WOMEN'S HEALTH BLOG September 2019
Words from Kimiyo Harris Williams, M.D., FAAP
“Self-Love is Healthy Living”
Whether you’re single, married, a single mom, working wife and mom, business owner, homemaker or the “boss” lady, keeping abreast of current women’s health recommendations is paramount. I must admit, it can be somewhat overwhelming to carve out time to focus on our health and wellness. After all, we as women, have to make sure the kids have clean uniforms, breakfast is available, homework is completed, and lunch is prepared. After the school day, we transport the kids back and forth to extracurricular activities, make sure we have dinner cooked, take care of aging parents, complete a project for work, prepare a presentation for the boss, make it to our church meeting and serve as leaders in our church; not to mention, all of our community service projects and organizational commitments. Therefore, it’s no surprise that our health is often put on the “back burner.” However, I would like to urge the women of Louisiana to practice some “self -love.” Loving one’s self can potentially change health outcomes both physically and mentally.
Self -love is demonstrated when you decide to schedule an annual physical exam. Every woman should have a medical physical at least once a year. Additionally, learning your family history is very important and can help your doctor regarding your individualized medical care. Moreover, regular interaction with your provider develops a healthy rapport and establishes trust. This trust and rapport allows for overall better health care outcomes.
Self -love is demonstrated when you decide to schedule an annual physical exam. Every woman should have a medical physical at least once a year.
As you embrace this idea of “self-love,” don’t get it confused with selfishness. Some synonyms for selfishness are egotism, self-seeking and self- serving. The “self-love” that I am referring to is neither of the above. This self-love is all about caring and loving yourself enough to check-in on your wellness and to work daily in fostering healthy living. I encourage focusing some energy on taking care of “self” so that we can be our best for others. Taking care of our mental and physical health is very important.
A strategy for implementing self -love is required to practice this principle. Every woman has to develop a plan that works best for her. As you establish a blueprint for your journey into self -love, I would like to offer these important recommendations as it relates to preferred health screening guidelines for women with no additional risk factors nor prior abnormal results per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG).
Age 65 years and older:
Bone mineral density screening: Every 2 years in the absence of new risk factors.
Cervical cytology: Co-test with cytology (PAP Smear) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years or cytology alone every 3 years. If age 66 years and older, screening can be discontinued in women with evidence of negative prior screening test results and no history of Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2 or higher.
Fecal Occult Blood Test: Annually
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Every 5 years
Colonoscopy: Every 10 years
Diabetes Testing: Every 3 years
Lipid Profile: Every 5 years
Mammography: Annual or biennial: Begin no later than 50 years.
Diabetes Testing: Begin at age 45 years and if normal results repeat testing at least every 3 years.
Mammography: Annual or biennial starting at age 40 years but no later than age 50 years.
Lipid Profile Assessment: Every 5 years beginning at age 45 years.
Colonoscopy: Every 10 years beginning at age 50 years; beginning at age 45 years for African Americans.
Age 21-29 years: Screening every 3 years with cytology alone.
Age 30 years and older: Preferred- Co-test with cytology and HPV testing every 5 years or cytology alone every 3 years.
Review these preferred screening schedules as a guide to start achieving better health and wellness. To learn more about these preferred screening guidelines visit: https://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/ACOG-Departments/Annual-Womens-Health-Care/Well-Woman-Recommendations.
Revisit them regularly to make sure you are loving yourself enough to have them done. Share them with your family and friends with the goal of fostering a mindset of wellness and good health. We are our sister’s keeper as we love ourselves enough to be intentional about healthy living.