Women are recommended to have a general check-up with their GP every year. Part of the check-up will involve talking to your doctor about your medical history, your family’s history of disease, and your lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise habits, and whether or not you smoke or drink alcohol.
Seeing your doctor for regular medical check-ups will help you stay healthy and pick up early warning signs of disease or illness. Many diseases such as cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and some cancers can be picked up in their early stages, which is when treatment is often more effective. If you are at high risk of a particular disease – for example, if you have a family history of it – it is recommended that you get checked more frequently, and at an earlier age.
Self-checking health checks for women
Self-checking should be made part of your regular routine. Things that you can check at home include:
Monitor freckles, moles, and skin blemishes for changes in size, shape, or colour, or anything unusual such as pain or itch. See your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Women at high risk of skin cancer need regular examination by their doctor or dermatologist.
It is important to be familiar with the look and feel of your breasts and to know what is normal for you. To do this:
– get to know the usual shape of your breasts by regularly looking in the mirror; and
– become familiar with the normal feel of your breasts at different times of the month. You might find this easiest in the shower or bath, lying in bed, or while getting dressed.
You can reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss if you clean your teeth regularly, drink fluoridated water, eat a low-sugar diet, and visit the dentist at least once a year.
You can improve your general health by eating a variety of nutritious, healthy foods, having regular meals, and following a healthy eating plan.
Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
• Alcohol consumption:
‘Low-risk’ drinking is defined as no more than two standard drinks (for example, 100ml of wine) on any day and having at least two alcohol-free days per week.
Smoking increases your risk of many diseases including heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and osteoporosis (loss of bone strength). If you smoke, it’s recommended that you try to quit as there is no safe smoking level. See your GP for help.
Regular exercise can prevent diseases from developing and is also very good for your emotional health. At least 2.5 hours of exercise per week is recommended.
• Mental and emotional health:
If you are experiencing symptoms such as intense sadness, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, or if you have had changes to your eating or sleeping habits, see your doctor to discuss these symptoms.
• Intimate partner violence is one of the biggest impacts on women’s health. If you are experiencing family violence and don’t have someone to talk to, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
This information has been provided by the Better Health Channel.
To book a comprehensive women’s health check-up (15 minutes with a nurse and a 30 minute doctor consult) including a pap smear, breast examination, and general health check, click here to make an appointment with Dr Jane Habib.
You can also read more about our Women’s Health Clinic services here.
Next week, September 3-7 is Women’s Health Week. Click here to see how you can be involved and what you can learn about women’s health!