’t require a visit to a fitness center. Resistance training, aerobic exercise and other active tasks can be done at home, on any day at any time. Don’t be discouraged if you don't achieve the desired weight loss or muscle tone in a certain time frame. It's better to set goals that are realistic, do-able and well defined. For example, strive to lose one to two pounds per week by exercising three to four times and skipping second helpings at the table.
Move to Center Stage
Many women are caretakers and jugglers of tasks, without enough hours to get everything done. The result: feeling frazzled, frustrated and stressed. Constant stress can:
- Weaken the immune system
- Aggravate illnesses
- Produce anxiety and depression
- Disturb valuable sleep
- Raise blood pressure
So find time to do something for yourself, even if it's just for 10 minutes! Take a break for walking or exercising, talking to a friend, soaking in the tub or meditating.
QualChoice Can Help
As your partner in health, we want to make sure you stay healthy and get the most from your healthcare benefits. Review this list of recommended screenings and vaccines before your annual wellness check. For many plans, these preventive benefits are covered at 100%, with no deductible, copayment or coinsurance when you visit an in-network provider.
*Always check your plan documents for your exact coverage.